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.

4 Signs it’s Time to Hire a Lead Generation Company for your Gym

One of your primary responsibilities as a gym owner or operator is to make sure the door is swinging, the phone is ringing, the email is dinging and the text is pinging.

Do you think your membership sales team could benefit from the expertise of a lead generation company to get things going, but you’re not sure you’re there yet?

Should you wait until membership sales or private training reach a certain level before bringing someone in? Should you just ride this slump out? Like anything in the the gym business, you want to be confident that you will see a return on your investment.

With that in mind, here are 4 telltale signs that you may be ready to bring in the outside help of a proven lead generation company for your gym.

1. Your Membership Sales Have Dipped (and overall traffic is down)

This is the most obvious issue.

Your sales numbers aren’t where you want them to be. However, you’re still confident that you have a strong sales team (including management) in place and you want to ensure that you’re giving them everything they need to succeed.

Bringing in the gym experts can give them a chance to examine your policies and procedures to find any gaps or opportunities, while they can also look at your sales culture and selling capability.

2. You Feel That You’ve Plateaued

Maybe your sales numbers are fine. But they’ve remained “fine” for months and you feel like your team is capable of more.

You may have done an expert job of recruiting and training your current roster of membership sales superstars, but they have gone as far as they can with the resources you have in-house.

Many times a fresh perspective can be invaluable when you’re looking to take your gym to the next level.

3. You’re Chasing Unqualified Leads

Everyone wants a sales funnel that is overflowing with nothing but qualified leads. However, we don’t have to tell you that this is not how the real gym world works.

Unqualified leads remain a major challenge in every gym. In fact, half of surveyed gym owners say that increasing their lead-to-customer conversions is their biggest challenge and their top priority.

A team of lead generation gym experts can help you gain access to more leads and ensure they’re qualified.

4. Your Sales Team is Spending Less Time Selling

Is your full-time sales staff only selling part-time?

This is another major issue that plagues many gyms. The average membership salesperson today is only spending about a third of their time on actual selling (or even less). The rest of the time, they’re performing non-revenue generating activities like prospecting leads or writing/ responding to emails.

Of course, these other tasks are crucial to their ability to sell memberships and do their jobs. But should they really take that much time? Two-thirds is too high. You can do better.

A lead generation company for your gym can help you streamline your processes and get your team back on the phones and selling more memberships.

Too many gym owners will only consider bringing in a lead gen company once their leads have dried up. There is always an opportunity to get help long before you get to that point. If you’re noticing your sales slowing or plateauing, now is the perfect time to seek outside assistance. Or, you can reach out if you simply feel that your sales team needs to spend more time selling.

There is really no wrong time to hire a lead generation company. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Now, let’s start selling!

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.

Introduction to the Health Club Industry

Reposted from www.abcfinancial.com

Health Club and Fitness industry revenue is expected to reach $32.9 billion by 2020. Although the industry is trending towards growth, many health club owners still struggle to make a profit. Payment issues, member and employee churn, and reliance on inadequate health club management technology are just a few challenges gym owners typically face. Less than 50% of new fitness clubs expect to survive beyond the first five years in business. With that in mind, it is important for modern health clubs to understand the industry and how to operate efficiently to reduce costs and monitor sales and profitability. This Guide covers ways to improve efficiency and profitability in your health club.

Quick Jump Content Menu

What is Health Club Management

8 Keys to Profitable Health Club Operations

Health Club Industry Trends

Health Club Financial Management

Health Club Employee Management

Health Club Sales & Marketing

Health Club Payment Processing

Health Club Management Software

How ABC Can Solve Health Club Challenges

What is Health Club Management

Companies in the health club industry operate fitness and recreational sports facilities that offer exercise equipment and recreational sport activities for consumers. The industry can include health clubs, fitness centers, gyms, studios, wellness centers, athletic centers. Some health clubs cater to consumers on the basis of convenience by offering low-cost memberships with full operational hours. Comparatively, niche studios have appealed to consumers by offering classes with specific workouts or environments .

According to IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) the global number of health club members increased 33.60% from 2008–2017, with the health club industry, in general, comprising $87.2 Billion in revenue in 2017. You can learn more details by purchasing the IHRSA 2018 Global Report: The State of the Health Club Industry.

While the health club business is booming there is also a lot of competition and many variables that impact clubs financial success. Having a health club does not mean you will instantly be able to make it profitable. That takes a lot of hard work and knowledge. Operating a profitable health club is about balancing what generates revenue while controlling what costs money. Check out the blog post 7 Keys to a Profitable Health Club Operations blog post for more detailed information on these key points for success.

