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7 Strategies for Gym Owners to Lead Through Hard Times and Enhance Adaptability

7 Strategies for Gym Owners to Lead Through Hard Times and Enhance Adaptability

Gym owners like yourself have the vision to take your gym into the path of long-term success while ensuring motivation among your clients to start their fitness journies. For that, you have hired a proper team of personal trainers with relevant PT qualifications and 5 years of experience in the fitness industry. You also made the ambiance of your gym more promising to attract more clients. However, after spending a lot of investment on ambiance and personal trainers, your gym is still facing a struggle to attract clients and manage your gym finances. 

This struggle affects your work-life balance and leads to frustration. This frustration enables you to take several steps that make your gym time difficult and raises the question, why do I have to face such a complicated situation after making so much investment in the gym? As per IHSRA’s research, around 81% of gym startups fail within the first year. There might be several reasons that backed the failure of these startups, but the common thing that all these startups face is the hard times that lead their gym towards closure. 

If you want to avoid the hard times that lead to the failure of your gym and become one of the 19% survivors, you have to follow the strategies that can lead your path in hard times and move you one step ahead of the 81% fail startups. But, finding all these strategies is not as it seems. However, you don’t need to worry about it. Here, we are going to discuss 7 strategies that can help you to survive the hard times.

Why do gym owners face hard times? 

Before implementing the strategies to avoid the hard times, you have to understand the reasons that lead a gym owner to face tough times in the management of their gym in the first place. These reasons lead to decisions that might not be helpful in the growth of their gym. For example, before COVID-19, all the gym owners only knew about on-site fitness. But, when COVID-19 emerged, it led to the closure of all the fitness centers. During that tough situation, online fitness classes appear as an option for all the owners to serve in the fitness industry. The majority of the gym owners grabbed this opportunity and laid the foundation for online fitness classes. 

Why do gym owners face hard times? 

As per Allied Market’s research, online fitness classes were valued at $13.5 billion in 2022 and are expected to grow at 15.8% CAGR and reach a market valuation of $56.7 billion by 2032. So, the gym owners who have started organizing online fitness classes survive in the fitness industry. On the contrary, gym owners who have not grabbed this opportunity lead to the failure of their gym. Here are some other reasons that lead gym owners like you to face hard times. 

Improper gym management 

One of the prime reasons that lead your gym to hard times is improper gym management. Inappropriate management of your gym impacts your client’s fitness experiences and decreases the client retention rate. Moreover, improper management also affects the productivity of your staff and they have to work extra hours to keep up with the pace. Thus, improper gym management creates an environment in which both your staff and your clients feel suffocated. This suffocation leads them to another gym where the atmosphere is more friendly and healthy. 

For example, you have opened your gym on a busy street in a large city, facing five competitors with all the world-class facilities to ensure a good fitness experience for your clients. To keep up with your competition, you also arrange all the facilities your competition has, except the fitness gym management software system that they use to streamline studio operations. You thought you didn’t need that software to manage your clients and staff. You start to book appointments manually and your clients have to wait for too long to book their classes. In contrast, your staff has to spend extra hours managing all these appointments. 

This unpleasant experience from your gym influences your clients and staff to move towards your competition, which has a proper management system to ensure a good fitness experience. 

Neglecting Industry trends 

If you want to attract new clients and mark the success of your gym, you have to keep pace with the fitness trends. Otherwise, if you are not adaptive to fitness trends that are changing day by day, it becomes quite difficult for your gym to survive. The clients that you want to attract to your gym want innovation and technological advancement. Moreover, your clients also want your gym to give them the top-notch service that is trending in the industry. If you fail to keep up with the trends, you begin to lose your clients who want fitness training up to the industry standards, which leads to the downfall of your gym. 

For example, you started your gym 5 years ago and bought all the equipment that was a trend at that time. You offer fitness services that were trending at that time. However, with the passage of time, you are not able to bring innovation into your gym and still offer your clients the services that were trending 5 years back. Your clients begin to leave your gym and go to your competition, who welcome change in the industry, leading to hard times for your gym. 

Inadequate market research 

If you want to grow your gym by attracting clients and giving them exceptional fitness experiences, you have to ensure that you have done proper market research. Otherwise, if you fail to do so, you will not be able to attract clients to your gym, even if you have made a $10 million investment and have world-class fitness experts on board. This is one of the other reasons that lead to the hard times at the gym. Before starting your gym, you have to make sure that you have spent sufficient time doing market research. You have to consider your client’s age, demographics and fitness preferences. After doing research about it, you have to design your gym as per your client’s requirements. 

Inadequate market research

For example, you can open a gym and offer fitness boot camps and HIIT training services to your clients. But, before providing those services to your clients, you have not done the market research. You have not gathered the statistics about your client’s preference. You open your gym in an area where people love yoga and dance more than high-strength training. Thus, inadequate market research brings a hard time for your gym and if you want to survive in that market, you have to change your gym offerings as per the client’s requirements.  

