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Ten Ways to Be a Successful Gym Owner

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Jim ThomasJim Thomas

I always ask this question, "Who wants to be a success?" Of course, all hands go up. But, then, I ask, "Who's willing to do what's necessary to be a success?" Not as many hands go up. There are many reasons for this, but one that always seems to be at the top of the list is, "I don't have time." Truthfully, you don't have time not to, but remember this: When it comes to time, no one has an advantage. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, the same seven days a week, etc.

Here are ten things to consider to help you be a more successful gym owner:

  1. 1. Manage your cash. We've seen a lot of this in the past few months. The operations that have done the best have minimal debt, and certainly, they have manageable debt and cash reserves. So, get yourself a working budget, don't take on debt that doesn't make you money and maintain at least one month's operating expense on hand.
  2. 2. Develop a data-based culture. How does your lead database check out? This is a must to really be effective in the operation of your sales and revenue generation. In addition, know your data. What is the lifetime value of your member? How long does your average month-to-month member stay with you? How many referrals are you getting from your new members?
  3. 3. Engage in a simple planning strategy. Be sure you have a monthly plan of action that includes how to handle roadblocks and setbacks. Write it down and work the plan. That doesn't mean you have to marry the plan; that's why we look at roadblocks and setbacks. Also, keep it simple. There is power in simplicity.
  4. 4. Know your margins and everything you sell. And, know your KPIs. What is your margin on personal training? Nutrition? Retail? If sales are down, do you know why? Closing percentage? Lack of appointments? Lack of leads? Sales process not being followed?
  5. 5. Have a strategy for recruiting and retaining top talent. Don't just hire when you need someone and end up just filling a slot. Plus, have an onboarding process that gets your new hire in a position to be successful right from the beginning. Have all job inquiries send you a 30-second video on why they are the best person for the job. Then, if they are still in the running, send them a sales philosophy test to see if they measure up to what you are looking for. If all goes well, then you can schedule an interview.
  6. 6. Listen online every day. Yes, listen. If you're not using Google Alerts, go to It's free. Have alerts set for your name and your club's name. Whenever new information is posted on the internet that contains those names, you'll get an alert. It's also a good idea to do with your competition, so you can stay ahead of what's happening in your market.
  7. 7. Engage in marketing that gives you an ROI. You must advertise, market and promote... If people don't know who you are, they can't do business with you. But, don't just spend to spend. Track your results: Cost per lead. Cost per appointment. Cost per sale. Even break this down with each sales rep. Many times, you will get some surprising results.
  8. 8. Talk to your members. I can't tell you how many times a gym owner has told me they don't talk to their members because they might remind them they are still a member and will want to cancel. If this is where you are, this is one thing to change immediately, but it won't happen overnight. Member interaction from the moment they join is critical for long-term success.
  9. 9. Know your competition. You can learn a lot when you do this. But, the big thing I want to find out is what's not being done in my marketplace that I can now do. This is how you start to create differentiation and eliminate so-called competition.
  10. 10. Know your WHY. This can be an easy one to forget, but WHY is this important to YOU? Why did you get in the business? Stay focused on this, and it will help you overcome any obstacles that are thrown your way.

Now, go be a success!

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