Five tips for badass operators wanting to work smarter in 2021

The fitness industry is undergoing a profound transformation, and it's time for fitness operators to adapt and thrive. In this blog post, global fitness authority Emma Barry shares her ultimate tips for working smarter and evolving in the new era of fitness. From renovating your foundations to embracing technology, paving your path to profit, and fostering a people-centric culture, discover the key strategies that will help your fitness business flourish in the phygital age.
December 18th, 2021
Five tips for badass operators wanting to work smarter in 2021

Keepme is delighted to welcome Emma Barry, a global fitness authority and author of the best-selling book, Building a Badass Boutique, as a guest blogger. Here, Emma provides her ultimate tips for fitness operators wanting to work smarter and evolve in 2021.

The world has changed and it’s never going back. We have been sent to our rooms to think long and hard about what we’ve done and to come back stronger, smarter and more accelerated.

The post-COVID future is “phygital”. In other words, we’ll all be using technology to build a bridge between the digital world with the physical world in order to provide a unique interactive experience.  

At the heart of each of these five business evolutions is one common thread – you must place your customer at the center of your ecosystem and obsess with what they care about.

1.     Renovate your foundations

Now is the perfect time to take the stairs down to the basement of your business and rattle your foundations. It’s time for Marie Kondo that shit! Decide what serves you in the new world and what doesn’t. Be ruthless in what you keep. Let the rest go, with love.

  • Brand – Purpose, Pain and Positioning.

Know why you exist, who you are and who you are not. Retool your business to provide elegant and comprehensive solutions for members. Position yourself powerfully in the market and against competitors to differentiate. Future-proof your business by adding a digital expression of your brand to your ecosystem of goods and services.

  • Product – People, Programming, Place.

Content is King and consistency is Queen. Hire attitude over aptitude to enable you to create human bonds with members. Make sure your programming sits on science but delivers to the soul. Provide the backdrop for transformational change.

  • Systems – Processes, Plan, Pace.

How slick, intuitive and seamless are your processes? Have you automated the mundane? Have you upgraded, simplified and integrated new gym software to enable better data capture and analysis that makes meaningful contributions to the business? Use software designed for this sector to create frictionless experiences. The future is predictive. Are you data-led or relying on that old tech called gut feel? Only with data on your side can you balance excellence of execution against the speed of innovation. If you don’t already have the right software in place, Keepme’s intuitive platform makes for the perfect partner. It blends AI with operational tools and a unique automation engine to streamline the membership sales and retention management efforts of fitness operators, and ultimately increase revenue.

2.     Pave your new path to profit

If you are not in the business of making money, you are not in business. Whether your business has been in decline, growth or flatlining through the pandemic, the chess pieces have been moved. Human behavior has changed, expectations have shifted and priorities are being reordered. Do you have a clear line of sight for building revenue and membership sales in 2021? If not, get there.

3.     Create a minimum viable people and strategic plan

Do less, better. Right size your team and simplify your strategy to focus your business on its core activities. Some trends in organizational restructure include: fewer people doing more jobs, levels of hierarchy being erased, and roles becoming more operational and less strategic.

4.     Bring sexy back

It’s time to double down on being human, create an agile, solutions-based culture and have fun. This is a marathon, not a sprint; we all need to be in for the long haul. The human spirit is the ultimate source of inspiration. Share, cheer and problem-solve together. Rise up.

5.     Rain check

The advantage of times like now, where the majority of businesses are in survival mode, is that everyone has their head up their own assets – there’s nothing like a good pandemic to provide a “judgement free zone”. If you don’t love what you do or you can’t see the way through surviving to thrive, there’s no shame, no foul – this is your invitation to exit stage left, walk away, blame it on COVID and back a different horse.

About the author

Emma Barry is a global fitness authority who for 25 years has advised and advanced the innovative edge of health and fitness. A founding member of Les Mills International and former Director of luxury lifestyle brand Equinox, she is fluent in what happens next in health and fitness and in building teams around the world. Emma is a published author, sought-after speaker for business forums, trends panels and women’s events, and serves on a number of boards and advisories.

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