Running a Fitness Business

Learn about how to prepare for business challenges, develop and manage personal training and group fitness schedules, conduct day-to-day business, inspire and take care of your customers.

Running a fitness business requires that you are proactively able to plan and execute day-to-day operations, personal training and group exercise schedules, business development and profit center strategies.

Running Your Fitness Business

Opening and running a fitness business are two different things. After you have successfully opened the business, you have a completely new set of actions, concerns, and challenges to contend with. Running a fitness business requires that you are able to plan and manage day-to-day operations, personal training and group exercise schedules, business development and profit center strategies, recruiting and training of staff, and even prepare to exit the business if necessary. There are many more considerations, to name a few:

  • Day-to-day operations
  • Membership sales
  • Retention
  • Recruiting and retaining talented staff members
  • Educating staff
  • Programming and scheduling fitness classes and sessions
  • Billing and account management
  • Customer care and service
  • Maintenance and repair of equipment and physical plant
  • Programming

Personal Training & Group-X

Programming is one of the most important aspects of your business model. Without having a solid training program, you do not have a chance to develop your business model. Programming is the basis for all other happenings within the facility. Programming dictates class schedules, session schedules, the type of market that you are targeting, the type of trainer or coach that you recruit. Programming can inspire your customers, motivate them to continue exercising, and help you to retain their business and build loyalty. Programming also dictates what kind of education model you choose to follow. So take your programming seriously — and always keep your finger on the pulse of your customer experiences.

Business Challenges

Being a business owner has its own set of business challenges. Being a fitness business owner has yet another set of its own challenges. One of the problems one may incur when starting out in the business is the fact that so many people believe it’s an easy business to start and grow, thus creating a base of temporary competitors. These temporary competitors become desperate quickly and when this occurs, it drives market pricing down and creates an unsustainable environment for real competitors to operate as they should, with a realistic price point. In short, what we’re saying is that unfortunately, most people believe they are an expert and have just enough money or support to get themselves in trouble. Some of the more common challenges are listed below:

  • Employee management
  • Marketing – marketing, advertising, and research
  • Cost control
  • Insurance claims – member based claims
  • Fixed costs with cyclic market

The points listed above can make managing marketing costs a challenge. The added benefit of treating your customers well and providing an excellent exercise experience means word-of-mouth advertising will offset some of your advertising and marketing expenses. A recent study done by The Association of Fitness Studios shows that the two most adopted forms of marketing a fitness studio are; Social Media and Word of Mouth[1].

Exit Strategy

It is a smart idea to prepare for the worst while expecting the best. If you plan your way into a business, you should always plan your way out. This is the case here in creating a fitness business. Whether you are exiting against your will and must sell or simply close the business or if you are fortunate and have a buyer willing to pay for your hard work, it is imperative that you have this planning in place.

Some of the key questions you must ask of yourself early on are:

  • Who are the potential buyers of my business (including transfer of members)?
  • Who would buy my equipment if I need to close down – possible liquidators?
  • What debt, if any, will I disclose, assume or package?
  • Would my partner (if you have one) be willing to buy me out?
  • How should I negotiate public relations through a sale or closure?
  • What are the applicable laws in my state related to closing a business?

Your Next Project

Talking about your next project makes for an exciting subject, one reason is by this time you have had the opportunity to find the things that interest you, which ones are profitable and also more importantly, which ones are more sustainable. This is a subject worthy of considerable discussion. We will be adding more to each section and more sections outlining the business of fitness. More to come!

Are you looking for help running your fitness business? 

If you need help learning how to run your fitness business, we want to hear from you. After you contact us – don’t forget, we can support your facility, website, personal training, and group exercise programs. Yes, it’s free – always.

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    fitness business was last modified: August 16th, 2022 by Derek Curtice