Literally 2 weeks before the pandemic hit we had just signed a new lease with a big master plan to expand our studio and grow our business. Then in a matter of days we went from thriving to hanging on for survival.
In NC the shutdown for gyms and studios just lifted about 2 weeks ago which means our studio was officially closed for 6 months.
Friends… this has been a dark period. And honestly, we were kind of operating in this mode that getting the studio open was our “finish line.”
Not so…it is clear there is more work to do, and now we realize that we are actually at the starting line as it’s time to kick into a rebuilding mode.
Here are 3 steps we’re taking to get back to thriving!
Step 1 - Defining Our Hybrid Model - For years we had it on our “to do” list to build out our virtual services, but there were always more pressing issues. Hello pandemic and then bam we’re operating our entire business virtually. It is amazing how our team pivoted (the word of 2020 right), and we are so proud and grateful for how quickly everyone shifted to this new format. However, because we had to move fast we didn’t have time to implement systems and make sure we were delivering an Empower level experience. And we didn’t have a clear idea of what our clients needed from us in the virtual format. Even though our studio is technically open many clients are choosing to stick with the virtual format.
So…step one is for us to clearly define our virtual services. We’re looking at what’s been working and what’s not, surveying our clients and evaluating our team’s bandwidth to toggle between the virtual and in person.
Step 2 – Rebuilding our Infrastructure – Ok if you know us then you already know we are systems people. For us, having solid systems has been the difference between surviving and fizzling out too many times and we attribute our 15-year history in business to setting up solid processes in 4 main areas – profits, clients, team and marketing.
In fact, our systems have helped us survive this much of the pandemic. When something is broken or in chaos it’s always important to look at the underlying system instead of trying to muscle your way back to normal. If you need further proof of “Systems FTW” then check out this blog by Seth Godin. He is so poignant in his description.
For us we are starting with our client intake systems so we are primed and ready to take on new clients. First up was creating a new website to attract our ideal clients and explain our new service offerings, secondly we implemented a virtual document to onboard new clients and now we are moving on to creating an ideal client experience across both our digital and in-person platform.
In the digital space we are starting to talk about how to make sure our team has proper lighting, sound and space to offer virtual training appointments. We are also discussing ways to help clients set up their home workout space so it’s effective and efficient.
Regarding our in-person services we are leaning hard into our Covid protocols and making sure we ensure safety all around.
No, we didn’t choose this path, but we are finding comfort knowing that we are creating a smoother and more efficient operation amidst the current landscape.
Step 3 – Leaning into our Community – After 6 months of shutdown, an entire summer in our houses and few opportunities to connect with others many are starting to feel the isolation and the weight of the pandemic. For us, fitness is way more than just sets and reps – it’s the community of people that come together who share similar values and enjoy being together.
Currently our focus is on building community – despite the current challenges.. First up is our 15-year celebration. In years’ past we would have a big ole party, but now in 2020 things are different. Check out how we plan to celebrate here.
Another way we are leaning into our community is by hosting a Groundwater presentation from the Racial Equity Institute. As you know ending systemic racism is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts, and we are honored that so many in our community have expressed interest in this training. Our dear friend and coach Asila Calhoun explains this training best, “the 3-hour session includes tons of data and information on systemic racism across several systems in the U.S.: child welfare, health, juvenile justice, education, and economic development. They also discuss hiring practices and maternal health disparities. The groundwater metaphor explains how systemic racism is in the water below the earth––the root cause of symptoms we see in our "lakes". Jess and I have completed this training along with REI’s Phase 1 training with our team, and we are committed to using our voices and our influence to change the structures of power and systemic racism in our community. It starts with more people entering the conversation and becoming allies and advocates for change.
We would love to discuss this cause with you, but the point is – find something that matters to you and do something to serve your community. You are a leader and leaders have influence over others. Do the hard work on what matters.
Community matters and as a cornerstone for wellness in your local area it’s important that you continue to foster connection. Make it a priority!
As always, there’s so much to be done to move from surviving to thriving. No we didn’t choose this path, but it’s the one we’re on so let’s do what business owners do – let’s lead with purpose and intention and find our way forward. One step at a time.
We'd love to hear from you! Let us know how you're surviving and thriving!
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