Where will the industry be in 3-5 years from now? This question, although extremely difficult to answer accurately, is something that every fitness business owner should be wrestling with on a daily basis. Of course, one of the biggest challenges a business owner faces is planning for the future. Every day is a whirlwind, and taking time to think about and strategize for the future never seems to be possible. The future, however, doesn’t care if you have time for it or not, it’s coming whether you prepare for it or not.
Right now, wearables are the biggest trend in the industry according to The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
This shouldn’t come as any surprise; technology is infiltrating every corner of our lives. What does this mean for the fitness industry? Is it a threat or an opportunity? Your first instinct might be to say it’s a threat; people can now sign up for services that deliver workouts to their computers/tablets/phones, track their workouts, and get coaching. It stands to reason then, that with more options available, demand for your service would diminish. On the flip side, maybe these technologies provide you with an opportunity.
Some (somewhat random) thoughts and questions…
• Can you use these technologies to enhance your customer’s experience? Can these technologies create a new way for you to stay in touch with your client when they are outside your facility and help them stay on track?
• What are the things about your gym or studio that cannot be replicated? Obviously one that that comes to my mind is equipment.
• Can you leverage any of these technologies to attract people? Maybe these technologies are creating new exercisers (something the gym business hasn’t really been able to do in the last 10 years), and thus opening a new market for you.
Whether it’s answering these specific questions or other similar ones, fitness business owners need to take the time to do so, as this trend will rapidly become a factor for them. Technology always makes its way through an industry in a similar way; at first people are reticent to it, not wanting to take the time to understand it, believing that the way things have been done until now is fine. At the same time, there are always those few people who jump on the new technology, master it and learn how to leverage it. Eventually the new way/technology becomes inevitable, and it either crushes you or serves you. Nobody can predict exactly where this trend will take us, especially since technology itself is so hard to predict, but there is no doubt it’s becoming a bigger part of the fitness industry. Your job is to become an expert on the subject, so that you can ride the wave rather than get run over by it.