Building? Check.Equipment? Check.Tomorrow’s workout? Check.A plan that ensures you’ll still be in business two years from now?The difference between a flash-in-the-pan passion project and a healthy, sustainable business model comes down to having a smart operations plan in place.Here are a few things to consider:
1. Train Your Staff
You’ve hired a handful of coaches and staff members, and you couldn’t be more thrilled to hand off the cleaning, billing, website management, etc. . You shake hands and send them on their way.However, as time goes by you begin to notice many of these responsibilities are not being taken care of.Who’s to blame? ? Hint: You may be.Before you pass a job along to an employee, make sure you have a system in place for training and education. That means writing a specific list of roles and responsibilities that articulate exactly what needs to be done, when, and how. Then, set a regular evaluation schedule.As a gym owner, when you take the time to specify job descriptions and set expectations, you’ll save yourself time down the road by ensuring the work is done right.
2. Create a Coach Development Program
Let me introduce you to “Mark.”Mark has been a loyal member of a CrossFit gym for about four years—just long enough for the PRs to slow down and the honeymoon phase to fade.Today’s workout calls for front squats, Mark’s nemesis. No matter what, he just can’t seem to stay upright.“Elbows up!” calls the coach from the side.Mark sighs. It’s the same cue he’s heard for four years now, and he’s not getting any better. He wonders if it’s time to try a new exercise class.There’s nothing wrong with the cue “elbows up,” but if that’s the only way the coach knows how to cue, that’s a problem.Even your most veteran coaches should be constantly learning. Not only will they provide a better service, but they’ll be happier and more engaged in their jobs.
When you’re brand new, you might have time to send a personal email to everyone who signs up for your free intro class or to that member who hasn’t come to class in six weeks.But once you have 150 members and a jam-packed schedule? Not so much.Tools such as Mailchimp can help you automate the lead cultivation and retention process. Someone signs up for a free intro? They automatically get an intro email with details about when to arrive and what to bring.They sign up for on-ramp or an introductory class? They automatically get a welcome email with a list of what they can expect for the next four weeks.Automations can be set up for current clients too, such as a message that goes out to any member who hasn’t checked into class for a month.While some interactions might require a more personalized touch, automating your communications will help prevent potential clients from slipping through the cracks.
4. Take Metrics
Remember in college, when as long as your debit card didn’t get rejected on your late-night coffee run you were in good financial shape? This is no longer the case.Too many gym owners assume that as long as they can pay the bills, all is well. But that does very little for ensuring future profitability or analyzing your current practices to see what brings in revenue and what doesn’t.You need to look at the dataJust a few things you should report on monthly:
- Gross and net profit margin
- Revenue per member
- Client retention
- Client lead-to-conversion rate
- Website traffic
- Cost of client acquisition
- Income-to-debt ratio
- Return on investment for various initiatives
- Operating cash flow
Catch potential financial catastrophes before they happen by keeping a close eye on the books.
5. Get Feedback
You’re never going to be able to please everybody, but that doesn’t mean your members’ opinions aren’t important.Every six months, email a customer satisfaction survey to your member base (hint: encourage members to take the survey by hosting a prize drawing for all participants!).Some questions you might ask:
- I receive individual feedback/coaching in class (every class/most classes/rarely)
- I feel welcome as part of the community (strongly agree/agree/neutral/disagree/strongly agree)
- What programs do you value the most?
- What programs would you like to see offered?
- How can we improve your experience at (name of gym)?
Head off potential problems before they start—seek feedback.
6. Keep Learning
These are just a few things to consider—but don’t stop here. The most successful business owners never stop learning.Keep an eye on our blog for more business best practices!