Overcoming Staffing, Recession, and Inflation Challenges as a Gym Owner
It’s no secret that the last few years have made owning a business more challenging. With supply chain issues, the lingering effects of the ‘C word’ *cough cough covid*, and the looming threat of a recession, it’s important that Gym Owners know how to navigate these times to combat inflation.
This article is to show that it’s not all bad news. Gym Owners can certainly make it through challenging economic times and we’ll break down how including the 3 steps to thrive during an economic downturn.
THE FUTURE OF THE GYM INDUSTRY
In order to understand the effects of a recession on the Gym Industry, we need to look back to see what happens, historically, to gyms during these times.
The most recent recession in 2008 resulted in only an industry decrease of 1%.
Then fast forward to 2020, we all know what happened. Most of us were told we couldn’t operate our businesses at all. We were told we couldn’t help people, and that resulted in 22% of gyms having to close their doors.
So what does this tell us? A recession is not a bankruptcy sentence for a gym. As long as you are able to do your job and run your business, you can make it through a recession.
People now, even more than before 2020, value their health and understand the importance of preventative health and fitness.
STEP 1: DO NOT CUT YOUR MARKETING
What are other gyms doing when times get tough and they want to cut costs? They pull back on their marketing and ad spend, and hope referrals will carry them through until they can invest into ads again. Why should you not do this if you want to combat inflation and a recession? Because when everyone else stops marketing, you are in the best position to get the most eyes on YOUR ads.
Think about it like this. Your opponent just pulled their goalie and you have the opportunity to score. Net is wide open. Not only should you not stop ads completely but you should actually up your ad spend.
STEP 2: DIVERSIFY YOUR SERVICES
If you only have one service option for your clients you are going to struggle to combat inflation and navigate through a recession. For example if you are a large group training facility you should also offer semi-private sessions, and private sessions for the people who can afford it. There are going to be people who want a higher level of service and are willing to pay for it, so be willing to take their money.
You should also be selling products along with your services to combat inflation. Selling supplements, and apparel are great ways to make extra cash that will in turn cover your marketing costs.
Additionally you can offer ad ons such as accountability, nutrition, and internal challenges as well to combat inflation.
STEP 3: ELEVATE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE
While other facilities are cutting down on their attention to customers, you need to double down on yours. Instead of pulling back on member appreciation, go into your business with an abundance mindset of giving before you receive.
Ways to show appreciation to your members include internal plays like accountability challenges, events, hand written cards, and text message check ins.
These 3 steps allow you to acquire more clients than ever, sell more options to your new and existing clients, and give them an unparalleled experience that will keep them longer.
OVERCOMING STAFFING CHALLENGES
When it comes to hiring, no matter what the economic climate is, you need to generate applications, nurture the applications, schedule and hold interviews, onboard and train your new employees.
The hiring process should mirror a sales process. Just as you would advertise to acquire a lead, you have to do the same thing to acquire talent. For example, you can post listings on recruiting websites, cold outreach to individuals or, in the case of trainers, reach out to colleges.
From there, just as you nurture your leads to show up, you need to nurture your qualified applicants as well. The average high quality employee looking for a job will find one within 8 days of starting their search. If you wait over a week to get back to your top candidates, you can count on them not being interested anymore. Speed is king when it comes to hiring.
Once you have the employees you would like to interview, there should be a two step process to determine if they are a good fit for your business. The first interview should be conducted to see if they blend well with the business culturally and personality wise.
The second interview should be a skills interview where they demonstrate their expertise at the role. For example, if you’re hiring a trainer they could demonstrate a mock workout. A sales person could roleplay selling whatever they were selling at their last job.
BEFORE YOU GO…
You might be thinking to yourself… aren’t these all things that I should be doing in my business no matter what the economic climate is? And if you are thinking that– good, because you’re correct. The difference is while you are focusing on the basics and the things that drive the business forward, your competition is nervously pulling back and stalling their growth while you pull ahead.
We hope you found the information in the article helpful to combat inflation and economic hardship. If you would like to make running your gym easier check out GymDash – A gym management system that tracks your data, gives you feedback on the health of your business, and helps you to grow a wildly profitable gym.