For 30 years, I have helped gym owners grow their businesses. I thought I had seen everything. Nothing, though, prepared me for the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down most of the world’s gyms.
Some clubs in Canada have opened. And the rest who survived will open soon.
You will likely only get one chance to re-open right, though. The key is to develop a long-term strategy that builds immediate trust with staff and members alike.
Realizing this, I’m guiding gym owners on best practices for re-opening.
I recently spoke with the President of The Bargains Group – Canada’s Favourite Discount Wholesaler, Jody Steinhauer. Throughout this pandemic, Jody’s team has continued to supply and educate Canadians on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). At the forefront from day one of the pandemic, The Bargains Group was the “one-stop-shop” for hospitals, long-term care facilities, prisons, and even The Red Cross and The Salvation Army, for supplying advice and PPE. With crisis experience, they have developed best practices for operating within COVID-19 and have become one of Canada’s leading suppliers of products and expertise.
Jody has worked in a variety of crisis situations, including supplying the Red Cross with relief materials for Canadians who were quarantined when arriving from Wuhan China. Her company was also instrumental in providing relief to those affected in the Fort McMurray Fires, assisting The Salvation Army in the costliest disaster in Canadian history.
What I like best about Jody ‒ a philanthropist who founded a charity that supplies and packages Survival Kits for homeless shelters ‒ is that she provides not just products, but also great ideas for ensuring customers and employees feel safe and confident.
Jody suggested three ideas for gym owners to make the right statement to returning members:
- BUILD A COVID-19 SAFETY TEAM: Your team needs to include a range of experts who can provide you with new strategies, products, and services to address every issue that could emerge in this new reality.
- PROVIDE CARE KITS & PERSONAL CONFIDENCE BUILDERS TO MEMBERS: Returning gym members are closely watching to see if you care and what measures you have put in place to ensure their safety. Providing personal COVID Care kits that include products for members to sanitize machines, sends the message that you truly care about their safety. These can be given to your existing and new members or sold for extra revenue.
- HIRE OR TRAIN THE RIGHT CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS: Your front desk staff is critical to your gym’s success as members return to your space. With upfront communication, and exceptional customer service skills, their job is to educate members on the new safety protocols and ensure EVERYONE follows them.
It will take time for your members to adopt new safety habits, so it is important that your team be vigilant and have open communication. We suggest that all staff need to be wearing a face shield and mask. They will show members and guests to nearby sanitation stations, while confidently giving instructions and answering questions.
While you wait to re-open, develop your reopening plan, and source honest and reliable suppliers that can ship immediately. With this plan, it will allow your members to have confidence that you care about their wellness and safety. Your team will be empowered to keep everyone safe, as well as themselves. The most important thing to remember is that with the right safety protocols, confidence from your team and members, you will be able to focus on what you do best – growing your gym into the best it can be!
To see a complete list of the COVID-19 supplies visit The Bargains Group. For a free personal consultation on how to open safely call Jody Steinhauer at 416-785-5655 or 1-877-868-5655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry Patryluk was Vice President of Sales for one of Canada’s largest fitness club chains for 15 years, until starting his own company The Gym Profits Group, in 2012 (gymprofitsgroup.com). He has been instrumental in helping gyms owners throughout Ontario develop and implement new revenue streams and improve on existing ones, such as personal training sales, corporate sales, outreach marketing, sales training, etc. He can be reached at 647-300-3997. Much more about Terry can be seen on LinkedIn.