No matter what any expert in any industry tells you, they do not truly know what is going to happen over the next six months. Will things continue to move back to a new normal? Will our jobs resume as before? Will there be social distancing recommendations around... forever? No. One. Knows.
Fitness experts all have opinions as to what our industry will do and who will rise from the rubble stronger, and who will phase themselves out of the landscape, but you're not here to listen to opinions on fitness, you're here to see what you should do next.
I recently had a conversation with a friend that owns several small businesses and understandably, he is in a scary spot. "Ben, I just don't know how my employees and customers are going to react once we reopen our doors. Do I have enough protocols in place or not enough? Will I need to completely rebrand? Spend a ton on cleaning supplies? Man, this is tough!” The beauty of the conversation is we came away with four action items for him to consider and implement that will make reopening a much less stressful feat.
1. Have Fun with Your Protocols
In my experience, your customers value what you do. Your customers also REACT how you do. What is important to you will be important to them, which is why as a business owner, yes, of course you need to take extra precaution, but you also need to weave this information into your customer experience! Do not waste an opportunity to get your best personalities in front of your customers by just giving them another set of rules. The fastest way to make sure customers are uncomfortable coming to your business is by making it feel like a hospital. Video content is the best way to get this across, social media platforms provide extremely simple ways to create quality content while simultaneously getting your point across.
2. Decide What You Want to Be Known For and Charge Hard
The second point to consider is what your business does well. Too many consultants today are telling you to create all kinds of new revenue sources! Find all new ways to market! Now most businesses are not completely irrelevant post-COVID, so you do not need to change your business plan completely around. You need to decide what you and your staff do extremely well and market that HARD. For example, if your group fitness program is extremely solid, but your customer acquisition is subpar, don't run a huge membership special to try and get more people in the door. Hold a huge member party with a launch of the best classes everyone loves and a mixer afterwards to welcome everyone back! What is easier to invite people to? A party? or a cheap membership that most aren't sure if they want now that they realize "outside" is an option for exercise?
3. Look Sideways, But Don't Measure Sideways
One of the hardest jobs for business owners is deciding what KPIs to set. The reason why is because a KPI has to be mutually agreed upon for it to be relevant, otherwise it's just a number. Owners are looking all across the globe at similar business models and think that their business is doing great in some areas, and that they can do much better and are failing in areas that, locally speaking, are actually doing quite well. Having a consultant review your model, SWOT analysis and trends is a great way to help get an external perspective on what you truly can and should do with your business. Business owners need to keep a healthy balance of understanding the evolution of your industry without directly comparing a location in downtown Los Angeles to a location in your hometown of 1,200 total residents.
4. Make Plans to Invest in Those That Have Risen to the Occasion
It is certainly not a secret that hard times show people's true colors. When the pandemic started, who was solid as a rock and who panicked? Who did others look to for guidance? True leaders are not the ones that are only the most charismatic, sometimes not even the ones that "have the most sales." True leaders are the ones that don't get derailed when times get tough. They find creative solutions in the hard times. They rise up when everyone else becomes a naysayer. Over the past several months, every company now has a very clear view of who those people are. If you haven't planned on heavily investing in those individuals yet, you better start now before someone else does.