The last year and a half has undoubtedly been challenging for the fitness industry. We’ve seen some businesses struggle to stay afloat due to mandated closures and restrictions, while many have been able to survive and find a new normal. While we are still getting used to daily operations post a pandemic with many unknowns, our clients need us now more than ever. Recent studies from within the industry show that many clients have screen fatigue and have already returned, or plan to return to their local gym or studio. As a service based industry focused on health and wellness, it is our responsibility to ensure that we take precautions for our communities. This article will outline important steps that you can take to run a safe and successful business.
The CDC guidelines and government mandates are ever changing so it is helpful to stay up to speed and well informed. You can review some of the most recent Covid 19 updates here by state.
Understand what policies you can legally enforce and make a decision that your business can stand by. If you are unsure about your rights as a private small business, it’s advised to contact a local lawyer and your state representatives. Keep in mind that you may have members who do not agree with your decisions, so be prepared to address their concerns and identify how you will proceed if they want to cancel their membership.
Having a safety protocol illustrates your due diligence as a responsible business owner and it will serve as your guide to address concerns.
This Safety Protocol should include:
It is in your best interest to get all staff and clients to agree that they have reviewed and understand any new policies by signing an updated waiver.
Understand what is legally required of your business and outline how you will proceed if a Covid case is reported. It should be noted that although you may not need to communicate covid exposure, it can be in your best interest to ensure that you do not see an increase of incidents within your business.
Depending on where you are located, you can get creative with outdoor and alternative locations to host. Prepare a list in advance of potential options so you have them if you need to temporarily close or have capacity restrictions.
Virtual offerings have been and can be an alternative for many businesses but they may not be the right fit for everyone. Have an action plan prepared if adding virtual options is necessary. If you choose to offer digital services, don’t undersell yourself.
Understand your state regulations regarding contract cancellations and refunds. If clients have concerns about in person classes you can offer a membership freeze for a set amount of time or virtual options.
Your team is the core of your business so it is important to make sure they are trained properly and feel supported. Remember to lead by example with a positive mindset. Check in with them regularly as things evolve.
Over communicate to your community with the same messaging across all platforms.Update your website, use your social media platforms consistently, and personally reach out by phone to at risk clients.
Making strategic decisions for your business starts with reviewing your numbers and understanding your options.
When you review your numbers, you should know how long your business can operate with your current revenue and potential restrictions.
If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that you can’t plan for the unexpected, but you can be prepared. As our industry continues to navigate many unknowns, our businesses should serve as safe outlets for our communities to focus on their well being. You can use the steps in this article to prepare your business to run safely and successfully.