How to Run a Successful Gym Business during COVID-19

How to Run a Successful Gym Business during COVID-19

2020 marked the year the fitness industry had to adapt, and it's been a wild ride ever since. 

The COVID-19 pandemic meant that gyms and coaches could no longer run their business as usual. Forced closures and limited capacity commanded business owners to adopt a remote business model. However, while the pandemic has subsided in some countries, others are still feeling the brunt of it. 

What the future holds is still unknown, but you can prepare for uncertainty with the correct systems in place. Here are four tips to run a successful gym business with our current situation in mind.     

How to Run a Successful Gym Business during COVID-19

1) Think Critically About Your Business Model

COVID-19 limited many gyms’ ability to operate, forced them to lay off staff, or worse has put gyms out of business. Now more than ever it’s important to think critically about your gym’s business model. 

To clearly understand which business model is right for your gym, consider the service you want to provide. Do you want to individually work with clients? Do you want to work in a small group setting? Or do you want to deliver fitness through packed group classes?

We recommend gyms offer a service that can be delivered both in-person and remotely to safeguard against forced closures. Your in-person service must be able to adhere to distancing and safety protocols. For more than 20 years we have been educating coaches on how to deliver this exact service. Learn the fundamentals of this service in our free coaching course.

2) Create a Consistent Marketing Strategy 

After settling on a business model it’s time to fill your gym with clients. To do this you need to create a marketing strategy. 

To create a marketing strategy first figure out your ideal customer. Figuring out your ideal customer will help you speak directly to those you want to work with. If you have already worked with clients, examine the ones you enjoyed working with the most. If you haven’t coached before or are opening a new gym it’s worth filling out an ideal customer avatar worksheet. This one from Digital Marketer is a great resource.

With your ideal customer in mind, you can now begin to advertise. Arguably the most effective marketing strategies involve social media, but you should not underestimate the value of your local community. Competing with large brands online is tough, so instead, we recommend growing your business by starting with your family, friends, and local connections. As you get them great results, they will refer others to you, expanding your reach organically.

3) Develop Streamlined Management Procedures

The third step to running a successful gym business is to develop management procedures. 

Well defined management procedures will help you run a more profitable business, create a stronger brand image, and create clear expectations for those who work within the gym.

The exact management procedures you create will depend on the service you are offering. But start with creating management procedures for these specific areas:

Onboarding new clients

Daily coach and client interaction

How your exercise programs are delivered

Employee hiring and firing

4) Have an Excellent Understanding of Your Money

The fourth key to running a successful gym business is to understand your money.

“A business lives or dies on its ability to manage cash.” 

Before you can make money and become sustainable, you need to develop an understanding of cash flow. What is your monthly revenue?  Your expenses?  Your rent expense as compared to your revenue?  Essentially you need an ongoing income statement and balance sheet (even if you are running cash accounting) so that you can understand your cash position, assets, and liabilities.

To make it easy, set up something like Quickbooks or reach out to inexpensive bookkeepers.  Make sure to work smartly and ensure that your taxable income is correct at year-end. 

5) Learn an Adaptable Business Model

If COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that the future is unpredictable.

What’s commonplace today may not be in a couple of months.

This can be scary for coaches and gym owners, but thankfully you can prepare yourself for inevitable change with a flexible business model. That business model is individual design coaching. Built to be delivered both in-person and remotely, this model lets coaches work with multiple clients at a time while maintaining a personalized experience. Learn the basics of the business model in our free coaching course. Sign up today and prepare yourself for the future to come. 

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