Updated: Jul 15, 2020
By Steven Davidson
Many business owners are being faced with a harsh reality; their doors may not open any time soon. New spikes in Coronavirus cases around the country are forcing states to either stop their progression or even take steps back to halt the spread. There have been some advancements in the treatment of this disease, but there is nothing that can fully guarantee our safety yet. Until then, we must proceed forward with social distancing and preventative measures.
Though this is unfortunate news for those who do not run essential businesses, but now is the time to put their innovative business skills to the test. Among those who will be tested the most are gym owners and personal trainers, whose livelihoods were some of the first to close and will be the last to open. Even with these challenges, there is still an opportunity to start a fitness business right from your home, whether a previous owner or a new owner looking to get started. Social distancing will keep the doors closed for now, but here are a few ways to launch an online fitness business to last through the pandemic and beyond.
Target Your Market
To start a personal fitness business online, future owners must first see what their target market is going to be and how to reach it. First off is deciding what kind of fitness business you are trying to build, though the ability to integrate all aspects is relatively easy. A problem with starting a new fitness business online is that there are a lot of them out there already, meaning it can be easy to be lost in the crowd. To help ensure this does not happen, Teachmate demonstrates on how to create a great fitness website by looking to make themselves unique to attract more people. A lot of health and fitness websites offer the same material in the same way, boring people with repetition. This is why finding your target market is so important because once you do this, you can start thinking about how to make yourself stand out. For a full article on how to best create a great fitness website, visit Teachmate.org.
Begin Bringing in Customers
If you have owned a fitness business before, the next step may be to reach out to previous clients. With social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, it is now easier than ever to expand a business's reach to find new customers. It may take time, but finding all of the old customers that frequented your old brick and mortar gym is well worth the effort. Even if they do not join, previously satisfied customers can spread the word to people who may be looking for fitness services.
New owners may not be able to take advantage of their previous customers, but social media can still be helpful for them. Sharing a new company on these platforms can immediately expand visibility, plus if you’re endorsing from your personal account, then it's free.
Small business owners who have used online ad services now have an advantage. Google, in particular, is offering business owners who have used Google Ads in the past a credit to use their services for free. Small and medium businesses that have used Google ads for at least 10 months of 2019 and either January of February of 2020 will automatically receive one ad credit. The credit is for up to $1000 and decided based on spending and location. If you meet these requirements, the credit will be automatically added to your account. Search for Google’s Ad credits on Google to learn more. In addition, Facebook is also offering ad credits to small businesses who apply. These can be used to advertise directly through Facebook and other partnering websites. For more information on the program, click HERE.
Even if your new fitness business does not fit the guidelines listed above, Internet advertising is still a good way to attract attention. Every social media platform and many search engines provide ways to advertise, allowing owners to use their massive data traffic for their own benefit.
Execution of a Plan
When the market is set and your plan to bring the demand has been implemented, it is time to figure out how to execute the plan. From building your own forum from scratch to conference calling, there are multiple ways to successfully run this new business. The most successful way to do this is subjective, as fitness trainers can be more direct than gym owners, but here are some good options to consider.
One of the biggest platforms for meetings, school, and social interaction during the pandemic has been through Zoom. Its online conferences can hold large groups of people and have the ability to share screens or have the focus on one person. Zoom is also good for immediate client interaction, as they can ask questions with their microphones and have someone to follow in real time to motivate them. Zoom conferences can be a good option for both individual personal trainers or instructors and owners looking to start their own online gym forum. It gives people looking for a gym class workout structure by having the same feeling as showing up for a class and participating with multiple people at the same time.
Though Zoom could be a good option, there are some downfalls to this structure. For one, individuals would have to advertise their classes heavily to find enough people quick enough to fill up a class. There are some people who like the idea of a set start time, but with many people still working from home, they might not be able to fit it into their schedule, unless the trainer can somehow pick a perfect time.
Then, there's the problem of having these people pay, as Zoom does not have a “pay-to-enter” option, so the password for the meeting could be shared with multiple people for free. Though this is likely going to be a problem with many of these options, it is still important to consider.