Keys to Profitable Health Club Operations

  1. Member Experience — Give members what they really want and they will become an important part of your sales and retention strategy. If your members have a great member experience and delight them, they will remain loyal members and tell many many others about how great you are. Read more about why Member Experience Is Key to Health Club Success
  2. Member Retention — Member attendance and communication are important for member retention. Use this guide to learn more about Member Retention Strategies for Health Clubs.
  3. Financial Management
  4. Health Club Team Culture
  5. Marketing
  6. Industry Trends
  7. Vendor Partners
  8. Attitude — Having the right mindset to succeed in the health club industry is key to winning in the health club industry. Check out these two in-depth articles for keys to being a successful health club operator:

Health Club Industry Trends

To take advantage of this growth, it is wise for health club owners to be aware of Health Club Industry Trends. Some of the trends we identified in a recent blog article 3 Health Club Industry Trends to Guide Your Fitness Business Strategy include:

  • Consumer Spending
  • Health and Fitness Lifestyle and Status
  • Impact of the Health Care Crises and Consumers Taking Charge of Own Health

Health Club Industry Disruption — In addition, disruption in the Health Club Industry is causing new realities for health club operators that they need to address. Learn what the Health Club Operators should focus on to be successful in this article 5 Strategies to Guide Health Club Operators in Health Club Industry Disruption:

  1. Clear Business and Competitive Strategy
  2. New Business Model Innovation & Services
  3. Strategic Partner Selection
  4. “Frictionless” Member Experience
  5. Digital Technology Transformation

Health Club Technology — Health club, fitness, and wellness businesses and entrepreneurs are rushing in to take advantage of growth opportunities while juggling a lot of uncertainty in an evolving and hyper-competitive marketplace being impacted by increasing technological change. The implications of technology on the health club, fitness and wellness industries cannot be understated. Evaluating technologies for your fitness business is important as an owner or operator. Check out this guide 5 Criteria to Evaluate New Health Club Technology for more information.

Health Club Financial Management

Create a Health Club Business Plan

As a health club operator, it is important to take the time create and continually update your health club business plan to guide your operation and to communicate value to your members and staff. Defining processes to support the successful implementation of the plan is also important. Review this information to guide you in your planning process 5 Tips for a Successful Business Plan

How to Measure Health Club Success

Owning a successful health club gym requires a certain level of focus and dedication to the underlying statistics which drive revenue-focused business decisions. These metrics provide owners valuable insights to understand and identify trends, gauge satisfaction rates, and highlight problems as they emerge in order to enact swift resolution. Below are the crucial metrics and every club owner must understand:

1. Health Club Membership Retention

It costs on average 10 times more to gain a new member than to retain an existing one; this makes your current group of members the most important audience to please. You can track overall retention by measuring.

  • Churn rate — the percentage of members who cancel their membership
  • Average tenure of members — how long members stay members of your gym
  • Estimated lifetime value of a member — how long that tenure is worth in dollar value

It can also be helpful for owners to track metrics which can help forecast retention, like a mem­ber satisfaction score. The most common way to measure member satisfaction is the “Net Pro­moter Score,” a metric which scores how likely your members are to refer friends to the facility. Tracking this metric over time can help you identify member churn events before they occur. For example, let’s say your facility had multiple equipment malfunctions and significant delays in getting repairs. You would likely see a significant drop in your Net Promoter Score which can indicate that members are at risk of cancelling. View more tips and strategies to increase health club member retention: Member Retention Strategies for Health Clubs

2. Health Club Sales, Prospects & Pipeline

Prospects are the people who have called, emailed, filled out a form on your website, or entered into your gym to gather more information regarding membership. In order to forecast revenue correctly, it’s critical to have a keen eye focused on how many prospects make up your gym’s sales pipeline month-over-month, the dollar value of said pipeline, and what your average close rate is. Be sure to also track Prospect Status. This metric will tell you the results of your sales efforts by tracking the con­versions of those who showed interest in your facility. Are they still a prospect? Have they converted to a Member? Or, did you mark them “Dead?”

Tracking revenue per member, membership usage, member churn, and average membership length will also provide you with valuable data. If you cannot measure If you are using gym management software, it, you cannot improve it. Setting realistic financial goals you can use this tool to manage your and tracking them monthly, weekly, and even daily will pipeline and set up automated email help you achieve a level of granularity that will expose outreach to increase membership sales. leaks in your revenue generation efforts.

