How to Turnaround a Failing Health Club

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

  1. Is your health club 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 health club 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 health club?
  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.

OK, are you ready to do this? If so, let’s take a look at a few of the things that will come next.

  • The first step is a biggie.  You must recognize the need.  Most health club 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 health club turnaround.
  • Manage the process. Let people know what needs to be done and why.  Then follow up. Train.
  • Know your numbers. Don’t let the process of change distract you from the need to manage your health club. Track everything that is done in your health club 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.  Don’t take success for granted.  It’s hard work.  Be on the lookout for success apathy.

Now, go turn around your health club!




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