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COVID-19Reopening
[ May 6, 2020 by Fitness Revolution 0 Comments ]

Use This Time to Review and Adjust

This time of year brings annual rituals like spring cleaning, pruning limbs and pulling out weeds. They’re necessary chores to get ready for a new season of growth. And this year, we can apply the same idea to our gyms amid the coronavirus crisis.

So, take the time now to review your systems, procedures, programming and personnel. What can you do to make subtle improvements or to try freshening up here and there?

We’re not suggesting a deep overhaul of your business strategy. Stick with your core offering and pricing structure.

Download our free list of resources to protect your business during the COVID-19 crisis.

But, with your staff members’ help, you can probably find plenty of smaller but helpful improvements to make. Here are a few thoughts to get you going.

  • We know some gym owners who were able to renegotiate their leases – and even get some more space that they’re now turning into a useful addition.
  • Others are applying fresh paint, replacing worn-out carpets and banged-up lockers, and shining glass and fixtures. That all adds up to a spiffy-looking gym, which is important in looking clean and safe, as well.
  • Review your team. Who might be able to take on new responsibility? Is there someone you’ve been meaning to release? Now is a good opportunity to make these kinds of changes.
  • Class size and offerings: Do you want to focus on training in small groups only? You might not have a lot of choice, depending on reopening guidelines in each state. But coordinate with your online and hybrid offerings, and consider what will be easiest to manage should you have to temporarily close again due to COVID-19.
  • Can you find better deals on supplies or services? You might want to stay with your current providers but still be able to renegotiate better terms for yourself.
  • Review your programming and equipment. Will each component still be relevant after reopening? Sometimes a good idea from a few years ago no longer holds up, even without a global pandemic. 

Remember we’re talking about nuance here. No major overhauls. Remember why you made the smart decisions you did, and be sure any revisions are important. You have enough on your plate without creating unnecessary work.

Also, download our free resources to provide information and context, and let us know how we can help. We’re always happy to talk.

COVID-19EmployeesReopening
[ April 29, 2020 by Jay Croft 0 Comments ]

Talk About Reopening With This Group First

With states starting to loosen Covid-19 restrictions on businesses, how developed is your plan to reopen your gym?

A major component of that plan must be communications – and as you’re developing the rollout, remember who you need to speak with before going public:

Your team.

Download our free list of resources to protect your business during the COVID-19 crisis.

That’s right. Before you announce your plans to your members or community, you need to meet with your employees first. 

Don’t assume they’ll do what they’re told, or that they’re as thrilled as you might be to reopen. They might have fears or other issues you need to address before going public.

You should also talk to your business coach or mentor. If you don’t have one, click on our resources document here to talk with one of ours. A Fitness Revolution coach can help you prepare for these conversations – why they’re important, and how to keep them productive. 

Why You Need Their Input

Savvy business leaders already know to communicate clearly and regularly with their employees, pandemic or not. You see it from the well-managed Fortune 500 companies as well as the best-run small businesses. 

Your employees have valuable insights and thoughts to share. Granted, they might also have thoughts that aren’t so valuable or insightful – just like everyone else. And that’s OK.

  • You can’t manage a smooth reopening without their buy-in and support.
  • You’ll learn valuable insight about your staff, business and customers.
  • You’ll build rapport and respect by showing that you listen as well as dictate.
  • Your team will appear united with clients, prospects and the community, which will increase your success with clients and prospects.

Two Main Reasons They Might Balk

If some team members say have misgivings about coming back, ask them why and listen.

First, is it possible some of them just don’t want to work? Maybe they’re enjoying the “time off,” happily drawing unemployment, and don’t have their head in the business. You might have some individual personnel issues. And this is the best way to spot them, rather than having to react later.

Second, others truly might be uncomfortable about coming back, mingling with other people, touching items that others have touched, etc. Address their concerns if possible. It could make your gym a better environment for clients, as well. 

Tell your team what you’re doing to protect their health and safety. Develop consistent messaging and deliver it in all channels. Remember it’s on to communicate with each of them, and to be sure they understand what you’re doing and what steps you will take in the future.

You Might Have to Let Go of Some

If unemployment benefits are part of the conversation, remind everyone that you offer more than a paycheck, maybe even healthcare benefits at some gyms. 

You might have to make decisions about individuals. Can someone manage administrative work or virtual workouts from home? Can you divvy up in-house time so no one feels singled out?

