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The new normal – re-opening your gym as lockdown restrictions ease.

By yalcin | Jul 17, 2020

As restrictions ease and businesses begin opening their doors to customers once again, you now need to focus on rebuilding for the future of your fitness business. You might have spent the past couple of months working on a relaunch plan, waiting for the day your fitness business will reopen. You’ve worked hard to keep your business going with online classes and constant communication with your gym members and staff. We’re sure it’s been challenging to say the least and you should feel proud.

Having said that, the risk of infection from the virus is still very much real and is something all businesses need to consider as they reopen. This brings us to the question, what comes next for the fitness industry and small gym owners?

Mindset reset

The first thing you need to do is think and act like you’re opening your business for the first time. Do you remember the first time you launched your business? All those marketing tactics you used could come in handy now. Cold-calling, pre-selling memberships over the phone, generating buzz in your local community, whatever it takes to get the ball rolling. All it takes is the right attitude and mindset, the same one you had when you first started out.

Protect your members and staff

As you prepare to reopen, the health and safety of your members and staff should be your utmost priority. Following is a checklist of considerations so you can make sure you haven’t overlooked anything important when it comes to safety and hygiene.

  • Check your government’s website to find out all the rules and guidelines related to safe hygiene practices that apply to you and create a plan to implement them
  • Include the cost of cleaning equipment and products in your budget
  • Create a roster with specific cleaning duties assigned so that all your staff members are on the same page
  • Consider purchasing gloves and masks for cleaning staff to protect them from possible infection.
  • Remove equipment that may be harder to clean like foam rollers, yoga mats and towels and if needed, have members bring in their own instead

Operations

Begin by having a discussion with your accountant or financial advisor. The economy is extremely volatile at the moment and the best thing for your peace of mind is to keep your finances in check. Remember to account for all the extra cleaning equipment, products and staff if applicable. Once that is out of the way, the next step is to decide how you want to offer your services or classes to customers going forward. The pandemic has certainly changed the way we live and some of your customers and trainers might actually prefer online classes.

You may opt to continue providing online classes which means you would have to review your membership types and fees. Is it worth having separate online only memberships? Or can new customers opt for a hybrid, giving them access to online and in-person classes based on a fixed timetable of course. Another major aspect to consider is social distancing. How many members will have access to your facilities at one time? How will you ensure that distance is maintained in common areas such as locker rooms? Is it worth having some classes like Yoga or Zumba entirely online to reduce the risk of infection? What about your equipment? Are they arranged in a way that ensures enough space between people using them.

You may need to limit the number of people allowed in each session or class. Clubworx gym software can help you do just that, allowing members to sign up to classes or book slots in advance and creating a timetable for you to easily manage staff and client numbers per session. Furthermore, it might be a good idea to have temperature checks for anyone entering the premises. Before you reopen, you might even want to get all your staff members tested just to be safe. Prevention is better than cure as they say. And in this case, since we don’t have a cure yet, it’s all about prevention.

Communication is key

You have to make sure all your stakeholders are kept updated with your gym’s new operations. Our previous blog post has a sample email template as well as a survey you can send out to customers. Don’t forget to include staff, investors and the community when designing your communication plan. Let them know what the new normal will look like at their gym. Be open to answering questions and addressing any concerns they may have. Have a suggestion box at the reception for members or staff that would like to remain anonymous. Online surveys to gain feedback are a great idea too for online only members.

In addition to this, have a soft and hard copy of your new rules and regulations as well as health and safety practices sent out to all members. Clubworx makes it easy for you to manage your communications and send out emails to customers by multiple databases of your customers based on their membership type- online only, regular or hybrid.

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