Sweat Equity: Fitness Business Strategies


Get the Basics…
  • 📈Business strategies demystified
  • Valentine’s and partner challenges
  • Older adult fitness trending
  • Boutique gym outlook
  • Landing Pages 101
  • Interview with Carl Paoli🎤

It’s the season of love. Your inbox this month was undoubtedly flooded with marketing emails for the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day. What these emails likely failed to address is that with love comes an array of other emotions including fear and frustration. For a business owner who loves their business, you’re likely familiar with the not-so-romantic feelings that accompany your love for the company that you’ve created.

Fret not – we’re here to help!

In this issue of Sweat Equity, we’ll begin to unpack the less-than-sensual aspects of running a fitness business by taking a look at business strategy. Whether your strategy is scribbled onto a napkin, finely-detailed on your tablet, or still solidifying in your head, there’s always room for development.

And don’t forget, we want to hear from you. Was this week’s newsletter insightful? What problems are you currently solving? What successes are you celebrating? Your feedback is key to presenting our community of fitness professionals with concise and relevant content.

New This Week: Demystifying business strategies… Taking advantage of Valentine’s Day… What do older adults want out of fitness?… The boutique gym boom… Interview with gymnast and CrossFit coach, Carl Paoli… Shareable health and fitness finds.

Still with us? Great. Let’s get started.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.

Table of Contents

Demystifying Business Strategy

Why is business strategy important in the fitness industry? 

The Business Strategy Defined

With the New Year buzz behind us, now is the perfect time to take a deeper look at your fitness business strategy. What is a business strategy? Via Forbes, a business strategy is, “a long-term plan that you create for your company to reach the desired, future state you envision.”

Strategies reflect the firm’s strengths, vulnerabilities, resources, and opportunities. They also reflect the firm’s competitors and its market. Terms such as competitive advantage, opportunities and threats, goals and objectives, target market, and resource allocation all comprise the heart and soul of a well-thought-out business strategy–and, yes, a well-thought-out fitness business strategy.

Practical Tips for a Competitive Edge

Being competitive in the fitness industry doesn’t have to be complicated. Setting SMART goals offers a practical process for implementing a small business strategy. Not sure where to start? Check out these small business SMART goals from 2019 for some inspiration:

When thinking of business strategy, several terms come to mind: distinctive, sustainable, dynamic, forward-thinking. No doubt you have your own vernacular that shapes your vision.

Something to remember: all components of your strategy should be interconnected; they should cascade from one phase to the next—from one function to the next—marketing and customer satisfaction aren’t mutually exclusive. The cascading of your strategy allows you to maintain consistent execution and monitoring of each tactic within your strategy. Hence, KPIs (key performance indicators) are a strategy’s best friend. Think of KPIs (otherwise known as metrics) as a report card of sorts. How is your business performing? Can you identify your business’ weaknesses and strengths?

Practically speaking, is my fitness business:

  • Attracting prospective clients?
  • Consistently engaging users?
  • Creating value for my clients?
  • Retaining clients?
  • Accruing economic sustainability?

Reporting With a Scorecard

Quickscore.com provides excellent insight into how to track your SMART goals success:

When to change strategies

A structured business plan not only launches you into your target industry, but it also provides the framework for monitoring essential indicators (such as profit, customer satisfaction, personal efficiency, marketing efforts), helping you identify and track your business’ strengths and weaknesses. Maybe this year you’ll discover you need to clarify your brand, budget for new staff, greet unexpected competition, or tweak your marketing strategy.

So, what do you do when your strategy needs rehab? A good place to start is with your clients: survey your customers to gain a fresh market perspective, and make necessary changes.

You also may want to check out our feature 6 Tips to Create a Competitive Advantage for Your Fitness Business.

Spread the Love

Get the most out of Valentine’s Day with these marketing tips.

Stir Sales With These Marketing Tips

Valentine’s is an ideal occasion to boost client engagement with a partner fitness challenge. Creativity is the marketing key:

  • Limited-time challenges are a great way to upsell to current clients and to enroll new leads who may be hesitant to commit to a full membership plan
  • Promotions make it a win-win for you and the client: accountability for them, and new leads for you
  • Use wearables or your mobile app to promote, track, and reward participants

Don’t have a mobile app for your fitness business? Check out Exercise.com to explore our fitness management software. Request a demo today!

Not sure which challenge to offer? Let your data and your clients decide. For clubs, consider which of your classes is most popular and which area of your gym gets the most traffic. And for personal trainers, analyze your clients’ top fitness goals.

Here are a few ideas to run with:

  • total calories burned
  • total weight lost
  • total miles logged (running, biking, rowing)
  • total challenge days completed

And here is a fitness challenge by one of Exercise.com’s clients in action:

Landing Page 101

Increase engagement and leads by following these expert tips.

