Sweat Equity: COVID-19 Business Survival Tips | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Sweat Equity: COVID-19 Business Survival Tips

When it comes to ensuring your business survives in 2020, being proactive is essential. Below, you'll find an array of COVID-19 business survival tips that will help you keep your doors (physical or virtual) open during the pandemic. We've thrown in some lockdown revenue-generating ideas as well to ensure that you're still able to turn a profit, even during gym closures.

Brittany Mancuso has been managing content since 2011 and has her BA from Florida State University in creative writing with a minor in communications. She holds certifications in web design and development through Florida State University; leading others in writing for health through Duke Integrative Medicine; social media and content marketing through HubSpot.    Additional Resources: ...

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UPDATED: Apr 13, 2021

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Get the Basics...
  • 😷 Pandemic business survival tips
  • Developing a content strategy
  • Lockdown revenue-generating ideas
  •  Interview with Melissa Morris 💬

The Coronavirus has been challenging and stress-inducing for beings on a global scale, ourselves included. Undoubtedly, each of us is doing our best to cope with the daily changes and uncertainties brought on by this pandemic. Job loss at historically high proportions and a looming recession is territory most have never charted. And, it’s not only that our world has been suddenly upended; compounding matters is the probability that we may never return to what we knew as normal.

Creativity and perseverance are crucial to small business survival. This week, we’ll be looking at pandemic business survival tips. As support and ideas in modifying our fitness businesses grow, fitness professionals must remember that their clients also need encouragement to know that there is a new normal on the horizon and their fitness pursuits need not be left behind. Here at Exercise.com, we are committed to serving you and your clients as a new way of life clumsily unfolds around us.

New This Week: Pandemic business survival tips… Developing a content strategy…Getting started with e-book publishing… Revenue-generating ideas during lockdown… Interview with Melissa Morris, exercise physiologist and Exercise.com writer.

Still with us? Great. Let’s get started.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.


Navigating Crisis Management

Client care is crucial in times of crisis

The Role of Client Care

People pursue fitness training for different reasons. Some are genuine fitness enthusiasts; some exercise out of medical necessity; while others do it for the social aspect. Regardless of why someone participates in a fitness regimen, unless there is a sense of meaning and significance in what they are doing, they will likely stop doing it.

What Is Client Care?

So how do you care for your clients? Client care seems like such a vague term. A simple definition for professionals in the fitness realm: to care means to be purposefully involved in your clients’ fitness journeys. As you manage an online business, you might find it difficult to know how to humanize digital interaction. But the reality is, online trainers have an abundance of modes to interact with their clients. Email, SMS, video chat, and social media groups make way for consistent and meaningful interaction.

And in your interactions, let transparency reign supreme; meaning, be honest about a client’s commitment level and progress, build an authentic friendship, and show grace when your client has struggled with maintaining consistency. This rings especially true while your clients are practicing safer at-home measures – contact from the outside world (you!) can help maintain some sense of normalcy.

Other not-so-obvious factors in client care include never compromising your personal ethics, pursuing ongoing professional development, and having a presence beyond training sessions.

What Do Clients Want From You?

  • Solutions to specific problems. They may even need your help in identifying their problems. They also need you to emphasize the benefits of what you’re asking them to do.
  • Respect and dignity. Often, people feel vulnerable when reaching out to a personal trainer. They see you as the expert and entering your world can be very intimidating to a fitness novice. Being kind will never diminish your expertise.
  • Responsiveness and feedback from their trainer. Feedback is not only about training; sometimes, your clients also want guidance towards lifestyle choices they should be making when they’re not training.

Related: What do customers look for in personal trainers?, What to look for (and avoid) in a personal trainer,  40 Customer Retention Statistics You Need to Know

Above all, your clients are looking for consistency; and gym management software is the key to a five-star customer experience.

To get your gym management software up and running, contact us today to book a demo of our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software:

See for yourself - Meet with the Exercise.com Team today

Grow and manage your fitness business with Exercise.com

Tackling Motivation With Process Goals

Teach clients to focus on the process and not on the outcome

Process Goals vs. Outcome Goals

Right now, we’re not only helping our clients reach fitness goals but we are also helping them to establish and/or maintain health and habit goals. If you’re not already doing this, now is a great time to encourage your clients to focus on the process, rather than the outcome. Focusing on process goals versus outcome goals means the emphasis switches from exclusively relying on results to focusing on building habits. Whereas outcomes are influenced by many factors (some of which are out of our control), the process is almost completely within our control.

So, when we talk about focusing on process goals, it means evaluating what aspects of your clients’ lives they do have control over right now and working within those spaces (i.e. time, location, equipment).

