Congratulations on taking a major step and buying a gym; you’ve passed hurdles like site selection, financing, and equipment purchases. Now it’s time to get the operation going strong.

You may be looking around the space and experiencing that very common moment that many new gym owners experience: wondering what to do now. Here are some basics to get you started when considering how to run a gym:

Staff and Train Appropriately

Your employees can make or break your gym business. If members dread interacting with them, then they’ll find a different gym pretty quickly. Similarly, if members feel welcomed and supported by friendly staffers, not only will they enjoy being members, but they’ll refer friends and family. Because of that, you must spend a good chunk of time on selecting employees who will communicate your brand effectively.

Also important is to put together training that keeps their skills sharp. This isn’t just for salespeople—although training is crucial for them—but also for every team member, particularly when it comes to future promotions. Ask the check-in employees about their goals: Do they want to become personal trainers eventually? Would they be interested in teaching yoga or martial arts classes? Do they want to move into sales? Know what your employees want in the long run and subsidize some training to get them there.

Keep It Fresh

Having an Instagram and Facebook account is great for conveying standard information or putting up a few marketing-type photos occasionally. But to run the gym to the best of your ability, you must always be thinking of new and creative ways to motivate members.

You might consider bringing in a nutritionist once a month to lead a workshop or developing numerous relationships with local companies so that you can be part of their corporate wellness efforts. Your role as a gym owner is to add value to people’s lives—and keep them coming through the door as a result. To do that, try to keep up with industry trends; invest in some new equipment as necessary; develop new, fun fitness challenges; and get involved in the community.

Successful gym owners are constantly asking themselves, “What else can I do to promote the gym and serve the members?” Getting input from employees, collecting feedback from members, and talking to human resources managers locally will help you make sure you’re always thinking of the freshest ideas for promotion.

Consider Gym Management Software

There are so many variables that go into running a gym that it can be easy to get behind when it comes to member management, employee scheduling, finances, and spending. When you factor in other must-haves like class schedules and staff training, you’ll learn quickly that simple spreadsheets aren’t going to cut it.

Fortunately, gym management software can keep track of all these. And depending on what type of software you get, you can also generate reports that let you stay on top of trends like membership sales, labor costs, and expenses. Although there are some general business management software packages, it’s worth investing in software that’s specifically designed for gyms. That eliminates the hassle of trying to fit your numbers into general categories that might not pertain to your business.

Thinking about how to run a gym can feel overwhelming sometimes. But sticking to the basics—hiring and training well, motivating members, and staying organized—can go a long way toward effective gym management.

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