This is our first blog on health and fitness. So, I thought it would be fun to include the local business community in our discussion. We’re going to look at what is happening within the fitness industry across many communities around the country and how you as a business owner, trainer, or member are impacted and what to consider.
You can look at almost any community across the country and start to see the commercialization of the health and fitness industry working its way in and setting up shop. It might be a new supplement store, colossal commercial fitness facility or anything in-between. What most people don’t realize is that the fitness industry is now a +30-billion-dollar industry with revenues increasing more than 2% year-over-year for the last 10 years, and total market penetration averaging only just over 17%. This leaves ample room for growth! When any industry has this type of growth and opportunity it is natural for larger companies to start investing more money, building more facilities, and creating more products and services in hopes of gaining more revenue. Within the health and fitness industry it is becoming common to see larger companies not only investing in large cities, but also small cities and towns all across the country. This leaves the mom-and-pop gym, local yoga studio, the Pilates lady, and the one health food store that has been around for years suddenly struggling to stay in business. It is not unusual for a business owner to worry when a competing business opens in town, and that feeling is no different for small gym owners, independent health and fitness trainers, and coaches. We can all relate to the impact such events can have on a community and why things can feel unsettling. But there are opportunities to be really excited about when new commercial fitness businesses begin to open and come to your town.
New businesses are a great sign that your local economy is beginning to prosper. The median income and median house values have begun to increase. Normally it also indicates that your population is increasing. Large companies have already done massive research that projects growth and thousands, possibly millions, of dollars have been spent to build and move into your community. These are just a few reasons why many businesses want to move to new areas and attempt to prosper with their new ventures. More directly related to your business is the amount of fitness marketing dollars new competitors will spend to recruit new memberships. At first this may sound odd, but it does help you. It allows you insight on how to better position your business and services, and provides potential new strategies that may help you. Competitive advertising also brings refreshing awareness to those in the community who aren’t yet involved in fitness at all to start considering new activities. These potential customers could soon be stopping by your location!
With the growing trend in health and fitness, more and more people are beginning to understand its value and importance in their personal health, life’s longevity, and the potential to lower health care costs. But, in almost any community across the country, the average gym membership doesn’t exceed 3% of the population. This means there are many opportunities for everyone to bring in new members and clients. As a business owner, it is important to view this as an opportunity for you to learn and improve your processes. Take a close and earnest look at your own business and ensure that you’re truly doing the best you can and not resting on your laurels simply because you haven’t had any competition in a long time. Competition can be good! Sometimes when you look at Goliath you might not think of yourself as David, but it’s important to remember that you can make a great impact. You can’t be complacent! Ensure you are focused on your customers. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential threats, and start making way for creative and innovative thinking that can bring new ideas to your business. This is an opportunity for you to look closely at your business procedures. Are your price points appropriate? How are you staffing your facility? Do you enrich your community? Is your facility meeting the member’s needs? Is your staff educated? Is your facility clean and welcoming? Are your members referring your facility? These are all things that should routinely be addressed, but often go unnoticed when you are the only show in town. So, don’t let that be you and your business.
Remember — due to commercialization, lower monthly dues, and membership price points, it’s becoming more commonplace for gym goers to have multiple gym memberships. Not every gym is going to offer them everything they want. They may enjoy Cross Fit, but also want the luxuries of a commercial health and fitness facility, such as cardio equipment, spa, showers and locker rooms, that are often not part of Cross Fit facilities. Their children may need sports training at a sports complex that does not offer a traditional weight-training environment. Maybe there’s a powerlifting gym in town that someone loves to attend, but there’s no way their significant other is going to even step inside, much less attempt to do that style of training. The message here is that there are many different fitness styles, needs, and desires, and no facility is going to be able to fulfill them all. But because of the growing industry, technology, and commercialization price points of each of these locations in today’s marketplace are much more affordable than in years past. Your members can now have two or more memberships at different facilities offering varying experiences and enjoyment without looking at these as expenses, but rather as investments in their personal health, wellbeing, and lifestyle.
So, as a small business owner, trainer, or coach in the health and fitness industry it is vital to not get discouraged. I ask you to be encouraged when competition comes to town and look at it as an opportunity. Befriend them! Get to know them! If possible, try to understand the company’s model and mission statement. Yes, you’re competing, but there is space in this industry for massive growth. We all want to help our communities and if we can work together, versus working against each other, I truly believe that we all prevail and prosper