COMMON MISTAKES GYM OWNERS MAKE PT. 2

We’ve already covered five other mistakes in part 1 of common mistakes gym owners make, so here are four more mistakes made by owners and how to avoid them.

YOU FOCUS SOLELY ON MEMBERSHIPS

Yes, memberships are the lifeline of your club, however, if you remain completely focused on bringing prospects in, you will eventually lose connection with current members and you won’t give any attention to other opportunities that generate income, like your point of sale items.

Retention is just as important as signing new members, so keep current members satisfied by running special promotions and discounts on club merchandise, personal training and fitness class packages. This will help you maintain strong retention and generate more revenue at the same time. Above all, remember to find a healthy balance between prospects and current members.

YOU’RE AFRAID OF INNOVATION

The fitness industry changes all the time and if you aren’t open to change, then your club will stagger, and you’ll eventually be unable to keep up with member standards. To avoid making this mistake, keep up with fitness trends, ensure your club is active on social media, both organically and through paid advertising and above all, be open to member feedback and actually listen to what they need and want. Make sure your club is active in the community by being a part of organizations like IHRSA or Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) to gain more business insight and stay current with industry trends. 

TOO CROWDED WITH TOO MUCH EQUIPMENT

On a positive note, your fitness club is so popular that it’s overflowing with members. The harsh reality is that not only is this a common gym owner mistake, but it’s also a huge culprit for gym membership cancellations. Why would this be your fault though? Your club and business structure lack balance, with equipment, physical space and too many members to accommodate for.

For one, you know the square footage of your gym from the get-go, so unless you’re planning on expanding it, you know how much equipment can fit in it. With more members coming through your doors, more equipment seems like the best solution, but realistically, members need space to breathe and move, so as an owner, it’s your job to find the right balance between these. Keep tabs on the less popular equipment and areas of your club, so you can decide what should be subtracted to create more space.

The same thing goes for group classes and training sessions. If you’re noticing a higher count of members attending a specific class, offer that class more frequently to avoid overflow, increase traffic and up member satisfaction. The best way to gather these numbers is to pull attendance and hourly traffic reports through gym management software. Be sure to talk with your equipment vendor supplier about equipment layouts and mapping out better use of your space.

LACK OF UPKEEP

Upkeep applies to the quality of your equipment and the cleanliness of your club. If you’re not mindful about these things, your retention will suffer. Machines like treadmills and ellipticals break down all the time. Although the wear and tear are not your fault, a common mistake among owners is allowing these issues to linger.

Not only does this prevent members from using your machines, but the lack of proactivity devalues your memberships and gym. This applies to the cleanliness of your club as well, and dirty facilities are a huge culprit to membership cancellations.

You care about your club, so constantly taking care of it is vital to reducing attrition. To make yourself more aware of possible upkeep issues, refer to our Daily Service Notes–a report that allows ASF to transfer member feedback to owners and learn more about how to maintain a clean facility here.

COMMON MISTAKES GYM OWNERS MAKE

Running a gym or fitness club is just as challenging as it is rewarding, since there are so many factors that play into the success of one. Here are common mistakes to be aware of so that you can keep yourself and your business in check.

MANUALLY TRACKING YOUR MEMBERSHIPS & CLUB DATA

Technology and gym management software exist for this exact reason. If you’re spending your time updating spreadsheets and have no way to accurately track the data of your club, you’re not only wasting time that could be spent elsewhere, but you’re most likely collecting inaccurate numbers.

Health club management software is meant to do these jobs for you, so you have more time to not only engage with your members, but you know your gym’s strengths and weaknesses from a calculated standpoint, resulting in a stronger business structure. Learn more about gym management software here.

NOT UNDERSTANDING YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC

Every gym or fitness club has one, and if you don’t understand the people using your facility, then you don’t understand your business to its full potential. This mistake falls closely with the lack of gym management software. The best way to understand your demographic is through accurate reporting. It’s important to know if your club attracts more females or males and what age range you’re dealing with.

