The Ultimate Guide to Gym Funding

With 2021 here, there has been great headway made towards ending the pandemic. Experts estimate that this summer could be when our first return to normalcy happens, but what does that mean for your business?

Consumers will hopefully be out in droves, spending more than ever. To capitalize on this, your gym will need to have the newest gear, technology, and other resources to get consumers to come to your gym instead of a competitor.

Investing in your business after a lengthy recession may not be the first thing you are thinking about. If you aren’t sure about how to go about Gym Funding in 2021, keep reading this guide to ensure your business is able to expand safely and efficiently.

First, Identify Why You Need Funding

Most businesses that need funding need it for one of two reasons:

New funds will help them shore up a threat.

New funds will help them capitalize on an opportunity.

Sometimes in life, things happen, and we need money to bail us out. As a business owner, this can be an extremely scary situation to navigate.

Businesses that are in need of funding to get out of a precarious situation should really be looking for low-risk financial solutions that are intended to help business owners who are struggling.

This year, the SBA rolled out new low-risk, low-interest loans for businesses that needed a lot of financial assistance, quickly. If you find that your gym is in need of cash just to remain open, it may be time to apply for an SBA-backed loan.

For businesses that are not struggling, outside funding is often the best way to capitalize on a new trend or business opportunity within an industry.

If you are a business owner that is in need of funding to expand, there are steps to take to help make certain that you apply for the right capital solution for your business.

Pinpoint Areas of Opportunity

Before you can go out and apply for a grant or loan, you will need to identify where and why you need funding.

Within the fitness industry, there are plenty of opportunities available to help propel growth. These opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Showcasing gym safety
  • Investing in fitness technology
  • Diversification of the product offering
  • Business Expansion (new location)

Opportunities are truly endless within the fitness industry. Consumers are always looking for new ways to exercise, and as a gym owner, it is your job to provide these opportunities.

The financial aid that your gym chooses to leverage will be entirely dependent on the route of expansion that your business decides to pursue. Some gyms may only need a small technology purchase to hit their goals, while others may need to purchase a whole new building for a second location.

Whatever it may be, identifying the opportunity will help you better plan for the type of financial assistance that your business will need.

Choose a Funding Source

Now that you know how much money you need and what it is for, it is time to choose a funding source. Again, the capital solution that you choose for your business should be dependent on how much money you need and what you need the money for.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of some of the most popular gym funding sources.

Small Business Loans

Taking out a business loan from a certified financial institution is likely the first funding option that comes to mind when thinking about business expansion, and for good reason. Lending companies today offer an array of loan options that are helpful for owners in any industry.

The advantages of applying for a small business loan are:

Guaranteed Funds — Not every funding solution will guarantee you delivery of your funds. When you agree on a loan amount with a business lender, you know that you are going to receive that amount.

Clear Repayment Plans — Anytime you go through a certified business lender, they will work with you to create a transparent payment plan that fits your needs.

Flexible Loan Options — A business loan can be as small as a few thousand dollars and can go all the way up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, meaning you can use them for

almost any business opportunity.

Some drawbacks of using a business loan are:

Strict Requirements — Certified lenders will have stringent lending guidelines that you must meet to qualify for a loan. Having a good credit score, healthy cash-flow, and a sound business plan will improve your odds of approval.

Cash-Flow Issues — Anytime you take out a loan, there is more stress to be financially responsible. If you take out a loan that is too big, your cash-flow can be disrupted, and paying off the loan can feel like your main business goal.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular way to raise money. When crowdfunding, business owners take to online marketplaces where they can pitch their new business initiatives directly to consumers, in an effort to receive donations.

The advantages of crowdfunding are:

Zero Financial Risk — Unlike with a loan, crowdfunded efforts will not have to be repaid. This will allow you to test a new initiative with little risk attached.

Word Of Mouth Advertising — Crowdfunding sites can serve as a form of advertising as well. If a certain project begins to gain traction, it is often promoted to the front of popular crowdfunding sites, meaning more consumers will see and hear about your business.

Common issues associated with crowdfunding are:

Non-Guaranteed Funds — Crowdfunding sounds perfect in theory, but in reality, only 1 out of every 3 crowdfunding campaigns actually receives funding.

