Growing your gym (or youth activity center) can be less stressful than you think– if you implement the right business strategies.
Whether you are new to the role of gym owner, or you’ve been teaching children gymnastics for decades– there’s probably one question that creeps into your thoughts more often than not: How do I grow my gym business?
You opened your gym and have a steady line of students and families utilizing your training services. Now how do you do more than just make a living by teaching? That’s where we come in. Here are five tips for how you can create a profitable business for yourself now and into the future.
5 ways to improve your gymnastics business
Master customer service
First impressions are everything.
No matter the number of talented gymnasts your gym trains or how talented your instructors are, one thing that customers and visitors to your gym are going to remember is the direct interaction they had with your business. Why not make it a good one?
It’s not easy putting on a happy face every single day. I get it. But the bottom line is, you and your staff are the face of your gym, and your families’ experiences will be defined by the quality of support skills your team possesses.
If your team isn’t sticking the landing when it comes to customer service, try focusing on these areas to improve.
- Address your customers by name
- Reward loyal customers with incentives
- Follow-up with families quickly
- Be available to connect with customers through multiple communication channels — email, phone, text, social media and in-person
- Give your customers an opportunity to provide feedback
- Listen more than you talk
Sure, your students may have come to learn from you. (You’re the best, right?) But it’s your customer service that will retain them as a paying customer well into the future.
Have a marketing and communication strategy
If you build it, they will come.
Yeah, not really.
Your gym could have the newest equipment, world-renowned instructors and be in the hippest part of town, but none of that matters if the right prospective families don’t know that your gym even exists.
When it comes to marketing your gym, it’s important to remember that you need to target your messaging to the right people, in the right place, at the right time. So how do you do that?
Easy. Small businesses have never had more opportunities to find marketing strategies that fit their budget. Whether you want to be conservative with your marketing dollars or ready to hire an outside branding firm– you can start attracting prospective families to your gym by creating:
- A user-friendly website that allows prospective and current families to easily learn about your gym.
- A contact database that allows you to easily follow up with prospective and current students.
- A professional online presence on social media sites and Google.
Next, consider stepping into your customers shoes. Other than teaching their children gymnastics, what exactly do they need from you?
If your new season is on the horizon, dedicate a portion of your monthly e-newsletter to educate your family on how to complete class enrollment online before registration opens. (I forgot to mention, in this story you have a monthly newsletter!) Now when a parent goes to register their kids for the upcoming season, all they have to do is revisit the email you sent last week to complete enrollment, instead of blowing up your cell phone the night before the registration deadline hits.
Implement class management software
In today’s digital-centric world, it’s hard to find daily tasks that aren’t made simpler by doing them online. Why wait in line at Starbucks when you can click ‘order’ at home, right?
The same thing goes for completing tasks that are vital to your gym’s business. Why spend more time manually tracking attendance, billing parents or filing registration paperwork when it can all be done online?
We all know that time is money. That’s why a well-designed class management software will help you lower costs and increase revenue. Note, not just any software package will do.
When you’re looking through class management solution options that are right for your gym, you want to make sure to look for the critical functions and elements that will make a difference to your bottom line, while at the same time create raving fans out of your families.
Evaluate your discounting structure
When establishing your multi class and family discounting structure, it’s important that you don’t give away the farm. In other words, you want to make sure that the deal isn’t better for the student or family who is receiving the discount than it is for you.
It’s not personal, it’s business.
Sean Dever, owner of Express Payroll, likes to address Disney’s pricing strategy when teaching discounting in his seminars and webinars. When you load up the family to visit Mickey at the Happiest Place on Earth, you can expect to pay full price for every adult and child in your party. There is no discount for multiple family members.
Not all discounts are bad. Just make sure you are giving your business value and not over-discounting. The discounts should be simple and minimal.
Expand your offering of classes
While you got into business to teach children gymnastics, you may find it necessary to expand upon your gym’s arsenal of regularly scheduled classes. Providing master classes and summer technique camps are a great way to challenge existing students, while solidifying your reputation as the leader in youth gymnastics education.
Of course students are coming to your gym to further their gymnastics skills, but that doesn’t mean the goal of every class has to be learn and master skills. Here are three ways to incorporate fun events in between your fundamental classes.
Warning: offering one-day gymnastics camps on days where parents are searching for kid-friendly entertainment may increase their love for you and your gym. Holiday camps are especially helpful on those holidays where schools are closed but parents still need to work.
Screen a movie each month tailored to a different age group of students in your gym. You could have a little fun with this too by offering students the opportunity to vote on the movie selection.
The kids are entertained and the parents have a quiet night at home. Did someone say win-win?
Let students and their friends experience everything your gym has to offer with a little cake and ice cream. Consider offering a special rate for birthday party attendees who aren’t students as a way to get them back in your door for a routine class.
Adopting these five strategies can be difficult. As the business owner, it’s important that you take time to discover how making improvements in each of these areas can help grow your gym business.