11 things you should know before opening a gym
Is it your dream to open a gym? Opening your own gym could be the start of an amazing business venture for you - however, there are 11 things you should know before you begin. Below, we’ll talk about what they are. Don’t start your business plan or secure funding until you’ve finished this article!
1. Should you start a gym from scratch or go for a franchise?
The first thing you need to think about carefully is whether you should start a gym from scratch for go into a franchise. Both are difficult, so do not be fooled into thinking that starting a franchise is easier. While it may already have an established brand and people may trust it, you will still need to hire staff, kit it out, market it, and do everything else required to get a gym up and running. People won’t just flock to your gym if you don’t give them a reason to!
2. Do you have competition in the area?
You need to know who your competition is in the area and do thorough research to ensure your gym will stand the test of time. How will your gym compare to the competition? What’s the difference between your gym and the competition? How much do they charge? What are the members like who go there? Asking yourself questions like this will help you to come up with the answers you need to create a gym that people actually want to visit.
3. What will your unique selling point be?
Following on from the last point: write down and seriously consider your unique selling point. You need to know what makes you unique, setting you apart from the rest of the gyms in the area. When you know this you can effectively market your gym.
4. Where will you get your equipment?
You need a long list of equipment, so knowing where you’re going to get things like Rubber Matting, treadmills, free weights, and machines is crucial. Consider what sort of gym your gym is first. Many gyms have a mix of weights, machines, and cardio equipment. Some gyms may have one more than the other. If you were going to be a traditional weightlifting gym you’d likely have much less cardio equipment than some of the more mainstream gyms out there. This could be a time to choose a few pieces of equipment other gyms in your area don’t have.
5. Are you cut out for running a business?
You might love the gym, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cut out for running a business. Make sure you have the skills necessary, and any you don’t have you should aim to learn - or at least hire somebody else to take care of for you. Your accounting, for example. You don’t want to be doing anything that could easily be automated or outsourced, especially if you could free up time and do what you’re best at by delegating it elsewhere.
6. When will you hire?
You’re probably going to need to hire at least a few staff members before you open. They may run classes, help people with equipment, work reception - anything you need them to do. You don't want to spread yourself too thin, or even potentially not be able to deal with something in the gym that requires your urgent attention (somebody lifting weights incorrectly, harassment, etc).
7. How will you market your gym?
Knowing how you’re going to market your gym is a must. Will you have staff stand in the area and hand out flyers and free passes? Maybe you could come up with some great deals, such as two months free, or even a reduced membership when the whole year is paid up front.
8. What is your long-term vision?
You need to be passionate enough to come up with a long-term vision for your gym. Where do you see it in the future? Perhaps you’re opening more gyms, starting an app, or even a clothing line? The world is your oyster, so don’t limit yourself!
9. Do you have a good knowledge of the fitness industry as a whole?
Speak to other people who have opened gyms, and get to know the industry if you don’t already. If you’ve never really been into fitness but you’re opening a gym because you thought it would make you money, think again. You must have a decent knowledge of the fitness industry, or you will likely make decisions that won’t sit well with members.
10. Where will you have your gym? How will you design access?
Convenience and ease of access are very important to the success of your gym. Making sure you go for the right building and consider access is a must - will you have disability access? You should! You should be located close by your target market. Don’t be duped by a building that just has cheap rent. You should never go for a building because of the price of rent alone!
Having spaces for people to park is a must, too. Not everybody will be able to walk. The more parking you can secure, the better.
11. You need a clearly defined gym concept
We already said you need to know what makes you unique, but you should have a clearly defined concept, too. You’ll need to consider things like training programmes, colour schemes, amenities, freebies, and so on. Everything you do should be based around your target market and what is going to make them want to visit your gym.
Simply opening a gym won’t make them visit you. You need to do what it takes to design a gym they are going to love and want to come back to again and again.
Of course, there’s a lot more to go through as you open a gym, but the above should give you a rough idea. Are you planning on opening your own gym?