Reposted from www.abcfinancial.com
Are you thinking of opening a gym in a new location but don’t know where to start — or if you are even ready for it? Growing your business involves a lot of new challenges, from employee management to sales strategy. But do not let these growing pains deter you from expanding! Follow these tips to determine whether you are ready to open in new locations and learn how to approach the process.
Are You Ready for Expansion?
The first piece of the puzzle is figuring out whether you are even ready for the move. There is nothing more damaging to a business than moving too fast at the wrong time — and running a gym is tricky.
If you are currently operating a single gym, make sure you are hitting your yearly revenue targets and making a profit. Look at your net income and determine whether your business is growing. Do you have the available financial assets to make a big investment?
If you own an established gym chain, expanding into new locations is more familiar to you. Look at your profit margins over the past several months, and make sure your recently opened gyms are hitting their goals. At the end of the day, financial health is the most important factor when deciding to open a gym.
Money talks, but you should also be listening to your customers! Is your gym overflowing with business to the point where the space is overcrowded or overbooked? Are your customers begging you to open a new location so they can keep training with you? Are you confident in your ability to attract new members, because you have pinpointed your core client? Expanding your business will help you manage demand, but first you have to make sure you have this demand from your customers!
Hiring and Managing New Employees
If you are opening a new gym, chances are you will be hiring new employees to run the business. Whether you are in need of a full new staff, or just a few extra workers, hiring and managing employees is a big challenge.
Our number one tip for gym owners looking to expand is to rely heavily on referrals from current employees and to promote internally. This will save you a lot of time and worry in the hiring process. Of course, if you want to look externally for new employees, you can always post job openings online and at your current locations.
When it comes to employee management, it is important to have an administrative system in place before you make the move. Whether you are opening a new gym on the other side of town or the other side of the country, it is important you have the necessary hierarchy and support system in place to make sure your employees succeed. It is impossible for a new gym location to run smoothly without a tight operation.
Launching or Expanding Your Website
A new location means a new website or an extension of your current website. There are many factors to keep in mind when it comes to your digital presence. Opening a new gym should not mean opening a completely new business. You want your new website to be cohesive and follow your brand’s existing design patterns.
There are a few digital tips to keep in mind when designing your website:
- Make sure your website has a cohesive design which speaks to your overall brand image.
- Create a tab on the main website page under the name “Locations” or “Find a Club” that links to each individual page associated with your different branches. This will make your website easy to navigate.
- Customize your website to your region — your client base is going to be different, so your content should be different too! Write an About page that is specific to your region rather than just duplicating your pages, and write posts that relate directly to your new audience.
- Set benchmarks and monitor for progress. Set goals for your website and implement the appropriate data analytics to keep track of your performance.
How to Boost Sales in New Regions
Opening a gym in a new region comes with a unique set of sales challenges. If you are completely new to this region, you may not have the name recognition and built-in trust you have enjoyed at your current locations. You are going to need to implement some sales strategies to gain new clients. Thankfully, gym management software is great for implementing these sales strategies and keeping track of performance.
When expanding to a new location, leverage both digital and direct marketing tools! Some example of sales and marketing tactics include:
- Using your website, social media channels and mobile app to promote your club and attract new members.
- Engaging in an email marketing campaign to get the word out about your business.
- Throwing a launch party to get the community excited.
- Using word-of-mouth to attract new potential clients organically and build trust.
- Holding various promotional events or campaigns to offer a lower sign-up fee for your first customers.
There are so many tools at your disposal when boosting sales in new regions, so do not underestimate the fundamentals and do not forget to make the most out of your gym management software!
By following these simple but effective tips, you can ensure successful growth for your business! Expanding to new locations is a sign of financial health; celebrate by strengthening your brand and making the right strategic moves!
Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomasondemand.com.