We face the real possibility that more restrictions or a possible second round of COVID gym shutdowns.
According to a Reuters.com article, many state governments are already strongly recommending putting limits on social gatherings. And if we’ve learned anything from the initial round of COVID-related shutdowns, it's that gyms and fitness studios are some of the first to get shutdown.
So what do we do???
It’s hard to predict. Each state and city government have different statistics and different procedures to mitigate the virus. So we can’t plan for any specific scenario as a whole.
But we can come up with a strategy for how to think through this, learn from what happened in the first round of shutdowns and make sure we carry those lessons forward.
Meet With Your Team
This is crucial. Your team of coaches and staff are the backbone of your business. They are your eyes and ears to the community. They also bring different perspectives to the table that you might not have thought of. And for the purpose of this meeting, you want to cover as many broad scenarios and lessons as possible.
Answers You Need to Know
Here’s a quick list of talking points you should go over with your team:
1. What went poorly during the last COVID gym shutdown? What can we improve on?
Every business was impacted in some way in the first round of COVID gym shutdowns. Whether you were shut down, forced to switch operations to outdoors, limited capacity, or just saw a decrease in attendance, there are lessons to be learned.
Was your team prepared for the sudden changes last time? Were your community and members adequately notified? What were your members’ sentiment and response?
2. What went well during the last COVID gym shutdown? Can we do any of this better?
How did your business level up as a result of lessons learned or changes in operations from the first round of COVID gym shutdowns? These are the things you need to keep consistent. If it worked well for you in the first round, its a great starting point going into the near future.
3. What were the primary cancellation reasons? Would any of the previously discussed improvements save these clients?
If your business saw an increase in membership pauses or cancellations, you need to comb through each cancellation or pause request and understand why. This is not in an attempt to try to recover those members. Instead, it is an attempt to try and prevent future cancellations or pauses.
Cancellations and pauses are not 100% preventable, but there are things we can put in place that will help prevent some of that. And in the climate, every member, every dollar is important.
4. What messaging can we put out now? Do we need to?
This is critical.
Your business needs to be transparent with the value you bring and the plans you put in place.
The first thing to do is to solidify what your MAIN VALUE PROPOSITION is. Why do members come to your business, specifically? What value do you bring them? Once you can get clarity on this, that messaging will be important going forward. You will want to be consistent and persistent in getting this message out.
The next thing you want to do is to stay transparent in your plans, with possible changes in operations.
Remember, if your community is bought in on your main value proposition, they are more likely to stick with you through any changes in operations.
5. What are the options we have in the event of a capacity limit, forced outdoors, or other things besides a total shutdown?
This is where you come up with plan A, B, C, and D (or however many you need). But you need to plan for every major scenario.
Some scenarios to consider:
- No change in operations, but a decrease in attendance or memberships
- Capacity limits required by the government
- Forced operations outdoors
- Online workouts
6. What is our financial runway?
This is your roadmap. Taking each of the scenarios above, how long can you responsibly stay in operation before you have to make the hard decision to shut down?
Calculating how long you can stay in operation in each possible scenario gives you and your team an objective amount of time to weather the storm.
If you’re like every other scrappy business owner who’s set on helping change the lives of their community, then you’ll fight as long as possible to keep your business going. Sometimes at a personal financial expense.
Understanding what your financial runway is will give you a checkpoint to evaluate your options with whatever comes next.
We don’t know what will happen in the coming months. But what we can do is prepare our team and community to ride in the same direction and make changes quickly if needed.
Our aim at PushPress is to keep an ear to the community and current events to help drive discussions toward solutions.
If you have anything to contribute or a story to share, email James@PushPress.com