In these often tough economic times, many small and mid-size fitness facilities are feeling the financial burden and are adjusting daily operations accordingly. Operators of non-profit facilities may find that raising funds in the traditional sense has become more difficult, and commercial club operators may have found that increasing ancillary revenue also is difficult. Because of that, some operators have begun seeking other ways to raise revenue, including partnerships with other groups or businesses.
Over the years, partnering has provided businesses with additional products, benefits and, in some cases, increased income. Partnering with another business can allow a club owner to become a mini distribution center and a representative of personally selected products. For example, partnerships can provide fitness business owners with innovative ways to distribute additional products in their pro shops. Members would reap the added benefits by gaining greater variety—and in some cases, healthier selections—in the pro shop options.
However, seeking the right partnership can be challenging and overwhelming. When selecting the best partner to help you increase the revenue for your fitness facility, remember the following four things:
Retention of funds. Money earned through the partnerships can help you purchase needed supplies or additional items that members use, but you have to consider how much income the company will earn with the partnership and whether the distributor requires you to sell a minimum number of products before you get a cut of the revenue.
Savings. Often, partners offer discounts for purchasing products in bulk. You might be able to pass this savings along to your members who purchase these healthy items in bulk in your pro shop.
Extra exposure. The partnership opportunity can expose your club to a larger group of people who may be unfamiliar with your fitness facility. Being connected with the partner could give you the opportunity to invite people associated with that partner company to your facility.
Appropriateness and reliability. When selecting a product to sell within your facility through a partner, consider how well the product fits your audience. If it is food, make sure that it is healthy. You also want to ensure that the product is reliable. Does the product provide ease of use or customer friendly directions? If problems arise, will your partner offer support that your members need? Additionally, what is the return policy? Is this a product that your facility could showcase to prospects or members?
Selecting a unique and beneficial partnership can be a rewarding experience. When given the task of making the selection, recall the four suggestions given in this article. This should help to make your selection process beneficial to your facility. Often, it is best to get a group of decision-makers involved in the selection process. Providing several options for stakeholders will improve the response from these stakeholders and overall support. Using a system each time items are selected also will increase overall ease in the decision-making process.
David Russell holds a B.A. and M.S. degree from North Carolina A&T State University, a certificate in educational leadership from the University of West Georgia and a certificate in sports management from Gwinnett Technical College. He has worked in the fitness industry for nearly 15 years, receiving certifications in aquatic fitness, personal training, Pilates, nutritional coaching and yoga. Russell is the founder and owner of Tenacious Fitness Unlimited Inc. (678-523-0092) and Spiffy Cleaning Service (678-523-0092), both in Norcross, GA.