Are you a generalist or a specialist? Are you a ‘main-stream’ club that offers a variety of programs and services, or are you a boutique studio that focuses on one area of specialization? If you know who you are and know what you are best known for, and you are delivering excellent service on that front, you will thrive through these very disruptive times. If you are trying to become something that you are not, converting your business from a high cost, full service offering to a low cost with less service business model, you will potentially lose your identity and soon after your members. Instead focus on your strengths, promote your personal trainers and group fitness instructors like local celebrities, and find ways to build value in what you offer. The Millennials and Generation Z’s are value focused not price focused. When you know who you are and know who you wish to serve, then you can focus on what and how best to connect, relate and build relationships with your members and your community. The fitness industry could benefit further by finding ways to create fast addiction, instant pleasure and low intimidation, as well as find immediate ways to connect and build relationships with members. The common theme here is speed at which we create impression and leave lasting impressions. Consider offering your personal trainers opportunities to sell and serve their clients and on-line or even virtually. Show your group fitness instructors how they can build a social media following of raving fans so that they can promote their classes at your facility. Offer an on-line joining option for prospects and find ways to get consumers connected with you even if they do not buy a membership or service from you, yet. Recently I attended the IHRSA European Congress and heard first hand that the average member is doing less at the club with active member participation down to about one visit per week, which is not enough to positively change member retention. With this in mind I would encourage owners, operators and program directors to review and re-think their value proposition. Having a 24/7, clean and safe environment is not enough. As Europe’s leading authority Christophe Andanson shared in his presentation, “The Future of the Fitness Industry”, we must follow “ERIC” (Eliminate, Re-evaluate, Recruit and Create), to be different and to compete. ERIC represents four things to focus your business on today: Eliminate the services in your club that are no longer profitable or being used. Re-evaluate so to simplify your membership and add-on services price options. Recruit top talent and market them like celebrities; it’s a win-win! Create social media and technologies to engage the new generations, move your business forward and remain competitive. Be different to make the difference. Cultivate a mind-set and business plan (and vision) for success!
Written by Mo Hagan
Maureen (Mo) Hagan is vice president of program innovation for canfitpro and GoodLife Fitness. She is a global fitness ambassador and has been recognized for her work in fitness that spans over three decades. Mo is a #1 best-selling author, member of the Board of Directors for Prescription to Get Active and Women in Fitness Association (WIFA) and a Reebok sponsored athlete.