Fitness business foundations; 4 key factors for gym owners and fitness managers.

Most gyms and fitness businesses claim to be better, a little more unique and offer something extra special that no one else doing (read; the competitor gym). So what is then needed to create a gym or fitness club that truly lives up to the promise and ambition of actually being different? It starts with creating a strong foundation; built on specific and easy to remember key factors that are reminded and repeated daily and trickles down to every single employee in the organization and all touch-points with the costumer.

No matter if you are a freelance personal trainer, gym chain franchise owner or boutique studio entrepreneur, your fitness business needs a vision; supported by solid principles, smart systems and simple tools.

#1 A CLEAR VISION Your vision is the guiding light in your fitness business, something that needs full comprehension, transparency and buy-in from all staff. The vision tells what you believe in, why you are doing what you do, how you can help people and therefore why they should should train with you and at your gym (we highly recommend "Start with Why", by Simon Sinek) . Even clients and members benefit from knowing your vision, this is why making your vision public and somewhere visible is a good idea no matter what size of your fitness club, personal training studio or boutique gym. So, go ahead and brainstorm, find the keywords that your business stand for and turn those words in to a powerful sentence that resonates with your clientele and the target market of the people you want to attract. Examples of a clear vision are: "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." (Patagonia)

Or; "To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses." (Warby Parker).

#2 SOLID PRINCIPLES With internet and social media and the overload of information and bombarding of messages we receive on a daily basis, it can be hard and confusing for everyone to know what is right or wrong, good or bad, when it comes to fitness, health and nutrition. This is why your fitness business needs solid principles to follow. A principle is by definition “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning”. In other words, the principles of your fitness business needs to be solidified and clear since they (should) form the basis of your actions and behavior of all staff. Examples of solid principles to follow are: the SAID principle (specific adaptation to imposed demand), the principle of the difference between caloric intake and expenditure decides your weight gain or weight loss (e.g. IIFYM).

#3 SMART SYSTEMS Your training systems are aligned with your principles and thereby they help you make better decisions more consistently in your business, by more or less automatization, or at least standardization. By following smart systems you can simplify daily practices and create standard operating procedures (SOP’s) of frequently occurring tasks for you and everyone involved in your business (e.g. your staff and third party companies). Having smart systems in your fitness business helps with quality control and troubleshooting whenever needed. It is the only way to scale your business and as for business owners with ambitions to free up more time for creation, having smart systems is your best friend that can allow yourself to step out from daily operations and work ON your business - not IN your business.

Examples of smart systems in training and business are; movement screening systems (e.g. FMS), sales systems (e.g. NPE) and automated social media marketing systems (e.g. Hootsuite).

#4 SIMPLE TOOLS Given the amount of products, equipment, apps and gadgets available and advertised everywhere, it can easily feel overwhelming when shifting through options and deciding what tools your fitness business needs. At this point; your clear vision, solid principles and smart systems should simplify your choices and help you pick simple, but versatile and useful tools for your fitness business.

Examples of simple tools in training and business are; kettlebells, gymnastic rings and online booking apps (e.g. Timely).


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