Thriving in Competitive Rehabilitation and Fitness Market

Moving from the confines of a large gym,with lots of foot traffic to  a smaller independent training studio has presented many challenges. A recent article in the Vancouver Sun “Vancouver’s Sweat Equity:  Facilities vie for their share of city’s multi-million dollar fitness industry” has reignited the entrepreneurial fire within while helping me become aware of  the opportunities for and threats against my business.   Much of the $2-Billion Canadian fitness and recreational sports centers industry is in B.C. which has grown 30% from 2006 to 2010 (Statistics Canada). 
 There have been some major changes since 2000 when I joined this industry in 2000 when I volunteered at a local community center to provide Personal Training for a client with a cervical spine injury.  Changes include a few new big name players, GoodLife Fitness and Club 16 as well, the 50 year old local chain Fitness World which sold to a U.S. based company in 2009 hoping to cash in Fitness World’s longevity and the celebrity name of Steve Nash.   There have been some smaller studios which have flourished while others have come and gone within a couple of years.
Personal Training has become a career that many people are pursuing, so smaller boutique studios and independent training studios (where trainers pay drop-in fees per client) are popping up across the lower-mainland.  Some trainers are even moving out the big box gyms to pursue independent opportunities. It takes a lot of effort, risk and over $100,000 open your own facility, so many trainers choose the shared competitive space of an independent training studio.  If Industry Canada stats show that 30% of business don’t make their 5thanniversary and the competition becomes fiercer, how can we thrive?
Kinesiologists are stuck in the middle between the rehabilitation and fitness industries. Physiotherapists are doing a great job of marketing their profession and businesses, they are also stepping further into the realms of providing more exercise therapy which includes active rehab.  As Lifemoves reaches its 5thanniversary what perplexes me is how do we maintain our differentiation and gain a bigger market share of this large industry?  Vancouverites have a lot of choices and the number is only growing, so how do we get them to choose us? 
Another question I have is how can this business be structured and operated in ways that we are able to provide uncommon service that is for the greater good, but is also profitable? There are several societal benefits to growing a business that exclude more profit.  These include being able to provide more people with employment as well assist more people in their pursuit to return to work and improve their health and quality of life.
The basic answers to these questions is first to relentlessly pursue excellence for the greater good while making the right decisions in the right context. Secondly, it is really know what your business is about and what solutions you really provide. Thirdly, it is to find creative ways to market our services so that the values and benefits we provide our clients remains top of mind so that they do talk about us to others.
There seems to be room for growth in the fitness and rehabilitation industry? How are you going to grow your business?

References

Vancouver Sweat Equity

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Alfred Ball
 

Alfred is a Practicing Kinesiologist who started his own business, Lifemoves Health and Rehabilitation in 2007. He has been writing since a very young age. He enjoys writing about the challenges of entrepreneurship and growing a business while maintaining an active lifestyle.

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