With things escalating to a crazy level in the last few days, it’s crucial to talk about Coronavirus and how to manage this within your Fitness Business.
Does this mean doom and gloom for your business? Absolutely not.
But it will mean changes. And you, as a leader and fitness professional, need to put strategies in place to ensure the safety of your clients (and community), yourself and family, and the health of your business.
With so much fear mongering, social media hyperbole and general misguided information it has been difficult to cut through the shite and find the factual information on CVD along with practical advice for your business.
So in this guide I have collated the key resources that I think will be most useful to you right now (with the information that we have at the current time).
There’s 5 parts to this:
1. You The Leader
2. Practical Solutions For Your Business
4. Dealing with cancellations and pivoting
5. Your mindset
The first KEY thing you must do is LEAD. Your clients look to you for leadership and direction. They need certainty in an uncertain time, so you MUST step us as the leader and be the source of information and reliability.
Keep them updated with your policies, procedures and what actions you are taking DAILY. This can be done via text messages, announcements on your social media accounts, emails, phone calls and gym posters, IG Stories and so on. Updates are occurring at a rapid rate so give them your daily updates and keep control of the narrative/perspective you want to share with them.
The more certain they feel the less likely they will be to make up stories in their head and make panicked decisions such as cancelling sessions, memberships and asking for refunds.
Make decisions based on factual information, not rumours or emotions, and clearly communicate why you are making those decisions. Remember, not making a decision is deciding to do nothing.
In your communication it is also worth acknowledging their current beliefs and fears about the situation and overcoming them. These could form the basis of social media posts, FB Lives, emails etc.
For example a big false belief is:
“The gym is a breeding ground for viruses and disease and should be avoided”
Truth: “Given our extensive cleaning protocol and the general health of our members, our gym is in fact, one of the cleanest public places you can be in. Equipment is constantly being wiped done with disinfectant, cleaned commercially and sick members avoid coming in. Currently in Australia, there is no need to avoid the gym, in fact the Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendon Murphy stated on Sunday 15th March 2020 that people can still go the gym as it is low risk. We at [name of gym/studio/fibiz) encourage people to stay fit and healthy over the coming months by working out as per usual, but with extra precautions in place”
If you can identify the key false beliefs and fears that your clients and members have and persuade them otherwise you can keep control of the situation.
There are tons of preemptive, ‘take control’ strategies for you to use. It is far better to be on the foot front with this rather than reacting when it is too late.
1. If you own a studio or gym hire some commercial cleaners to come into the club to give it an extra going over. No doubt you are already using cleaners but it would be worth asking for an extra clean to be safe. Take a ton of photos and IG stories and post to your social media and emails to show visual proof of the space being cleaned.
2. Double down on buying hand wash, disinfectant sprays, paper towels and extra bins (if you can get your hands on some). Put them everywhere with bold signs pointing them out.
3. If you have staff, hold special prevention meetings to make sure they are on the same page as you, and train them to remind all members as they enter the premise of the new policies (as per the emails). As a trainer, constantly remind your clients throughout your sessions/classes.
4. Equipment: Make sure all equipment is wiped down and cleaned between classes/sessions. If possible, avoid sharing equipment. If you are a Personal Trainer doing SGT or Bootcamp style sessions you can move to bodyweight training if you don’t have enough equipment to go around.
Jono and Travis from Fitness Education Online have heaps of bodyweight ideas for sessions – below is one of their videos:
Meghan Callaway also shares a TON of bodyweight exercise, travel, and ‘at home’ work out examples on her Instagram page.
5. Possibly consider limiting class sizes to encourage social distancing within a class. Add more options to the timetable to make sure everyone can still find a workout time that suits.
6. If you are a contract PT running sessions indoors within a commercial club, you can consider conducting outdoor sessions.
1. Send emails to all clients/members outlining your procedures and how you are looking after their health and managing the risk
2. In these emails you can include further information on how to stay safe in the gym/sessions and what they can do to contribute to a healthy environment
3. Create a basic information pack on why going attending the gym/PT sessions is one of the best ways to boost immunity and keep you safe
4. Hold an online webinar/FB live training where you outline all of the above and also give some free education
5. Double down on your social media posts with informative, positive education on exercise, immune building and healthy habits
Alicia Stregar from Fit Pro Essentials has put together an epic swipe file of resources for trainers to use so simply click this link and download all the goods. Modify the files to suit your business: https://fitproessentials.com/free-coronavirus-resources-for-your-community
Also check out Thomas Plummers recent FB posts where he outlines some sane (and powerful advice) and gives an examples of great phone script such as:
“Hi, this is Thom from the gym. Just checking in to make sure you are okay and to let you know we are open and have obsessively made this one of the cleanest and safest places you could visit in town. Eat well, get some sleep and get some workouts in. Staying healthy is the best defence against getting sick …”
More tips from Thomas Plummer to protect your business during the virus scare (Part 2)If you are a gym owner, please...Posted by Thomas Plummer on Saturday, 14 March 2020
Ok, so this is a big one. I’ve been asked by a couple of my Tribe Business Amplifier Mentees what to do here, and there is no one clear, cut solution.
Whilst you are wanting to do best by your clients you are running a business, so your commercial hat needs to be on here.
First place to start is by looking at your current Terms and Conditions and Illness policies. What is your current policy/stance on this? In MOST circumstances these policies should stand firm. We are coming into the Winter cold and flu season so it is expected that you carry out your policies as per usual.
If you cancel or freeze everyone’s sessions or memberships you are going to be in a financial hell hole. Yes you want to be mindful, safe and preventative but you also want to minimise financial strain.
Assuming that you have been on top of all of the above communication and education there shouldn’t be too many cancellation/freeze requests. This is why leading with strong communication now is crucial to your bottom dollar.
If you haven’t provided enough education or effective communication then freezes/cancellations may be high >> this is a direct result of NOT leading initially. Don’t let it get to that stage.
If despite all your communication clients just don’t feel comfortable coming in then pivot quickly.
Your attitude and mindset during this time will determine how well you (and your business) hold up. It is absolutely crucial to be mindful, pre-cautious and informed and it is totally OK to feel scared, nervous and unsure.
But buying into the fear will only make things worse.
What circumstances like this do for our business is expose risk and holes. In these moments of crisis we can see clearly what systems are working for us or not, how much exposure to financial risk we are and where we need to improve.
As sucky as it may seem, now is a great time to reflect on your current business model. Given the potential for the Coronavirus to have an even greater impact on your fitness business can you survive even greater upheaval? Is your business robust enough to weather the storm?
Do you need to consider diversifying your income streams so you don’t have all your eggs in the one basket?
Do you need or want to reinvent your fitness business? If for some reason, you did end up in isolation for a couple of weeks, that would be the perfect time to start answering these questions!
I recorded a specific podcast on this a few weeks back, and it would be worth listening to right now, in order to bulletproof you for the future.
Jen Dugard and I will be hosting a joint Masterclass on Friday 20th March at `12.30 pm Sydney time to discuss how to protect your fitness business over the coming months.
We will be sharing different ideas, thoughts and tactics for your business.
If you want to join simply click the link at the time on Friday to join the meeting:
Nardia is the no BS Fitness Business Mentor for badass women like yourself.
She is the Filex Presenter of the Year 2018/19, Fitness Network Personal Trainer of the Year 2014, named as an Australian Institute of Fitness Legend, course creator, international presenter and part time comedian (in her lounge room).
She loves helping Female Fitness Professionals claim their fitness legitness.
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