Even with some of the downfalls, this is still a good option for those wanting to provide a set class time structure and especially for those who already have a client base. Zoom has provided a guide for how to best use them for workout classes, so visit them for more information.
Creating a Website
Trainers and gym owners who are just beginning this chapter in their lives can be at a disadvantage with no previous clients, so Zoom wouldn’t be the best option. If this is the case, a website may be the best option. Both trainers and gym owners can build websites and fill them with engaging content and features that bring in customers and keep them there. Previous gym owners may especially benefit from this option because they can use their previous connections to bring in trainers, who then bring their clients along with them.
Having your own website can be much easier than joining a video on a demand site. A video on the demand website allows one to post their videos on a site with other people’s videos. Sites like this would include Masterclass and YouTube, though both of these are not great options. Masterclass only permits high-end professionals to post content and YouTube only pays if you have a large following, which can take a long time. Furthermore, trying to stand out on one of these sites can be difficult and payment can be minimal if the subscription grants access to all users' content.
Websites still have some disadvantages. Unless you know how to build a website on your own, you will need to use a service. These services charge fees for managing your website and adding features, which can be costly. Advertising is not included in most packages, so that will be another cost as well. It is also likely the site will need improvement and evolution as you go on to satisfy customers and offer suggested content. Considering all these factors, a website is still a good choice for anyone looking to start a fitness business. Justhost.com is a great place to start and create your website.
Social Media Trainer
The option of a social media trainer only works specifically for trainers who are in great physical shape. Social media is a way to turn all the hard work you have put into your body into profit and fame. By bringing in followers who want to look like you, your accounts can get you sponsorships, advertisements, and a platform to sell your brand. Those who already have a personal account on Instagram or Twitter can begin immediately advertising workout plans to their followers and beyond by using hashtags to expand their visibility. From there, movement to other sites, like YouTube, can bring in another form of revenue and expand your image even further.
Sounds too good to be true? The reality is that it usually is. Much like all other aspects of the fitness industry, the market is already so saturated with people wanting to make it as a fitness celebrity that it can be nearly impossible to achieve any sort of business success. Creativity in your brand is most vital for those wanting to use this option. For example, fitness trainer Greg O’Gallagher has built his brand on minimal time in the gym and intermittent fasting to become a multimillionaire. His different approach has made him stand out and be successful.
Expansion & Beyond
When your business is up and running, you might want to consider branching into other parts of the fitness industry. With so many people staying at home, unable to access gym equipment or get the best workouts in, the demand for home equipment and supplements is on the rise. Previous business owners with connections to material suppliers can look into developing their own fitness equipment with proper research and development. Those looking to build their own supplements can do so on Cyos.online, which gives people the ability to build their own supplements.
The options above are all great ways to begin a fitness business from home, but the steps required to do this can apply to all kinds of training businesses. Now, while everyone is at home looking for ways to pass the time, it is the perfect opportunity to give people options to learn all kinds of new skills and information. Anything that can be recorded and shared with others is a viable online business opportunity, so use this to help decide whether it is the right time for you to start your business.
Things to Consider
Unfortunately, the fitness market is already very saturated and it can be difficult to stand out with some many others in the mix. This is why marketing and branding must be taken very seriously. It is not enough to have people just click on your site, account, or page; it's better to maintain your client base.
Don’t reach too far to start; go for your market first and build from that. It might be a good idea to even start locally and build connections to integrate favorably into the community. There are a lot of others out there, so home field advantage should be considered a blessing.
Eventually, the stores will reopen and many will flock back to the gyms they have been missing for so long. An online training company may be able to sustain itself on its own if the right steps are taken, but it may be a good time to be looking into acquiring some real estate for a future opening as well.
Are you interested in launching or sustaining a pandemic proof small business? Spot issues, take action, stay safe, and thrive in a post Covid-19 world with Legalucy. Learn more at thelucyreport.com
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