For More Information, check out these blog posts:

Other Health Club Revenue Sources

  • Personal Training — Personal training is often the second largest source of revenue for many health clubs and, in the case of many of today’s fitness concepts, it’s their primary source of revenue. Many club owners find it difficult to make personal training a priority or just don’t know exactly how to increase personal training revenue by getting more people to pay for one on one personal training services. Review 5 Strategies of How To Increase Personal Training Revenue In Health Clubs for guidance.

Health Club Employee Management

Every two interactions a member has with fitness staff in a given month results in one extra visit from that member the following month. It is essential to understand the correlation between employee turnover and member retention. Members value engagement from staff, and the staff values happy members.

Retaining and engaging employees is as important as retaining members. Many costs are associated with hiring and training new employees, so keeping the high performers in order to minimize hiring and onboarding costs can save your facility serious money and a lot of headaches. Here are some tips to keep employees engaged while boosting your facility’s efficiency:

1. Create a thorough onboarding process.

Supply employees with all information needed to prepare for the job: introduce them to the tools and team they will work with, and orient them to the facility. This process should be stan­dardized, making it repeatable and reliable. When new employees are trained at the discretion of whoever is working that day, significant details could be left out. Helping everyone stay on the same page builds trust among your employees while relieving you of actually training new people yourself.

2. Invest in employee education and training.

Similarly to the onboarding process, weekly staff meetings — as well as training sessions on gym equipment, software, and POS systems — keep everyone aligned in terms of club goals and how to use technology. Employees should also be familiar with new workout routines and techniques so they can help any member that might need assistance. The ability to recommend specific classes or trainers based on desired goals gives employees a greater sense of knowledge and credibility to members. This education creates more inherent value in whatever role that employee has and also instills a greater sense of trust between the member and employee. Members should feel confident that most questions they have can be answered by the staff at hand.

3. Offer employee incentives.

Reward employees when they do a great job. This incentivizes them to continue striving above and beyond and demonstrates that you recognize this behavior. How you measure the benchmarks for rewards is up to you. Consider things like the number of new members signed up or positive reviews left online or in a suggestion box. If this is clearly spelled out to employees, you offer them a clear line to rewards. These prizes should not be given out randomly, but rather enshrined in a well-defined and circulated document. You’ll be able to tell if this works by analyzing the metrics that the awards are based off. If your employees truly feel incentivized, you’ll achieve those goals much faster. Also, if this ends up costing your gym more than it produces, consider revisiting how you reward employees. Cash is always nice, but free membership packages or gift cards to local restaurants might prove more sustainable.

4. Test employees’ knowledge.

Quiz employees regularly to ensure they understand all processes and procedures thoroughly. This can be done through multiple choice quizzes or in-person roundtable discussions. Give them the opportunity to ask questions in weekly meetings and provide their feedback for overall facility improvement. Sometimes a shy employee might not bring up what he does not know for fear of losing his job or your trust. Encouraging a welcoming environment of learn­ing without stigma will eventually create an educated workforce unafraid to ask a question or speak up when something is not clearly explained. You can also reward employees for their knowledge of your gym, as mentioned before. Be sure to keep tabs on the people trying to learn the most. The more your staff knows, the more helpful they can be to members.

5. Adopt a Member Focus Approach

Adopting a member focused approach, offering different experiences, products, and services to different customers based on their individual needs, is a key ingredient and philosophy for success in the health club industry today. This approach puts customers at the center of business strategy, places an emphasis on customer service training, and aims to maximize the lifetime value of health club members. The lifetime value of members being one of THE most important key performance indicators in the health club industry today. Do you want to get your staff to adopt a more member-centric approach in your health club business? Learn how to implement a member focus approach in this article 6 Member Focus Strategies For Health Club Staff.

6. Create a Personalized Member Experience

Consumers in general along with gym and health club members expect personalized communications and services tailored to their individual preferences. Personalization in the health club, gym and fitness industry c needs to go beyond basic tactics like addressing customers by their first name in emails or providing one size fits all workout or exercise programming. Creating new fitness solutions and messaging using technology helps to Hyper-Personalize Health Club marketing and services. Explore some of the factors and technology influencing health club personalization and how it improves sales and retention with great member experiences in Why Member Experience and Health Club Personalization Matter.

  • Genomics to Personalize
  • 3D Body Scanning
  • Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics

Health Club Sales and Marketing

Health club management software allows you to create effective sales and marketing strategies with the data provided through detailed reports. Surveying members and guests is a great way to collect useful data to use in your sales and marketing plan. Use data from these surveys for advertising, branding and giveaways. Email marketing is another great tool to use to keep your members engaged, as higher member engagement can lead to extra up-selling opportunities.