YOUR MARKETING DOESN’T MATCH YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC

A common mistake many businesses make is marketing to the wrong crowds. This goes for genders and age ranges you’re choosing to target on platforms like Facebook and Instagram as well as the content you’re sharing. Effective marketing affects all angles of your club, and understanding your demographic starts with accurately targeting those prospects in the first place.

For example, if your fitness club is a small boutique or a specialty club like a barre studio, it’s important to recognize that you’ll probably attract more females, so your marketing budget will be better invested if your social media platforms target primarily women within a certain age range. Whatever your content may be, whether you’re posting funny memes, inspirational quotes or nutrition tips, make sure it aligns with your specific audience, both organically and through paid advertising. 

YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC IS TOO NARROW

This might seem contradictory to the above points but remember that just because your club might have a specific demographic doesn’t mean to exclude the outliers. Although you might cater more to a specific gender or age group, consider how other types of members can benefit from your club. This will add more value to them and expand your money-making opportunities.

YOUR TRAINERS AREN’T DIVERSE

Different types of members have different needs, which is why it’s important to have a variety of personal trainers­. Whether that’s a mix of males and females, older and younger or everything in between, always think about your members and how you can best help them achieve their fitness goals.

Remember that just like how member goals vary, personal trainers specialize in different areas of fitness as well. While many members might like to lose weight and tone their muscles, you also want to open your personal training up to individuals who want to focus on less intense exercises or specific workouts like functional training. 

It’s also a possibility that both males and females feel better with their same gender in a personal trainer, so have both men and women staffed to ensure comfortability. The more you cater to different individuals, the stronger your retention will be.

3 REASONS TO USE POINT OF SALE SOFTWARE

Selling memberships and products is the lifeline of any fitness business and adding gym management software like Point of Sale and Inventory Management into the mix is imperative to handling those tasks. Here are a few reasons why owners need both.  

1. INCREASES REVENUE & BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT

The whole purpose of running a gym or fitness club is to sell memberships, fitness gear and generate more income, especially for services that can’t be physically displayed in gyms. Point of Sale is a must-have tool that brings more attention to extra club add-ons like child care, spray tanning, towel service and massages.

Through accurate inventory tracking and reporting, gym owners can detect which services and items they sell most of, so they know what to order more of and perhaps where they should consider decreasing retail prices or running promotions. With a higher understanding of these strengths and weaknesses, owners and their staff have better chances of upping business engagement and generating more club revenue.

2. TRACKS & ORGANIZES CLUB INVENTORY

Organization is key to running a successful gym or fitness club. With the use of Point of Sale and Inventory Management, owners can track and organize club merchandise all in one. The convenient layout of both include custom categories, sub-categories and product images to make it easy for staff to find items while completing transactions and for owners to better track their merchandise. By simply clicking on an image, Inventory Management will show product quantity, purchase history, the cost of the item and the vendor, while Point of Sale will instantly add an item to checkout.

Owners can also adjust retail prices for special club promotions and events while also renaming products and updating how many more of a selected item they wish to order, simplifying the tracking process and ensuring all staff is on the same page. Larger gyms and fitness clubs with higher sales traffic, more employees and multiple locations can especially benefit from Point of Sale and Inventory Management, along with Martial Arts schools to provide and track uniforms for their students.

3. EASY-TO-USE TIME-SAVERS

Point of Sale and Inventory Management can be accessed anywhere and on any device. While a staff member is ringing up an item for a member through the Point of Sale interface on a front desk computer, a club owner can be updating inventory counts with the touch of a finger through Inventory Management on an iPad, tablet or smart phone, eliminating unnecessary spreadsheets and steps. Owners can conveniently scan item descriptions and easily search categories and sub-categories to access product information faster. Both applications save time and stress, increase efficiency and ultimately simplify daily club operations for everyone.

