Why do gyms fail? (3 Common Pitfalls to Avoid) | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Why do gyms fail? (3 Common Pitfalls to Avoid)

Why do gyms fail? Owning a fitness business may sound like a lot of fun, but it is a business all the same. Neglecting to obtain the necessary capital, expertise, and branding are some of the reasons why new gyms fail. Check out this guide to learn more about why some gyms fail.

Blue Williams is a Mario Kart: Double Dash apologist, dog lover, coffee drinker, and freelance writer with an MFA in Screenwriting. When she’s not writing, Blue is probably cheering for the Green Bay Packers or starting another podcast. Her work can be found on ScreenRant, Looper, and Story Mode Podcast.   Additional Resources: Advertiser Disclosure California Privacy Rights...

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UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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  • Make arrangements for working capital well before your gym opens.
  • Work ON your fitness business, not IN your fitness business.
  • Marketing your gym won’t work without memorable branding.

Why do gyms fail? No one opens a gym expecting it to be unsuccessful. In reality, however, a multitude of factors contribute to why new gyms fail. Even if you think you have everything you need to succeed, like a perfect location, a great marketing program, and a custom-branded fitness app, your new gym may still falter. Here are three reasons why some gyms fail.

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Reason #1 Why Gyms Fail – Not Enough Capital

When first opening any business, gyms included, it’s often smart to start small. Unless you’re a big celebrity, people won’t be lining up at your gym’s door to buy memberships the moment you open up. It will take time to build your business, which means it will take time before your gym can turn a profit. Until then, you’ve got to keep the lights on and the staff paid. Without enough money to sustain your business through this period, your new gym will fail before it even gets off the ground. Make arrangements for working capital in your business plan well before your gym opens.

Once you reach that sweet spot of profitability, lack of capital can still rear its ugly head if you take too much money out of the business without investing enough back in it. Giving your staff a raise, buying new equipment, and expanding your gym’s advertising campaign will help ensure your venture continues to grow.

Reason #2 Why Gyms Fail – Inexperienced Owners

You love to work out. You love gyms and gym culture. Surely you’re a great fit to own a gym, right? Not so fast. A common mistake of new business owners is that they spend too much time working IN their business and not enough time working ON their business. Don’t open a new gym thinking you’ll get to devote every day to coaching and chatting with your members; that’s what employees are for. As the boss, you’ve got marketing plans to execute and financials to study. You can make your life easier with tools like gym management software, but on the whole, expect running the business side of your new gym to be a full-time job.

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Reason #3 Why Gyms Fail – Lackluster Branding

You know what makes your gym special, but to the average Joe on the street, your gym is likely just another box in an already very crowded market. Marketing can help, but unless your branding is memorable, people will simply forget your ad — or worse, they’ll remember the ad but mistakenly credit it to the wrong gym.

Ideally, your new gym’s branding (meaning its name, logo, company colors, slogan, etc.) should paint a picture that immediately tells people what you’re about. It should be different from your competitors, but not so divergent as to confuse potential customers. It’s admittedly a tall order, but to give your new gym the best chances of success, you should take the time to get your branding right.

The Bottom Line: Why do gyms fail?

People often open a gym because they want to turn their passion into their job. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but understand that your new gym will need the same planning, expertise, and commitment that all new businesses require. Otherwise, it will eventually become nothing more than a very expensive hobby.

If you’d like help getting your new gym off to a great start, book a demo to see what Exercise.com can do for you.

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