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10 Reasons Why Fitness Businesses Fail

why fitness businesses fail

There are so many reasons why fitness businesses fail. In general, these types of locations have remarkably tight profit margins. To be able to create an efficient and sustainable fitness business takes a lot of thought, preplanning, and analysis, but it’s not impossible. 

We’re going to explain below the main reasons why fitness businesses fail, but don’t see this as a deterrent. The easiest way to avoid the closure of a fitness business is to be proactive, focused, and community-driven. If you can create a close-knit community of dedicated members in a well-run location staffed by passionate fitness enthusiasts, you’re 90% of the way there. 

Read More: How to Build a Loyal Fitness Community

But, if you feel like there might be something missing from your fitness business, one of the 10 reasons below might help in making that change. 

The 10 Reasons Why Fitness Businesses Fail

1. Poor Location

If you have a great fitness business, exceptional branding, and all the foundations for a great community, but your business takes an hour to drive to, you’re not going to do well. 

When you’re scouting for your fitness business location, you need to be extremely careful in finding a location that is easy to reach and find. You also need to make sure that there’s enough of a local population there for your business to be sustainable. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, setting up a big box gym in the middle of a small town of 200 people. 

Check out the competition, see what class sizes other fitness businesses are getting, and whether there are any gaps in the local area that you could fill. If there are already three spin studios on the east side of your city but none on the west, maybe you can make the most of that locational gap. 

Then, once you have the ideal location for your business, you need to avoid another major pitfall.

2. Poor Marketing

Getting the word out about your business in the early days is not an easy task, but make sure you have all of the ingredients for success available to you. 

Ensure your branding and marketing style match the demographic of your desired audience. If you’re doing elderly fitness therapy classes, there’s not much point in advertising on TikTok. Take some time to discover where your target audience spends their time, and then ensure you craft the right message to get them into your gym. 

Want the complete fitness marketing guide? 

Read it right here

3. Competition

Do your research and ensure that you’re not setting up a business in an oversaturated market. The fitness industry is rife with trends, so make sure you’re not getting caught up in one right at the tail end of its popularity where plenty of established businesses have already signed up the majority of your target audience. 

If you are passionate about setting up your business and know you can provide a better service to your target audience, go for it – just make sure you fully understand your unique selling point. 

Need some advice on finding your Unique Selling Point?

Get the full guide here


4. Lack of Customer Engagement

There is nothing more vital for your business’s survival than developing a passionate and faithful fitness community. Referrals and word of mouth are worth 10 times as much as any advert or social media post. Having your members shout the praises of your business to their friends and family is the most reliable and effective way of building your client base. 

Need help building a loyal fitness community?

We’ve got you covered


5. Poor Equipment and Facilities

There’s no quicker way to lose your members than by letting your equipment or facilities get run down and dirty. Be meticulous in your cleaning practices and routines, ensuring that you and your staff aren’t missing a single spot. It’s such a major turn-off to step into a gym or studio and find it dusty, dirty, or the smell of other people lingering in the air. 

It may be tedious, it may take a long time, but there is no better way to give people a sense of safety and comfort within your location than to provide a clean, healthy, and pleasant place to exercise and look after themselves. 

6. Financial Mismanagement

Don’t make a financial decision until you are absolutely sure you are able to afford it. A great practice when it comes to budgeting for anything involved in running a fitness business is to take how much you think it’s going to cost, and then double it. Things happen, repairs need to be made, equipment breaks, staff need raises – there is always, always something. 

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Don’t leave yourself running on fumes, make sure you always have a rainy day fund and always, always make sure you’re sourcing your funds from the best possible place. 

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Gym Financing


7. Missing the Latest Trends

As a fitness business, you have to stay relevant, you have to stay up-to-date, and you need to be more well-read on your fitness type than anyone else. This isn’t just about adding some yoga into your warm-downs because people are (rightfully) placing a stronger emphasis on mental well-being, it’s about providing the best, healthiest, and safest service to your members. 

The world of sports and nutritional science is moving at a lightning pace. If there is new research or evidence that can help you provide a better service to your members, make sure you know about it and how to implement it. 

8. Ignoring the Boring Stuff

Zoning laws, insurance, health and safety, taxes, and planning permissions: these are all things that have led to perfectly successful fitness businesses having to shut their doors. 

Make sure you are meticulous in adhering to your zoning, health and safety, and taxation laws. If you struggle to keep on top of those things, hire someone else to look after it for you – there are thousands of businesses out there whose sole service is helping businesses like yours keep tabs on the finer details of running a business.

Need help keeping your business in order?

We can help you 


9. Not Respecting Your Staff

If you’re asking someone to be dedicated and motivated in your business, you need to give them the time and respect that they deserve. Make sure they’re not overworked, overburdened, or not getting the help they need. 

Ensure that you have an effective feedback system in place to hear all of the thoughts and ideas that your staff have. 

Secondly, make sure you’re investing in them as much as you’re investing in your business. If they need training, pay for it, if they’re looking for more responsibility, give it to them. 

Read More: The Complete Guide to Staff Happiness


10. Lack of Preparation

If there was one thing that was learned from the COVID pandemic, it’s that businesses with a solid business plan and a versatile structure came out on top. 

The fitness industry is one of the most volatile and unpredictable markets out there, you have to make sure you’re prepared for any eventuality. From a lawsuit to major repairs, you need to have an action plan and a rainy day fund in place to ensure you can keep going. 

This isn’t to say that running a business in the fitness industry is a nightmare. It’s a challenge, absolutely, but as long as you have a customer-focused approach that is meticulous in the finer details, you will thrive. 

Usually, the reasons why fitness businesses fail are problems that are a symptom, not a cause. Choosing a poor location or marketing tactic comes down to a lack of planning or oversight. Make sure that you take the time to really understand your business and the best way of presenting it to your customers.

If you need more assistance in running your fitness business efficiently, make sure you speak with our experts to learn more about how ABC Glofox can be the fitness partner you need. 

We empower you to boost your business

"I think Glofox speaks to lots of different fitness businesses. I looked at a few options, but the Glofox positioning was more flexible. Without it the business wouldn't be scaleable”
Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

Trusted by studios, and global gym chains.

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