BOTTOM LINE

Point of Sale and Inventory Management applications work simultaneously, like yin and yang. Without both, owners lack organization and proper club functionality, ultimately losing overall business engagement. The combination of both is as simple as making quick transactions, then giving owners the ability to instantly update their inventory after finalizing those transactions. Being able to both sell and track various products seamlessly makes for an all-in-one stronger business model for gyms and fitness clubs, big or small.

Learn more about ASF’s Point of Sale and Inventory Management applications and request a demo here

TECHNOLOGY IS BRINGING OWNERS AND MEMBERS CLOSER

Technology can arguably retract us from authentic relationships as our eyes stayed glued to our smart phones, however when it comes to fitness, it’s the saving grace for both owners and members and the key to building stronger bonds between them. Member goals can vary anywhere from weight loss, to muscle toning, to improving their diets. The goal of owners is to increase their revenue, which makes technology the bridge between the owner and the member.

SOFTWARE THAT CONNECTS MEMBERS & OWNERS

Giving members the ability to quickly sign up and check in for events increases efficiency on both ends­. With gym management software, members have more time to enjoy their workouts and focus on their wellness goals, while owners have one less job to worry about and their time can be spent helping their members instead.

In addition, advancements in gym management software are allowing members to make extra purchases directly on their phones, like personal training sessions, supplements and club merchandise, instantly increasing revenue for owners and adding value toward member goals. Enhancements in club management software include reporting, for owners to more effectively track member behavior. Accurate reporting is vital in understanding a club’s demographic, saving important member information like birthdays, learning how a club can improve and most importantly, exceeding members needs and expectations.

SOCIAL MEDIA TO INTERACT WITH MEMBERS & BUILD COMMUNITY

Social media has changed communication, especially in the fitness industry. Although there’s speculation and controversy surrounding social media, it serves as a positive outlet to effectively market to members and allows them to share transformations, frustrations, success stories and common struggles.

Popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram give owners simple and meaningful opportunities to celebrate their member’s triumphs and also keep up with fitness trends like online personal training, quick fit tips and nutritional counseling. Owners can connect with their members along with hundreds of prospects through organic social media and paid advertising by offering value that will help them with their fitness journeys.

Factors could include discounts on memberships, point of sale items and personal training packages. Both parties benefit this way, establishing stronger business to consumer relationships. Ultimately, social media helps owners better understand their members, even beyond the gym. Majority of members are on social media hashtagging their gym selfies and snapping photos of their healthy food. By interacting with them through this outlet, owners can more effectively market to members and offer fitness-related things that match their interests and needs, establishing loyal customers and increasing profit. Learn more how social media benefits health clubs here.

DIGITAL RESOURCES THAT OFFER MORE VALUE

Members need guidance and credible resources while working toward their goals, which is why it’s important for owners to keep a library of online blogs and articles that are geared toward fitness and wellness. The more value owners provide their members with, the more likely members are to achieve their goals, while owners maintain healthy retention and continuous cash flow.

TEXTING FOR INSTANT REACH

Texting is as personal as it gets in this day and age, since that’s how majority of members and prospects communicate on a daily basis. Sending out text alerts not only informs members with important information and updates, but it’s also an effective way for owners to maintain relationships with their members, even if the text messages are automatic. Owners can text various things like when payment information is updated, when full classes have more openings, when a class is cancelled or a member reschedules a session, when the club itself is closed, along with birthday texts for a personal touch.

BOTTOM LINE

What do all of these components have in common? Efficiency. More efficiency equals more member engagement, resulting in stronger bonds between owners and their members and higher chances of landing prospects. It’s difficult for members to focus on their fitness goals and owners to focus on generating revenue when neither have the necessary tools to take care of them. In a nutshell, owners can choose to hide behind their computer screens, shedding negative light on technology, or they can choose to walk across the bridge with everything them and their members need to succeed.