You might need to let some people go. Again, better to know now so you can be proactive about it.

For those who have received PPP or have applied, remember that you need to maintain the number of your full-time equivalent positions – not the same people in them.

This is a difficult time for everyone. Ultimately, you’re the one to decide what’s right for your business. We’re here to help, with free resources to provide information and context – along with the invaluable relationships gym owners develop with our coaches. We’re always happy to talk.

ArticlesCOVID-19MarketingReopeningSelling
[ April 23, 2020 by Jay Croft 0 Comments ]

Your Guide to Reopening After COVID-19

Everyone’s wondering when they can reopen their gyms. While we can’t give a certain date, we can tell you that right now is the time to plan for it.

It’s a confusing period, and the situation will keep changing in the weeks and months ahead. Reopening gyms is in Phase 1 of the federal reopening guidelines announced recently by President Trump. It will be up to individual governors when to allow states to reopen. And it will be up to each business owner after that.

Check out our free guide to reopening your gym after COVID-19.

This post will help you create your own reopening plan, along with an ongoing operating plan, as we keep adjusting. It’s time to ask questions, do research, make best-guess decisions – and remember that not everything will go according to plan. That’s OK — you’re creating a guide, not a pillar.

Here are questions to consider:

  • What do I need to be thinking about right now? 
  • What do I need to be doing right now?
  • How will reopening affect my service delivery, revenue and expenses?
  • Will my pre-pandemic business model be sustainable in the new market?

We recommend following these planning steps:

  • Review your current business plan/strategy
  • Determine what adjustments you need to make to operate right now
  • Talk to your Fitness Revolution Success Coach™ (if you don’t have one, talk to one of our FR Success Coaches here)
  • Firm up your plan and act swiftly and decisively (while assessing and adjusting weekly)

Here are some topics to guide your thinking.

  • Services: What adjustments should you make? Consider class size, physical space, and social distancing. Will you continue online training? Do you have outdoor options?
  • Plans: Do you have them in case someone tests positive or you’re ordered to close again?
  • Money: What’s your plan for clients coming back from freezes? Will you need separate pricing and marketing for in-person vs. virtual training? Update your budget to account for additional cleaning. Create processes for tracking PPP or other government funds.
  • Communications: Include staff, clients, prospects, vendors, neighbors, etc. Use every channel. Repeat consistent messaging. Tell them about service changes, new rules, safety procedures, and anything they’ll need to feel confident about returning.
  • Safety: How do you keep your gym clean and everyone safe? Intensify your cleaning procedures to include door handles, light switches, water fountains, etc. Update supply lists. Consider outside help. Post signs so staff and members know what you’re doing.

By planning now and continually reviewing, you’ll serve your clients better today and on the other side of this. You’ll be better prepared to bring on new clients, as well, and to keep your staff united – and everyone safe.

Check out the free guide we’ve put together to prepare your business.

ArticlesCOVID-19MarketingSelling
[ April 15, 2020 by Kelly Berry 0 Comments ]

Make Sure You’re Giving the Best Zoom Experience You Can

When the coronavirus lockdowns hit a few weeks ago, many fitness pros quickly moved online. It was impressive to see gym owners, studio owners and trainers adapt to keep their clients engaged and exercising.

But, let’s face it. We were all hoping “this thing” would be over within a few weeks and we could return to normal life.

Now that we know otherwise, it’s time to take another look at your online experience. You might need to make some adjustments to improve what you’re doing and ensure your folks are having the best possible experience.

Download our free list of resources to protect your business during the COVID-19 crisis.

Like it or not, this is your reality now, at least for the time being. And it’s your responsibility to give the best online training experience you can. It will keep your clients coming back. It will encourage them to refer their friends to you. It will position you strongly for future growth when “this thing” really is finally over.

Here are a few tips to help you level-up your online game.

