Follow These Tips to Expand Your Fitness Business Programming
Controlled growth is the key to success in business, and the intensely competitive fitness world is no exception. However, expanding a company is also a balancing act. How do you know which new initiatives will boost your business and which will fall short?
Here’s a closer look at why broadening your offerings -- and revenue services -- matters, along with three tips to keep in mind if you're considering expanding your fitness business programming.
The Ancillary Revenue Imperative
Think your fitness business is coasting along just fine with the products and services your currently offer? Think again. The reality is that you might not only be missing out on the chance to bring in more members and money, but you might also be falling behind your competitors, a critical misstep in today’s intense and ever-changing fitness business landscape.
International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) senior research manager Melissa Rodriguez says, “Generally speaking, ancillary services account for a quarter of a club’s total revenues.” Viewed through this lens, the mandate to expand becomes more clear. What would it mean to your fitness business to bring in 25 percent more revenue?
The takeaway is clear, according to Rodriguez: “Operators need to be creative in terms of coming up with new non-dues revenue services, and getting members -- and nonmembers -- to make use of them.”
Three Expansion Tips for Fitness Businesses
1. Understand your members.
The success or failure of your fitness business ultimately depends on offering members and prospective members enough programs and services to catch and keep their attention. Achieving this depends on knowing who your members are and what they’re looking for. The more specific you are in identifying and understanding the demographics of your membership, the better you’ll be able to formulate a mutually beneficial programming mix.
2. Look at the competition.
Understanding the needs and wants of your members is one thing. However, there’s a critical next step in meeting these needs and wants: knowing how to fulfill them. Looking to your left and right will yield insights into what other fitness businesses are doing and what may work for you.
Recommends Kate Rampone for Athletic Business, “By attending industry events that bring everyone under one roof, you're sure to find at least one person with a similar member base. Go to the event prepared to ask questions. Something they're doing may seem so obvious to them because that's what they've been doing for years, and they don't think to mention it in conversation. With prepared questions, you'll be able to lead a productive conversation in which both parties leave a little more knowledgeable.”
Specific questions to ask include how your peers identify programming gaps; how they measure the success and/or failure of their programs; and which programs have proven to be especially successful. If you have questions about a particular new program you're considering, ask for specific input and insights.
In addition to coming in handy during the research and planning phases of expansion, these connections will also be useful during implementation.
Another easy yet effective way to see trends are working for other fitness businesses? See for yourself. If a club in your locale or with a similar membership introduces a new program or service, check it out in person paying attention to factors like attendance and engagement. Odds are if there’s a significant amount of buzz over a particular offering at a competitor gym, you can expect a similar reception.
3. Don't underestimate infrastructure and logistics.
It's easy to get carried away by big ideas. Unfortunately, big ideas can get you into big trouble if you don't have the infrastructure in place to support them.
While adding ancillary revenue seems like an obvious win, there are some additional logistics to consider. For example, is your current space adequate for what you’re planning to add, and do you have enough capital to see it through? Without these things, you risk taking on more than you can handle, leading to issues like overcrowded spaces, cancellations, and insufficient staffing -- all of which can end up doing more harm than good.
In the fitness business world, evolution is essential. These three tips can help you maximize the reach of your programming while minimizing the risks of expansion. One fitness business trend that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon? Wearable technology. To learn what the Accurofit System can do for your fitness business, download the catalog today.