Does your club’s small group training department need fixing?

One of the challenges for club managers is to stay ahead of the game, in every area of club management: marketing, sales, programming, costs etc…

The fitness business is just too competitive today to rely on memberships as the sole source of income. ​

Gone are the days when the business, the trainers and the sales team all did their own thing. To survive, they all need to work together as a unified team.

Some club managers have a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) that at least 20% of net revenue is from non-membership departments or sources.

There’s been huge growth in personal training as well as small group and team training, but the challenge for managers is how they are managing these trends to create more net revenue. "Net Revenue" is the revenue left over after paying wages, fees and any direct expenses incurred in generating that new revenue.

If you’re a club owner or manager, you may want to review the performance of your small group or team training programs. Here's 2 ways:

1.  Member Engagement

  • Financial: What % of members are paying extra for access to our SGT programs or to belong to a team? (Tip: 5% is a good starting target) 
  • Penetration: What % of members are actively attending our SGT programs?

2.  Financial Contribution

Many clubs are creating or allocating areas for functional training space. This might be anywhere from 80 square metres (eg an under-used squash court) to a larger 200 square metre space. Unless the club operates as a charity, they’ll want to be able to earn a certain net revenue per square metre, not just for the space, but also for any capex (capital expenditure) required in that new functional training equipment. The programs also have to make a contribution to front-of-house admin costs.

Haagon East

"At minimum, the net revenue from the club’s team training or small group training department should match the net revenue from the club’s personal training department or the total rent they receive from their contract PTs."

Haagon East, CEO TRIBE Team Training International

The Dangerous Comfort Zone - "We're fine."

It’s simply not enough to say “Yeah, we're already doing small group training.”

A manager needs to be able to say “Here’s our member penetration and direct financial contribution from our small group training department.” The manager should be able to set clear member penentration and financial goals for their small group or team training department.

The worst case scenario is when the club incurs costs in running SGT classes and then gets zero extra income, by promoting "free classes" in a vain effort to attract new club members.​ This does not make sense while franchised boutique clubs are opening in most areas offering SGT classes and charging $50 to $60 per week. 

Programming: D.I.Y. Programs or Outsource?

Is the main role of the small group or team training department to do either:

  • The technical stuff: spending time developing programs and session plans? or
  • The sales and member experience stuff: to market, sell and deliver an addictive small group or team training experience to the members?

If the answer at your club is the latter, then it makes good sense outsourcing the technical stuff by licensing it from a specialist company that can do all the technical stuff, the branding and provide fully-tested ever-changing lesson plans far cheaper. The club gets a better outcome focusing everyone's valuable time on team growth, marketing, team sales and magnificent delivery. 

Beware the limiting belief: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

This limiting belief may blind you and have your club and trainers missing out on an under-tapped opportunity inside your club. Having a small group or team training department that makes some money, might be standing in the way of having a department that makes a lot of money, not just for the business but for the trainers and instructors as well.

Recently a club that had an excellent small group training program with 30 of their members paying extra, exploded to over 300 of their members paying extra. Read about how they did it HERE.

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There may be a fabulous opportunity to dramatically increase the returns on your functional training space and equipment investment plus income for the club and trainers.

About the Author Jamie Hayes

Jamie Hayes is the CEO of TRIBE Team Training. Together with his wife Ellen, he’s owned and operated 8 fitness centres. He’s presented many times at Filex on group-ex, strength training, management, marketing, plus business panels. He’s written articles in Network magazine and Fitness Pro magazine. His passion is to maximise community health through exercise.

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