Studio Management 101: 4 Tips for Running a Successful Fitness Studio

ClubReady Fitness
February 13, 2017

Interest in fitness seems to be at an all-time high, so why do some studios boom, while others go bust?

Location is one factor, but it’s often a much more minor consideration than you might think when it comes to boosting success. Some studios have been located in high-traffic areas and still failed to get enough members and class participants through the door. What’s far more important, in many cases, is studio management. Here are four tips for going from surviving to thriving:

1. Train staff in more than operations

Even if you have just a couple of employees, implementing training is essential. It’s simply not enough to teach someone how to use class- and member-scheduling software and handle retail sales. While those are essential basics, think of them as a starting point, not an endpoint.

Any employee representing your studio should know exactly how to behave and the proper way to handle interactions—for example, strategies for addressing complaints, creating a friendly atmosphere, and promoting upcoming classes. If your employee is scrolling through Instagram instead of welcoming members, you have some training to do.

2. Create an anonymous feedback loop

Without a way to find out what members and class students are thinking, you could find yourself with dwindling class sizes and not know why. Do they find the yoga teacher too challenging? Not challenging enough? Or do they dread dealing with the front-desk person? Maybe they want a higher level of cleanliness or more secure space for storing their bags.

It’s crucial to offer a way for them to praise and complain—and to have anonymity as a choice if they feel hesitant about connecting directly. A physical suggestion box is fine, but it can be even better to have an anonymous online survey sent out to all class participants and members every couple of months—that way, you can capture comments from people who might not visit anymore.

3. Develop special events with limited attendance

Even when you have a robust number of class regulars, special events are a great way to get more potential members through the door. Limiting the attendance creates a sense of urgency for signing up and may nudge a “maybe” into a “yes.”

Special events might be a visiting teacher, a seasonal workshop, or a special training series—try to appeal to a wider audience than you might usually. If your studio has specialized fitness, you may do a free “absolute beginner” kind of class that’s open to anyone, to attract people who’ve been wanting to try your studio but feel nervous about being a newbie.

4. Understand your de-stress mechanisms

Many studio owners struggle with feeling overwhelmed, and when that happens enough, and for an extended period, the result can be serious burnout. At that point, it doesn’t matter if your studio is the hottest spot on the planet—you’ll feel disconnected from that success.

Take some preventative steps to understand what would make you feel less stressed. That might mean bringing on one more employee so that you can take more time off during the week, or it could involve switching up your software so that more mundane tasks are automated. Maybe it could even be both of those tactics. Whatever steps you need to take, consider them now so that you can be happy with your studio for the long term.

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