  1. We recommend Zoom. We’ve been using Zoom for years at Fitness Revolution and have found it to be simple and reliable. People can easily use it right off the bat. And it has a depth of features that make it appealing. It lets you see all your clients, and it lets them see you – and each other, providing that key social component they’re craving right now. Spend a little extra on the Pro account so you have more freedom.
  2. Test, test, test. By doing a few dry runs, you and your team will be able to iron out the kinks for the smoothest experience when you do go live. If you’re already up and running – keep looking for ways to improve the “little things” as well as the bigger ones.
  3. Play three roles. You and/or your team members need to play three roles during online workouts – demonstrating movements, acting as coach/cheerleader, and offering cues via the chat function. You don’t all have to be together, of course – and you can even perform all three roles by yourself, if necessary. 
  4. Open/Close. Prepare a PowerPoint slide to start and end each session. It should have tips and reminders about upcoming events.
  5. Share the workout in advance. It builds anticipation, and it also lets your people know how much space and what equipment they might need, if any.
  6. Make sure you’re visible. Stand at least 7 feet away from the camera, and make sure your head and feet can be seen.
  7. Schedule social time. Plan for a few minutes before and after the workout to let people socialize via Zoom. This is an opportunity for them, and also and a great way for you to continue the community you built up in your brick-and-mortar space.

By providing top-level customer service now, you’re going to retain clients and attract new business. And you might even be building a permanent service option that will endure even after “this thing” really is finally over.

Be sure to check out the free resources we’ve collected here to protect your business and keep you posted.

ArticlesCOVID-19For Business OwnersMarketingSelling
[ April 8, 2020 by Jay Croft 0 Comments ]

Selling Your Services Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak

During the COVID-19 outbreak, some business owners are unsure about how much focus they should devote to making sales. Fitness professionals have asked us repeatedly if they need to be selling at this time – or just generating leads to use later.

It’s a fair question with a simple answer: You have to keep doing both, now and always.

Download our free list of resources to protect your business during the COVID-19 crisis.

This is not profiteering. It is not unethical. It is not inappropriate. 

It’s your commitment to your business, your employees, your customers and your community. And like everything else nowadays, it just takes nimble thinking and determination to continually assess and re-evaluate.

Let’s break it down into four components.

Messaging. Strong communication is everything. You must position your offer well. Remember:

  • This is the new normal. At least for the time being, you’re an online fitness business owner, so embrace it.
  • Customers’ fitness needs remain, and they still want your expertise, time and support. Your messaging should lead with the value and benefits you bring, like accountability and community.
  • Keep the focus on how you’re helping clients and on what your prospects need.

Marketing. You never stop getting new leads and building your prospects list. It’s an essential task of your business. Try ideas like these to gain email addresses:

  • Create compelling content to drive traffic to your blog, podcasts and webinars.
  • Give away valuable resources (like e-books and cheat sheets) as lead magnets.
  • Run a sweepstakes or a contest.

Selling. Leads are important, but you’ve got to convert them to bring in any revenue. Here are some smart tactics:

  • Direct-response advertising on social media or search engines will direct traffic to your offer.
  • Referrals and “bring a friend to Zoom” promotions are opportunities for exposure, community-building and feedback.
  • Exchange email blasts with a joint-venture partner. (This is good for building your list as well as selling.)

Adjustments. Keep your long-term offers and pricing strategies in place. Add value wherever you can. But in rare instances, consider how you might make modifications.

  • Can you change the terms – say, from annual to monthly agreements, or make one-time sales to some prospects?
  • Create a new front-end offer at a lower price point and see what adjustments you can make to transfer them to your core offer.
  • Have something like this as a last resort, unpromoted: a low-cost, weekly option for clients in a financial jam. 

By always spinning both the marketing and the sales wheels, you’re doing the right thing for your business now during the crisis – and for the future, whatever it might look like.

Fitness Revolution is here to help you through these challenges. We’re sharing resources here to protect your business and to help you stay alert to the challenges and, yes, opportunities ahead. 

 

ArticlesFor Business Owners
[ April 1, 2020 by Jay Croft 0 Comments ]

Stay Focused on the Guideposts and Alert for the Opportunities

If you’re like millions of people, you turned on your computer or TV this morning and swiftly got caught in the swirl of anxiety-inducing news, opinion, advice, complaints, misinformation, and grief mixed in with random cat videos and inspirational quotes.

It’s enough to make you want to go back to bed, pull the covers over your head, and hope for a miracle.

Download our free list of resources to protect your business during the COVID-19 crisis.

So, stop for a minute. Breathe. Clear your mind. And focus on guideposts to help you stay on track. When your mind drifts away in scary “What If” scenarios, return your attention to the basics of what you can do about it.

Expenses vs. Investments

What are some investments that you must maintain, even during tough situations? Here are three that will keep you strong now – because this is no time to become a weaker business.