Increased revenue is the ultimate goal for any owner, and using management software as a sales and marketing tool will lead to this. As members have the ability to sign up for automated payments, you’ll see a more consistent revenue flow while creating a more enjoyable user experience. Positive member experiences keep them coming back, giving your gym the powerful marketing tool of word-of-mouth. Encouraging your current members to share their great experiences via social media is a great way to increase member growth. Health club management software allows you to send marketing emails to your current members encouraging them to share these positive experiences.

Increasing Membership Sales

Every health club club manager knows the dilemma: gym membership sales surge in January with the ambitious New Year’s Resolution, but most of these new gym members fail to remain dedicated throughout the year and many will even cancel their memberships. For many health clubs and fitness centers, increasing sales consistently throughout the year can be a challenge, but with some strategic planning, the right tools, and ongoing member engagement, this revenue inconsistency can be mitigated. Review these articles for guidance on increasing sales:

Marketing Data

Today the most competitive health club business models and brands understand that they are operating in a digitally driven world made up of consumers who now have more choices and options regarding how they achieve their fitness, health, and well-being. They also know those customers are spending more and more time on digital channels making it more important to use the right data to help you market your health club effectively. Learn more about how to use health club data in this in-depth review: 5 Ways to Use Data For More Effective Health Club Marketing.

Learn how to use data to differentiate from competitors in How To Create Health Club Differentiation Strategies With Data. Many health club operators in the fitness industry are drowning in data and unsure about how to use it. This is understandable since much of that data is unstructured; it takes many forms from documents, content, check-ins, payment methods, workouts, member demographics, along with a lot of other information that usually doesn’t reside in conventional databases and can’t be parsed by algorithms or machine analysis. The intelligent use of data is going to significantly impact every business and industry in the years ahead. Learning how to use data to differentiate from competitors will provide an advantage.

Regional Marketing

Developing a marketing strategy for your health club is a daunting task, but it is necessary for acquiring new customers. However, this challenge can be significantly reduced by utilizing a regional marketing strategy and leveraging the capabilities of your gym software to attract new customers. Regional marketing is targeting your marketing efforts towards a specific geographic region that makes sense for your business, which can save you time and money. These gains in efficiency are amplified when regional marketing is combined with the power of health club management software and data. Check out the 5 Regional Marketing Methods Leveraging Health Club Software.

Marketing and Sales Technology: Marketing Automation, CRM, and AI

How can automation and artificial intelligence (AI) help businesses in the health club and fitness industry? The integration of CRM software, automation, and AI with human interaction creates better member experiences.

“Now we’re in a place where just getting [information] into a database really is not a big deal anymore. Now, it’s what are you going to do with that information.” — Adam Stokar

Learn more about how Health clubs and fitness businesses can better leverage technology in these resources:

Social Media Strategy

If there were a proven way to increase online membership sign-ups for your health club, wouldn’t you incorporate that into your recruitment campaigns? A social media strategy is a tool providing valuable results. Take advantage of these new social media trends:

  • Instagram and Instagram Video Marketing Strategy- Half of over 1 billion Instagram users are scrolling through their feeds every day. 80% of those users follow businesses. Here are some even more interesting stats which should help you strongly consider sharing content and advertising on the Instagram platform. The latest updates and what to expect in the near future from Instagram are outlined here as well. One of the biggest shifts for Instagram last year was IGTV (Instagram TV) which really changed the Instagram platform. This addition to the Instagram app transformed Instagram from just sharing photos to a more advanced video platform. For an in depth guide on how to use IGTV read Create A Health Club Instagram Video Marketing (IGTV) Strategy.

Marketing Website1. Create a Member Friendly Website

A gym’s website is a virtual front door. Just as a potential member would walk in to observe a clean facility and be greeted with friendly smiles, you want to ensure your website has the same ambiance. In today’s market, a well-designed website attracts new members and increases your profit margins. When someone considers joining a gym, they research it beforehand and make their own assumptions, regardless of what your gym actually is like. Therefore, every website must include the Who, What, Where, When, and — most importantly — the WHY of your business. The website should clearly explain the following in detail:

  • Who you are: This includes background information on the gym and how it all began. The amount you decide to divulge varies based on the organization, but putting a story behind your gym and creating a communal environment will draw people in — we are social beings after all. It’s also important to provide photos and descriptions of employees so prospects can put a name to a face if they search your website for information.
  • What you offer: Are you a pilates studio, or a crossfit gym? Guests need to know what types of fitness you cater to before they even consider signing up for a membership. Clearly articulate in what area of focus your gym specializes and you’ll attract the right type of clientele. Photos or videos of equipment, member testimonials, and online class schedules can help present this information clearly to web visitors.
  • Health Club Facility Location: Google Maps is an easy tool to add to your website with your address and directions to your facility. That, as well as Yelp, are two absolute necessities in today’s smartphone era. Long gone are the days of the yellow pages.
  • Google Maps Many prospective members may search, “gyms near me.” To accommodate for these searchers, Google Maps offers new features to help them make informed purchasing decisions and, if com­pleted correctly, can make your gym stand out. Make sure your Google results showcase:
  • Positive ratings
  • Positive testimonials
  • Contact information (including site link)
  • Hours of operation
  • Photos The more you can use Google as a sales and marketing tool, the less work you will have to do to attract new members. People out there want to find your gym. Google just needs to know where to point them.
  • Why they should join your facility Include why your particular location is the best one for the potential member. If there are many competitors in your area, why should they choose you? Maybe you cater to a certain age de­mographic that seeks special classes, or your fitness center has a daycare. Whatever it is, your website needs to convey key differentiators to attract a devoted membership base.

2. Three Addtional Website Features to Consider

  1. SEO A user-friendly website filled with information about the facility builds online credibility. If a pros­pect performs a Google search for a gym in your area, your goal should be to show up first in the search results or at least on the first page of results. Consider researching and implement­ing Search Engine Optimized (SEO) content and tags. This means researching and adding key­words to specific locations on your website. For example, someone looking for a yoga studio in Dallas might search “best yoga studio in Dallas.” You could then add that phrase strategically throughout your website to attract more web traffic. Be careful, however, to not “keyword stuff” your content. Search engines will pick up on content that just seeks to attract web traffic with­out providing valuable content.
  2. Member Portal Additionally, your website should allow members to manage their memberships. By utilizing an online portal, you can upsell existing members by encouraging them to sign up for classes and schedule personal training sessions. The more opportunities to upsell, the better. After all, retaining a member is way easier than gaining a new one. A member portal also helps position you as a tech-savvy gym that cares about the member experience. The more up-to-date you can stay on membership technology, the more likely you are to retain and acquire members.
  3. Website Content Pages Including a blog on your website is an ideal way to provide fitness tips page views, traffic channels, bounce rate, and time onsite can tell you a lot and tricks for your members and prospects. Educating members and about where your prospects come from sharing information about the health and fitness industry through a and what they look for on your site. Blogs keep members informed and engaged. Apply SEO practices as mentioned above to gain as much organic traffic as possible. Also, be sure to include forms with a clear call-to-action for prospects to obtain more information about certain content, like videos or workout tips. These call-to-action buttons should stand out from the rest of the website content and include decisive, actionable language to encourage some sort of interaction.

Health Club Payment Processing

When looking to keep overhead costs low and achieve profitability, automate everything. As membership numbers increase, so does the number of membership dues that need to be collected. Tracking down members for payment becomes a time consuming, difficult, and repetitious task, slowing down efficiency and hurting your profits if employees do not follow up correctly. Review more about health club payment processing and security in the Guide To Health Club Payment Processing & Security. Avoid these problems, by implementing a payment processing service to automate those monthly payments. Here are a few revenue-related benefits of implementing a payment processing solution:

  • Boosts revenue — Automated recurring payments have been hailed as “the holy grail of SaaS revenue” by MarketingLand.com. It helps both the gym and member by providing a predictable way to budget.
  • Saves time — No more manually processing payments or tracking down delinquent members to collect dues. These solutions generate reminders and automate monthly payments straight from bank accounts or debit cards.
  • Enhanced security — Ensure members that their account information is secure.Recently, a number of large-scale data breaches have compromised millions of Americans’ personal information, like credit card numbers, social security numbers,and medical records. To avoid breaches, fitness clubs around the world are implementing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to ensure their data is protected. Invest in this technology to keep your members as safe as possible.
  • Happier members — Members no longer have to worry about making a monthly payment as the process is automatic. Reminders and receipts are available in member’s online account portal.

How Payment Processing Works

Once a member has signed up for a membership through gym management software, they have the option to connect their bank account or credit card for automatic recurring payments. The agreement they signed determines the frequency of the payment, which is typically monthly, but could be quarterly or annually.

On the days the member’s payment is due, the billing system automatically sends the payment information to processing companies. For payment made by debit cards and direct debits, the member’s bank account will be charged. For payment made with credit cards, the member’s credit card account will be will used. Money will move from the member’s debit, credit, or bank accounts and deposited to the club’s bank account, net of processing fees.