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Exercise can help combat anxiety during times of uncertainty

Don’t Underestimate Exercise’s Mental Health Benefits

With communities facing high levels of stress and uncertainty, it’s critical to (as much as possible) adopt a holistic approach when caring for your clients. Many are facing unimaginable hardships and extremely stressful circumstances. If your clients are unable to maintain full training schedules, work with them to make necessary modifications. Right now your clients need support and encouragement; make sure they know you are able to navigate difficult situations. The important thing is that your clients keep moving: how they can and when they can.

Clients, Communities, and Coaches Are Grieving

Here are a few resources to help make sense of what we’re collectively experiencing:

Be sure to remind your clients that exercise can ease the symptoms of anxiety by releasing endorphins and combating negative thoughts. It’s commonly recommended that a minimum of 30 minutes per day, three-to-five days per week, is needed to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Be a model for your community by thinking positively. Take care regarding how and what you communicate with your clients; keep the tone of your emails, blog content, and social media posts buoyant. We’re not suggesting that you should manufacture an artificial version of yourself–definitely be you, be transparent–but do make an effort to be a positive balance to the fear and haze.

[Related: Mayo Clinic’s Positive Thinking: Stop Negative Self-Talk to Reduce Stress]

COVID-19 Outlooks & Updates

Updates on the coronavirus and outlooks on what’s the come

It’s Time to Practice Fitness Distancing

Fitness distancing is a thing, too. When exercising outdoors, it’s recommended to double distancing from six feet to twelve feet or more due to breathing exertion which discharges nasal aspirations even farther. Follow #socialfitnessdistancing and #fitnessdistancing on social media to see how other professionals are keeping their clients safe.

Stay up to Date With These COVID-19 Articles:

Joel Ohman (co-founder and CEO of Exercise.com) talks with Trends in their special edition, Solutions for a Chaotic Time, about the fitness professional’s need to go digital.

Need help going digital? We’ve got you covered. Request a demo of Exercise.com’s All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software today! Click here to learn more.

Developing a Content Strategy

Reach more people without leaving your home

What Is Content Marketing & How Can It Help Your Business?

With more time on your hands, have you considered implementing or updating your content strategy

Content strategy, often called content marketing, is a tool to connect your business with your target audience. Instead of using ads, your business uses content to increase revenue. Whereas with traditional advertising, you’re trying to convince your audience that you’re the best; with a content strategy, you’re showcasing why you’re the best. Instead of chasing leads, they come to you. Larger businesses either outsource or have marketing teams dedicated solely to content marketing; doing it in-house is a great option for smaller businesses.

Developing a Content Strategy Is as Easy as…

Staring with your target audience: who are they and where do they hang-out online?

Next, you need to determine what types of content they like; email, newsletters, blogs, case studies, white papers, video, and/or podcasts are all forms of content used in content marketing.

And finally, what is it that your audience needs to know? For example, your fitness audience, currently socially isolated, needs to know that online personal training is affordable, customizable, and extremely effective.

Your Content Hub & Scheduling

Most fitness professionals use a blog as their content base. From there, you can connect your audience with your business’s other platforms (i.e. newsletters, email, social media). If you’re already a seasoned blogger, now’s a great time to repurpose dated content with COVID-19 considerations.

As CoSchedule puts it, “Content is a gateway drug. With your content, you’re not giving away the farm, just starting with a couple of chickens. That convinces your customers to come and visit the farm more often. You might be telling them how to remodel their kitchen, but you’re not giving away lumber. They still need you.” Check out their content marketing strategy guide for in-depth advice and free templates.

For social media content calendaring how-tos and templates, Hootsuite’s How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar: Tips and Templates walks you through the process.

Review42’s analysis in 2020 Content Marketing Statistics: What Type Of Content Works For You? provides several interesting insights: businesses that post at blogs enjoy 126% more traffic than those that don’t and blog posts with images enjoy a 94% higher view-through rate.

For details regarding the content itself, such as topics and research, NewsCred describes practical approaches in How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing.

An Educational Approach to Content

Just because you’re using a content strategy in your marketing toolbox doesn’t mean your content needs to be hard sales-type content. And it most certainly should not be gimmicky. According to data from SEO platform conductor.com, “Educational content has a powerful effect on consumer trust and brand affinity.”

[Related: Define new ways to promote your content on LinkedIn, How Does Content Marketing Contribute to Conversions and Sales?, 45 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2020]

E-Book Publishing

Grow your fitness business by publishing an e-book

E-Book Publishing: Questions to Ask Yourself

Many fitness professionals have used e-books to increase business, expand their reputation, and generate revenue. An e-book allows you to use your experience and/or specialty to reach consumers. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the questions you’re always being asked?
  • What type of information do you repeatedly give your clients?
  • What ideas/business secrets do you have for your fitness niche?