DIGITAL WELLNESS: IS IT WELL FOR US?

We live in a world surrounded by screens while we spend our mornings hashtagging our breakfasts on social media and taking selfies of our gains at the gym. We’re adapting to behaviors that have become social norms, where receiving more “likes” on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are now personal achievements that we feel instant gratification from.

Some might argue that our online lives could be destructive to real life, introducing possible negative effects on body image and self-esteem, however, digital wellness is opening doors for both owners and members, bringing people together with common goals through a simple hashtag, offering members more fitness knowledge and generating opportunities for more club revenue.

HEALTHY FOR MEMBERS, HEALTHY FOR BUSINESS

Fitness is just as mental as it is physical and taking advantage of digital wellness is a quick and effective way to keep members motivated and maintain healthy retention. While members stay busy running on treadmills and posting their yoga photos to Instagram, owners can keep a library of digital blogs and articles that focus on different workouts, healthy recipes and wellness tips for members to reference. Owners can offer yoga classes and other events that are geared toward stress relief and wellness, providing members with more value and generating more revenue at the same time.

MORE THAN JUST APPEARANCE

We have the preconceived notion to exercise strictly for weight loss, so we look thinner, but then we forget about the positive impact fitness has on overall health and wellness. Even though weight loss is a common goal among millions of people and physical appearance is directly linked to confidence, it’s important for owners to assure their members that it’s not the only reason to purchase a gym membership. Wellness is about much more than what we see on the outside.

Specific body types and looks are constantly being broadcasted online, on television and social media, convincing both men and women that they have to look a certain way to achieve happiness. Technology isn’t the culprit here–we are. Health club owners and fitness professionals are direct influencers of this epidemic, which is why it’s imperative for them to use technology as a tool to spread positivity by encompassing every aspect of fitness and wellness, not just appearance.

Anything posted online has potential to spread like wildfire. It’s up to the professionals in the industry to make sure what’s being showcased isn’t toxic to their consumers.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR OWNERS

Luckily, social media has given owners opportunities to boost member confidence and increase revenue in the process. Through simple posts and accurate hashtagging, owners are able to share progress and transformation photos on their social media platforms, celebrating member accomplishments and more importantly, praising their none-scale victories.

Club owners can instantly motivate their members through positive sayings, quotes of encouragement and get members excited about exercise and how healthy it makes them feel. Personal trainers and class instructors can go beyond teaching by empathizing with members, offering compassion and listening to them during moments of frustration or discouragement.

They can give encouraging advice in person and online, comment on their social media posts and share them to applaud their triumphs. Building and maintaining these business-to-consumer relationships on and offline will only continue to help gyms and health clubs flourish.  

BOTTOM LINE

In this digital age, how members feel and perceive themselves is a direct result of what they consume online. Keeping up with digital and wellness trends as an owner can only help members in the long run. To answer the question, “is digital wellness well for us?” Yes. It’s an open door to fade out negativity surrounding “ideal” body images and shift focus to all areas of fitness and what being healthy truly means, putting more revenue in an owner’s pocket.

HOW TO GENERATE MORE CLUB REVENUE

There is always room for improvement and financial growth within your club, whether it’s brand new or it’s been around for a while. Here are some ways to increase your revenue.

USE ASF SOFTWARE

When you have the right health club management software to increase your gym’s efficiency and engage your members, revenue naturally increases. Display club promotions in My Member Account Mobile App like discounts on point of sale items and club merchandise so members can make easy purchases.

Through the integration between Scheduler and My Member Account Mobile App, members can purchase and sign up for additional personal training sessions, group classes or training events directly in the interface, making it a convenient process for members and quick transactions for your club. Learn more about scheduling here.

ADVERTISE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

This is a given, considering majority of your prospects, if not all of them are on social media. Not only can you do unpaid organic posts showcasing club offers, but also consider paid advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to generate more memberships. This can be done by directly linking My Enrollment to an ad so prospects can easily sign up with your club. It’s a simple process for them and an easy money-making process for you. Learn more about how social media can help your gym here.

