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The fitness industry has definitely become more competitive over the past few years, and it’s not because more people have suddenly realized that exercise is good for you. Traditional gyms are stepping up their games due to the rise of boutique fitness studios, which offer a different experience than the former option.

Before explaining what makes boutique fitness studios unique, let’s highlight their most distinguishable characteristic, the one that seems chiefly responsible for their appeal. Boutique fitness studios are upscale and exclusive, giving off the impression that you won’t be working out next to the average joe. People who go to boutique fitness studios are perceived as health nuts who are too busy and dedicated to settle for a less serious or convenient source of exercise.

How did boutique fitness studios achieve this reputation?

NOT JUST A PLACE TO WORK OUT

The names of the most popular boutique studios (CrossFit, Soul Cycle) are all they need to communicate that they specialize in a specific type of workout. You’re only going to be surrounded by people who love this type of workout, just like you. These are people who will not only be more motivating to work out with but also easier to talk to since exercise is obviously such a big part of everyone’s life. After just a couple of classes, you have a feeling that your workout buddies will soon become close friends.

This feeling is often amplified by the inclusion of a juice or beverage bar. Any fitness facility is poised to gain members when it is advertised as a place to socialize, a place where members can take pictures, build relationships and collectively relish in a quick, post-workout refueling.

SOMETIMES, IT’S OKAY TO SHOW OFF

Another reason memberships are skyrocketing for boutique fitness studios is effective marketing. Members of boutique fitness studios are proud to be there and often feel the need to publicize their acceptance into the prestigious “workout freak” club. And since the purpose of boutique fitness studios is to be different, it only makes sense for them to remind the public of how their interior differs from the gyms they are used to.

Traditional gyms have taken note of these qualities and are now trying to make themselves as much like boutique fitness studios as possible without alienating current members. This widespread initiative has revealed that all it takes is a series of investments to prevent your gym from becoming outdated and ultimately unattractive to potential members looking for an experience similar to boutique fitness studios.

IF YOU CAN’T BEAT EM, JOIN EM

No, you don’t have to completely restructure your gym to focus on one workout. What you can do, however, is offer classes for a niche market that has so far been ignored. A Brooklyn yoga studio, for example, began offering classes for pregnant mothers who work and therefore can’t attend classes that other studios offer during the day. The decision allowed the studio owner to open a new space twice the size of her first shortly after.

You can’t offer specialized training without a specialized trainer, so you’ve got to invest in obtaining the perfect instructors for your new classes. This can be accomplished by rigorously promoting your brand, making it increasingly accessible for the type of candidates you have in mind, and offering to pay them well. Members can expect specialized classes to cost more money since Soul Cycle charges $32 for a spin class that costs $20 at a traditional gym.

The need to recruit ideal candidates and recruit members fast requires the expertise of a digital marketing team. This investment will modernize your website to reflect your new additions, figure out how to target ideal candidates and new with advertisements, and scatter photos of your new classes all over the web, particularly social media. Founders of boutique fitness studios will vouch for the power of social networks like Instagram in making their studios seem more like a trendy hangout spot. Members should be able to post about their experiences with ease and receive responses in a timely fashion.

GETTING YOUR PIECE OF THE PIE

Digital marketing initiatives must begin immediately to achieve the best results. Lucky for you, alternative business financing like United Capital Source are able to approve small business loans in 24-48 hours and distribute funds in a matter of days. It might take several months for your new classes to begin but there are several loan programs that allow you to pay off the brunt of the debt when sales are on the uptick as opposed to making fixed, monthly payments right away. The lump sum provided by the loan will also make it possible for you to cover operational expenses in the likely event of operations slowing down while you are training your new staff members.

Your expansion mission doesn’t end here, thanks to United Capital Source’s ability to approve multiple rounds of funding to loyal clients. This is perfect for you considering one investment might not give you the competitive advantage you seek. Your social media campaigns are supposed to make your gym seem more hospitable, and there’s no better opportunity to cement this image than a juice bar. Having a juice bar right by your workout areas makes it almost impossible to resist both before and after a workout. United Capital Source recently helped one gym install a juice bar even though the monthly recurring of membership payments was causing cash flow problems. The juice bar was able to generate significant daily income, however, eliminating these difficulties and making it surprisingly easy to pay off the loan.

THE BEGINNING OF MASS EXPANSION

These two investments will not only maximize the likelihood of membership spikes but justify an increase in membership fees as well. The revenue boost that follows will surpass your debt, putting you in position to expand even further, and you know there’s always more a traditional gym can do to avoid losing members to boutique fitness studios. In such a competitive market, it’s extremely beneficial to have a loan expert in your corner. If you choose UCS as your lender, you will forge a partnership with an expert in maintaining a solid budget in this specific industry. So when you want to open up that new studio or add more television screens, the answers for “how?” and “when?” are just a phone call away.

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