You want your business to be a well-oiled machine. There should be clear processes and procedures in place for you and your team to work effectively and generate income. Your business operations are what allows you to do this successfully. It’s everything that happens in private, the part your members don’t see.
From your finances and accounts to your hiring strategy, business operations are at the core of a successful business. In this article, we talk about how you can improve your business operations and nine key elements of running your business.
- What Are Business Operations?
- How to Improve Your Business Operations
- 9 Key Elements of Running Your Business Operations
What Are Business Operations?
Your business operations are the things you do every day to make money. It’s the activities you do to earn a profit. Business operations is a collective term that covers a lot of elements within your fitness business. Whether you sell products, stream classes, or have a studio location, your operations are the inner workings of your business so that it runs as efficiently as possible.
Think of your business operations as the internal engine of your business. Let’s say you want to improve your customer loyalty or open up a gym in a new neighborhood, you should look to your company’s operations. Every business oversees the behind-the-scenes design and management to create a successful company.
Your operations can include everything from your finances and personnel to your strategy and marketing. By taking a look at exactly how your business is run, you can evaluate existing planning processes and really optimize your operations. A business that is always getting better, continues to evolve and streamline its operations to generate income more efficiently.
The Fitness Founders Podcast has an interesting episode on the difficult decision gyms need to make right now. Eric Killian, a Certified Public Accountant and founder of the Fitness CPA, talks about how your decisions have a big impact on your operations and how this will affect your business as a whole.
How to Improve Your Business Operations
Aligning and coordinating all aspects of your business so that you deliver incredible customer satisfaction and build your brand is by no means easy. Whether it’s managing your team, finances, facilities, or performing daily tasks, there’s a lot to think about. Your business operations can adapt and change as your fitness business grows. Here are four tips to help improve your business operations.
Measure Performance and Know Your Numbers
No matter what part of your business you’re looking at, measuring KPIs and metrics will help you. Making data-driven decisions is integral to putting the right resources and processes in place for any purpose. You should be fully aware of your finances, your member numbers, staff performance, and overall member happiness. Leverage technology to access data that can give you the upper hand in all parts of your business.
When running a small business, admin tasks can be tedious and take up more time than necessary. Try to automate as many processes as you can to free up your team’s time. There’s a vast range of digital tools that the fitness industry can use to automate multiple areas of your business. From email marketing and social media scheduling software to digital signatures and class booking reminders. By automating these types of tasks, you can help to avoid common mistakes, free up time, and run your business much more smoothly.
Keep a Healthy Cash Flow
Although collecting membership payments is crucial for any fitness business, 57% of business owners in the fitness industry say that missed or late member payments is their biggest payment-related issue. It doesn’t matter what type of business you run, it’s always a good idea to keep a healthy cash flow. When you know what’s coming in and out each month you can make exciting business plans, invest in new equipment, and even hire new fitness instructors.
Streamline Your Processes
Finally, think about how you can streamline the way you run your business. Again, this applies to multiple aspects of your gym. When you streamline your business, you’re looking at better communication between the staff so that you can track all completed tasks. Overall, it means fewer delays and mistakes because the processes in place are efficient. All this helps to improve productivity and time management. Automation is a part of streamlining your business operations, but you can take it further by assessing your current processes and finding room for improvement.
Bryan O’Rourke, the President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council, talks about how technology is shaping the future of fitness. He discusses the growing influence technology has on the fitness industry and touches on the effects of automation on the customer experience.
9 Key Elements of Running Your Business Operations
Running and managing your business operations is tough. It involves being strategic and thinking about how your processes and operations impact each part of your business. But when you create a streamlined approach to running your business, you can improve your operations management, and ultimately, be more profitable.
Track Your Finances
The first part of running any business is tracking and understanding your finances. The end of the month or quarter should be no surprise. Truly understanding your business finances is critical to your success. This is because it gives you a complete insight into your expenses and revenue. Without this information, it’s impossible to make smart business decisions.
Although you want to help members, your business needs to make money to be successful. This starts with tracking your finances.
Create and Implement a Budget
Following on from the previous point, you need to create and implement a budget. Once you have a full understanding of your finances and you’re tracking what’s coming in and out, you can create a budget. Your budget doesn’t need to be overly complicated, it’s just a way of understanding your expenses and revenue. This takes you back to having a healthy cash flow which is important for running your business.