  • Marketing. Communicating with your market is always critical. Every day — period. Keep reaching out to clients, nurturing prospects, and generating leads.

What are your differentiators? Some larger chains can’t provide the virtual options that you can. Some of your other competitors are refusing to market and will disappear over time. If they’re around when this all ends, what kind of relationships will they have with clients and prospects then?

  • Consulting. You don’t want every negative comment on Twitter to send you into a tailspin. By the same token, you need coaches, mentors or consultants in your corner to help you see the big picture.

It’s so easy to get in our heads, lose perspective, or miss valuable insight that can come from someone removed from the daily grind of our business. A good coach or mentor is watching the industry overall and talking with others in your situation, so he or she can reveal connections and pathways to consider.

  • Personnel: Your team is a vital resource. It’s invaluable to delegate to employees so you have time to focus on mission-critical activities.

Divvy up duties. Assign trainers to lead online sessions. Put some in charge of updating individual clients. Your employees are valuable assets to deploy strategically.

Costs You Can Manage Right Now

  • Cancel non-investment costs: These produce no income and are not required to keep your business alive (premium versions of apps, software subscriptions, entertainment, etc.)
  • Apply for government aid: Assistance is available to help small businesses. Look into your options, starting with the Small Business Administration. Once you’ve taken steps to increase revenue like this, you can try to trim basic expenses.
  • Then, negotiate with people you pay: Talk with your vendors, suppliers, accountant and landlord to explore flexibility they might have. Try to meet in the middle somewhere.
  • Hold off on upgrades: That big piece of new equipment you’ve been wanting to buy? Delay purchases like this for now.

Amid all this uncertainty is great opportunity. More will be emerging that you might be able to see today. Keep your eyes open. Remember the guideposts and the principles that put them there.

ArticlesFor Business Owners
[ March 25, 2020 by Jay Croft 0 Comments ]

Why You Must Keep Marketing During the Crisis

In times of crisis, people seek leadership – whether in medicine, government or business. And now more than ever, your gym’s clients and prospects are counting on you to help them stay fit, which includes reminding and updating them about your services and expertise.

We’re not talking about dispensing medical advice or running for office.

We’re talking about marketing in a way that is helpful to your community and smart for your business.

Download free resources to help during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ll keep updating with more information.

That means adjusting your services and offerings, yes. It also means communicating. It means marketing.

And that’s not only morally OK, it’s absolutely the right thing to do.

First, let’s address a misconception we’re hearing from some fitness professionals. We’ve been asked recently if it’s somehow unethical to promote your business and seek payment during the coronavirus crisis – as if the idea implies taking advantage.

It does not. You must continue marketing, which is a necessary business function – a “must have” rather than a “nice to have.” Don’t retreat into a limiting belief about your value out of a vaguely uncomfortable feeling. There is no ethical conflict in responsibly reminding people you can help them and providing a service in exchange for a reasonable fee.

Let’s clarify what’s OK by sharing an appalling example of what’s not: Price gouging of hand sanitizer or medical equipment during a public-health crisis. Would you even consider hoarding Purell and selling it at astronomically inflated prices to desperate neighbors? Of course not. Now, THAT is unethical.

Contrast that to staying in front of your clients and prospects, providing modified workouts or training online, sharing useful information and positive coaching, and – yes – doing so for money. Remember that your customers are counting on you to help solve a problem, and your employees are counting on you to stay in business.

Here are some actions you can be taking:

  • Keep your messages clear and helpful.
  • Pro-actively help your people transition with information and attentive customer service.
  • Reduce what you’re spending on ads to maintenance level.
  • Focus more on content marketing, which is much cheaper. That means posting on Facebook, sending more emails, and updating your website.
  • Explore high-demand joint ventures, like meal delivery.
  • Review our free, downloadable FAQs for help on pricing, delivering services, marketing and more.

Keep your eye on the future, too. What new opportunities will come out of this? What potential obstacles could you face? Where will your competitors be in a few months? The ones who disappear now will have the hardest time re-emerging.

Change is inevitable. But focus on elements of success that remain solid, like keeping your eyes open; caring for customers and team members; and sharing what you have to offer.

ArticlesFor Business Owners
[ March 18, 2020 by Jay Croft 0 Comments ]

Are You Ready for Virtual Training?

We’re all having to be flexible, creative and service-focused during the coronavirus crisis. The good news is, you’re not alone in figuring out how to proceed to protect your team, your clients and your business.