ENGAGE CURRENT MEMBERS

It’s easy to let current members fall through the cracks once they’re already on board with you, but to maintain strong retention, you have to keep them satisfied, and seeking current members out is a prime opportunity to up your cash flow.

Fully engaged customers deliver a 23 percent premium over the average customer in share of wallet, profitability and revenue, so to reiterate, take advantage of both social media and ASF software like Scheduler and My Member Account Mobile App by promoting special discounts on point of sale items and club merchandise. Easily display feature events in My Member Account Mobile App and post discount opportunities for members to purchase sessions on a trial basis, if sessions are not already included in their memberships.

Another strategy is to use My Enrollment to offer 14-day trials for existing members that refer their friends. This way members bring prospects in and you’re funneling in future income.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OFF-PEAK HOURS

You’re most likely aware of patterns in your club, especially if you’re using My Reports to track member behavior. Many members actively avoid their gyms during peak hours simply because they’re too crowded. Although this is a common issue, 67 percent of customer churn is preventable if the issue was resolved at the first engagement, so instead of treating this situation as a burden on your club, look at it as an opportunity to fill in the gaps and bring in extra profit.

Offer extra classes and personal training during slower times and promote them on your website, social media and through ASF software. This way, you’re dissolving member frustration and boosting your business at the same time. Remember that members can purchase and sign up directly in My Member Account Mobile App.

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7 DIET WARNING SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR

ASF 7 Diet Warning Signs To Watch Out For
If you keep up with fitness and health trends, you’ve probably heard countless perceptions on how to lose weight. With how intimidating weight loss can be and how much light is shed on many diet fads, it’s easy to fall into traps. To help you prevent this, here are some warning signs to be mindful of.

1. INFOMERCIALS THAT OVERPROMISE

Infomercials that guarantee a specific amount of weight loss in an unrealistic amount of time by following their diets or programs are what you need to watch out for. For one, these types of programs often lead to short-term results and water loss, not fat loss. Second, our bodies are all different, and even the most scientific of weight loss programs can’t predict how much weight someone will lose and how long it will take, according to SELF Magazine. Like it or not, true weight loss takes time and consistency. Keep in mind, however, not to confuse this with goal-oriented six-week fitness challenges that many gyms offer. The main takeaway is that if you see something on television that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

2. IT INVOLVES A PILL

Although some supplements like green tea extract and glucomannan are supposed to suppress your appetite and aid in fat burning, there is no “magic pill” for weight loss. According to Healthline, certain pills can be useful to nudge your metabolism, but no pill truly sheds fat. A combination of a balanced diet along with consistent exercise are key to weight loss. Learn more about different weight loss mistakes here.

3. UNNECESSARY EXPENSIVE PRODUCTS

It’s no secret that many of us associate better products with higher costs. In fact, many gyms and fitness clubs offer programs and plans that are cost-heavy but are actually worth the money, however, according to SELF Magazine, if certain diets require you to purchase expensive supplements and outrageously priced organic food, then it’s probably a waste. What you should invest in is simple: whole foods like vegetables, fruit and lean proteins along with a gym membership, some workout gear and any other useful perks like personal training that will help you reach your fitness goals. Otherwise, turn the other way if it seems fishy and requires you to break the bank.

4. LINKS NEGATIVITY TO SPECIFIC FOODS

First off, this isn’t about specific diets like the Keto diet which eliminates carbs. If something like that works best for you, then do it. This is about weight loss programs that place toxic and bad labels on foods like dairy or gluten. The truth is that too much of anything isn’t good for you and weight loss takes place through a calorie deficit. Of course, it’s best to reduce the amount of processed foods you put into your body, but even these foods aren’t “toxic.” Restricting certain foods only makes us want them more, which leads to yo-yo behavior. Instead, practice moderation by eating clean most of the time and indulging some of the time. If your diet uses a fear tactic to scare you out of eating something, it’s best not to follow it.

