Complete Guide to Efficient Gym Management
To run any business, it is imperative to have knowledge and passion for that industry. Without the correct background and a deep commitment to a specific industry, it is virtually impossible for you to be successful in your venture. While the old adage of hiring people with the right skills holds true in case of all businesses, when it comes to something like running your own gym, it is imperative for you to know, live, breathe and eat fitness. Knowing the industry and the business like the back of your hand will definitely come in handy when it comes to getting the edge, hiring the right staff, retaining the customers and giving the clients the best bang for their buck.
As a gym owner / gym manager, the driving force behind your venture / job definitely has to be something more than just running a successful business or being good at what you do. It has to do with motivating people to live their best life by embracing health and fitness. Your clients and customers will always be your biggest brand ambassadors, and no amount of marketing tactics can do what old-fashioned word of mouth publicity can do, when it comes to a business like this. And happy customers are only possible if you have dedicated a lot of time, effort and energy in your gym. As a business owner / gym manager, it is vital for you to know that the gym has to be an extension of your personality.
Let's look at some of the main things you need in your arsenal in order to start your own gym or to work as a successful gym manager:
These days, it is not uncommon for people who know nothing about the food and beverage industry to start their own restaurant. Similarly, people who have absolutely no knowledge of skin and beauty are launching spa chains. Owning or managing a gym without the right background is very much like shooting in the dark. Owning a gym and managing a gym should only be considered after a certain amount of experience in other areas of fitness. If you have equipped yourself with credentials in personal training, nutrition, massage therapy, etc. then you know what to expect from the people you hire. In order to source the right talent and leverage their performance, it is vital for you to know their job profile like the back of your hand.
Of course, there is so much more involved in running a gym than simply having the right knowledge about personal training, sports nutrition and massage therapy. A specialized course in Gym Management, which takes you through the various aspects of the business, is definitely crucial. Knowledge and experience in these areas will put you in a better position to create a brand image and identity for your gym. For example, if you have worked as or with a personal trainer, you are fully aware of the glitches clients and trainers face while working with each other. Now, you can actually work towards finding a solution, which can ensure that the clients and trainers can work in sync.
The same logic holds true for nutrition. If you have worked in another gym as a nutritionist, or hired the services of one, then you know how the sessions can be made more interactive and how the diets can be made more practical for the clients to stick to them.
Having the right staff is one of the most important aspects of managing a successful gym. Finding the right people and keeping them motivated is one of the biggest challenges of managing a gym.
Let's look at some key factors involved in training your gym staff :
- Hiring the right people is definitely one of the most important steps involved in managing a gym. Making sure that the people you are hiring are qualified, knowledgeable, ethical and passionate about the fitness industry is imperative.
- On the job training and orientation are also key when it comes to ensuring that your staff is fully equipped. Guiding them about the work hours, work ethics, code of conduct, communication skills, school of thought of the gym, personal hygiene, targets, etc. are highly crucial. The staff needs to know what is expected out of them and how they are supposed to deal with the clients. Regardless of what training background they come from, it is your job to ensure that they are trained specifically based on the principles followed by your gym.
- Managing your trainers, personal instructors and nutritionists is another challenging aspect of managing your gym. Just because highly trained and qualified people are hired and then they are given in-depth orientation, does not necessarily mean that they will not slip-up. All the staff members need to be constantly briefed about the new approaches and strategies, especially if the gym is promoting some new form of exercises or offering lucrative schemes. As a manager, you may not always be in a position to communicate with all the clients; however, your floor trainers and personal trainers are the ones who will be friendly with the clients and talking to them regularly. When it comes to promoting some discounts or schemes, your staff members have to be trained how to skilfully communicate the same to the clients without being too pushy or aggressive.
- When it comes to giving hard-core targets to your sales team or personal trainers, it is crucial to make sure that you are being reasonable as a manager or gym owner. Fitness as an industry definitely works on self-motivation more than marketing gimmicks, and it is nearly impossible for a client to stick it out in the long run, unless he / she thinks that it is beneficial to him / her. Training your staff with factual data, industry updates and practical approaches will help them bond better with the clients.
Managing your sales team and staff are just few of the elements involved in managing an entire gym. There are so many others things to take into consideration in order to run a successful fitness centre.
- Gym is all about space and equipment. People need the right amount of space and access to equipment that is of stellar quality, upgraded as per industry standards, safe to use and well-maintained. If your gym is using equipment that is out-dated, broken in any form, dirty from dirt and sweat or too complicated to use, then it is obviously going to put off the clients. Choosing the right weight training machines, treadmills, free-hand weights, mats, etc. is highly imperative for your clients to feel motivated to workout. Also, it is imperative for the space to not be too cramped up. While working out, the last thing people want is to bump into each other.
Hygiene and Maintenance
- The gym simply has too many areas, where extra care needs to be taken to maintain impeccable hygiene standards. Your staff and your members will only follow the rules, which are being strictly followed by the gym. As an owner or manager, you need to have very high hygiene standards for your gym. Personal hygiene of the trainers, hygiene in the locker room, cleaning of towels for the shower and steam area, cleanliness in the massage area, regular cleaning and maintenance of all the equipment, etc. all have to be strictly implemented. If you want your clients to follow certain guidelines, such as carrying their workout shoes instead of wearing them or carrying a hand towel or their own water bottle, then make sure to inform them at the time of enrolment.
