Taking the plunge and opening your own fitness business can be a scary prospect, especially if you are doing it for the first time. You may be a personal trainer or have a related sports background. As a fitness professional, you already have the skills to create and run workout programs that will help your members reach their fitness goals.
But, there is so much more to it than that.
You are no longer just a personal trainer or fitness professional. You are now a business owner. And with that comes a whole world of responsibilities that may, at first, seem like a mountain that is impossible to climb.
If you are reading this, it is likely you are either just beginning your fitness business journey or you are currently on a well-traveled road. In any case, here are some strategies that you should consider implementing based on people who have been successful.
In this article, we will cover the following strategies:
- Clear Goal Setting
- Building Your Tribe
- Giving Value with Social Media
- Use Low-cost Trials
Implement these and you will be well on your way to building your own fitness empire.
Set Clear Goals
The fitness industry, especially boutique fitness, is exploding, with studios not only popping in major cities like New York, San Francisco and London, but also in smaller cities and towns across the world. New and unique group fitness studios are becoming more accessible to people from most walks of life. Because of this, and the general rise in the popularity of fitness, the industry has never been more accessible. If you are massively into fitness, getting certified and getting a career in the fitness industry seems very appealing given the growth in the market.
According to Travis Jones, the founder and CEO of Results Based Training, the road to fitness business success is very different to what is sold to you when earning your certifications. Speaking recently in an interview Travis laid out the challenges that you face in the early stages of your journey as a fitness entrepreneur.
“People are sold this dream of working their own hours and making all the money,” he says. “But then they realize they have to work hard, they have to get up at 4.30am and do split shifts and no-one wants to put in that time. The reality is as a fitness business owner the first three or four years are a grind.”
Similarly, serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has called out the culture of “fitness want-trepenuers” who believe in having a great body, posting mirror selfies and calling it a business. In Gary’s mind, they default to what is easy for them and avoid what is hard – which is actually running a business.
It’s clear: Don’t be the type of fitness entrepreneur that does minimal work and takes easy shortcuts in the hope of success.
And the way to do this is very simple.
Set clear definable goals for your fitness business. Ask yourself these critical questions to really dig into who you are and what you stand for as a fitness entrepreneur.
- Why have you started this fitness business?
- Who are you trying help?
- Why do you want to help them get fit?
- What makes you different from the other fitness business in the area?
- Where do you see your fitness business over the next couple of years?
Ask yourself these core questions and you will soon be able to figure out if you are in this game for the right reasons. If you are, you will be then able to set clear and definable goals that will help you on the path to success.
Build Your Tribe
One of the defining parts of the most successful fitness movements is their focus on building a community or tribe of members. Successful fitness entrepreneurs build brands by creating a unique culture that sets their studio apart from the rest of the competition.
Look, for example at Glofox customer F45, one of the best examples of a successful boutique fitness studio franchise that creates a tribe mentality for its members. It has the following clear identifying features that make its brand unique.
- The length of its classes (45 minutes) is baked into the very fabric of the brand.
- It’s “No Mirror, No Treadmills, No Ego” Policy.
- The flat screens on the wall that showcase the exercises during class.
- Class names influenced by American sports and culture.
These are just some of the defining aspects of F45 brand and this has built a culture that helps members feel part of something exclusive and unique. They are part of the F45 tribe and showcase it proudly to their peers, usually through social media.
And it is not just the bigger successful studios who are doing this.
Late last year, we talked to Adriana Espinosa, owner of the The Wolf Yoga Company, to get her excellent digital marketing insights for our blog. Her successful fitness business has a clearly defined brand based around, unsurprisingly, the wolf!
The Customer Engagement Playbook for Your Fitness Business
She explains,“For me, the inspiration behind it was that a wolf is a really solo animal that is really strong alone, but is also found in a pack. That is the same in yoga. If it is practised in a group, there is a community aspect to it. You have a pack leader, who is the teacher. The studio is the place where these lone wolves unite, like in a den and we are stronger together”
It’s very clear that Adrianna is building a cult following by putting the wolf at the center of her branding. As well as that there is a strongly defined look that is apparent from her website, her Instagram page, and the fitness clothing she sells.
By following the example of these successful boutique studios, you can also build a tribe that your members can feel proud to be part of. This will lead to more fanatical followers and higher rates of retention.
Give Value Using Social Media
As a fitness entrepreneur, you should have several different growth strategies at play for your fitness business. Your social media strategy is the most important. We go on and on about how important social is, but a lot of fitness entrepreneurs are still ignoring its potential.
The reason for this is that it usually takes time and effort that a lot of fitness entrepreneurs just don’t have, especially in the early stages of their business. However, it is one of the most effective ways of showcasing your methodology and building up your membership.
The reason why?
Nearly everyone and their mother is on some form of social media. At the moment the most popular is Facebook and Instagram. If you are in a competitive market, a well thought out social media strategy can put you head and shoulders above your fitness business rivals.
The most critical part of any organic or paid social media strategy is that you have to create content that gives value to your audience. Give your audience content that you yourself would find useful.
And give it away for free.
Use social media to give away high quality, engaging content. If your free content is of high quality, it will leave your audience expecting the quality of your paid services to be even higher and possibly worth trying out. Look at the most successful fitness influencers. They give away great free content daily to build trust with their audience. When it comes to offering up their latest workout program, fitness apparel, or book for sale, they have an audience ready to buy.
So start giving away content of real value by doing the following:
- Set up a Youtube channel and start doing simple workout videos.
- Post shorter snippets of these workout videos on Facebook or Instagram.
- Post a “tip of the day” on either fitness or nutrition.
- Offer up an easy to follow workout programs in a simple E-book format.
Use Low-cost Trials to Sell
The final strategy helps you actually get members into your fitness business. The biggest mistake that many fitness entrepreneurs make is not putting enough effort into one very crucial thing.
Having put all the effort into setting your goals, creating a brand that will build a tribe and making valuable marketing content to attract customers, don’t let it all go to waste by letting them fall through the cracks in the sales process.
And we have one particular strategy that hopefully will put a stop to that.
Ronan Mahon, a Glofox Product Specialist and fitness business owner advises using low cost paid trials as a way to more effectively sell core memberships. “By getting even a small financial commitment up front, you filter out the people who have zero interest,” he says. “The person who is willing to pay for a trial, however small, is more likely to sign up”.
- Do a $5 – $10 two week trial in which you can build a relationship with a member and showcase what you have to offer in the gym. You then have their card details on file
- Keep a consistent cadence of calls and emails within this two week period to make sure the member turns up regularly for class.
- At the end of the two-week trial, center the conversation around “upgrading” their membership from “trial” to “full”. This is less awkward and more streamlined as you have their card on file.
When you start a fitness business journey, you have to get to grips with all aspects of running a business. These include accounting, sales, marketing, hiring, motivation, and management. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will take some time to get your head out of those weeds and make sure you have the correct strategies in place to give yourself the strongest possible chances of success.