Time Commitment — Anytime you are asking people to give you money, there has to be some sort of presentation or call to action that explains why they should. Producing a crowdfunding campaign that sticks out amongst the crowd can be time-consuming and costly.

Grants

Grants are non-repayable funds that support specific industries and initiatives, that often come from the Government or another legitimate organization. Grants typically will be used for a specific purpose or effort.

The benefits of applying for grants are:

Zero Financial Risk — Grants will not need to be repaid.

The main problems associated with Grants are:

Difficult to Find — Finding a grant within your industry that you qualify for can be nearly

impossible. This makes it difficult to rely on grants for guaranteed funds, especially in a time of need.

Time-Consuming Process — Like any other initiative the government leads, applying for a grant can be very time-consuming. The time taken from the application to grant funding may be longer than you can wait.

Competitive — Chances are that you are not the only business applying for a specific grant. Others will be vying for the same limited amount of funding.

The funding avenue you go down will be extremely important in determining the success of your gym’s new efforts this year. Make sure that you do your research into each and every financial solution that is available to you.

No matter what camp you find yourself in, growing or surviving, I want to make sure that you have the financial knowledge to be able to be successful. If you have any other questions about managing your gym or fitness brand, I am here to help — give me a call anytime.

AnOutsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.

Serving the United States, South Africa, Eqypt, Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, Turkey. India, Asia, Serbia, Ukraine, Mexico, England, Norway, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Quatar and Saudia Arabia.

Where Do We Go From Here? GOT FITNESS?

Over 25 years ago the Milk industry raised public conscientiousness with these two simple words; GOT MILK?

This is the direction the fitness industry needs to take immediately. We can’t just sit around and take it. We need to create a platform to raise the public awareness of the benefits of fitness.

I remember talking to a member of a gym and upon discovering where they lived, I asked why she drove so far when there were so many gyms that were near her home….her simple answer, “This is where all my friends are.

I recall a national fitness company (at the time) running TV ads that said; “If you want to get HERE (all the fun activities they want to participate in), then you need to get HERE (the gym).

The fitness industry needs to join together to raise the public awareness on how we can solve problems, provide solutions and bring more fun back to life. We want the public to feel an emotional connection to our industry.

Fitness: It Does A Body Good. Of course, I borrowed that from the Milk industry, but you get the idea.

This is where we go from here. GOT FITNESS?

AnOutsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.

The Way We See The Problem Is The Problem

I’m guessing you’ve heard this Stephen Covey quote before. Do you agree with it?

What if I told you that there are clubs that are breaking company sales records? What if I told you there are clubs that did better revenue and profits in 2020 than they did in 2019? What if I told you there are clubs that are getting 20+ prospects a day on a consistent basis? What if I told you that there is a new 15,000 square foot independent club being planned for New York. What if I told you there are clubs in California that have done more sales while conducting workouts outdoors than they did when they were indoors?

I was being interviewed by a major U.S. Newspaper and I shared this information with them and the response was, “how can that be?”

Now, before I begin, I want to first recognize the devastating effect the pandemic has had on the fitness industry and businesses throughout the U.S. By no means do I want to make light of that. I simply want to bring some success principles that have been followed with amazing results. I hope you find them beneficial. Based on what I have experienced, here you go:

  • Play the hand you’re dealt. Yes, you have to wear a mask. Yes, you have to honor social distancing. Yes, there are occupancy limits. Yes, we have more hand sanitizer than ever. With that said, we have no control over this, so instead we want to focus on solutions and what we can control, not continually talking about what’s wrong.
  • Get our head right and know that people will still buy. It all starts with us. Unless we’re positive and are sold on the fact that people will still buy, then it will be a struggle.
  • Create certainty in the community, with our prospects, our members and our staff. This has been done by creating doctor led advisory boards and a commitment to do more than what the state is requiring to remain safe. And then promote it.
  • Know that the sales process and business fundamentals are more important than ever. Staff training is right at the top of the list on how to properly handle a telephone inquiry, how to greet a guest, the proper way to use a needs analysis, how to ask for the sale, the proper way to ask for referrals, etc.
  • Understand that now is the time to advance and expand into the marketplace. This is the single biggest problem most gyms have is no one knows who you are and those that do aren’t thinking about you. Get known! There are no shortage of no and low cost ways to promote your gym.
  • Be innovative. There are many “free agent” members in the marketplace. We have had great success promoting to bring in proof of membership at another club for a special discount. We have also had great success marketing to clubs in individual trade areas looking for owners that would like to make an exit. This has created immediate member growth for the acquiring gym and some cash flow for the departing owner (something they may not have had otherwise).
  • Over Communicate with our members. The first goal is to keep who we have and the initial strategy is to over communicate. Such things as pulling member usage reports each day, creating new and existing member nurturing programs. We want to view ourselves as a resource center to help our members get the results they are seeking.
  • Creating new revenue streams. We want upsell opportunities at point of sale for personal training and retail. We want recurring opportunities for such things as supplements. And, we want to create the membership ladder whereby we can offer add ons and upgrade opportunities to existing members. All of these will help increase revenue without requiring and additional foot traffic.

