7 Tips for Opening a Fitness Facility
For Gym Operators
7 Tips for Opening a Fitness Facility
Are you ready to take on the rewarding challenge of opening a fitness facility? If you’ve gotten to this point, you likely already have the passion required for turning your dream into a reality. You know that there are many large steps ahead of you, so take a quick moment to read these tips and get an overview of the aspects you’ll need to begin considering when it comes to starting a successful facility.
#1: Plan Your Location Wisely
Your fitness facility should be in a location that makes the most practical business sense, so it’s very important that you invest time and energy into doing the research of choosing the best location. Significant factors to consider include:
- Demographics: Define your target audience, and determine whether your facility would be in the right neighborhood to reach those people. See below for more details on this.
- Accessibility: Depending on the neighborhood, how will your customers access your facility? Will it be located in a more open area that includes a parking lot, or be near public transportation in a city center where members can access it by foot?
- Price: This factor can vary widely depending on if you’re leasing space, renovating an older building, or constructing a whole new facility. No matter which option you choose, make sure you have the capital to support this investment. It will pay off to investigate all pricing options for potential facility spaces that match the locales and neighborhoods you are considering.
- Competitors: Which other gyms, studios, or fitness facilities exist near where you’re planning on opening your own? Do your research to find out which fitness training styles they cater to, what their pricing and strategies are, and which demographics they reach. After gathering these key pieces of information, analyze how your facility would fit in to the mix or if it’d be better to look at a different location.
#2: Pay Attention to Demographics
Most gym members belong to a facility that is located near where they live. Don’t make the mistake of opening a gym that is out of the price range of the surrounding community, or a kind of gym that would not appeal to them.
Who are you wishing to have as members of your gym? Whether you are going for the millennial population who enjoys high-intensity training to keep up with a fit lifestyle, the active aging community who likes adding gentle fitness into their days, or anyone in between, ensure that you settle on a location that best suits this fitness style. This may dictate whether you choose to have your gym in the suburbs versus a busy downtown.
Another key demographic to consider is the general income of the neighborhood. While affluent neighborhoods may not mind paying higher monthly dues for a gym membership that includes many exclusive features, residents of lower-income neighborhoods may be more interested in budget-friendly fitness options.
#3: Figure Out Your Brand Identity
Who exactly is your brand? Brand identity should be at the core of each decision you make regarding your new fitness facility. It communicates your business’s mission, values, reputation, and the promises you make to your members. Your brand identity works hand-in-hand with the company culture you exude.
Having a clearly defined brand within the mega-competitive fitness industry can mean the difference between having an ‘average’ facility versus having an exceptional one. It shapes the environment surrounding your members, making them feel welcomed and that they are truly a part of something unique.
Determine your brand’s identity by first figuring out your core values – the traits, beliefs, and essential decisions that drive it forward. Consider why you are personally invested in your business, what you hope to help your members achieve, what you want your reputation within the fitness industry and your community to have, and what kind of culture best reflects your brand and image.
#4: Determine Your Equipment Mix
Instead of diving right in to selecting the pieces of equipment you think would be best for your fitness facility, start this process by thinking about the kinds of “zones” you want to incorporate into your gym. For example, based on your brand identity and demographics of your community, does it make more sense to focus on cardio or strength? Will functional fitness make up a large part of your offering? Will you specialize in recovery and relaxation?
Once you’ve formulated the zones that make the best sense for your facility, allocate an approximate percentage of space that you think you’ll need to make each zone work. After you have a basic understanding of your fitness needs, you can work with your fitness supplier to determine the proper equipment to fit your needs.
#5: Hire Staff Who Live Your Brand’s Values
Your brand’s culture and core values should play a significant part in your hiring process. Hire staff who will carry out your brand values through their day-to-day attitude and personality at your fitness facility.
After all, these people are the face of your facility, so train all of your staff – from personal trainers, to class instructors, to front desk staff – on what your brand represents so that they in effect become brand ambassadors. Ensure that your brand and your values are the compass that guides their everyday activities and interactions.
#6: Invest in Education
Gym members turn to staff for knowledge, motivation, and coaching. Make sure that your facility’s staff members are fully equip to help members reach their goals. This starts by enhancing staff’s knowledge in how to use all pieces of equipment, leading group exercise classes, and providing the best training and learning opportunities for them to keep improving your ongoing company culture.
When you purchase new fitness equipment, especially for the group training environment, prioritize educating your staff on how to deliver engaging workouts. After all, making the investment in group exercise equipment is only going to be successful if you can integrate the equipment and programming into your facility’s offerings quickly.
#7: Design Your Facility to Support Your Brand
Incorporate your branding into every visible element of your facility. The most common way to do this is with your logo. Ensure that your logo is present inside and outside of your gym, and that colors and styles from the logo exist in your gym’s decor, your staff uniforms, and your marketing materials. Use consistent messaging and imagery throughout social media and marketing efforts.
By making your brand identity present through every touch point with current and potential members, you get the chance to show why you love doing what you do, thus delivering your brand to its full potential. Your passion and enthusiasm will shine through to your members, helping to build upon and spread the culture you’ve embraced.