Secrets to Success in the Gym Business

August 6, 2015


By: Jim Thomas

I get the opportunity to speak with many gym owners and operators who want to take their business to the next level.  Some are struggling and others are doing well, but want continued improvement.  In the end, we first look at behavior and what we have control over.  Here are some tips on how to achieve success in the gym business.

Know your why.  This one is big.  Just like you do with your gym prospect, do you know why this is important to you?  In addition, don’t forget why you got in the gym business to begin with.   When is the last time you participated in a class or worked out in your gym?

Have a proven process for hiring and training.  The first rule is  “hire who they are” not “what they know.”  You can train what they need to know. Implement a strategy that allows for training before they start in the gym.  Put them in a position to succeed.

Acknowledge that criticism is just part of it.  Don’t get caught up in the negative and what other people think.  Criticism comes with attracting attention to yourself and if you’re not getting criticism, you’re probably not attracting enough attention.

Be a good student.  In other words, be a student of the industry, fitness, sales, people, etc.  Always be learning.  Become obsessed with learning.

Always have some wiggle room.  Too many gyms put a plan in place that requires they get 100% results to be successful. You’ll be better served to have a plan that can work if you only hit 80% of what’s planed for.  We compare it to buying an apartment complex.  Would you buy it if you can make money if it requires 100% of the units be leased or is it a better deal if it will make money at 80% occupancy.

Know your unique selling position.  What is your competitive edge?  How are you innovating?  What is your value proposition?  What are you willing to do that no one else is?  If you’re just like everyone else, the only difference is price.

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Avoid success apathy.  Perhaps the bigger killer of businesses in the fitness industry is complacency.  Just because you have had success in the past doesn’t guarantee success in the future.  You must maintain your discipline to the process.

Follow success.  Find other successful people and companies that you can model.  They don’t have to be in the fitness business.

Now, go make your gym a success!

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Learn more here: Jim Thomas On Demand