These are crazy times. As the human impact of coronavirus continues to grow, stock markets are tanking, panic buying is rampant, and governments globally have told businesses to close their doors. So, how can gyms, health clubs, and yoga studios get through the next few months without going under?
In this article – we share a comprehensive list of ways you can help to keep your fitness or gym business afloat during these unprecedented times.
Before we dive in, we’re also keen to hear from our community about the steps you’re taking. Use our contact form or Facebook page to let us know what’s working for your business. We’ll keep this page updated with new ideas and best practices so that everyone in the fitness industry can benefit.
Here’s a quick overview of the practical steps and ideas we’ll cover that can help your fitness business stay afloat…
- Understand your outgoings
- Talk to your bank & other suppliers
- Seek out government support
- Evolve your offering
- Reduce membership cancellations
- Create advertising income
- Make it easy for people to support your business
- Trial innovative partnerships
- Keep trying new ideas
- Prepare ahead for business as usual
Now let’s look at each of these in more detail…
Understand Your Outgoings
The first step is to review your finances to get a clear picture of the situation. Understand what your costs are and then cut them wherever possible. Cancel recurring orders and payments for things your business will no longer need.
Talk To Your Bank & Other Suppliers
There are some outgoings such as business loans, property leases, and utilities that won’t be so easy to cancel. In these cases, talk to your bank, landlord, and utility suppliers to request a payment holiday. Many have instructions from governments to be obliging and will be willing to extend support to take the pressure off.
Seek Out Government Support
Each country is responding slightly differently to the outbreak but many governments are offering economic support. They may be able to help with staff wage payments or provide bridging loans to aid financial stability. Visit your government’s website and research what type of help yours is offering.
- UK government support for businesses
- American government support initiatives
- Australian government businesses support
- Canadian government economic response plan
Evolve Your Offering
If footfall is reduced or you’ve been forced to close your doors, then consider how to evolve your offering. Is there a way you can create an online-only membership package to stem the flow of cancellations and keep people healthy from home? Do you have stock or facilities to sell takeaway smoothies, arrange home delivery of protein powder, or any other resources at your disposal?
You might also like… How To Start a Successful Online Fitness Business.
Reduce Membership Cancellations
Many people will be looking to cancel memberships right now. Consider offering payment holidays as an alternative to outright cancellations. This will mean you don’t have to rebuild your membership base from scratch in the summer, so cash flow returns to normal much faster.
Create Advertising Income
If you have a gym website, fitness blog, or YouTube channel, then consider featuring adverts on your site. Ads are a great way to generate extra income and may provide an alternative revenue stream for your business. With so many people needing exercise solutions at home or simply browsing the internet for distractions, you may find a captive audience.
Make It Easy For People To Support Your Business
At a time like this, there’s a growing sense that everyone is in it together. No-one wants to see local businesses go under and people may be willing to support you through the months ahead. So, make it easy for them by stocking gift cards or adding a donation button to your website and social channels.
Trial Innovative Partnerships
Not all businesses are seeing a dip in customers – some are struggling to keep up with increased demand. Think creatively about how you can partner with these other businesses and help them while supporting your own company. For example, could your super-fit coaches and instructors deliver food by bike for independent restaurants?
Keep Trying New Ideas
It’s also important to keep trying out new ideas – you never know which one will take off! If the first attempt doesn’t work out, then look at other options and trial them instead. Take a look around our blog for other marketing ideas or check out IHRSA’s webinars, videos, and articles.
Prepare Ahead For Business As Usual
The last tip is to start preparing your new season marketing campaigns ahead of time. That way as soon as gyms are allowed to re-open, you can hit the ground running with promotions and lead generation.
It can be hard to think long-term when everything around you feels like it’s going wrong. The impulse is to solve the short-term concerns and it’s absolutely right that this has to be the priority. Otherwise, there might not be a business in the long-term…
But it’s also important not to lose sight of the big picture as these tough times are likely just a blip. So, you don’t want to undermine your long-term success but making decisions now that haven’t considered the longer-term implications.