Yes, your instructors can definitely be instrumental in helping you retain your members—from delivering an in-class experience that creates an emotional connection between members and your studio, to promoting their classes when they’re not at the gym. Four ahead-of-the-curve studio owners, who spoke about successful studio ownership at BFS, share their insider secrets for how to inspire staffers—studio managers, instructors, trainers and front-of-house associates—to perform at their peaks on the daily.
Hire slow and fire fast.
While your fitness business may be fun and creatively stimulating, it’s still a business. “And you need to run it as a serious business,” says Gail Giovanniello, founder and CEO of Mind Your Body. “Working with like-minded people is key for support and great teamwork.”
That’s why she advises other studio owners to hire slow and fire fast. “A rule for me is to strive to find the right fit for my teams, both administrative and instructors.”
Take cues from your team and members.
When Kari Saitowitz, founder and CEO of Fhitting Room, first opened her doors she was inspired by other entrepreneurs who successfully built businesses around their ideas for “a better way.” But as she started to grow into her studio, she quickly turned her attention to her team and clients. “My core team always has my back and motivates me to improve, grow and continue providing opportunities for them,” she says.
Saitowitz emphasizes to her staff that their clients can count on Fhitting Room to help boost their emotional and physical well-being (it’s “an awesome inspiration”)—and that keeps everyone sharing about the studio inside and outside its walls. “‘Love letters’ from clients remind me of the positive role Fhitting Room plays in their lives,” she says.
Teach your team about your brand.
Amy Hochhauser, co-founder and CBO at JoyRide Cycling + Fitness, can’t emphasize enough how important it is to always keep your brand culture front and center—and ensure that all employees, whether in one location or many, understands the why behind your studio. “If they can share your vision and your purpose, the benefits will flow to the bottom line,” she says.
Similarly, Stephanie Moran, CEO and founder of CYB Studios, teaches her instructor to deliver quality classes, doing so in the spirit of “providing the gift of fitness to our community,” she says.
Keep an open-door policy.
When Dr. Frank Benedetto, co-founder of ProVere and Level Up Initiative, was riding the subway, thinking about a frustrating situation with an employee that he didn’t address, when he noticed the New York City Transit Authority slogan: “If you see something, say something.”
“That slogan had the single greatest impact on my management philosophy,” Benedetto says. “From that moment, I’ve instilled a culture of being upfront with all communication, even when it’s difficult to do so.”