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When you track your finances, you can create a budget that supports a healthy cash flow. Look at your finances, check that your books are up-to-date, and evaluate how you manage and make payments. All this helps to streamline your business.
Hire, Manage, and Train Staff
Your processes for hiring new employees, managing, and training staff are an integral part of your business operations. After all, your team will be the face of your gym. They are the people that interact with your members on a daily basis and deliver the type of customer service your members love. To find the right talent for your facility, you need to perfect your hiring process. This means finding people with a passion for fitness and technical knowledge as well as skills in content creation and even streaming.
The way you manage and train staff will also contribute to a successful business. Does your team have all the tools and training they need to succeed? Your onboarding program should be clear and you should have the ability to lead and inspire your team to perform to their best. For more advice on leading a high-performance culture in a fitness organization, listen to Simon Flint talk about how to maintain high-performance across a range of brands. Simon is the CEO of Evolution Wellness, the largest network of fitness studios in Asia.
Another area you need to focus on is marketing. How will you attract new customers to your facility and digital fitness platform? Consider how you’re marketing team and fitness staff communicate to create a consistent marketing message. Your marketing operations are another cog in the machine that needs to run smoothly in order to attract new customers.
Perhaps your fitness instructors will also be posting on social media. Or maybe you have a dedicated marketing team or outsource to a marketing agency. Either way, you will need to invest in marketing and keep an eye on its performance. Tracking your financing, knowing your numbers, and measuring performance, will help you to invest the correct resources in the right place.
Insurance and Legal
Meeting standards and regulations is a part of running your business. You need to have gym insurance to cover all eventualities. Your insurance policy should cover you in most situations and help you to avoid a costly payout. Naturally, members are at a higher risk of injury in a fitness environment. An injury lawsuit can be very costly and is sure to put a dent in your cash flow.
Running a gym is a potential minefield, so you will need to stay up-to-date with specific business licenses, insurance requirements, and standards you need to maintain.
Manage Your Facility
Managing your facility includes the day-to-day running as well as general maintenance. For the daily management of the facility, you will need to follow rigorous cleaning and hygiene protocols to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and reassure members it’s safe to visit your facility. It’s your responsibility to create, manage, and implement cleaning protocols to ensure you meet the safety standards set out by the government.
In addition to daily facility maintenance, you will need to fix any faulty equipment and keep an eye on the building itself. Whether it’s new lights or building work, regular checks on the facility will ensure high standards.
Operate and Maintain Digital Assets
Following the eruption of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have pivoted to a digital way of working. If you’re now operating as a hybrid business with both in-person and digital arms, you will need to operate and maintain your digital assets. This means ensuring your digital fitness platform is secure as well as managing website hosting and keeping data private.
Your digital assets are crucial to your ability to increase profitability, especially if you’re facility is currently closed or operating at reduced capacity. You will need to protect and maintain all of your digital assets to keep business continuity and support your members.
Manage Inventory and Purchases
If you have an online store where you sell branded products, then you will have another operational element to factor in. An online store is a great way to add an additional income stream while supporting your members at the same time.
You have the option to stock another company’s products that align with your business or create your own branded merchandise. You also have the opportunity to create digital and downloadable content. Either way, as a retailer, you will need to manage the supply chain, inventory, track purchases, and the manufacturing process if relevant. It’s a separate operation in its own right, but can be hugely effective for generating additional income.
The day-to-day management of your fitness business is a key part of creating happy and loyal customers. When the fitness experience feels flawless, it increases member referrals and nurtures a growing and loyal membership base. Daily management includes checking in members, running classes, cleaning the facility, streaming digital group classes, and more. Often, the day-to-day management of the business is delegated to your management team. They will be responsible for overseeing daily tasks and ensuring that all guidelines and processes are implemented.
As you can see your business operations range from high-level financial decision-making to overseeing the day-to-day management of your business. Your processes have a massive impact on staff productivity, customer experience, and your finances. When you build processes that keep your team motivated, you can automate and streamline your business effectively.
Your business operations are just as important as the service or product you offer. Although your operations may not be the most glamorous of things, it’s invaluable work that will grow your business into a fitness powerhouse. From recruitment and management to finances and legal considerations, running an efficient business is key to success.