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Look Back Before Moving Forward in Your Fitness Business

The end of the year just begs you to review it if only to help you create your plan for the coming year.

I typically like to look forward rather than backwards, but the end of the year just begs you to review it if only to help you create your plan for the coming year.

Ask yourself the following questions: What did you accomplish during the past year? What didn't you accomplish? Is that unaccomplished goal still worthy of your time? If so, how will you accomplish it in 2013? Whose lives have you touched? How can you touch more lives? Who positively affected you? How can you help them in the coming year?

If I were to review the past year in the fitness industry, I would say that in 2012, the industry accomplished some forward movement. Revenues for the public club companies and many of the public manufacturers were higher than in 2011. Some of the stronger companies showed their capitalization by purchasing club companies. And private equity firms (as noted in last month's cover story) seem to have a renewed interest in the industry.

Functional training and small group training continued to be two of the biggest programming trends in clubs, creating excitement among club operators and members. Alternative clubs, such as CrossFit, boxing, mixed martial arts, small group training clubs and personal training studios, also are creating excitement as entrepreneurs found ways around tighter lending practices to attain their goals of business ownership.

What did the industry not accomplish? We did not make a dent in the obesity rate. Instead, one study predicts that the obesity rate could reach 60 percent in at least 13 states by 2030. Business owners continue to seek relief from rising health care costs as the country and the fitness industry wonder how the Affordable Care Act will affect them. The goal of making our country healthier is a cause that I am certain we all can agree is worth continuing to strive toward.

You will need to answer the rest of the questions on that list on a more personal level. However, if you look at the members in your club today, I am sure you can say that you have affected a number of their lives and will continue to do so in 2013. Many of your members have lost weight, dropped their cholesterol level and lowered their blood pressure because of the services that you provide. Staff at several clubs have literally saved lives by using CPR and automated external defibrillators on members who have had heart attacks while working out. During Superstorm Sandy, many clubs opened their doors to members and nonmembers who were without electricity. And many clubs have held fundraisers for a variety of worthy causes.

And who affected you this year? Your members' loyalty and referrals helped keep you in business. Perhaps another club operator mentored you or one of your vendors cut you a great deal.

Club Industry has been affected by our readers' loyalty to us during 2012. Just as the club business has been difficult, the media business also has faced pressures. A recent readership survey offered some good feedback, and we plan to pay you back for that input by working hard to give you even better and more pertinent content in our print magazine, e-newsletter and on our website, as well as open the doors to some new opportunities for you to learn and grow. I hope you are looking forward to 2013 as much as I am.

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