In the excitement of opening their own gym, often first time gym owners rush into things without carefully considering a couple of critical items that will probably mean success or failure in this exciting new venture.
So, we have devised a small checklist to enhance your gym business plan and cover any important aspects you may have overlooked.
1. The Right Location
Really, really think hard about where your new gym or fitness center will be situated. I mean, it sounds obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people do not plan this out enough. Often, business owners who want to cut down overheads and make money quick look for places where rents are cheap or in the other extreme, some may spend lavishly on fitness equipment and pay exorbitant amounts of rent just for the postcode. This is a pretty simple decision to make if you think of it this way- you want your gym to be accessible (and visible) to your future members and target market. Also, think about factors like:
- What is your distance from major population centers? Try to find locations near public transport or with ample parking space which are equidistant from at least a couple of different suburbs to increase your target market.
- How much will rent be? Does the location/ease of access/visibility justify the rent?
What’s the demographic of the community you are looking to set up in? You don’t want to set up a bodybuilding club in a suburb where the residents are mostly retirees or senior citizens.
- Is your gym easy for your full-time staff, fitness instructors and personal trainers to get to? Remember, a successful gym or any new business for that matter relies on happy employees.
2. The Competition
Know exactly who the competition is in your area. No, I did not say that you should avoid competition, just know who and where they are, what they offer and how you are different. It could be the gym equipment that may vary or even the range of fitness classes offered, either way, it is always good to know. This is critical in converting your prospects into members, especially if there are multiple training facilities or health clubs in your vicinity. Getting to know your competition is an important step in market research as it gives you an idea of your areas demography and enables you to critically evaluate what’s working and what isn’t and apply this new information and knowledge to your own business.
3. Your (potential) New Members
It’s important to know the kind of people that live in your area. This is a critical step in deciding who your members will be. Remember, not many businesses (fitness or otherwise) find success aiming to catch everyone.
Are you opening a Personal Training or Pilates studio? Bodybuilding Dungeon? Women’s aerobics gym? Think about what market segment you’re able to serve best, the demographics of your location and how you can attract the right people for what you are offering. This seemingly small aspect can play a huge role in ensuring that your new fitness business is able to cover its startup costs in no time while maintaining a regular cashflow.
4. Your Marketing Strategy
The scale, scope and target audience of your gym will dictate how, when and what your marketing will look like.
The possibilities for marketing your gym are endless, covering everything from local magazines and community centers to health food stores, social media, and local events or even places like schools, universities and train stations in the area. This is why identifying your audience is so important in order to channel your marketing most efficiently.
Great marketing can make your business boom right from its early stages onward. This is particularly true in the ultra-competitive fitness industry. So, before you whip out your credit card to pay for a Facebook or Google ad, make sure you know exactly who you’re targeting, the message you need to deliver and the best medium to do so.
5. The Technology
Technology is here to help you and you just can’t grow (and be competitive) with the wrong systems in place. So, you need to do your research on what kinds of products are out there that will be suitable for you. You may need to consider gym software, access control and how you will collect payments from members or follow up on membership renewals/cancellations.
Capterra is a great resource and can be a great place to start your research into this if you are at a loss.
However, often this is where you can tap into your personal network for advice. Get to know what has and hasn’t worked for others you know, first hand.
Once you have addressed these items on your ‘how to start a gym’ checklist, you will be in a much stronger position as you set up your gym and achieve your business goals successfully.
Starting your own gym? Need first class gym management software? Clubworx can help…Email us on [email protected] if you want to know more!