Now, let’s focus on solutions.

AnOutsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.

Do You Operate Your Gym with a Sense of Urgency?

A quick check showing the definition of urgency to be; 1) to act promptly; 2) act with intention to make things happen; 3) doing what needs to be done immediately.

So, here’s what I see frequently in gyms…many time there are lots of good things going on but the business and staff have become stagnant because of a lack of urgency. Here’s the deal, without urgency, it simply doesn’t matter when something is done…it could be tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month or even next year. By simply acting with urgency can make all the difference in getting your business back on track or maximizing the opportunity.

Here are some things to consider if your gym needs a kick-start with urgency:

  1. As an owner, manager, department head, sales person…make your own smart, quick decisions with confidence. It all starts with you, right? This is a way of thinking you want to act on immediately and your behavior will help train your team to act accordingly.
  2. Identify obstacles to your staff’s progress and quickly remove them. Take a look around for obstacles that are getting in your way of acting with urgency. In many cases, I have seen the commission schedule or the lack of one being an obstacle. In the end, a simple process is usually a successful process.
  3. Establish a culture that is focused on outcomes, not individual tasks. Here’s the bottom line on this, effort without results is meaningless.
  4. Communicate consequences for inaction; clarify what happens if desired outcomes aren’t met. Too many managers think consequences mean they fire someone, not so. My favorite is to role play the telephone inquiry script in front of the group — if we’re not setting phone inquiries or not getting shows….that will normally get them to memorize the script. Or in the sales process, many times we will roll out a Love at First Sight Offer.
  5. Identify what systems work for your gym and eliminate the systems that no longer serve you. Don’t keep old, tired ways of doing things in place just because “that’s the way you’ve always done it.”
  6. Announce and celebrate small success to demonstrate what happens when desired outcomes are met. For example, break a sales record; the entire team goes out to dinner together to celebrate. Or celebrate when members sponsor in a new members and receive their gift before the deadline.
  7. Agree on deadlines and provide reminders. Final day for a membership special. Final day to sign up for a class. Final week on the referral contest. You get the idea — then be sure to communicate across many different platforms….in club signs, email, phone, social media….
  8. Keep meeting short by always providing an agenda. Always have a planned, crisp agenda for each meeting. Don’t allow the meeting to drag from the original intent.
  9. When speaking, get to the point quickly; encourage your team members to communicate in a similar manner. Say what you want, when you want it and get to work — no long drawn out explanations necessary.
  10. Demonstrate leadership by example by meeting your personal deadlines. This one should be simple enough; leadership by example.
  11. Hold one-on-one meetings to secure each staffer’s buy-in to the team. Meet with EVERY team member and communicate the expectations and their understanding of each — you must get 100% acknowledgement and buy-in before you can get started…..and then be sure you follow-up.
  12. Follow up. It will not be good enough just to express your expectations, you must continue to follow up and train where necessary. The culture of urgency will never be important to you staff until its first important to you.

Now, go get it done…now!

AnOutsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.

Make Your Fitness Blog Outstanding & Readers Will Appreciate

cOr at the least that everybody could have a blog. We’ve all got something to say, everyone has something that they’re passionate about.

And a blog is a way for you to express that passion while also encouraging others who share this interest to further explore and helping them to discover new things about the topic that they may not already have discovered.

