OPERATIONS

3 REASONS YOUR FITNESS BUSINESS
MIGHT FAIL THIS YEAR

The fitness industry is filled with challenges that can negatively impact the success of your fitness business. Chief Executive Officer at Les Mills Asia Pacific, Ryan Hogan, shares three of them, as well as practical activities to help you overcome them.

The Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report found that the pandemic has prompted people to prioritise their health, with 50 per cent focusing more on their wellbeing in 2021. 

Our industry has changed so much over the past two years, so it’s almost illogical to think that you can operate your club the same way you used to, to generate the same level of success.

Following are three reasons you might fail this year, and some activities to help ensure you don’t. So, grab a cuppa, a pen and paper, and get ready to set yourself up for success.

REASON 1.

How updated is your SWOT analysis? Taking stock of your business and monitoring its progress is the key to long-term, sustainable success. Take off the rose-coloured glasses and put your business under the microscope. Be objective and realistic with what you see.

STEP 1. Identify the top three areas that are thriving in your business. Write down the factors that have created this success. Are these factors sustainable? If not, what is your back-up plan?

STEP 2. What areas in the business require improvement? What factors are limiting their success, and what resources do you need to help them thrive?

STEP 3. Are you aware and accommodating of the change in your members’ needs? For example, have you expanded your offering to include omni-channel fitness, so the 80 per cent of members who plan to continue using digital workouts are not forced to look outside your brand for their at-home options? Have you adjusted your timetables to reflect the change in ‘peak hour’ classes, as a result of people now working from home and exercising at different times of the day?

REASON 2.

Remember when you used to do a callout for an instructor to take a certain timeslot on a certain day of the week, and you’d get inundated with applicants? Those days have disappeared, despite live fitness classes being the single most popular gym-type activity. Nowadays, instructor recruitment requires a very different approach – if you want to attract and retain the best instructors, that is. For effective instructor recruitment, clubs need to clearly position themselves as a preferred place to work; this can be achieved by showcasing the unique benefits of being part of your team.

STEP 1. Write a list of all the benefits your instructors currently receive when they’re part of your team. Now be honest – is the list impressive enough to attract and keep rockstar instructors? Go through the list and identify which items are currently effective and sustainable for the long term? What should be done with those that are left – can they be removed or replaced with something more effective?

STEP 2. Brainstorm new benefits that you could offer your new and existing Instructors. For this activity, don’t limit your thinking – the aim is to come up with a wishlist of benefits that rockstar instructors will flock to – even if you don’t currently have the resources to implement them. For example, installing LES MILLS® Virtual is a great benefit for your Les Mills instructors as it means if they fall ill or become injured, their class can still proceed without them having to find a replacement or feel guilty about not being able to teach. Or, offering your instructors opportunities for upskilling (e.g., paying for them to attend Quarterly Workshops, supporting them to be trained in additional programs, or enrolling them into Les Mills Advanced Training or the Online Group Fitness Management course) is an incredible benefit that would impact on your ability to attract and retain Instructors. Think freely!

STEP 3. Once you have your wishlist and list of current benefits, take them to your instructors for their feedback; they will probably also be able to add to the list. Find out exactly what items they value the most, and then work out how you might be able to implement the benefits you don’t currently offer, over time.

STEP 4. Promote your amazing list of employee benefits, far and wide!

REASON 3.

The truth is, even if you have the best club in all the land with the greatest equipment, the most awesome classes and the greatest staff, if you don’t promote it effectively to the 85 per cent of adults who are currently exercising or who would like to, then all your efforts will be wasted.

Here are a few tips to help ensure your marketing achieves cut-through and engagement:

TIP 1. Speak to your members’ pain points, so you can then explain how your club has the solutions to reduce or eliminate those pains.

TIP 2. Make sure your marketing pieces speak to your target audience by using the same language they would use themselves.

TIP 3. Keep messaging short and sharp. Don’t try and communicate too many points in any one piece.

TIP 4. Use avatars. Your business will have different types of customers, which means you’ll need to create different materials with unique messages, so they speak directly to each avatar’s needs.

TIP 5. If you offer Les Mills classes, then make sure you use everything and anything you can find in Marketing Studio. Les Mills has done all the hard work for you when it comes to the design and production of the collateral required to successfully promote your Les Mills programs. Whether you want social media assets, posters, digital wallpapers or entire campaigns… everything you need to encourage and inspire participation can be downloaded from the online portal – and it’s all available for free, of course.

The bottom line is, in 2022 winning at group fitness (or simply, business) requires clubs to do things differently to how they’ve been done in the past. Les Mills Asia Pacific’s Online Group Fitness Management course takes an even deeper dive into these three key plays – plus another five. To find out more, contact your local Business Partnership Manager in Australia or Southeast Asia.

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Ryan Hogan

Ryan is the Chief Executive Officer at Les Mills Asia Pacific, which offers world-class training for group fitness Instructors, and the Ultimate Group Fitness Solution for clubs and facilities, to help attract, engage and retain their members.