Health Club Management Software

Owning a gym can be time consuming if you don’t have automation in place to help increase the efficiency of daily administrative tasks. By implementing gym man­agement software and payment processing services, gym owners eliminate time consuming administrative tasks like member check-in and communication, personal training scheduling, and booking group exercise classes. It also empowers members to stay on top of any account needs.

See this blog post to learn more details about What is Health Club Management Software

Key features of health club management software should include:

  • Online membership sign-up — online portal offering prospect sign-up via mobile device or app
  • Member check-in — Sub one-second check-in with fingerprint, key tag, key fob, pin code or name search. Stop writing names on paper or scanning every member’s card yourself.
  • Member account management — Members can schedule payments online and book classes, freeing up your front desk staff for more important tasks, like assisting an injured patron, cleaning up a mess, or answering any facility-related questions.
  • Employee management — View and manage employee schedules, department responsibilities, and figure commissions by percent or flat rate with gym management software. You can even integrate a time clock, making sure everyone’s time is fairly and accurately recorded.
  • Point of sale — Track petty cash, ring up items, and email receipts in one sleek, digital location
  • Electronic agreements — Capture digital signatures and save money with a paperless process. This also decreases the likelihood that important documents relating to membership agreements go missing.
  • Report management — Create unlimited custom reports for multiple clubs, or schedule reports to run automatically via email in Excel, PDF or CSV formats. This is crucial in understanding metrics as described in Understanding the Numbers section.

However you decide to maintain or achieve profitability, keep in mind our five methods. The technology exists to help you understand every single aspect of how your gym creates and loses money, from employee management to automated due collections. Now it’s up to you to implement that technology and use it smartly.

How ABC Financial Can Solve Health Club Challenges

ABC Financial is the nation’s leading club management software and payment processing provider. The club management software tool, DataTrak, and payment processing services can help run an efficient and profitable fitness club by offering the following features:

  • Automatic payments — EFT/ACH monthly auto drafts and automatic credit card updates
  • Dashboard — get snapshot views at daily, weekly and monthly goals to view progress against goals
  • Scheduling — manage departmental calendars, track services, classes and sales opportunities and send event reminders via email or text messaging
  • Security — ABC is a Level 1 PCI DSS Compliant Service Provider and all software is password protected

Want to take a look at what health club management software and payment processing can help you run an efficient and profitable health club, fitness center or gym? Sign up for a demo today!

An Outsourced CEO, 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 orwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

Networking Groups Can Help Market Your Gym on a Budget

I have been involved with networking groups for quite sometime. The results are always eye-opening. I participate not only for my business but also to bring value to my client base. Here is a sampling of what has come my way: new clients, a website copywriter, experts at search engine optimization, business brokers, joint venture vendor agreements with enough added value to make me wonder why everyone doesn’t do this. All of that with a user-friendly price tag. And this is just a sampling of the results.

I was speaking with a gym owner recently who had just joined the chamber of commerce. I asked them how it was going. After some stuttering and stammering, they said they “have the book” and they are sending e-mails. Oh.

Many gym salespeople claim to be good at networking or say they are very involved in local functions that bring others together to network. But are they really? Most are seeking the low-hanging fruit. Done right, being part of a networking group will provide you with an abundance of leads and new resources to grow your gym business.

Take the time to seek out networking groups in your area. Here are some of the reasons you should get involved with a local networking group (or even two or three of them).

  1. Meet people in your trade area. By participating in a networking group, you walk away with new contacts after each and every meeting. What better way to meet people than to attend a networking event with people who are seeking the same thing you seek? You have an opportunity to give your 30-second commercial, share with your audience what you do and share what kind of leads or anything else you seek. The key to successful networking is the “one on one,” which is where you meet with others in the group to learn about each others’ business and how you can help. Just imagine having 30 to 50 local business people telling your story to others and even doing business with your gym.
  2. Establish local business relationships. Many fitness facility operators struggle with establishing these relationships, and many are ineffective at networking for business referrals, instead creating a social relationship. That’s not necessarily bad. Establishing a social relationship can be just as valuable to you as an immediate business relationship because it creates trust and establishes integrity, which are two of the most crucial business traits you can have. Don’t rush into a networking group and expect immediate referrals. If you do it right, the business aspect (referrals) will come. Follow the advice of Zig Ziglar, who says, “Help enough people in the world get what they want, and you’ll get what you want.”
  3. Support your local community. Many local networking groups put on community events and support nonprofit chapters by leveraging the ability to bring other people together. If you are looking for ways for your gym to be active in the community at many levels, networking groups can often lead you to some unique opportunities.
  4. Become a leader. Many networking groups exist, which means you can get several of your staffers involved. Some will do better than others, but working with networking groups provides great experience in areas such as public speaking. Many opportunities exist within established networking groups that allow for your gym staff to take more of an active role in the group and assume a leadership position. Taking on more tasks and responsibilities in the networking group can enhance how you lead others when you get back to your gym.
  5. Have fun. Networking groups have a “can-do” attitude and a friendly approach. The purpose of networking groups is to meet others with the same goals, enhance business relationships and establish your gym on the business scene while having a good time. If you have fun with a mindset to serve, you will excel in these groups.

