All right, a show of hands please: How many of you have done your reports? Yes, that’s right: reports. When you hear the R-word do you break out into hives? Do memories of tenth-grade English class flood your mind and render you a sobbing mess? Do you start sweating, thinking about those all-nighters you pulled back when you would sit down around 8 p.m. to get started on a twenty-pager due the next day? Well, relax. That’s not the kind of report I’m talking about — although, like that sort, this kind also can mean the difference between success and failure.
I’m talking about reports you can use to measure and improve every aspect of your health center, fitness club, gym, or sports facility. Financial reports, booking reports, availability, payroll, membership, point of sale, inventory, marketing, participation, attendance, and system usage reports — all of these can give you vital information about how your business is doing on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. But only if you actually run them. And only if you know what to do with them after you’ve run them.
For this industry, having data available at your fingertips is vital. All day long, you serve members who want the best workout experience possible; coming to your facility might well be the highlight of their day. If you don’t know how packed your classes are, what marketing efforts have been effective in the past, what the daily attendance patterns at your facility are, and the like, then you don’t know how to provide your members with the tip-top service they’re seeking.
It’s not enough, however, just to run reports and have them available. You have to make sure your employees are trained in reading and analyzing the reports you run. Can your membership guru study the membership report and understand when and why new enrollments dip? Can your payroll director take a look at a report and determine whether there are payroll expenses you’re incurring unnecessarily? If you’re regularly producing reports (and if you are, good for you!), sit down with the employees responsible for studying them, and make sure they’re on the same page as you when it comes to understanding them.
Finally, know how to take action based on your and your employees’ analyses. If a booking report tells you your 12 p.m. Monday spin class is constantly over-enrolled, consider running a second spin class at the same time. If your inventory report shows that the women’s locker room runs out of towels every day at 5 p.m., you know you’ve got to get more towels in there, or make changes to your laundry schedule. Whatever the issue, when you’ve taken the time to gather and examine data that tells you how your club is doing, take action. Let the reports guide you in your decisions about which actions to take. Information is power, but until you make changes based on the information, it’s only potential power.