The global fitness industry took a hit in 2020; however, even amidst the astonishing list of statistics that shows the true wake of the pandemic on the fitness industry, there are still signs that the fitness industry will continue to grow in the years to come.
Now, it’s no secret that the fitness industry was one of the most hard hit industries from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the fact that it is still predicted to be one of the fastest growing industries in the world is a testament to the resilience and responsiveness of the industry, the people that work within it, and the innovations in fitness technology. With the global fitness industry being worth more than $96.7 billion, the potential for the industry is exciting, but the high-growth itself can present issues of its own.
The fitness industry is much more than selling gym memberships; it’s more than scheduling group spin classes. To those who run these businesses, they understand the logistics behind it all—it can be overwhelming. The truth is that these fitness companies are not alone. It turns out that purchasing, vendor payments, countless invoices, and controlling expenditures are common problems for fitness companies—even some of the biggest names in the industry.
We sat down with clients and fitness giants SoulCycle, Solidcore, and CorePower Yoga, and they have a few words of wisdom to pass down to other fitness companies looking to grow in the most sustainable, efficient way possible.
Tip #1: Keep your vendor accounts organized
Like we said before, there’s a LOT more that goes into growing your fitness company than selling gym memberships. Gyms and fitness centers need a wide-array of supplies: equipment, office supplies, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, shampoo, towels, you name it. Too often, companies find themselves wasting hours and hours every week ordering these products because they have too many sites to order from. Forgetting passwords, using expired credit cards, and ordering duplicates of products are just a few of the many consequences that come from having unorganized vendor lists in the fitness industry.
Even Solidcore, a national HIIT pilates gym and fitness brand, once experienced the stress of ordering from countless vendor platforms. Like many fitness companies, Solidcore’s purchasing “was a mess” before using a centralized purchasing platform. An inside look on Solidcore’s entire purchasing process revealed that they struggled with having “multiple user accounts on Amazon, and also used Wayfair and many third party vendors for wipes, cubbies, sweat bags, etc”; Solidcore employees and managers were logging into accounts one at a time, sharing logins, and forgetting passwords. However, by using a platform that organizes all of their vendors in one place, Solidcore’s entire purchasing process is “simpler, and [they] have the ability to see all of [their] spend on the product, location, and aggregate levels,” explains Solidcore’s Charly Williams.
To say “unorganized” to describe many fitness companies’ purchasing process would be an understatement. So, what’s the best way to organize your company’s vendors? Keep them in one place.
Tip #2: Make sure you know how much you are spending—at all times
The best way to sustainably grow your fitness company? Know what you are spending. In fact, that’s a rule of thumb in any business. If you have no idea how much your company is spending on a monthly basis until the invoice comes in, sustainable growth is out of the question.
If this is you and your company, trust us—you’re not alone. SoulCycle, the indoor cycling fitness company, had this issue exactly. The spin class powerhouse revealed their biggest pain-points as they began to grow, and spend visibility was at the top of that list. Before using a centralized procurement platform, SoulCycle’s studios manually tracked company spend across all of their vendors to determine where they were in their monthly budgets—making for a “complicated” process to see exactly how much they were spending each month.
There are many reasons why spend visibility is important for a company’s growth, but for fitness companies in particular, just remember this: if you want to open more studios, open your books and make sure you know your numbers—down to every last cent. If you still don’t know what you’re spending because you have too many invoices or an overall disorganized purchasing process, look into using a platform that will track your spend for you.
Tip #3: Make a budget...and stick to it
A natural consequence of not adhering to tip #2: spending more than you should. Seems pretty obvious, right? If you want to grow your business, don’t spend more than you’ve budgeted for. There are plenty of growth strategies for companies to use to expand quickly, but if there’s no line in the sand on budget, viable growth and long-term success is an impossibility.
Let’s use CorePower Yoga for example; the fitness industry behemoth once had “no process or system to manage spend for each of [their] locations. Each location was making their own spend decisions and regularly going over budget,” says CorePower’s Facilities Management Specialist Stefanie Teintze. CorePower “had no visibility or control of spend, and invoice audits showed [they] were averaging close to $50k in unapproved spend monthly.” $50,000 in unapproved purchases—every month. Their budgets were essentially non-existent—given that they did not have enough visibility into their purchases to create one.
CorePower “had no visibility or control of spend, and invoice audits showed [they] were averaging close to $50k in unapproved spend monthly.”
Unfortunately, CorePower Yoga, before turning to a platform that gives them real-time spend visibility and budget updates, was not alone in spending more than they thought they were each month. Now, there are many different reasons why companies go over budget, but from what we’ve gathered, not knowing how much your company is spending consistently tops the list.
It’s pretty simple, really. If you want to grow your fitness company, you need to have a budget; in order to budget, you need to know what you’re spending.
A Last Word to the Wise from CorePower Yoga
If you’re looking for one last piece of advice to help you take your fitness company to the next level, take it from Stefanie and “go for it!”