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How Health Club Owners Can Reject the Recession and Build a Thriving Business

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Jim ThomasJim Thomas

In a time when many health clubs are struggling or even closing, and everything on television focuses on downsizing, rising costs and economic turmoil, it is hard to avoid that sinking feeling. But, as health club owners, we really have two choices: (1) We can let the negative media send us into full panic mode, or (2) We can view the economic downturn as an opportunity to increase our market share.

This is a time in the economy when fortunes can be made. While some health club owners are giving up and closing their doors, their competitors are seizing opportunities in the marketplace. Here are some thoughts on how to thrive in the health club business during tough times:

  1. 1. Keep marketing your health club... and keep marketing - Even though your first instinct may be to cut back on marketing, promotion and advertising, this is the worst time to cut back. Health Clubs that continue marketing through a slow economy are the ones that come out ahead when everything begins to turn. Make sure you have a marketing plan of action in place and stick to it. If your current marketing and promotional efforts aren't producing results, try new strategies until they do. When done correctly, marketing is an investment that should pay for itself. Find proven strategies, and then, keep doing them.
  2. 2. Don't be afraid to discount membership fees - The harsh reality is that your members and guests are holding on to their money more tightly. The key to unlock their wallets is discounts. Re-evaluate your membership pricing strategy and offer membership discounts off your most popular memberships and health club services. This may also be a good time to lower your memberships across the board and then advertise your new, lower prices.
  3. 3. Leverage the Internet for marketing and exposure - Are you selling memberships, gift certificates and other health club services from your website? Can you expand your sales channels by selling on eBay or other sites? Are you reaching your members and club guests with e-mail marketing? Is your website optimized for the search engines? Have you tried Ad Words? It doesn't have to cost a fortune to implement an online marketing and sales strategy for your health club. Even if you simply add gift certificate purchases to your website, you could uncover a whole new revenue stream. Seek out an online marketing expert and evaluate the opportunities.

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