One Size Does Not Fit All
Do you know the feeling of dread when a customer walks in to your studio and they want to do Keto, Paleo or Intermittent fasting because their best friend did it and lost 10 pounds. Or when they say I only do cardio because I do not want to bulk up. Or that they say I cannot possibly do this exercise because of my bad knees, back, hips, or arms. That must be the most annoying part of any fitness studio owner's day. The client who knows more than you and wants the same result as someone else. The problem is they do not have your knowledge base or expertise to figure out what is in their best interest and what will actually give them the results they are hoping for. The same is true for the client who is testing out multiple fitness studios. One size does not fit all and you have to set yourself apart not only in your programming but also in your business management.
The same approach has to be applied to the running of your business. You want to take the time to ask people who are more knowledgable than you the steps you need to follow to be successful and reach your goals. I'm not saying you should not do your own field research and survey different options, ask around get feedback, no need to recreate a wheel that may work for you or to get stuck with a product that does not work. But when you've gathered that knowledge bring it to people who can help you apply it. Contact an attorney early and often so you can make sure you are doing things correctly the first time and not after you've gotten in trouble.
The best thing about being an attorney who has a spouse in the fitness industry is that I know the challenges you face to create a quality product, compete with the gym next door, create a welcoming atmosphere for your clients and be the very best you can be. I understand there are pitfalls in the fitness industry and things that may not work the way it would in another industry who just sells widgets to the general public.
The fitness industry is unique in that there is unlikely a shortage of clients but you only have so much time to get them to commit to you. One size does not fit all and you have to set yourself apart as dynamic while still meeting the goals they think they have. You may be wondering how this has anything to do with the law. Well my experience is that the fitness industry moves so fast and the chase of the client may cause corners to be cut or missteps made because of the speed of doing business.
Here are 5 tips that you can implement to help you show the world that one size does not fit all in fitness.
1. Provide up to date insurances and licenses as required by your state. If you are not required to have either, consider getting them anyway to add a layer of security for your client that you are knowledgable. Insurance is never a bad thing.
2. Educate yourself about nutrition, diets and supplements and what you need to do to remain compliant with your state. You do not want to be providing information, diets or products that are illegal in your state or has to be presented in a specific format. Your client believes you are an expert, you need to be one.
3. Keep client records as secure as your doctor's office keeps your file. You have information about clients that are medically and financially sensitive. They have trusted you and you have a duty to keep those things safe. Make sure you are having them sign waivers and acknowledgments that these safeguards are in place and let them opt out if they want to
4. Market yourself in a way that is unique. If you have a great idea reach out to an intellectual property expert to help you keep your ideas secure. Show the public what sets you apart. But more than that, have the ability to follow through on what you promise. Don't promise an amazing water aerobics class if you do not have a pool. If you steal someone else's marketing you will look like an idiot when the client asks you to tell about something you've advertised but do not actually provide.
5. Contracts, Contracts, Contracts. Give your clients peace of mind that you are not some pop up shop or that you are not engaging in some bait and switch with them. Outline exactly what they get from you, explain liability, billing, and expectations clearly. Have them review and sign in your office and provide them a copy that they acknowledge receipt of. Everyone is happier when they know what the rules are.
When in doubt, call Ingram Law Firm and we can guide you through the management process for your fitness studio.