Over the last decade, boutique fitness studios have been exploding worldwide. For a long time, boutique studios were only really available in large, metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, London and New York City. Then came the venture capital and companies going “big” by turning many of these brands into a franchise. This allowed qualifying investors to build these studios in essentially any city of their choice. Even in areas where the fitness industry as a whole is less prominent than major cities.
The Boutique Fitness Landscape
Ever heard the old saying “big brother is always watching?” Well, the average fitness enthusiast has certainly been watching this trend. Many did their research, and decided that they too can create their own local brand—often with little to no business knowledge and background. So now, in addition to larger companies and franchises, there is an influx of single or multi-location studios that aren’t quite big enough to be well known, but carry a lot of influence and clout in their local markets.
This has led to the premise that essentially any studio, anywhere can make money. I truly believe that, but timing (and strategy!) is everything. Regardless of where your business is located or your background, you need to anticipate your market and customers’ needs, while constantly being innovative to stay ahead.
Smaller fitness entities may have the advantage of being able to make choices and implement changes without the exhaustive process and conflicting points of view that sometimes slows down major corporations—in this case franchises and corporate studios. But here is the disadvantage, a lot of that initial success may need the strategic implementation of systems, and establishment of turnkey outcomes to enjoy true, long term prosperity. That is where profit is essential!
What does PROFIT truly mean?
Small and large fitness businesses alike need to align their goals to be profitable as quickly and as much as possible. As a business coach with over 15 years of experience in this industry, I am unashamed to focus on the need and desire to make more money, and you should be too! More profit means more ways to grow your business, help your family, and invest in your community. There’s no downside, and bonus—it’s not as
overwhelming as you may think to improve your businesses’ profitability!
So, you’re ready to build a more profitable boutique fitness studio that can be both your passion and paycheck now and in the future?
Let’s start off with some basic best practices:
1. Focus on your target audience
2. Center your community on authentic connection
3. Inspire and influence your audience to take action
4. Ensure everyone lives the brand of company—from the owner to the people you pay the least
Today’s economy requires us to create positive memories for customers. If we don’t, they will turn to a competitor in search of a better experience. It is imperative to create positive memories for customers. This builds brand equity and creates an emotional attachment to your business. As a consumer, I believe that before we walk into a fitness business (or any business for that matter) we develop a first impression about the environment. We pick up on the passion, or lack thereof, that was put into the creation of the company.
Not only is it important to create a positive customer experience, but to also strive to be as unique as possible—even in an industry built on copycats! Vibe alone isn’t enough to scale your sales. It takes customer retention beyond initial acquisition, and established processes to create a scalable, profitable business.
You’ve created a repeatable, profitable and scalable sales model when:
– Your revenue far outpaces your expenses—after paying ownership salary and/or distributions!
– Sales conversion rate and revenue can be consistently forecasted
– Costs to acquire a new customer is significantly less than the amount you can earn from that customer over time
– Customers stay long enough for you to maximize their lifetime value
The fitness industry is forever evolving. People are abandoning their gym memberships for more expensive and trendy boutique fitness classes every day. Your success in this business should be based on a symbiotic balance of all key performance indicators of the business: sales, marketing, revenue, attendance, retention, staff management etc.
The trend may be here to stay, but your businesses’ approach and delivery is key for delivering the “new best thing”. Find your audience. Make it your own. Most importantly, invest in your community, and yourself.
KK Hart is a business coach and consultant for fitness entrepreneurs and a contributor to the zingfit blog. zingfit is passionate about brining you the best tools to succeed in boutique fitness. To find out more about how zingfit can help you maximize profit, schedule a demo today!