You can blog about pretty much anything and there will be some people out there who are going to be interested in reading it. People blog about entertainment, sports, food, business, and pretty much any hobby under the sun.

If fitness is your passion and you want to share that with the world, then there’s no better time to start than right now. But the other side of this coin is that a ton of people out there have got the same idea.

Especially for something that has as widespread of an interest as fitness does, so you are going to be facing quite a bit of competition. There are already thousands of fitness blogs on the internet and more are being started every day.

If you want to build up a readership amidst all of that, then you need to find a way to stand out. Because while there are those thousands of blogs out there, a lot of them don’t have a lot of thought or creativity behind them.

There are blogs which sort of just fade into the background because there’s nothing about them that sets them apart from the pack. You need to make your blog outstanding if you want people to pay attention.

Here are some ways that you can do that:

Have a Specific Angle

If you look for fitness blogs online and try to seek out the ones that aren’t getting that much attention, what you’ll notice about them is that they tend to be very generalistic. They’re not about any specific aspect of fitness.

They’ll just be giving you the same advice and routines that you can find everywhere else on the internet. Conversely, you’ll see that the most popular fitness blogs do the opposite, they offer unique information about specific things.

A select few of the top ones are just general fitness blogs for sure, but there are always exceptions and chances are you aren’t going to be one of them. If you want to maximise your chances for success then you should follow a more reliable route.

So carve yourself out a niche. Analyze your own fitness routines and find out the things that you are especially good at. Centre your blog around that. Maybe you can focus on cardio or crossfit or calisthenics, or something that doesn’t begin with the letter C.

You want people to see your blog come up when they conduct a Google search and that’s more likely to happen if you have a particularly interesting niche.

Pick the Right Name and Host

You want every aspect of your blog to look and feel as professional as possible. If you just throw any old webpage together, using the most basic hosting site you can find and put little effort into the appearance, then people aren’t going to want to keep coming back.

It’s an unappealing site when so many out there are putting in so much more effort. Start right at the very top with the name. Come up with something good and also something that people will remember the name of.

Get a little creative, if you’re blogging then you’re a creative writer so you can come up with a creative name for your fitness blog that suits the niche. Now as for hosting, the best course of action for you is WordPress.

Reason being is that this will give you plenty of control over how your blog looks, it’s not that difficult to use and you have plenty of flexibility when it comes to including extra stuff like advertisements, which means that you can monetize your blog if that’s what you want.

There are a couple of others that you could consider too such as BlueHost, Siteground and Agathon if you want to explore your options a bit more, but WordPress is well-known for its reliability so it’s probably still your best bet.

Review Equipment

This is something that the vast majority of fitness blogs don’t do and it would attract a lot of extra people. Most of those who are reading a fitness blog will be looking for advice on routines and workouts of course, but equipment is important too.

If you offer them an insight into that aspect of your fitness regime then you’ll be giving them something that they don’t get from the other fitness blogs that they read and another incentive to come back to you.

And perhaps you could even end up in partnership with a company if your blog gets enough traction. You could end up being paid to post reviews of fitness equipment, which would mean that you would be expressing your passion and getting paid for it.

Consider this style of comprehensive review as a regular feature on your blog. It’s informative, it’s not on every fitness blog and it ties in perfectly with your discussions of the things that you are passionate about.

Stay Humble

One thing that you absolutely want to avoid when you’re running a fitness blog is alienation of your potential readership. Fitness is a topic that does breed egotism and there is nothing more off-putting than that.

Do not treat your blog as an opportunity to boast about how in shape you are, how big your biceps are and how much you can bench. That’s not what people want to see, your blog isn’t about you, it’s about your readers.

You will have people reading who are completely new to fitness and you should be aiming to treat them with as much respect as everyone else who reads. Your blog should be a place of encouragement, not a place of condescension.

Try to communicate with people on there as much as possible. Have a comments section and talk to the people who comment. If all goes well you will reach a point where there are too many comments for that to be feasible, but at the start make it clear that you are interested in how your readers are progressing.

If you make a concentrated effort to stand out with your blog, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t end up with a lot of people coming back to the page on a regular basis and that will be very fulfilling.

So if you’re serious about it, then put the necessary thought and care into making your blog something that’s worth reading.

An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at:www.fmconsulting.netorwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

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