As the new manager of Gemini Gymnastics Academy, a small, 8000 sq ft gym outside Chicago, I remember starting work knowing that a bigger, better equipped gym was just a mile away. Two years later, we've grown 400 students and nearly doubled our revenue. How is this possible?
Ever come to a busy street corner and see a McDonald's, a Burger King, and a Wendy's all on the same intersection? They're all open, they've all got cars and customers, and they all serve BURGERS! How is this possible?
It's because everyone loves burgers.
Whenever you think "How can I compete with all these other gyms... especially that MEGA GYM across town?" remember that image, and that you work in an industry that serves a never ending pool of potential clients who want great activities for their kids. People are going to keep having children, and the gymnastics BUSINESS IS BOOMING!
Obviously marketing had a lot to do with it, and for great advice on how to get your business jamming with key marketing strategies check out this link to THE GYMNASTICS MARKETING GROUP on Facebook.
But our first and best bet for growth is word of mouth referrals. Getting your clients to tell their cousins, neighbors, school buddies and business associates all about your awesome gym is money in your pocket. That means you have to be AWESOME at what you do, and if you're awesome then it doesn't matter if a MEGA gym is right next door.
Over the next few blogs we will explore some of these concepts in detail, but here are some of the things to investigate in your business to make sure you are competing in your market!
KNOW YOUR WHY
If you haven't already then check out Simon Sinek's "Start with Why", a must read for any business owner, and the full audio book is on YouTube HERE! Essentially, know why you have a business, and what it is that you stand for as a leader. Then, make sure your clients experience that everyday. If you do it right, your patrons follow you anywhere.
KNOW YOUR MARKET
This is an area worth exploring more deeply, so I will save deeper thoughts for another day. But these are the questions you be asking yourself as you
Who are your Competitors? (every other children's activity, not just gymnastics)
What Zip codes are your Clients? Why?
What do other services around you charging per hour? (swimming, dance, martial arts)
What type of services do they want?
FOCUS ON YOUR SERVICE
Make sure that you make everything as easy as possible for your clients. Less hoops, better service, lots of communication. For example: Never let your phone ring unanswered. For more tips on how to provide excellent service, check out my other blog 5 Easy Ways to make Gym Parents Feel Awesome.
GET DETAILED WITH YOUR PRODUCT
What are your products? Let's first focus on your first tier sales... your classes. You sell teaching. That means you need to have a killer teaching program. This includes:
A detailed Curriculum
A specific Class Structure
A defined Mobility & Rewards System for kids
A consistent Training Program for Coaches
My next blog will speak to this in more detail, but let's look at this example: Ninja Monkeys is a class centered program, focused on Curriculum, Structure, Rewards and Training. Because we took the time, and made our product awesome, this is what we accomplished in 8 months with NO NEW EQUIPMENT:
We grew by 150 ninjas
We added $150k in new revenue in our first year
SPEND MONEY (wisely) TO MAKE MONEY
This should come as no surprise, and yet it's always surprising to me when businesses tell me they don't have the money to spend on this or that to contribute to their growth! This will be another topic, for another blog, because it is really REALLY important to understand WHY this is so IMPORTANT! The long and short of it is:
IF YOU CHANGE NOTHING, NOTHING WILL CHANGE: If you keep not re-investing in your business you can't be surprised if you don't make any more money!
BETTER IS ALWAYS BETTER: And let's face it, sometimes other people are better at stuff than us! Don't design your own logo if you're not a graphic artist! Don't build your own ninja program if you don't know ninja! Spend the money and let a professional get you off on the right foot.
KNOW YOUR R-O-I: ...your Return On Investment. Put money only where you know you're going to see it again.
For example, throw a couple bucks at making your lobby awesome and watch the impact it makes! For less than the cost of a new beam you can bring a wow factor to where parents, the clients who actually spend the money, spends all of their time in your business. Click here for ideas on Branding your Lobby!
These are just some of the ways we, the "boutique gym" outside Chicago, stayed competitive in our market, despite being just down the road from a gym with all the trimmings. There's room for everyone, because everybody's Gymnastics/Cheeseburgers.
For more tips like these check out the rest of my blogs below! Don't forget to share, comment and subscribe!