The Coronavirus pandemic took most people by surprise. These are uncharted waters we are all trying to navigate. Many businesses are scrambling to figure out what needs to happen for their business to continue operating and help their customers and employees amidst the social distancing, self-quarantines, and public fear of COVID-19.
In an effort to help fitness business owners figure out what to do next, we have reached out to some of the top consultants in the industry and asked them to share the advice that they are giving to their clients.
Andy Smith – Owner of Numberwise Accounting
- If you can’t pay your bills, don’t just ignore the vendors. Reach out to them and let them know your situation. Be realistic with them about if and when you might be able to pay them. And don’t make any promises you can’t keep. Your landlord, your product suppliers, your software vendors – they are all going through this as well.
- Communicate with your members. Give them a chance to help you through this. If you have to close for a while, you probably will have to offer refunds. But ask your members if they would be willing and able to keep paying for their membership and let them know it would allow you to pay your employees during this tough time.
Josh Biro – Founder of Nomad Business Coaching & Lead Coach of The Yogapreneur Collective
- Check your waivers! They may not include important information such as the environment while practicing yoga or fitness class from home. It may be a good idea to update your waiver and get any online participants of your online classes to re-sign it. Docusign is a good option for this.
- People aren’t necessarily going to participate in a full-length yoga class as often right now. Consider creating some shorter options (20-30min) for a class “quicky”.
- You’re probably running at 150% right now but remember – if you burn out you’re screwed! Be sure to take care of yourself! Get your workouts in, eat healthily, rest often, keep things simple to keep your stress low.
- Josh is offering a free webinar series to discuss these & related things this and next week (at the time of writing). Check it out here.
Mike Jesowshek – CPA and Managing Partner of JETRO and Associates
- Can you go digital? Your clients are obviously unable to come to the studio to work out but that doesn’t mean they do not want to stay fit during this time.
- What about daily workouts that your customers can do at home that you send out every morning? Or even a live Zoom at-home workout during the times you hold your normal classes.
- Think outside of the box to find a way you can provide fitness services virtually to people that are eager to stay fit!
- If you have loans or debts outstanding, reach out to the lenders to see if you can get a grace period or even a couple of months of interest-only payments until this passes.
Chris Beer – Founder of B.Well Consulting
- If you’re still open — prepare external (client) communication for potential closure. If/when you decide to close (or in case of a mandated closure), you want to have this verbiage in place now. You may not use it, but this is better to write now rather than when you are under the gun.
- Call your insurance agent. They may have updates for you on the coverage you may have for cases of Force Majeure (basically, acts of God). The main purpose of the call is to determine what additional coverage, if any, is needed to move forward with the streaming classes. You will need to update the verbiage of your client waiver to include streaming classes. Ask if you need anything to cover instructors if they do the classes off-site (their homes) due to a potential Shelter in Place? I’m assuming their insurance covers Independent Contractors (and I hope that all IC instructors have their own insurance as we have suggested) but employees are a different story so ask for clarification that is specifically for YOUR business.
Eric Killian – CPA and Founder of The Fitness CPA
- Close. Please close and keep others healthy.
- Stay cash-heavy, don’t pay down any credit cards, loans, or rent balances. I’m not saying default, but make arrangements with each to skip a month (or in the case of a credit card make the minimum payment only). We have no idea how long this will last but guessing a minimum of 8 weeks.
- Continue paying your insurance bill!!!
- If doing virtual classes, talk to your instructors about having them teach at a lower rate.
Laura Munkholm – Founder and CEO of Studio Solutions
If you are evaluating longer-term video and live stream options, there are two that I highly recommend (and one backup):
- Namastream – been in the game for the past few years and specialize in boutique fitness streaming, video libraries, and courses with many membership models for you to monitor revenue streams as you go.
- FitGrid – this company has been one of my faves for data and retention by leveraging your instructors. They jumped on board to create a nice solution over the past month and now you can stream through your teacher’s FitGrid profiles and watch data and usage.
- Zoom – if you need a simple and very low budget solution, Zoom is the way to go. You can choose the $15/ month version for smaller membership groups, but the $75/ month version is best if you have large numbers of people needing access.
We will continue to update this as we hear from more fitness business experts – let us know if you have any specific topics you want to hear more about.