Whether you are staying open until the last minute, voluntarily shutting down or are forced to shut down, we all must have a plan to move to a virtual platform.
On Monday, March 16, my husband and I decided to shut our gym voluntarily and move to a virtual platform. One week after going virtual, we are positive three members. That’s right. Instead of losing members, we gained them.
Looking back, we definitely would have done a couple things differently, but there were some key decisions we made that allowed us to communicate our vision quickly to our members.
I have spent the past week recording podcasts, webinars and Facebook lives, sharing everything we have learned in the process. I want to see gyms make it out of this, but the reality of it is, gyms are not going to act fast enough and many of them won’t be able to sustain the loss of recurring revenue from their clients canceling or freezing memberships.
I was talking to Zionna Hanson, the founder of Barbells for Boobs, last week and she mentioned that a gym she talked to lost 60% of his members overnight. My heart breaks for that owner because I know it could have been avoided if he proactively communicated a plan to support his clients.
As CrossFit Affiliates, we have a community that knows, likes and trusts us exponentially more than globo gyms because we have relationships with our clients. This means if you clearly communicate your plan, they will follow you.
Here are five things you need to do now to proactively set your business up for success:
Your plan should have one primary goal: helping people find a new normal. To help your clients and community find a new normal, you should have two considerations: individual support and community support. CrossFit gym owners have a huge opportunity here. Our gyms are built on community. If you lead your people, your community will rally behind you.
People need to hear things multiple times to take action. The best form of communication is in person, but unfortunately, right now that’s not an option. The next best thing will be to create a video explaining your plan. I do not mean posting that your gym is closing on Facebook. I mean personally communicating your plan quickly. Record a video and send it out as a text to your members first. They deserve to know before your entire following. You can watch the video and read the email my husband and I recorded to tell our members we were voluntarily closing our gym here.
At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we are conducting all virtual meetings and classes through Zoom. Classes are done via Zoom meetings. Everyone can login with a camera and chat with each other at the beginning. The Coach leads the virtual class through a warm-up and workouts. One hundred percent of members participating in the classes tell us they would not have done the workouts without us. They are loving the opportunity to interact with each other. They want community interaction. There have been a lot of questions about Zoom. If this is new for you, I have created an entire crash course on Zoom for gym owners and Coaches here.
Every member at Healthy Steps Nutrition HQ is getting a virtual weekly check-in through Zoom video or through the HSN App. Our role as Coaches is to help our clients find a new normal and keep them accountable to what they commit to. Coaches are working with clients to focus on one habit per week — i.e. number of times per week for exercise, adding veggies, meal prepping, avoiding the mindless snacking, sleep, etc. Whatever the client is struggling with, their Coach is there to help them. Habits are managed through our HSN App. Clients are loving the individualized support. They are telling us the accountability and support to find a new normal is where they are finding the most value right now.
5. Get Creative
At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we have created a bingo for our clients and the community. It’s a fun way to keep them going. We also borrowed an idea from our friends at Push Press and hosted a virtual happy hour after the 5:30 p.m. virtual class. Check out this fun infographic to see how we told our members here.
You can turn this obstacle into an opportunity to lead your community to find a new normal and stay healthy. The real question is, will you?