It may seem that the fitness industry is changing and that it’s becoming harder for small fitness businesses to survive with glitzy high-end franchises like F45 and Orange Theory opening seemingly everywhere (there is even a Barry’s Bootcamp in Australia now) but that’s false.
Here’s a few reasons why:
Franchises have been a staple of the industry for years. Think Les Mills, Zumba, Metafit, CrossFit, Step Into Life and all of the 24 hour gym franchises.
Each of these franchises have ridden an initial wave of popularity before stabilising as another fitness product.
A product that is riding the wave of a fitness fad will always get more media attention than the 15 year old fitness business down the road. But media attention does not equate to a great business.
The more fitness options that are out there, the better it is for everyone because it means more people are trying out different fitness styles.
A small business run by one person is much more agile. While a franchise often rides the wave of fad and then becomes stuck in the rigidity of what made it popular in the first place, a small fitness business can change things up and catch wave after wave, making each one it’s own. (Apologies for mangling that metaphor but I think you get the point).
A small business run by one person also has the opportunity to create a strong connection with their clients. Make sure you are flossing your business teeth everyday by doing things like:
- following up missing clients
- rewarding clients who bring friends and go above and beyond
- regularly touching base with your wider community
- looking for ways you can over deliver on experience
- building community among your clients
While you may lose some clients initially to a new fitness option opening in your area, if you’ve been flossing, you’ll find that they often come back within a few weeks.
People underestimate the gift of community that you give them, but once it’s gone they’ll realise it quickly. Don’t underestimate it yourself.
Back yourself. Trust yourself. Be agile. Create something special and you’ll be surfing for years to come.
This is not an insult to franchises. They all operate differently, some more like the ‘small fitness business’ I mentioned above and they’re a great option for the right type of trainer.
For those that do want to stay independent and do your own thing I’d like to help.
One thing franchises often do well is peer support by connecting franchisees with each other. As a someone going solo, you don’t have that support. So I created an online course that I only run ‘live’ with a group of trainers together.
It’s called 31 Days to a Better Fitness Business and it will help you get good ‘flossing’ practices in place while being supported by other enthusiastic small group fitness business owners.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.