Lack of competition with rivals

Another important point that led to the downfall of the majority of gyms is the lack of competition with your rivals. Staying competitive with your competition plays an important role in the success of the business. If you have to compete with your competition, you have to define your gym’s USP and offer special offerings to your clients. This specialty enables you to stay ahead of the competition and mention your gym in 19% of the survivors. Otherwise, your gym falls into the category of failing startups. 

For example, you started a gym in the busy street of a larger city, where you have to compete with 3 gyms. All these gyms give tough times to each other and offer special discounts to their clients to stay loyal to them. But, when you make entry into these gyms, you decide not to stay competitive and pay attention just to your clients. This decision of yours leads to hard times for your gym as you close the window for improvement that your competition offers you. Moreover, you also don’t offer special discounts to your clients compared to your competition. Thus, it diverts all your clients to your competition, ultimately leading to the downfall of your gym. 

7 Strategies you need to know to enhance adaptability during tough times

As a gym owner, you always try to take steps to avoid the hard situations at your gym. So, your gym takes part in the marathon of long-term success. But, still, sometimes, situations happen that lead your gym to difficult times. However, you have to pay attention to each detail about your gym and spend time understanding your client’s preferences. Here are the 7 strategies you can use to tackle the hard times in 2024

  1. Keep up with market trends

To ensure the success of your gym and create an environment where you can provide exceptional fitness experiences to your clients, you have to ensure that your gym always keeps up with market trends. This not only enables you to attract new clients but also helps your gym establish itself as a brand. Moreover, you also have to make sure that you have done a complete analysis of the market and the target audience to whom you are going to offer your fitness services. You have to ensure that you have done a complete analysis of your audience demographics, such as gender, age, and fitness preferences.

For example, if you want to offer yoga to your clients, you have to make a deep analysis of the age group that likes yoga. As per LiveStrong’s research, the ratio of yoga practitioners is 20% between the age gap of 40 and 49. At the same time, this ratio changes to 17% when you choose the age bracket of 50 and 59. Similarly, you also have to keep an eye on the latest yoga trends to ensure a top-notch yoga experience for your clients. After doing complete research and keeping up with the market trends, your gym will be able to survive the hard times and shine among your competition. 

  1. Understand and respect your business needs

Sometimes, you have to understand what your business requires to grow and become successful, whether it be technological innovation, professional training, or diversification. If you serve the same dish to each of your clients, whether they are 60 years of age or a growing 17-year-old boy, your client starts to get fed up with this, which leads to your gym’s difficult times. To avoid difficult times, you have to identify the weakness in your business model and rectify the weakness from time to time. Moreover, your competition also helps you to understand and respect your business needs. 

Understand and respect your business needs

In order to understand your business, you have to ensure that you take proper feedback from your clients. Their feedback enables you to identify your gym’s weaknesses or changes in services as per the modern-day market trends. As per McKinsey Global Institute’s research, organizations that use data to make decisions are not only 23 times more likely to bring in new clients, but they are 6 times more likely to retain their clients and increase their profits to 19 times. So, a data-driven approach enables your gym to grow and understand what your clients want. 

For example, You started your gym 5 years ago in a place where people love to perform strength along with yoga and dance. You did deep research on your target audience at that time and started to offer all the services that your audience wanted at the time. This research enables you to attract new clients, and your gym begins to grow financially. However, as time passes, the preference of the clients changes to boot camps and HIIT training. They even told you about this sometimes, but you simply neglected their advice. This leads to the downfall of your gym as clients start to move to your competition, which continues to understand what your clients need and improve with time. 

  1. Embrace a growth mindset 

If you want your gym to be successful while avoiding difficult times, you have to ensure that you are open to embracing changes that can enable your business to earn more profits. To adopt a growth mindset, you have to listen to your companions and your teams and read the success stories of other gym owners. You also have to go to different fitness seminars and workshops to listen to professionals and seek their advice to help your business grow. 

Embrace a growth mindset 

As per Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading researchers on mindset motivation, only 40% of people around the globe have a growth mindset that enables them to succeed. This means that if you are not listening to your companions or professional advice, you fall into the category of 60% of people who don’t hold to qualities of a growth mindset. For example, you and your friend both started a fitness journey as gym owners at different places at the same time. You started your gym in Los Angeles, while your friend started his gym in New York. You and your friend both follow the same method while doing research about the target market, running the same marketing campaigns, and offering services as per the client’s requirements. One thing that distinguishes your friend from you is his growth mindset. 

Your friend attends seminars on fitness and also listens to other people’s advice that can contribute to the business’s growth. On the contrary, you are not open to taking advice from others and do not change your services as per the client’s requirements. Your friend’s mindset made him the owner of multiple franchises while you are still the owner of a single gym. So, to grow your business, you must ensure that you are open to advice. 