5. EXERCISE ISN’T ENCOURAGED

Many diets out there use the “no exercise” tactic as a way of convincing us to follow their plans, because who wants to get up and work to lose weight, right?  To reiterate, weight loss operates by burning more calories than you consume. Although improving diet alone is extremely effective, results will eventually become stagnant if that’s your only weight loss approach. To achieve long-term results, it’s recommended to eat a balanced diet while focusing on weightlifting.The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn while at rest, which will ultimately help you shed the fat for good. The bottom line here is that you have to work for what you get–don’t be fooled otherwise.

6. RELIES ONLY ON THE SCALE

It’s not necessarily a negative thing to have an end weight goal, but it’s important to understand the possible psychological harm the scale can do, which is why it’s best to stay away from any diet that strictly focuses on how much you weigh. This is because the scale doesn’t tell us the difference between fat and muscle. So, while you’re losing fat, you could also be gaining muscle in the process, which explains why you might not see a number drop. In a nutshell, the scale is commonly associated with the feeling of failure, so it’s best to stand clear of any diets that rely on it. Learn more about the scale here.

7. JUICE CLEANSES

Juice cleanses have been around for ages and we trust them with the misconception that they are healthy and will detox our bodies. According to Redbook, there is no scientific evidence that says juice cleanses rid our bodies of toxins. These cleanses also deprive our bodies of essential nutrients that actually aid in weight loss like fiber, protein and healthy fats. So, if you’re on a juice cleanse and you’re feeling hungry and low on energy, it’s because your body needs substance and juice alone will not suffice. Juice cleanses can also cause weight gain, according to Redbook. The lack of calories during a juice cleanse results in the body holding onto whatever it can, which can slow the metabolism down, causing you to feel sluggish and eventually crash.

BOTTOM LINE

The best way to lose weight is whatever is most realistic for you, and diet fads are typically huge hypocrites when it comes to any sustainable measure of weight loss, so know the facts and do your research before committing to anything.

4 REASONS TO JOIN A GYM

Reasons to join a gym

With the new year in full swing, now is the prime time to get a gym membership. Whether your goal is to lose weight and gain muscle or improve your endurance, there are plenty of reasons to give in. Here are some reasons to join a gym.

4 Reasons to Join a Gym Today

1. HELPS WITH CONSISTENCY

No matter what your fitness goals entail, consistency is key to reaching them and in order to maintain consistency, we need structure, which is exactly what a gym provides. When all of the equipment you could ever need is conveniently in one place, you’re more likely to stick with your goals, and more importantly, reach them. 

2. OFFERS VARIETY

The beauty of a fitness club is that there is a little something for everyone and a variety of ways to use equipment. From free weights to cardio machines to swimming and Zumba classes, gyms offer members variety, which is crucial for maintaining motivation and preventing stale workouts. With an abundance of equipment, you’re always able to mix up your routine so you’re never bored, and you actually enjoy working out.

3. PERSONALIZED SUPPORT & POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

Personal trainers and class instructors are there to help you reach your fitness goals by offering expert advice and hands-on guidance to ensure proper form and a healthy diet. It’s especially important for those who feel intimidated by the gym and are insecure about what they’re doing. 

Group classes and training are also effective for reaching your goals and receiving extra help. A group setting might seem intimidating initially, but rather than focusing on how you look to other people, confide in other attendees as well as your instructors to learn new exercises and expand your fitness knowledge.

4. MEMBERSHIP & MERCHANDISE DEALS

The beginning of a new year is a peak time for receiving special discounts on memberships along with various fitness items like water bottles, protein powder, workout gear and even deals on personal training, so take advantage of any and all deals your gym might be offering. These offers will be kind to your wallet and your health.