If the closures of fitness studios, gyms, and sports facilities in the light of the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s this: sports and fitness businesses need to be able to adapt their offerings quickly to handle uncertainty.
Although studios and gyms will soon reopen, the lessons taken from this pandemic, if implemented effectively, can strengthen offerings moving forward. Based on the insights from our Product team who worked quickly to pivot their daily operations in the face of COVID-19, we compiled 5 ways to adapt your offerings now to prepare for whatever the future may hold.
5 Ways to Prepare Your Offerings for Uncertain Times
Stay true to your mission and vision, but act quickly to adapt day-to-day
Businesses that have seen most success in the COVID-19 pandemic are those who have rolled out alternative offerings on a time crunch while sticking to what they know best. Doing so has allowed them to stay authentic to their community while adapting to better serve their people.
For example, as gyms and studios were beginning to close globally, businesses like Barry’s Bootcamp had no hesitation in offering their signature workouts to the public via their Instagram. They kept the formatting of the classes the same–the only difference was that it wasn’t live in the studio.
Doing this communicated their mission to continue providing high quality workouts to their devoted members, and enabled their members to jump straight back into their classes without missing a beat.
As Myles Grote, Chief Product Officer at Upper Hand said in regards to his team’s daily goals:
“Most of our customers have been forced to shut their doors, so we’ve had to find new ways to help them via our software. This change in needs has really changed our team’s day to day focus–but our overall mission hasn’t changed.”
The Product team at Upper Hand pivoted daily strategies quickly and, 4 days after states began releasing stay-at-home orders, were able to launch a new app for a customer so that they could begin training their athletes virtually. This app, D-BAT Video Hub (a white-labeled environment of APEX, our Video Analysis tool), has accumulated over 4,000 videos from 1,000+ users and has allowed business operations to continue running for countless D-BAT franchise businesses.
In making preparations to adapt your offerings in uncertain times, use this lesson as a north star. Do all you can to continue providing for your customers, clients, and members in a big way while staying authentic to your driving mission, in the same way that Barry’s and the Upper Hand team did.
Think of both long and short term sustainability
While making quick adaptations to your current offerings will help your business handle uncertainty, you’ll want to ensure that your decisions aren’t affecting your profitability and sustainability in the long run.
For example, running free, public online classes has its positives and negatives, and one significant con is that these classes may not be bringing in additional revenue at a time when every dollar counts. However, while they may not be bringing in revenue today, that monetary goodwill is helping retain your current customer base and reach potential new customers as well.
Each circumstance is different, so we’ll say this–ensure that your decisions are being made with both the long and short term sustainability of your offerings in mind.
Invest in timeless technology
In times of crisis, ensure that your systems can sustain business operations and adapt to your changing needs. Timeless technology, especially powerful business management software, should be able to cater to the needs of your team, from operators and admins to front desk staff and clients.
Software that will keep your business running smoothly ensures that there is one less thing you have to worry about in times of crisis. Furthermore, by implementing a new system now, you can make the transition back to in-studio classes, lessons, and camps more streamlined and enticing.
Technology is a crucial piece to invest in, because in times of uncertainty it helps not only your staff and management team, but your clients and members as well.
Make decisions based on information rather than assumptions
Too often, we rely on gut feelings and assumptions in times of crisis. However, assumptions are not to be solely relied on when you’re thinking of adapting your offerings in an uncertain time. It’s at that time when you need to base your decisions on facts and data.
For example, if you assume that your clients and members wouldn’t be willing to pay for a class without verifying that assumption, you may be losing out on cash flow, when in actuality, your members value your expertise and would pay up to $10 per class or lesson. Without verifying your assumption, you would have lost out on a significant chunk of cash.
To obtain valuable information to verify what you may already assume you know, consider surveying your customers (you can use a free survey tool like Survey Monkey, Typeform, Google Forms, or even social media polls) or reading industry reports from credible sources.
Think about the biggest problem for your clients and members, and shape your solutions around that
Ultimately, your business exists to offer value to people; that’s why your members and clients keep coming back. In times of crisis and uncertainty, their needs change, and your offerings should change to reflect that.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for your clients and members is that they’re unable to come into the studio. Or they don’t have adequate equipment to follow along to a virtual workout, or recently lost their job and can’t afford their usual membership fees. Whatever the challenge may be, you have the unique opportunity to alter your offerings, perhaps temporarily, in order to bring a valuable solution to your clients and members.
People will remember how your business reacted to uncertain times, and the way you worked quickly and thoughtfully to find a valuable solution for them.