If you can’t deliver your services in person, then you need to be able to do so virtually. You can offer recorded training online, or set up live streaming sessions for individuals or groups.

But first, remember this: Don’t overthink it. Your clients know you’re in an unprecedented situation, and they won’t expect everything to be perfectly buttoned-up right away. You can always adjust, and you should. But right now, what they need from you is communications, support and – the reason they came to you in the first place – training!

We’ve gathered free resources to help during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ll continually update it with more information.

When trying to decide what to include, keep in mind:

  • Your core offer 
  • The price point 
  • Base access and touchpoints off their current service level. For example: you may need to meet with a Personal Training Client weekly via Zoom vs. monthly for a Group Training Client.
  • Consider how you distribute the workload and among your staff.

We have identified three situations you might be in regarding all this, and we’ve developed guidance on steps for each of them. 

No. 1, The Basics: My gym just closed and I have nothing virtual set up yet.

Do This Now: First, email or call clients and let them know what to expect from you – even if you don’t have every detail figured out. Second, create a private, free community on Facebook or Instagram and share a similar message, encourage client interaction, and share daily workouts, motivations, and recipes.

No. 2, Improving Your Virtual Delivery (Group Training): I’ve done the above, and want to add value to my virtual Group Training.

Do This Now: Lead live workouts daily via Zoom or Facebook, share instructions so members can join, and let them know what space and equipment they’ll need. Also: personally check in with clients, while also sending a weekly email with a Google form that lets them share progress. 

No. 3, Improving Your Virtual Delivery (Semi-Private and Personal Training): I have the basics covered. How do I improve my non-group training?

Do This Now: Consider designing monthly programs delivered individually through emails, training platforms, or Google sheets). Find out what equipment they have, include links to demo videos, and check in weekly so they can share their progress and questions. You might develop nutrition coaching, as well.

The global pandemic is disrupting everything for everyone – but remember, we will get through it. And it’s up to everyone to support each other and keep their businesses and services available as much as possible. 

Consult this list of free resources we’ve put together for you – on protecting your business, communications, and more. Stay strong!

ArticlesFor Business Owners
[ March 13, 2020 by Fitness Revolution 0 Comments ]

Protect Your Gym During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As the coronavirus causes disruptions large and small around the world, no business is exempt from its effects – including yours. 

Gyms might experience a drop in attendance. Clients might have questions about sanitation and safety. You and your team could feel confused and disoriented in this unfamiliar territory.

It’s all totally understandable.

But you’re not alone. 

While the world struggles to figure out how to proceed, we have put together some recommendations and resources that can help you through this challenging time.

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND RESOURCES ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Business Recommendations

  • See if you can adjust programming to reduce the use of equipment that can harbor the virus. And try to accommodate safer exercise environments by reducing class sizes, increasing space for members, and taking classes outdoors.
  • Create a new offer or consider restructuring a current offer. For example, can you share an online training library or provide home training? Lead group sessions via Zoom?
  • If you allow freezes or cancellations for medical conditions, you’ll need to clarify what that means.
  • If you have a 24-hour cancellation policy for classes and sessions consider being flexible or even waiving it temporarily.
  • Don’t stop marketing. It’s not a discretionary expense, but a long-term investment essential to the health of your business.
  • Be clear in your messaging. Overcommunicate. Often. Many times. Over and over.

Managing Optics

You need to consider how your business will be viewed by your members, team, and community. Be genuine and authentic in your approach. This is a chance to display leadership during difficult situations and to live your core values.

Make sure:

  • Members know their health and safety is your No. 1 priority. List steps you’ve always taken, along with any additional steps, to foster a clean and safe environment. Reinforce that a healthy lifestyle is a major guard against infection. They need to rest, sleep, hydrate – and exercise even if they’re not coming into the gym.
  • Your team knows how to handle member questions. Keep them informed but not panicked. Urge them to stay home if they’re not feeling well.
  • You have an external message that shows your awareness of the situation; any developments in your business, such as confirmed cases; and what you’re doing to prioritize health and safety in your community. Keep all your communication lines open, and be a good neighbor.

Resources

Finally, staying informed is your best weapon. These are credible sources for ongoing information.

Remember to download our detailed recommendations and resources in PDF form.

It looks like coronavirus will be around for a while, but it will end someday. In the meantime, be careful, be kind, and be patient. We’ll get through it.