The east and west coasts sometimes dominate a lot of the fitness business conversation. But knowing the fitness benefits for members and opportunities for operators, it’s clear that minds and trends are changing in the middle of the country as well. That’s what Rachel Hilton, a franchise owner in and around the Kansas City metro area has seen. “It is taking more time for people to understand that it’s not an expense, it’s an investment in themselves.” It takes someone that believes to lead the way. That’s why they opened their first franchise locations in Lee’s Summit, MO, signing leases in March of 2020 (we all know what happened next in 2020) and opening a Pure Barre in August and a CycleBar that November.
“We were able to come out of that and we’ve started working on growing and getting the systems in place to make sure that we’re servicing the volume of members that we need to be profitable and sustainable.”
Rachel Hilton, Owner
With business models built on class capacity, times were clearly tough. “There was a lot of just grin and bear it,” says Hilton. “There was nothing we could do, so we just had to figure out how to be creative about selling memberships. We tried to do as many in-person things as we could that were outside, like, ‘Hey, we’re going to pop up a table outside in a park, come meet us.’” Sometimes those efforts were successful. Other times not. But they kept soldiering on and came out the other side stronger.
“We were able to come out of that and we’ve started working on growing and getting the systems in place to make sure that we’re servicing the volume of members that we need to be profitable and sustainable,” she says.
Building Tech Connections
When you have one studio sometimes the choice of platforms can be almost inconsequential if it does what you need. But as you add more studios, standardizing on one solution becomes critical. That is also when additional functionality becomes important. That’s what Rachel found with their texting provider. “Originally, we were using our studio phones to text, which was fine, but it wasn’t integrated obviously into Club Ready. It was really hard to keep track of everything.” That’s when a program that’s built to scale such as ClubReady and ClubReady Connect come into play. “I like the integration into ClubReady,” said Hilton. That saves time and provides clarity for the sales team because they can do everything in one platform – send it, call people, call the leads, do what they need to do and then move on to the next person within one platform. “I’m excited for that to be seamless and real-time,” says Hilton, “when a lead can come into the system, we’re already working it to call them and then we can go straight to texting them. That’ll be really nice.”
Measuring and reporting are critical to successfully grow any business. You have to know where you are to know where you need to go. That’s where Hilton takes a very disciplined approach. “I like the reporting side of it,” she says. “I have goal sheets with each of our studios that we update daily based on reports we pull from ClubReady. We know how many memberships we’ve sold, our revenue per unit, how many first-time visits we have coming, all of those critical things. I compile all of those important reports into one interface for our team so they know exactly how they’re tracking for the month.”
“I like the integration into ClubReady.”
Rachel Hilton, Owner
Because fitness studios are continuously working to balance new members with those that leave, communications are critical. That means having the right message at the right time. “I like that we can schedule text messages because we do that a lot,” says Hilton. “We schedule our messages for people who are new to the studio like, ‘Hey reminder you have this class coming up, here’s your waiver.’”
Getting people into the habit of going to the studio in those first months after they sign up is critical. If they don’t build that habit, they are much more likely to churn. To overcome that, they’ve built in challenges for the first month to make sure that members utilize their classes. Through a combination of automated text messages, hand-written notes, and personal letters at different points in their fitness journey, they work to build strong lines of communication. Add in the other methods of milestone recognition for member achievements – signed bars, decorated bikes and other swag – and they’re creating personal relationships and loyalty that lead to member fitness and business success.
Grow Your Fitness Business
Having the right technology in place isn’t just critical for businesses to scale as quickly as Rachel has, it’s part of the reason they’re able to scale. Check out more examples of businesses using ClubReady to scale their operations or get a consultation to learn what it can do for your operations.