Since the inception of our coaching business we’ve heard from dozens of studio owners that marketing their fitness studio is their most pressing issue.
Enter 'rona, she says in parentheses (sung to the tune of My Shot from Hamilton – sorry I only watched the Disney+ version twice this weekend and it is FANTASTIC as expected).
But seriously – enter Coronavirus. How does one even begin to market in the midst of a pandemic?
Here are 4 strategies we’re leaning into right now to re-engage old clients and encourage new business.
1. Weekly Email Communication – Prior to the pandemic we were sending an e-newsletter about once/month. Since we closed down we have moved to sending useful content weekly to two lists – our active clients and our prospective clients (i.e. ones who have opted in to our newsletter or content either as a previous client or another marketing initiative).
This strategy is highly efficient and allows us to stay front and...
We are officially almost halfway through 2020, and like most of you our studio has been closed for more than half of that time. It’s crazy when we think of it.
Currently we are still closed as we await notice from our state authorities about moving to the next phase of re-opening, and sadly, we are seeing huge spikes in NC which makes us a bit worried about opening up right away – even if it is allowed.
And to top it off some of our team members are a bit worried about returning to the studio – some for health reasons and some because they have grown complacent and comfortable in the WFH gig.
Needless to say, there are a lot of decisions flooding our heads as studio owners and it’s important that we stay focused and do our best to continue to lead through this next phase of re-opening.
So….how do you re-engage your team as you start to re-open your studio?
It seems there was a line drawn in the sand on March 13, 2020 and we are now affectionately referring to our lives as pre-Covid-19 and post-Covid-19. What a strange trip it’s been (and continues to be), and there’s no doubt we’re all a little beaten up, a little scarred, a little broken – but the good news is we’re still here and we’re still standing.
We know everyone’s path and experience is different – some are deciding to close their studios, others are downsizing, some are pivoting in a new direction and others are figuring out how to run a studio in the post-Covid world.
We’re still waiting to open our doors (technically not allowed in NC yet AND our cases are going up), but here’s what we know about our studio and our business going forward.
1. We Must Be Anti-Racist: Just as we were all catching our breath from the Covid crisis we were reminded that the longest standing pandemic in the US is systemic and...
Not only are we in the midst of a pandemic fraught with shifting tides, stress and uncertainty, but we are also under a racism pandemic. The scab has been pulled off of this deep wound, and as conscious business owners we have a responsibility to bear witness, listen, learn and act.
We trust that you too have been grappling with your role in this conversation and navigating your own thoughts and feelings and how to consciously STAND UP for RACIAL EQUITY.
We don’t propose to have all the answers, but we are committed to learning, listening, engaging and acting.
A Reflection from Iman Abdul-Salaam – Personal Trainer at Empower Personalized Fitness
“This past month has been a very difficult time for many people, especially for African-Americans like myself. First with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, then Breonna Taylor and now George Floyd. Being a person of color in this country has always been challenging, but one would think by 2020 it would be or should...
No, we didn’t suddenly find ourselves with a crystal ball and magic powers, but one thing we know for sure is that the future of fitness and wellness is changing.
Overnight our industry was literally transformed when we were all forced to move to a virtual format, and now we are faced with another change – navigating how do we live, cope and do business in a world that now has Covid-19.
All this time in quarantine has given many of us time to reflect and actually “think” instead of “do” all the time. And over the last few weeks we’ve noticed a collective shift amongst studio owners to a “where do I go from here” mentality.
Some are deciding to contract, to simplify, to get smaller. Some are deciding to change directions all together – to pursue a new passion or to simply just take a break. Others are finding themselves leaning heavily into re-opening their studios with new protocols in place.
Wherever you are we are...
As the studio owner you are kind of like the coach of a world championship team. You can have all the talent in the world, but it’s how you coach, mentor and bring them together that really matters.
A world-class coach doesn’t just roll out the balls at the beginning of the year and say good luck – instead there is a lot of hard work, perseverance, communication, discipline, practice and growth that happens throughout the season.
And that’s exactly what you must do as the studio owner – constantly mentor, motivate, coach, inspire, teach, train and evolve your team.
So how do you that? Through communication and regular meetings.
First and foremost, we recommend a regular team meeting (ideally weekly but at a minimum monthly).
You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to meet” or “I don’t want to waste my team’s time.”
Well – we’d like to argue that you really can’t afford not to meet if you want...
We hope you are healthy and safe, and you are hanging in there as a business owner. For us we are officially in week 10 of shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some things have become routine – like creating our virtual classes and offering online personal training, but there is still a familiar rhythm lacking - and that is of going into the studio each and every day.
Which brings us to the stress du jour – how and when do we re-open and when will it actually be safe to do so?
This one thought has been on our mind for weeks, and we still aren’t quite sure when we will be able to return to seeing clients in the studio. But we know that now is the time to start thinking, planning and communicating with both our team and our clients so we can all be on the same page when the time comes.
As you know… everything is different now and businesses across the world are having to figure out a new way of doing things. And that is true for...
System: a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or interconnecting network; a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done.
Let’s face it – the last few weeks of studio ownership have been all about pivoting to a virtual model, servicing our existing clients and working hard to maintain our businesses.
For most of us we haven’t had much time to work ON our businesses and create systems around how we do things.
Stop the press because NOW is the time to take a good hard look at what’s working and what’s not. If you felt like your business ran you instead of the you running your business BEFORE the pandemic then things are about to get even more messy as we start to re-enter our studios.
So what systems are absolute MUSTs?
Vibe check – how you doing studio owner? It’s officially week 8 of the stay at home order, and by now you probably have a bit of a routine going. Congratulations to you for how far you’ve come and how much progress you’ve made over the last few weeks. You are.still.standing!
However, you are not done, and the job of a studio owner is always an adventure – especially as many of us turn our thoughts to how and when to reopen our studios. It’s definitely something we are thinking long and hard about, and currently we are making plans for a slow and safe (as possible) reopen. We’re brainstorming, strategizing, talking with our team, moving equipment around, setting new protocols and making sure our physical space is ready.
In addition to creating a safe physical space it is also critical that you have clear plan for profitablity in your business. In particular you need a clear way to measure how your business is doing so you can make...
Kudos to you for making it through another week of the pandemic – that in and of it itself is to be celebrated. Like you, we continue to ride the wave of emotions – some days feeling like we’re going to make it and other days pacing around the house not sure what to do next. The days are long, but we hope that you are extending yourself grace for not always being full throttle. These are tough times indeed.
The last few weeks have been fraught with uncertainty, and it’s fair to say the coming days, weeks, months and even possibly years will be too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we are going to be able to flip a switch and just return to “normal.”
While that does make us sad and honestly a bit stressed, we are leaning on the fact that as entrepreneurs we have experience with the unknown, and the truth that we can do hard things. You can too!
So what’s next… well it’s time to start thinking, planning and...
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