Three Suggestions for a More Profitable Health Club in 2011

Three Suggestions for a More Profitable Health Club in 2011

Now that we are three months into 2011, you are probably evaluating your first quarter. Whether or not it’s been a good one, you also are probably wondering what more you can do to improve your fitness business. I have three suggestions.

First, improve the health and well-being of your company. I recently read “Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements” by Tom Rath that says that having high levels of well-being is good for people and their employers. This New York Times best-seller explains that for more than 50 years, Gallup scientists have been exploring the demands of a life well-lived. More recently, in partnership with leading economists and psychologists, Gallup has uncovered universal elements of well-being that differentiate a thriving life from one spent suffering.

The five broad categories of these universal elements are:

  • Career well-being—simply liking what you do every day
  • Social well-being—having strong relationships and love in your life
  • Financial well-being—effectively managing your economic life
  • Physical well-being—having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis
  • Community well-being—the sense of engagement you feel with the area where you live

Rath discovered these core dimensions to be “universal and interconnected elements of well-being, or how we think about and experience our lives.” When those factors are fully realized, people thrive—and so do businesses.

In the United States, the average sick day costs a business about $348 in lost productivity, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When adjusting this number for weekends and work that people do even on sick days, the cost is still approximately $200 per sick day. But people with high levels of well-being get sick less often. As a result, they cost their organizations less. Among the most “suffering” employees (those with the lowest well-being scores), the annual per-person cost of lost productivity due to sick days is $28,800. For workers who are at the midpoint of the “struggling” zone, the cost is $6,168, but for employees with the highest levels of well-being (those with the highest scores in the “thriving” category), the cost is only $840 per year.

My second suggestion to help you improve your business this year is to build and improve your systems. The systems at most clubs are informal or not well defined. This makes the clubs less productive and can hurt sales. Chaos in small clubs most often exists due to a lack of well thought-out systems, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

How do you build systems in your business? Try following these simple steps:

  • Start simple. No elaborate training system, complete with online video and interaction, is needed.
  • Outline the main events in your business that need to be documented. Create a single-page checklist, and keep it simple. A new employee needs to be able to get up to speed quickly by reviewing the checklist. Consider creating the checklist for activities that are repeated often in your business and have a direct effect on sales or customer service.
  • Schedule time to review and refine existing systems. The challenge with documenting a system is that once it is done, it is often forgotten.
  • Do a simple review of existing systems or checklists. Business changes quickly, and your systems may need to change with it.

My third suggestion for improving your business is to build referral partnerships. Having a team of partners that offers complimentary services can add big value to your clients and all the members of the referral partnership. Everyone brings everyone to the table for any given client in the entire partnership.

The first quarter of the year is always the busiest, but it also is the most important. You must keep focused on the execution of your ideas in order to achieve the greatest success.


Ed Tock, a club sales and marketing consultant, is also a partner in REX Roundtables, where more than 100 club owners share and develop best practices. Tock can be reached at 845-736-0307.

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