Think Writing an E-Book Is Right for You?

Here are some initial considerations:

  • Do you have a relative topic that would appeal to your audience?
  • Have you considered the book’s length and formatting?
  • Would your book be for private or for public use? Purchase option?
  • Copyright process
  • Editing and publishing: traditional or self-publish?
  • Marketing and book launch

Your starting point: Hubspot’s How to Create an Ebook From Start to Finish [Free Ebook Templates]

Not ready to commit to an e-book, but you’ve got something to share? You might want to try your hand with a membership platform, such as Patreon, which allows you to work creatively with the support of your fans/audience.


Creative Revenue-Generating Ideas

Generate revenue in the months to come with these tips

How Are Gyms & Fitness Professionals Coping During COVID-19?

They’re thinking outside of the box. Here are a few revenue-generating ideas that you can implement into your own fitness business:

  • Get Creative With Equipment. Believe it or not, gym owners are actually both loaning and leasing their equipment to gym members for in-home use during COVID closures. If you’re looking to offer either option to generate extra revenue in the coming weeks/months, make sure your client signs a rental agreement and waiver of liability.
  • Online Retail. The Mile High Run Club in NYC plans to use e-commerce to retail their branded items online; according to an interview with CBS, the “proceeds will go toward an emergency fund for all Mile High Run Club employees, including its cleaning crew and front desk employees.” And, it doesn’t have to be merchandise; supplements are a retail option as well. White label suppliers will even let you market their products under your brand’s face.
  • Blogging. Above, in our Best Practices section, we talked about content strategy. If you’re not already blogging, here’s why you should be: blogs can be a great source of passive income from affiliates, Google ads, sponsored posts, merchandise, and memberships. Read more: How to Make Money Blogging (Free Guide for 2020)
  • Consulting/Coaching. Let your experience work for you. Say your online personal training business has been established and running successfully for an extended period of time. Right now, many other trainers are looking for insight into a successful online business for themselves.
  • Franchising. Has your online fitness business been successful? Have you thought about reproducing it? If you think you’d like to franchise out, seeking sound legal advice will point you in the right direction. (How to Start a Franchise)
  • Fundraising. GoFundMe is helping small businesses stay afloat with their COVID-19 donation hub. Crowdfund is another option if you plan to launch a new business start-up.
  • Niche Development. Consider streamlining your training towards at-home training equipment; design workouts specific to Rogue, TRX, Peloton, Mirror, Hydrow, just to name a few. (The best at-home fitness equipment in 2020)
  • Webinars. Use your training to offers classes on nutrition, meditation, stretching, technique, or anything you have a specialty in. (How to Create and Host a Webinar)

Additional resources: government assistance for employees and small businesses.


Thinking Critically About Nutrition With Melissa Morris

Our resident interviewer, Schimri Yoyo, sits down with Melissa Morris, a certified exercise physiologist, to discuss thinking critically about health and nutrition.

Notable quotes:

  • But eating should be fun. We eat when we’re celebrating, we eat for many different reasons. We have different foods that we enjoy and eating should really be fun and part of our lifestyle. I think there are no bad foods, right? There are just foods. Maybe we should eat some foods a little less often and some foods we should eat a little bit more often. I think it’s more of an opportunity to eat healthier and take care of yourself [in a way that is] sustainable over time.”
  • There are other things that are important for your physical health. Things like sleeping enough, which is very important for our physical health and mental health, making sure that we’re getting health screenings, vaccinations—all those things are important for taking care of our physical health along with, obviously, eating right and exercising. But we also know the effects [these things have] on our mental health, too.”
  • “…back to the nutrition because I think there’s so much information out there that’s really not true or not completely true. You know, you can Google things and find a wealth of information, but whether it’s based on science and [sound] research is always another question. I think everybody should take a basic nutrition class: just learning what your plate should look like, learning how to calculate calories, learning what nutrition does for you…”

Interesting Internet Finds

Share these links on your social media platforms for increased reach and engagement

Taste: Now that spring has arrived and we all need more time outdoors, try these Top 28 Grilled Fish Recipes

Buy: Two ways to save a life: get certified with or donate to American Heart Association CPR

Read: The Smithsonian’s How Epidemics of the Past Changed the Way Americans Lived (Past public health crises inspired innovations in infrastructure, education, fundraising, and civic debate)

Watch: With professional sports on hold indefinitely, it’s time for a Netflix binge: The 15 Best Sports Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

And, that’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s digital issue of Sweat Equity: Insider Fitness Business Insights. We’ll see you in two weeks! Stay safe. Stay kind. And wash your hands.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.

This week’s Fitness Business trends was brought to you by Brittany, Mathew, and Jeff.

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