I have always been addicted to health and exercise, so I am lucky to be able to combine fitness with my job. As an employee of a gym, I’ve enjoyed meeting new people every day and working within a fun environment that almost doesn’t feel like work.
Just over one year ago, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to buy a franchise, which was a daunting thought at first. However, after my first year, I can safely say it was the best decision I have ever made. The gym has gone from strength to strength (no pun intended). Having such a vested interest in your work environment makes a significant difference to both work life and income.
In collaboration with F45 Training, I would like to share my experience with you, so here are my top five tips for success:
1. Invest in people
It may sound like an old cliché or the tagline of a local council initiative, but through my first year, l managed to build a team around me who have a wide range of skills and experience. From my years as a fitness coach, it has become clear from my clients’ feedback that they are more likely to maintain their membership if they have coaches who are personable and approachable.
The staff and coaches at the gym matter more than anything else.
2. Embrace social media
I have found social media hugely beneficial for my business. It means we can keep in touch with our clients about offers, class times and any up-and-coming events. We have built quite a following on social media, which has enabled us to grow the business in a cost effective way.
What’s more, advertising on social media is more effective than any other medium. You can target your exact demographic in a precise location, which means you have every chance of getting the right people through the door.
3. Go for the tried and tested
When you take the step to buy a franchise, particularly a fitness franchise, there is a lot to consider and this can put people off making the step. I would recommend taking the route of an existing franchise, as the brand is already established and a business plan is in place to make the whole process as painless as possible.
If the franchise is already popular, people will seek you out, saving you a lot of time and money on branding and advertising.
4. Don’t take existing clients for granted
One of the most important lessons I learnt over the first year was not to take customers for granted. Now that I’m a business owner, I’ve realised how much it costs to advertise your business to gain new clients.
My conclusion from this is that you need to cherish the clients you already have. Spend your marketing budget to add to your client base, rather than to replace people who have cancelled their memberships.
5. Be at the cutting edge of the latest technology and trends
It is really important to be aware of the latest fitness trends and technology. This is where you need to invest your time in research to make sure you can offer the latest technology or methods, whether that be equipment or fitness trends.
Don’t stop at research; share your findings with your employees, get training, and keep learning. Keep moving forward or you’ll be out-of-date before you know it.
It has been a steep learning curve over the past year, and it certainly has been tough at times. That being said, this journey has been the best decision I’ve ever made and I’m grateful that I get to do something I love as my job. If you’re passionate about what you do and are willing to put the effort in, you will never look back.
And the fitness industry is forecast to keep growing, so it’s a good place to start.