For many wannabe entrepreneurs, starting a fitness facility may seem like taking a walk in the park. Lease out some space, throw in a few treadmills and exercise bikes, jazz it up with a couple of big screen TVs and audio systems and voila – your fitness center is ready, right? Wrong!
Setting up a fitness center business requires as much planning and analysis as any other business. Not only do you need to have a solid business plan that sets you apart from competition, but you also need to be well conversant with the fitness industry to tailor your facility to the emerging trends.
If you’re wondering how to run a fitness club, then help is just round the corner. There are certain do’s and don’ts when it comes to running a successful gym that anyone who wants to get into the fitness business should comply with.
The Planning Stage
The first question you need to address is whether you want to establish a fresh fitness startup or buy a franchisee. You can also explore the option of buying a pre-existing fitness business. The advantage with the last two options is that your business name will have a recall value and you’ll also inherit an established clientele. The flip side, however, is that you’ll have limited scope to set it up and run it the way you want.
At this time, it is also important to choose a suitable location for your fitness club. The importance of choosing a location cannot be emphasized enough because on the placement of your gym will depend its commercial viability. You may want to do a SWOT analysis of the site you pick, survey the competition in the neighborhood, and understand the demographics.
One of the key factors in running a successful gym is hiring a fitness solutions firm to plan, design, develop, and maintain your facility.
The Execution Stage
This is the stage when your project plan goes into execution. By this time you should have a business plan ready to understand your funding requirements. You should have also obtained any licenses required to run a fitness business.
At the same time, the fitness solutions company you’ve hired should be ready with the design and layout of your gym. A theme-based design can go a long way in attracting customers and making you stand out from the crowd.
You should also start the process of equipment selection based on the space available as well as the demographic profile of your expected clientele. If you’re working with a full-service fitness solutions company, it will most likely take charge of supplying and installing fitness equipment in your gym.
Make sure that you equip your gym with the very best and latest in exercise machines. Investing in quality club fitness equipment is the only way to minimize breakdowns and the consequent erosion in customer base.
You also need to build a team of talented executives around you to market, maintain, and add value to your fitness offering. Pick out each employee – from the customer service executive to the service technician – after careful evaluation of their skills and enthusiasm.
Maintaining your Facility
Regular upkeep of your facility is critical to ensure its optimal operation. Maintaining a fitness center not just involves daily cleaning and scheduled inspection of the machines, but also frequent servicing as well as preventive maintenance.
Regular maintenance of your fitness facility will help you minimize downtime due to breakdowns, while increasing customer satisfaction and ensuring their safety at all times. In addition to this, preventive maintenance will help you save on costly repairs.
Make sure you have an extended service agreement with a fitness solutions company so your gym can keep running with maximum efficiency.
Say you have managed to established a first rate fitness club, have an enviable membership, and a pool of talent to help you run and grow your business. But how do you make sure you stay several notches ahead of your competition at all times?
The answer is simple – by going that extra mile to add value for your customers. One of the popular marketing strategies is to offer your patrons loyalty discounts, lean time concessions, and other such giveaways that encourage them to renew their membership.
You can also add value by expanding the scope of your facility. Offering your clients customized personal training, selling fitness merchandize, providing alternative fitness facilities like exer-gaming, and having an in-house dietician or nutritionist to work with them are some tactics that might help you earn some brownie points with existing clients as well as attract new ones.
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