It’s been 7 weeks since the Coronavirus forced the world to seemingly shut down and economies halted at an alarming rate. One week everything is business as usual and the next week most were forced to rack the weights, close their doors, and leave their business for an unknown amount of time.
And while all this time has been a period of angst, worry, and ‘cabin fever’, now is finally the time we’ve all been waiting for: the re-opening of our economy. But there’s a problem: while you’re focused on physically opening back up, organizing the weights, taking precautions for keeping it clean and protecting people, those people might not know you’re even open and if they do, how are they going to know what you’re doing to keep them safe so they even want to come back?
And then you start getting even MORE stressed figuring out how you’re going to open up smoothly while making sure customers are informed and attracting new ones to replace the ones you may have lost.
However, there are concrete things you can do like creating a marketing plan, nurturing current customers, organizing finances, and more that ensure you will have a (somewhat) smooth and seamless reopening.
Create An Action Plan
In the aftermath of this pandemic, it’s incredibly important to make sure that you think about and create an action plan for your gym about re-opening. This means creating a plan on how you’re going to ensure the health and safety of the staff, members, and how you’re going about the capacity of people in the gym at one time.
An action plan can also include having a guide on how to keep the gym clean, safe, and healthy. Other things to think about and ask yourself when creating an action plan:
- What can we do to reassure customers that it’s safe to come back?
- How can we provide a positive experience while encouraging cleanliness?
- Create guidelines for the members so they know what they need to do (i.e., racking weights, disinfecting equipment when you’re done, using hand sanitizer as you’re leaving the gym – great idea to put some by the door if you don’t have some there already!)
There are many aspects you can incorporate into your action plan. The point is to have something you can go by so you’re not wasting your time, money, and upsetting members. Your brand is everything right now! Make sure you do your part so that members hold your brand in high regard.
Get Your Finances In Order
Before even stepping foot back in the gym, sit down, and open your finances. It’s important to make sure that you are up to date with your finances so that there isn’t anything that holds you back financially, like rent on the building. A lot has happened in (# of weeks) since the economy has shut down, so you want to be positive there is nothing holding you back from a money perspective because if these aren’t in order, it might prevent you from even opening those doors back up.
This also applies to make sure you’re up to date with customers and clients. Be sure that you know who’s still a paying customer, who isn’t, and who needs to be reactivated. This will give you an idea of what you need to focus on after your finances are in order.
Reach Out To Current Customers
This one is important because they’re still paying you for the membership and so they deserve to be the main focus. It’s important to make sure that your current customers are informed about when you open, things you’re doing to ensure their safety and health, and you can even throw a token of your appreciation in there so that they don’t feel like they are just being sold.
This means sending your current customers an email blast or newsletter updating them on the date you plan to open, what you’re doing now to maintain a safe environment, and what you are going to continue to be doing to maintain that over the next 6-12 months.
Reaching out to all the customers/clients you have may seem like an insurmountable task, but it’s one of the critical things you can do to have a seamless re-open. This can be done more efficiently by way of a Customer Relationship Manager or CRM for short. A CRM streamlines client communication and outreach making it easier for you as a business owner to communicate important information with customers.
Whichever way you decide to go about it doesn’t matter, what matters is making sure those current customers are deservedly informed.
Create A Marketing Plan/Campaign
Now that you’ve gotten your finances in order, created guidelines for protecting the health and safety of the gym/customers, and communicated with current customers, it’s time to focus on attracting new customers that, depending on your business situation, may replace the lost clients during this time frame.
It’s also a great opportunity to attract new customers because people are going to be looking for new gyms if their normal gym closed down or especially if they had a bad experience with one during this time frame.
Overall, this is a great way to generate awareness about being back up and running again and to get people into YOUR gym because they’re going to be looking for a great gym to get in a routine again, how are they going to do that without knowing about you or knowing you’re open again?
This would be a great time to run a promotional campaign offering new sign-ups at a discounted monthly price for X months. However, you need to make sure you’re following up with new leads so that you can nurture them into being a customer. Or else, you’re going to be leaving a lot of opportunities (and money) on the table.
Remember in the prior tip I mentioned something about a CRM? Having a CRM also applies to this tip as well. In this circumstance, a CRM would be incredibly helpful by being able to see when a lead comes in, automating outreach, and nurturing leads into customers.
It would be helpful for a few different reasons. When a lead comes in, you’ll be able to see it because upon depositing information, the lead is then entered automatically into the CRM. When that happens, you can set a trigger so that when a new lead comes through, they are automatically sent an introduction email, allowing you to not worry about manually reaching out. Lastly, it’ll show you what stage each lead is at which can help you determine the action needed to close the lead or get them back on track.CRM’s are a great way to improve your customer service experience while freeing up more of your time and saving you energy. Here at PPL Labs, our clients love to use our own CRM software that we developed, aNinja, which allows clients to do all of the above PLUS the ability to text through it, something most CRM’s don’t have! Check it out here.
Pat Yourself On The Back
Our last tip isn’t a tangible thing you can do, rather it’s a way to take a step back and realize that you’ve endured the most trying time of recent years. It’s important to take time to reflect and congratulate yourself on pushing through and sticking with it.
There may have been times where you didn’t know if you’d even survive this (as a business and personally yourself) or that you were so overwhelmed not knowing what might happen. But all of that has come to pass and you’re now ready to get back after it!
Taking a step back to reflect and pat yourself on the back can have a massively positive impact on you and can even help determine the level of success you have with re-opening. How?
Well, by taking a step back to reflect and say, “hey, congrats to myself, I made it” you’re allowing your brain to process the fact that you do indeed have what it takes to make it through the worst. If you made it through this then nothing can stop you! That is something to celebrate, so cheers!
The Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the world for the past couple of months. It halted global economic activity, shocked supply chains, and forced small businesses to shutter-up unknowing of when they’ll be back.
Thankfully, we’ve made it through. You’ve made it through. As a world and country, we have endured the worst event in recent years and come out stronger on the other side because of it. And while reopening might seem like a daunting task, one that you fear may be more than you can handle, this is nothing to fret about because there are things you can do to ensure a smooth (as smooth as it can be) re-opening.
By creating an action plan, getting your finances in order, communicating with current customers, attracting new customers by way of a marketing campaign, and patting yourself on the back because you finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel, you can increase the likelihood of your reopen going smoothly and successfully.
And of course, we are always here to answer your questions or help out. We’re here as a resource for you, take advantage of it and get in contact with us!