The 3 Most Common Mistakes New Gym Owners Make
If you make a mistake running your new gym, trust us, you’re not alone. It’s all too common for new gym owners to make mistakes, whether it’s related to getting new members, keeping those members, or managing the business side of things.
Sometimes, these mistakes are simple ones that can actually help you become better at what you do in the long run. But too many mistakes can crumble the shaky foundation of your new business. Perhaps that’s why less than half of startup gyms and other fitness businesses aren’t expected to make it past the five-year mark.
Hopefully, understanding the common mistakes we’ve outlined below will help you avoid them and allow your own new gym to flourish.
Mistake #1: Not Implementing and Following Consistent Marketing Practices
It’s common for new gym owners to think that people will simply come to their gym or that they only have to market classes, offerings, benefits, and gym differentiators from time to time. But gyms, just like any business, don’t usually work this way. You need to have a set marketing plan that you follow consistently, and you need to try different marketing strategies. It’s important to continuously market to new people and to engage your current audience to keep your membership numbers going strong.
If you’re not marketing-minded — which is common for gym owners who are more passionate about the fitness side of the business — you need to either spend time learning about gym marketing or hire someone to focus on that specialty. Fitness Marketing Group explains that the most effective method is to consistently perform a range of marketing strategies rather than relying too heavily on one or a few. For example, you could use direct mail offerings, Groupons, social media, email marketing, sales staff, ads, events and other strategies all at once.
You can carry out a combination of free, low-cost and high-cost marketing strategies at the same time, and never let there be a lull in your marketing efforts. Combine a regular, ongoing marketing plan with time-to-time special promotions.
Mistake #2: Blending in With the Crowd
With a lot of competition for your potential members’ attention, it’s essential to make your gym unique. Many new gyms try to offer every service imaginable. But again, just like in any business, this strategy rarely works as well as creating a specialized approach. It only results in being one of the many gyms your target demographic could choose from. Even if you do get new members, they may leave if they feel like another gym will offer the same services at a better rate or location.
Instead, find your own way to distinguish your gym from the others in the area. Come up with your brand that shows your gym’s identity and the types of clients you’re going after. For example, you could focus on classes, bodybuilding, or a certain type of ideal member. Then, create a logo, colors and graphics to associate with your gym across different marketing platforms. Stick with your brand identity and value proposition — what you have to offer — so your brand leaves a lasting impact.
Mistake #3: Having a Lack of Business Processes
Many people get into the gym business because of a passion for fitness, but you also have to have business know-how for your gym to be successful. Running the gym willy-nilly is not going to work.
You need a strong business plan and processes for each component of your gym’s inner-workings. This includes processes for hiring employees, bringing on new members, retaining members, marketing, sales, tracking member attendance and other parts of the business. Even without strong business knowledge, gym management software can make it much easier for you to manage the processes of your gym.