The Best Time to Set Goals for Your Gym is in the Fall

Through my personal experience, something I have found is that it’s so much easier for me to say I’m going to do something than to actually begin doing that thing. Some might say that’s “all talk and no walk”. Unfortunately, in some aspects of my life they’d be right.

This is why I never make New Year’s resolutions. I can’t tell you how many times I have been at a New Year’s gathering and I tell a friend that I’m going to start eating healthier during the New Year. All too often, later that very same night I catch my friend’s eye as he or she is staring at me unhinging my jaw as I start on my second piece of chicken, bacon & ranch pizza which, to my embarrassment, I ordered not long after our conversation.

New Year’s resolutions usually fail, and for many, they’re just tradition. Think about it, why do so many people fall short on their resolutions? It’s partly because people are so ambitious about their resolutions but also, there is no real change between January 1st and December 31st, aside from a splitting headache.

Life has a natural rhythm to it. Different seasons elicit different emotional responses. When spring begins, I breathe a sigh of relief that the winter is over, and I can look forward to the warmer months ahead. Spring seemingly blends with summer as the trees get more and more green. Summer is chaotic and freeing but ends too quickly. Abruptly, the leaves begin to change and the hot, damp air quickly becomes crisp and refreshing.

Autumn serves as a natural transition between summer and winter. However, the leaves aren’t the only things that change. Autumn is also a time of cultural transformation: kids trade in bathing suits for backpacks, vacations turn into commutes, summer tank tops turn into Autumn sweaters, TV shows re-emerge with new episodes, and the start of the new football season. Autumn is when new routines are born. There is rising popularity to the idea that September is the best time to set goals for your business’s future and it makes sense too. When you’re surrounded by change and transition, whether that be culturally or seasonally, it’s easier to fully commit to a goal you’ve set for yourself or your business.

So this year, give autumn resolutions a shot and see for yourself why experts believe autumn is a great time to plan and begin achieving your goals.

What are some of the top goals you should focus on?

The key to making, maintaining, and achieving your goals is keeping things realistic. Aim for the moon, but to get there you first have to get off the ground. After opening your first gym your immediate goal shouldn’t be to open a second location. While keeping the big picture in mind is crucial to your business’ success, your short-term goals should be stepping stones and therefore be your primary focus this fall.

Not only is it a great time to start thinking about your autumn resolutions and set goals for your business’ future, but we have some great advice for achieving some of the most popular goals for gym owners:

Gym Fitness Goal #1

Increase the Number of Memberships Sold

Selling memberships obviously equals more revenue which then means more money to hire the best staff, upgrade old equipment, or buy a better location. Money makes the world go round, especially if you’re a gym owner looking to expand your business. Fall is a terrific time to recruit new members to your gym for a variety of reasons. As previously mentioned, fall is when routines are born. All the people that are done with vacations and have kids back in school will undoubtedly have more free time that they are looking to spend doing something. Why shouldn’t they spend their time at your gym?

All sorts of businesses have back to school specials that drive more traffic into their stores and more online purchases. Gyms are no different. Offer back to school specials from late August to the middle of September. All your new membership gains will undoubtedly lead to long-term, loyal clientele as you follow through with the goals outlined below. Another good idea is to offer reduced rates during fall for groups of two or more that sign up together. By doing this, you get people considering joining your gym to bring a friend or two. It’s basically cheap, non-labor intensive marketing.

Lastly, a great idea is to offer your current members incentives to refer people to your gym. Referrals are another great way to get some incredibly low-cost publicity out there. For example, if one of your members refers three people to sign up, consider giving them some free gym garb. If they refer five people consider giving that member a free month and if they refer ten people consider a really nice prize like a free month with ten free personal training sessions. Put your members that achieve these awards on a board in front of the gym as another incentive to get more people spreading the word of your gym. In this scenario, the cost of giving a gym membership away for free is greatly outweighed by the gains of five new members who can also pursue your incentive program.

Gym Fitness Goal #2

Improve Relationships and Reduce Attrition

Retaining long-term clientele can be a difficult thing to do because people’s lives are always changing. Some move away and other lose the habit of going to the gym. Being a gym owner is like a juggling act which has its upsides and its downsides. On one hand, it’s difficult to balance every aspect of your gym but, on the other, you have the sole ability to determine the exact direction you want your business to move.

That being said, an important part of the juggling act you put on is reducing member attrition. How do you do this? Improve your relationships with your members. This not only increases your chances of getting more members, but it also decreases the chances that people leave your gym for a competitor (or other reasons). But how do you find any time to get to know your members when you’re so busy? If you can’t get out from behind your desk how are you going to learn about another human being?

An all-in-one software tool can be an effective way to maximize your gym’s efficiency, especially if that software is staff-friendly and has a mild learning curve. Once you and your staff are able to handle all the various cloud-based administrative tasks quickly and easily, you’ll be able to focus more on your members. Thus, you’ll attain better relationships with your members and reduce the number of members that leave your gym. Software that is able to handle billing processes through automated services additionally takes the strain off of your relationships with your members. It's no secret that financial disputes can tear people apart, so this aspect can be pretty necessary for creating better connections with your members. Another important aspect of planning for your gym’s future and setting achievable goals is to make sure they’re measurable. If you want to reduce member attrition and let that serve as a metric that measures your relationships with your members, you should be able to measure your retention rates. Being able to watch your retention rates grow will only drive you to work harder to improve your business.

Gym Fitness Goal #3

Expanding Your Gym’s Offerings

It’s truly a one of a kind time in the fitness industry. With the rise of social media, it seems that every day there are more and more products, personalities, and fitness regimes flooding the industry. With all of these new additions to the industry, the competition you face for your members’ loyalty and attention has never been fiercer. Give your members what those other gyms can’t, a personalized and unique fitness experience with an owner that has a genuine vested interest in their clients’ wellbeing and fitness experience. This is something many commercial gyms can’t compete with.

One of the best ways to compete is to expand what your gym has to offer beyond just good equipment and knowledgeable staff. Put on fitness and nutritional seminars that are free to your members but outside visitors must pay a fee. By doing this you’ll both gain credibility within the community, promote more people to join your gym, and maybe turn a little bit of a profit. Another thing that you have to your advantage is the failing system of commercial gyms. They don’t want people who are serious about their fitness goals at their gyms because they make a profit off of those that buy a year-long membership on January 1st and never show up. Educational sessions bring in the kind of fitness go-getters that you want in your gym. People that want to learn and improve themselves have contagious attitudes which can only benefit your gym. Give your members a personalized fitness experience, not the “drive-thru” fast food version.

Yet another fall is upon us and as the seasons begin to transition, you can transition as well. Now is the perfect time to reflect on your business and look at what you can improve and set goals for the future. Are you excited because we’re excited for you!

Have more goals you would like advice on how to achieve? Share them in the comments section below!

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