I was sitting in with clients to vet and discuss some marketing tools, but talk quickly turned to how various fitness business owners navigate the ever-changing landscape of what’s hot, what’s not and what aligns with their core capabilities.
Most of the group agreed it’s OK to eschew trends altogether, as long as they don’t ignore them.
One fitness instructor and personal trainer commented, jokingly, that his training “is the trend.” The woman sitting next to him, a yoga instructor specializing in power and sculpt, said her discipline used to be viewed as upstart — and now she’s struggling to keep up.
“Yoga has so many options now: Some span centuries; some are hybrid techniques that are less than a half-decade old,” she said. “Don’t jump from thing to thing — trust your expertise. But also, you do have to have an awareness.”
That last word, awareness, got the group’s heads nodding in collective agreement. The consensus was all fitness business owners demand from themselves and their employees the ability to keep tabs on the latest and greatest.
One owner, whose general fitness, movement and training business was entering its second year, spent the first six months switching up every workout.
“I wanted people to experience something new every time they came in,” he said. “I realized they weren’t coming in to see something I’d just read about — they were coming in for the feeling, for the friendly atmosphere, for consistency.”
Consistency is key when providing services. Building a strong client base who knows what to expect and, in turn, evangelizes your services to others, is paramount, they concurred.
“There’s nothing worse than walking into a studio for the first time, expecting one thing, and getting something entirely different,” a Pilates studio owner said. “It’s a business killer, for sure.”
That said, everyone felt new moves, new equipment and new gadgets to track progress must be folded in to hold attention.
“There’s a fine line,” the fitness instructor said. “I usually try things out with all my instructors and maybe most loyal clients first. I read the room. If they’re into it, I build on it. If I’m getting no reaction, questions or concern on their faces — it’s a no-go for launch.”
In the end, maybe the individual instructors are right, they are the trend. But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn and improve — just like their customers.
Andrew J. Pridgen attempts to learn about and communicate with customers every day and knows he’s definitely not the trend. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.