- The fitness industry is ever-changing, and being in this business definitely adds to the pressure of constantly upgrading as per new industry updates. It could be a new workout method, or a new workout machine or a brand new technique, which is making a buzz everywhere; you need to be aware of all that is going on. It is imperative for you to evolve your services on a regular basis, to retain existing clients and bring in new ones. Unfortunately loyalty isnt one of the strongest suits of gym goers, unless they are working out in a club. But be sure while introducing a new piece of equipment or a new workout format, that they are adequately validated by the scientific community through properly conducted clinical trials. Introducing something new just for the sake of variety in being irresponsible. The variation is appreciated only if it means better result orientedness.
Facilities for members
- Going to the gym is no longer about losing weight. Today, fitness is a way of life for many people. A lot of people, who lead super hectic lives and juggle everything from hectic jobs to raising kids to socialising to being instrumental in some cause, look forward to that one hour in the day, when they can simply tune out the rest of the world and focus on themselves. A gym or a fitness centre is definitely that place for many people. People join fitness centres for various reasons some want to be fit, shed fat and build muscle, some want to be in optimum shape and lead a healthy life, some want to be trained athletes, marathon runners or bodybuilders, and some want to just get off their sedentary life and get moving. As an owner or manager, you have to cater to all these people & finally make sense to them that whatever may be the goal, General Physical Preparedness (GPP) has to improve via improvements in the following 5 Components of Fitness:
1. Cardiovascular Endurance
2. Muscular Endurance
3. Musculoskeletal Strength
5. Ideal Body Composition
- Coming to the gym regularly and making a payment for a membership is a huge commitment, and you need to ensure that your members are making the most of their membership. Everything from the location of the gym to parking facilities to the facilities provided to the members is your responsibility. Going the extra mile by making sure that your clients feel valued and looked after, will ensure that your gym does well. Introducing additional facilities like a juice bar, since a lot of people come straight from work to the gym, will ensure that their pre or post workout is taken care of. Also, entertainment options, such as peppy music, televisions in the cardio area and complimentary massages on clients birthdays, will make your gym a more fun place.
- As discussed earlier, since people are always trying something new when it comes to fitness, retention remains one of the biggest challenges of most gym owners / sales representatives / gym managers. Using gym management software is a great way to maintain all client records, such as membership details, bookings and schedule, retention, sales, marketing campaigns can all be monitored with the help of the software. Things like alerting the member ahead of time about his annual membership coming to an end, or offering an upgrade to a member at a lucrative discount, giving access to complimentary sessions of a new class with annual membership, etc. are all great ways to enhance client retention. Also, things like personal training and massage must be introduced subtly by offering one or two trial sessions, so that the members can decide if they want to go for the additional services.
- Some gyms may really push personal training from the get go. They may have even trained their floor trainers to convince the members to take personal training for maximum benefits. Such blatant agenda pushing can really put off the members and can even cost you his retention in the long run. It is imperative that the floor trainers are trained to be helpful and sincere instead of simply pushing additional services.
- As a gym owner / manager, your job is to enhance the atmosphere of the gym and experience of the members by constantly evolving the services and standards. If your gym promotes healthy living and ethical fitness methods and it gives maximum benefits to the clients in the form of trained professionals and equipment, then all you need is some promotions, marketing and lucrative packages to keep the business flowing.
- It is impossible for most businesses to survive and thrive today in the absence of unconventional modes of marketing. While the old methods of flyers, word to mouth publicity and print ads are highly popular even today, the marketing strategies and campaigns have definitely gone through an overhaul in recent times. With social media in the picture, your reputation can be made or broken within a day. One angry customer or one dissatisfied member is enough to tarnish your reputation. This is exactly why it is important for your brand to be proactive on all social media channels. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are all channels that can help you reach the locals in your area. You can target the right audience with the help of social media, instead of shooting in the dark. Any query, complain or misinformation can be clarified with the help of these mediums.
- The end user or customer is more evolved and smarter than ever before. Using stale, done to death methods of marketing is no longer going to cut it. People may have a lot more spending power today, but they are also a lot more in sync with what they want and what they dont want. Your marketing campaigns have to be designed to promote your distinguishing factors and unique selling points. In addition, if your current members are unhappy, but are only coming to the gym because they have paid for a stipulated period of time, then you need to do some damage control. From the time the client walks through the door for a tour or assessment till the time he / she pays for the following year (after enjoying one full years membership), the experience will depend on the kind of space you have created. Aside from your members self-motivation, the success of your gym will totally depend on the efficiency of the processes and the quality of your services.
A lot of people are of the opinion that formal education is not a necessity when it comes to a job like managing a gym. While actual, hands on experience in all areas of managing a gym are vital; knowledge via a detailed course in gym management can definitely add a lot more credentials to our profile. With the awareness regarding health and fitness on the rise, more than ever before, it goes without saying that the number of gyms in every locality, city and state have multiplied. However, there is a severe dearth of well-managed fitness centres, where in the staff is well trained and well managed. This is exactly why qualified people with a background in fitness and get an edge when they are keen on making a career as a gym manager or gym sales executive. This career is not just lucrative monetarily but also highly satisfying emotionally. With the help of this course, you can get placed in an international chain of gyms to manage their processes.
On the other hand, if you have been bitten by the entrepreneur bug and you are deeply driven by the motivation to stay fit and spread awareness regarding fitness, then starting your own venture - launching your own gym / fitness centre, maybe the right path for you. In this case too, doing the course will definitely come in handy, when it comes to things like hiring and training the right staff, managing and retaining members, finding new ways to promote your business, coming up with new introductions and packages, etc.