An Outsourced CEO, 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 orwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

Does Your Gym Have a Club Concierge; How to Maintain a Healthy Retention Rate

Club Concierge. That’s my term for a retention manager. Depending on the facility this could be a shared position or if payroll and activity will warrant it, this could be a full time person.

Before I get into a strategy, please consider the following;

1. Bain and Company research shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.

2. Temkin Group research shows moderate improvements in customer experience can generate an average revenue increase of 28% each year over a three year period

3. In my experience, I have seen annual attrition as high as 75% and the normal being in the 40% — 50% range. In many cases, gyms are losing half their member base every year. This puts enormous pressure on creating new membership sales.

4. I was conducting a nationwide webinar recently and most on the call acknowledged not having a defined retention strategy.

Club Concierge Job Description

The entire focus here is to reduce the member attrition percentages by nurturing new and existing members to use the gym more frequently. I’m defining nurture as helping to maintain interest and desire. The focus here is to entertain, educate, motivate, inspire and incentivize usage by using all forms of member communication (not just one source).

Here are some tips to help improve your member retention (with a club concierge);

1. It all starts with how you sell. If you sell based on features and price, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. The key to successful selling is to solve problems for people. Identify what problem they have and how you can solve it — you will have set the proper foundation.

2. Are you asking for a commitment? I see many gyms running ads that say, “Join now — no commitment.” My question is this; when is the last time someone got results at anything without making a commitment. Learn how to sell the benefits of term agreements.

3. Do you monitor member usage? This number can vary depending on the amount you charge, but generally, we want our opening person to run a report each morning of people who have used the gym 4 times or less that last 30 days. We know these will be potential problems down the road and want to be proactive in our approach, not reactive.

4. Nurturing your new members. This will help make a world of difference. We want the new members to use the gym. The goal is to get them to use the facility 20 times the first 60 days. We want to motivate, educate, inspire, incentivize and use all means to do it when it comes to connecting with the new member. Establish the habit of regular usage right off the bat.

5. Ongoing member nurturing. Here’s something I hear all too frequently in gyms; owners don’t want to contact existing members because they might remind them they are still a member and will want to cancel. Of course, that’s not the ideal business model and one that needs to change. In the end, you want to have contact will your members monthly. There are just too many ways to do this for it not to be done.

6. Entertainment business. Don’t forget this; treat this like the entertainment business. Work to keep people entertained and having fun. If they have fun, are entertained in the process and keep showing up — they will get results.

This will get you started on a successful strategy. Incentivize your Club Concierge on member usage and retention percentage…it will be well worth it. It will be like having a second sales manager, only not as expensive.

Now, go retain your members!

An Outsourced CEO, 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 orwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

How to Reverse Decline and Restore Stability to your Health Club, Fitness Center or Gym

Several years ago, I received a call from a gym owner with several facilities. He called me in despair. He knew that his gym was failing because membership sales had been declining steadily.

The club owner had just received a major wake-up call. In addition to the loss of some long-term key personnel, his business has just lost a major corporate account that made up a significant part of his overall sales.

Fortunately, he had some good cash reserves. From our conversation and initial evaluation of the gym, it was clear the gym could be saved. The cash reserves would give us enough time to fix the business.

I explained the drastic action that we would need to take in order to save his gym business. It was too much, too quick and too much heartache for him. (Significant layoffs of club staff were going to be required.)

He decided not to retain our services. He looked for a miracle and hoped everything would work out in the end.

Unfortunately, he was wrong.

Approximately 4 months later, the gym owner called me again and he was very down as he spoke on the phone. Membership sales had continued to decline (which caused other sales to decline), long term members and key staff had left the club and he was now almost out of cash. He was literally down to his last $1,000 with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

His gym chances for survival were gone. Within a week of his last call, he closed his business. Even worse, his home backed-up the personal guarantee on his business loan.

The saddest part of this story is the gym owner sent me an email a few weeks later. He knew that he could have avoided all of this if he had acted sooner…back when we first spoke. By failing to act quickly, he had lost his gym, his livelihood and his home.

