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3 mistakes to avoid when scaling your gym or fitness studio

Chelsea Erieau-Larkin
April 9, 2024
3 mistakes to avoid when scaling your gym or studio

Congratulations! Your fitness studio is booming, and it's time to expand. Here at Hapana, we’ve seen many fitness studios and gyms tackle expansion—from F45 to Vive Active. Today, we’re rounding up some of the mistakes we’ve seen make or break plans for scaling. 

1. Not knowing the limitations of your team

During the scaling phase, you’ll consider assets, legal regulations, market fit, and a thousand business elements. It’s easy to let your team slide off the radar, but many companies have underestimated how important it is to keep your team and staff happy during expansion. Great companies have fallen from these mistakes. Happy employees lead to happy members, so keeping your crew motivated is crucial. We’re social creatures - an off experience with a staff member can be more of a dealbreaker for members than the range of the equipment, the location of the studio, or even the cleanliness.

We all want to go the extra mile, but it's tempting to pile on tasks during expansion. Remember, your team has its strengths and limitations. Assigning tasks outside their roles, exceeding their time capacity, or pushing beyond their pay grade can quickly lead to burnout or dissatisfaction. 

If you start to notice higher turnover than usual, you are on the edge of a precipice that can require serious cash to reverse. 

As OrangeTheory found out, focusing on people first is what can make or break expansion. After their expansion plans didn’t bring the results they were aiming for, OrangeTheory reflected:

“It was probably a month of identifying the problem, and starting to work on solutions simultaneously. It was everything from the training for the manager that runs the studio, to the employees, the coaches, the trainers, and the front-of-house employees that do all the customer service.”

2. Undercommunicating instead of overcommunicating

When you’re scaling, there’s a lot of pressure to keep higher-ups happy. Shareholders, the C suite, co-owners - the list goes on. In light of these pressures, it can be common to focus on keeping the people above you happy, rather than the people below. However, it’s the people on the ground that ensure the success of expansion. It’s the coaches, the customer service, the operations department, the marketing team. 

When it comes to communication, make sure to overcommunicate more than you undercommunicate. Nothing is too small. Scaling brings a lot of change. Share the vision, explain the "why" behind decisions, and be open to feedback. Regular updates, even if there's no news, prevent confusion, resentment, and creates a sense of security.

3. Forgetting to celebrate milestones and reward wins

In that same vein, celebrate the small victories! Scaling isn't a straight line. Reaching hiring goals, surpassing membership targets, or any step towards your expansion plan deserves recognition. Acknowledge these milestones to keep your team motivated and show them their hard work is valued.

Don't wait for the grand opening to celebrate. Applaud individual and team accomplishments, big or small. A public shout-out, a team lunch, or even a simple "thank you" go a long way in boosting morale.

How Hapana can help scale your fitness studio or gym

Scaling up isn't what it used to be. The old 'one-size-fits-all' approach? Long gone. But with the market ever-expanding, there's a lot of room for those of us ready to roll with the punches. At Hapana, we get the unique squeeze fitness studios face in this bustling space. Our platform is built to tackle these challenges head-on, offering custom-fit solutions to help your studio grow smartly and smoothly.

Looking to fine-tune your operations, amp up customer engagement, or harness the power of data for your strategy? Hapana's got the gear and the know-how. Our suite of services is designed with your growth in mind, making scalability that much easier on everyone - top and bottom.