Biz Tips


If You’re Not Making More Money Than You Did This Time Last Year, I’ll Tell You Five Reasons Why AND What To Do About It
By Patti Komara


This isn’t the year after an Olympic year - Almost every gym school in America reaps the rewards of TV coverage from the Olympics. It creates interest and excitement. If we don’t have it provided for us by the Games, then you have to create it yourself. Make your classes more exciting, give more awards, have more meets, teach more skills, and have more fun! Brainstorm with your staff. Take a big blank dry-erase, stand in front of the staff, and ask for ideas. Stand there until they start. Once they start, it will snowball and they will get excited about THEIR ideas. If they create it, they feel ownership and will work hard for these ideas to work. Each and every teacher should offer at least something that will make your gym more exciting. Since they know lesson plans and how to teach classes, start there. From there, take every aspect of our business and ask for their ideas. Brainstorm new ways of getting new students, getting former students to return, and getting current students to take multiple classes. Ask them to think of ways to keep the gym cleaner, meet more parents, and how to talk to more students. Get them to think of ideas for special events such as camps, Kid’s Night Outs, and sleepovers. What kind of specialty classes would kids want? Think of other ones, not just back handspring classes, back tuck classes, or a class for just cheerleaders. It’s been said, “Don’t try to be 100% better, but be 1% better in 100 ways.”

You didn’t raise prices enough - Gym schools need to raise prices every year at least 3-5%. Check the inflation rate. If you don’t raise prices you will lose money. We raise prices every year. One year we cut the time of the classes down by 10 minutes, so we didn’t up the price. Several parents commented they were shocked we didn’t raise prices again. Please, don’t disappoint the parents, raise prices every year!

You’re in too big of a building for your enrollment - We’re in a 6,300 sq.ft. building. We realize this is too small if you want to have competitive teams, it must be bigger. Every square inch of our gym needs to be income-producing space. I can’t tell you how many gym owners while bragging about their new 25,000 square foot facility mention how bad their finances are and don’t know how they’re going to make it. Stop with the big gyms! It’s just not necessary to have such huge gyms. You need to decide from the beginning if you want a huge gym or a huge wallet--rarely do the two happen for the same gym owner. Oh, it happens. But if your name is not Metzger, you might want to keep it a tad smaller.

You can’t do it with JUST gymnastics - It’s just so much easier to sell a second product to the same customer. They already know you, where you are, your philosophy, and what you stand for. They believe in your abilities with kids and your business practices. They’ve recommended you to their friends and are just waiting to give you more money. Offer programs such as swimming, dance, Ninja Zone, educational preschool, after-school care, soccer, basketball, or anything that makes sense for you and your staff. Look at your staff and see if there is a talent there you didn’t realize. Maybe someone can teach ballroom dancing and they can “dance with your staff stars”! At least offer cheerleading and do parties. No one in this business can be “just gymnastics” like the olden days!

You failed to WOW the students you had last year - Think of all the students who have not returned in the last year. Just think for a minute of the time they were last leaving your gym. They were walking out and saying, “Nah, we’re not coming back.” Ok… why!!!?? You can’t accept excuses like, “We just don’t have the time” or “She just needs a break”. Kids will leave if they don’t like it as much as something else. You failed to WOW them. Ask any parent—if their child says they really, really want to do gymnastics, they will be in gymnastics. We have two customers in this business, the parent and the student. If for any reason they feel neglected, ignored, or just plain "underwelmed", you’ve lost them. Your front desk team has to be as sharp as the teaching staff. They have to go above and beyond for the parents at the same time the students are learning new skills while having fun. (Read that last line… that’s the secret—it’s so simple!) Kids have to learn new skills and have fun. Parents have to be treated fairly and should understand the VALUE of gymnastics. Your ability to educate them on the benefits of the classes is paramount to your staying in business.

If you’re not making more money than last year, try some of these things and let me know how it works. Share your thoughts by clicking HERE and letting us know on the Tumblebear Connection Facebook page. For even more ideas Go to tumblebear.com to browse over 100 products dedicated to helping you run a successful gymnastics school. Currently offering:
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