Do not become paralyzed and fall in the trap of hoping for a miracle. You need to take immediate action to get a handle on your existing circumstances and get your business turned around.

Are You a Candidate for a Gym Turnaround?

Conducting a gym turnaround is all about reversing a gym’s decline and restoring stability to the business of the gym. There are some key factors that will help determine if your gym is a good candidate for a successful turnaround. Here are some questions you should ask yourself?

1. Is your gym still a viable business? If you were going to open this club today…what would you need to know to make an informed decision?

2. Is there still enough time left to get this done? Are there any hard deadlines looming that could stop you in your tracks?

3. Is there enough available cash to get this done? If your cash flow is good enough, many times you can use a simple float to get it done, if not, you will need outside funding.

4. Do you have a clear vision on how your gym should operate? Have you done this before? Do you know how this should look?

5. Do you have the proper management team and leadership in place? Are your key people truly committed to the success of the gym?

6. Do you have the confidence and belief of your stakeholders? Of course, your stakeholders will see you as the person who got them into this mess. You will need to win these folks over…again.

7. Do you have a structured and proven approach to get out of this mess? Go with what’s known and proven…no guesswork here.

Key Steps for the Gym Turnaround

 The first step is critical. You must recognize the need. Most gym owners wait until it’s too late. If you have a problem…face up to it now! Speaking from my consulting experience, don’t wait to admit the need until the patient is on the operating table. The longer you avoid what’s happening, the worse it will get and the more difficult the turnaround becomes.

 You must get an immediate grip on your finances. Only pay what will keep you in business. Everything else can wait.

 Next, you must take an objective look at your situation and develop short term and long term priorities. Don’t let emotion rule your decision making. Be willing to make the difficult decision.

 You will need to determine what has caused the underperformance. If you don’t know why this happened, you are doomed to repeat the mistake. Be sure and re-establish discipline.

 Establish a marketing plan and get the entire management team on board for the planned objectives. Do your research. Now is not the time to be testing new marketing ideas. Go with what’s proven.

 You will need supplier and vendor support to ensure your plan can happen. Don’t ignore these folks. Meet with each of them and let them know your situation and your intentions. The key here is good communication.

 You need to become an expert at health club management, particularly sales management. Start surrounding yourself with people who are better than you are at what you are asking them to do. Get your system in place. Assume nothing.

 Keep everyone involved in the process. Communicate, don’t keep anyone guessing. Communication is the key to most anything, but it’s the foundation when trying to keep everyone on the same page during a gym turnaround.

 Manage the process. Let people know what needs to be done and why. Then follow up. Train. Train. Train.

 Know your numbers. Don’t let the process of change distract you from the need to manage your gym. Track everything that is done in your gym just like you normally would.

 Manage with a cautious optimism. Know the risks moving forward and be prepared to deal with them. There are many elements that can stall your turnaround progress. Make a list of these potential setbacks and then a have plan if this were to happen.

 Keep your foot on the accelerator. Don’t let up. Ever. Don’t take success for granted. It’s hard work. Be on the lookout for success apathy.

Benefits of Turning your Gym Around

• You will save your investment and that of your investors.
• You can keep your well-paying job.
• You will get rid of any criticism that you have been receiving.
• You can continue to have the good things in life, such as a big house, vacations and a college fund for your children.
• You will give your gym a fresh start.
• You will increase the cash flow, the profitability and productivity of your gym.
• You will gain valuable experience that will keep you from trouble again.
• You will be able to sleep well at night.
• You will save many of your employee’s jobs.
• You will be a hero to your family, your board, your investors and your employees.
• And most importantly, you will have the personal satisfaction of knowing that you saved your business.

Learning Experience

The difference between winners and losers is that winners take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes. This will be your key to bouncing back and taking the necessary steps forward. High achievement usually only comes after having a failure.

With this done, put the past behind you. Nothing good comes from lingering on the past. You need to look forward and figure out how to save your gym business.

In the end, you and your gym will survive. You will save many jobs and increase your investors’ stake in your business. Most importantly, you will have revived an important business for your community.

The key to getting out of your rut and moving forward is having very specific and defined goals. Your key goal now is to fix your gym. However, you must balance this goal with compassion since your goal will affect many lives negatively.

In addition, you must make time for family and friends and all that’s important to you.

This will give you the strength to go into the gym the next day and continue the honorable work of saving your business.

You must start immediately to give your gym its best chance to survive.

Now, go turn around your gym!

An Outsourced CEO, 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 orwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

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