  1. Motivate your team 

To ensure the long-term success of your business while avoiding hard times, you have to ensure that you have a loyal team that can stand with you in tough times. A faithful and passionate team is essential for gym owners. This team has to work on the ground level and have to deal with your clients. Your team becomes the face of your gym and helps you to ensure a remarkable fitness experience for your clients. Thus, to gain the trust and loyalty of your team, you have to ensure that you listen to their advice and motivate them in their careers. You have to reduce their administrative burden and set achievable goals for your staff. 

Motivate your team

Whenever your team achieves a milestone or gives you a piece of advice, you can provide them with an incentive as motivation. Thus, it enables them to work hard for the success of your gym. For example, in your gym, you have announced that any coach who inspires clients to bring their relatives or friends to your gym will be given a bonus. After hearing about the bonus, your team starts to work hard to attract new clients to your gym and help your gym get out of the hard times. This motivation of bonus enables you to increase the productivity of your team. As per TeamStage’s research, employees who are given motivation, whether in the form of a bonus or appreciation, are 20% more productive. Moreover, such high motivation leads to a 21% increase in business profitability

  1. Focus on gym fundamentals

Another critical point that can enable you to survive the hard times is to focus on gym fundamentals. You have to make sure that you have done complete research to understand the fundamentals of gyms. These gym fundamentals involve gym location, marketing, pricing and an exceptional fitness experience for your clients. You have to ensure that your gym is located at a place where your clients can reach you by public transport. The pricing plan you are going to offer to your clients is market competitive; otherwise, your clients may find your service charges expensive and move towards your competition. 

Focus on gym fundamentals

As per Gitnux’s research, 80% of adults in the US do not get the exercise recommended to them, which is why around 50% of the clients quit their fitness journey within the first 6 months. This means you have to ensure that your client’s fitness services are recommended to them to provide an exceptional fitness experience. This fitness experience enables your clients to stay loyal to your gym and helps you avoid hard times. 

For example, You started your gym at a place where people can’t see your gym hoardings from a distance, while the pricing plan you implemented into your gym is far higher than your competition. Your competition offers a full-month subscription at $99, while you charge around $150 for the same services. Moreover, you spend 0% of your investment on the marketing of your gym. Then, how would you expect your clients to have an exceptional fitness experience at your gym? Your clients can’t reach the place by public transport. After considering all these points, your clients start to move toward your competition. Thus, it leads your gym towards a hard time. So, if you want to grow your business, you have to stay focused on gym fundamentals. 

  1. Build a strong community 

If you want to survive hard times with ease and without any depression, you have to ensure that your clients are loyal to your gym. However, you have to earn the loyalty of your clients to withstand the hard times. You have to ensure a good fitness experience for your clients by providing them with all the top-notch and up-to-date fitness facilities. Moreover, you have to provide your clients with professional training by employing world-class trainers. Apart from ensuring a good fitness experience, you also have to arrange fitness workshops and seminars where your clients get answers to their questions and learn about new perspectives related to fitness. 

Build a strong community

After ensuring all these workshops, professional trainers, and market-competitive fitness training, you will earn the loyalty of your clients. As per Invesp’s research, existing clients made around 65% contribution to the company’s business. Moreover, with a good user experience, the probability of selling products or services to existing clients increases by 60%70%. So, you have to make sure that your clients have a good fitness experience so that they can ensure loyalty to your gym. 

For example, you have started your gym, where you offer fitness boot camp and HIIT training services to your clients. But, when your clients reached out to your gym and started training, their fitness experience was very unpleasant. Your clients have to wait for too long to have class appointments, and whenever they make several suggestions, you don’t listen to them. Thus, this unpleasant experience doesn’t enable you to build your community of loyal clients. This unpleasant experience decreases client retention rates and leads to hard times for your gym. 

  1. Lead with courage and foresight 

If you want your gym to be part of a long-term success marathon, you have to become visionary about your business. Otherwise, if you are not open to accepting changes and adaptability, your gym will soon be closed. You have to make a plan for your business by considering the changing trends in the market and also have to ensure that your team is also open to accepting the changes. Moreover, you have to make an investment in the future of the fitness industry. For this, you have to ensure that your personal trainers have the necessary qualifications and if not, you have to provide them with the essential qualifications. 

Moreover, you also have to expand the fitness niches in your gym to attract clients. For example, in your gym, you offer your clients personal training and strength training, but as the trends change, you also provide boot camps. Your openness to adapt to changes makes your gym progressive and successful. So, you want to broaden your vision to ensure the success of your gym. 

Final takeaway 

Ups and downs are part of business, whether you are running a single gym or multiple franchises. But, if you want to survive in the industry, you have to know all the paths to avoid these hard times. Here are the 7 strategies you should know to tackle the hard times. So, you should implement them in your gym business before time to avoid all obstacles and make your gym successful.