Originally published March 13, 2020
Yesterday I sent an email to all of you on the subject of taking a leadership role in protecting your gym in this time of uncertainty. Here are a few more ideas you might want to think about:
Call, not text, every member and ask if he or she is okay, let them know you are open, and reassure them the gym is a safe and clean place to visit. Write this script out on an index card so you can leave it as a message anticipating most will not answer directly.
Sample script: 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 defense against getting sick.
Texts as a backup after the calls are made
Start a daily email as to how to stay healthy. One of the keys, for example, is to drink much more water than the average person drinks since this clears your throat of potential toxins and lets your stomach acid kill them. Give a tip or two a day and stay consistent through the crazy times. Plenty of not crazy tips online.
Post a video each day of the gym being cleaned. As I said yesterday, showing the people working in the gym just wiping things down is not strong enough. Get real cleaning people to help if you can. If it is only you, show the sprays and chemicals you are using. · Make sure the gym has more than enough spray bottles and wipes that are accessible to all members. · Keep your marketing going as if nothing is happening. It is business as usual until it isn’t.
Anticipate needing at least a full month’s reserve capital if you are a month-to-month gym or just do sessions or packages and start figuring out your reserves early as a backup. · If you are suffering financially at your gym and you are directly affected by the virus, reach out early to your landlord and banker (if you have loans) to start the discussion of financial relief. Being professional is going to your working business partners, such as the landlord and bank, before they have to chase you when you cannot pay. If you feel you are going to get hit hard, go early, state your case, back it up with good numbers showing the flow of business and comparisons of a good month, and clearly state what you are asking for in help. Asking for 1-2 months relief, if you have been a good payer in the past, is not out of line.
Stay out of the political wars over this. If you pick a side, you automatically alienate half of the clients you have. Protect your business first and argue politics at home with your drunken relatives.
Use testimonial video clips of members in the gym commenting on how clean it is and now impressive your cleaning efforts are. Post at least one a day of these.
If your business is not showing any financial stress yet, keep going, but remember the old adage, “Hope for the best but plan for the absolute worst day of your life.”