The Power of a Landing Page

A landing page is a web page created specifically for marketing your business’ services and products. Share your landing page’s link in marketing emails, on your social media accounts, or anywhere else your target audience is located. The main function of a landing page is presenting a call to action (CTA). A CTA invites your potential customers to make a purchase, to fill out a registration, or to act on any other action you’re inviting your visitor complete; converting a visitor to a customer.

Critical elements

  • Social proof: authenticate your message with stellar customer testimonies; be sure to include relevant info such as full names, biographical details, professional titles, and images or video
  • Great copy: let your visitors know what you have to offer, but keep it concise and visually digestible
  • Visual cues: engaging graphics, bold colors are a must
  • Load time: less than 3 seconds is ideal
  • Form: request only essential information; make sure your visitor knows why completing the form is worth their effort


  • SEO: use an H1 text headline to showcase a nugget of value about your business; this approach will help you capitalize on inbound links (meaning, increasing the potential of influencers and industry partners linking to your landing page)
  • CTA (call to action): make it personal, and make it obvious

Metrics and analytics

  • Don’t forget to add code from your analytical software to track results; if you don’t have analytical software, Google Analytics is a free and easy set-up.

The Rise of Senior Fitness

Why is the number of older adults exercising on the rise?

Main-Streaming Senior Fitness

American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) fitness trends report for 2020 ranks fitness programs for older adults as #8. In part, because they have the discretionary cash, and partly due to ACSM’s global initiative Exercise is Medicine. The goal of Exercise is Medicine “is to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere and of all abilities.”

According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans From the US Department of Health and Human Services, two types of physical activity are recommended weekly to improve older adult health—aerobic and muscle-strengthening.

Check out the National Council on Aging for exercise suggestions that promote older adult fitness and see how you can incorporate those exercises into routines for your older clients.

Then, take advantage of our custom exercise library to create demo videos of yourself performing those exercises. Request a demo of our software now to see our exercise library in action!

The Boutique Gym Boom

Boutique gyms are here to stay.

Boutique Gyms Continue to Flourish

According to the stats, fitness boutiques are here to stay in 2020. So, just how big is the boutique industry? Exercise.com estimates that boutique gyms share over 35% of total revenue in the fitness industry because of two things they do well: promote a sense of community and capitalize on industry trends. As well, the exclusive freelance network, topal.com, provides a comprehensive analysis of the boutique industry’s growth.

Big Names in the Boutique Industry

Two players behind a few familiar franchises, Equinox Holdings and Xponential Fitness, are moving full-steam ahead in 2020. Be on the look-out for upcoming niche franchises like Rumble Boxing, Row House, CycleBar, and StretchLab.

According to Fitt Insider’s numbers behind the boom: “Vying for an even larger share of $25.8B fitness market, studios are ramping up expansion. While there have been rumblings about a boutique fitness bubble, there doesn’t seem to be a slow-down in sight. In fact, many of the brand names in boutique fitness are making moves.”

Creating the Boutique Experience

So maybe you’re not a boutique gym. But does that mean you can’t compete with them? Of course not! Boutique fitness gyms excel in two areas: by offering a specialized experience and creating a sense of community and accountability. To design a fresh experience in your gym, try offering focused, personalized classes. Invest in an energetic space and specialized equipment, such as wearables. And don’t forget your staff; get your instructors on board by letting them know what you’re aiming to accomplish. Your instructors’ enthusiasm for and knowledge of building an exclusively inclusive class community will ensure your clients have an extraordinary studio experience.

Fostering Strategic Partnerships to Enhance Client Experience with Carl Paoli

Our Editor-in-Chief, Mathew Sims, sits down with competitive gymnast and Crossfit coach, Carl Paoli, to discuss building brand and authenticity on social media.

Notable quotes:

  • “…if you’re not up to speed with social media, you are missing out on everything that has to do with growth, and how we are shaping human society at this moment.”
  • “So it’s a no-brainer to lean into it and to realize that there are a lot of upsides. And the pitfalls of it, the most important part for me is to create a group of people around me that keep me in check. If you’re posting only to make money, you’re going to lose. If you’re posting just to pose and to show the highlight reel of your life, you’re going to lose. It’s not going to serve you.”
  • “But if you start posting your process and the truth about who you are as an individual, the right people that you need at this moment are going to move towards you, and that you’ll be able to do something very special with it.”

Read the full interview here.


Interesting Internet Finds

Share these links on your social media platforms for increased reach and engagement

Taste: With alcohol-alternatives trending in 2020, check out these Six Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes From Top Bartenders

Read: Neil Patel’s 6 Marketing Strategies to Make Your Startup a Raging Success

Listen: Elevate Your Personal Training Business with Insights from Club Industry’s Latest Podcast Episode

Buy: Harvard Business Review: HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2020 

And, that’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s issue of Sweat Equity: Insider Fitness Business Insights. We’ll see you again in two weeks.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.

This week’s Fitness Business trends was brought to you by Brittany, Mathew, and Jeff.

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