How to Do a SWOT Analysis for a Gym

GoodLifeStudio/E+/GettyImages

If you own a gym, you know that the time and costs associated with running a fitness facility can get overwhelming. Between equipment, labor, maintenance and marketing costs, your profits can get chewed up pretty quickly. Regularly assessing your business plan can help.

Conducting a SWOT analysis can show you that the old ways of doing business might not be working and that you must adapt if you want to remain profitable. A SWOT allows you to determine your strengths (S), assess your weaknesses (W), find growth opportunities (O) and target any threats to your fitness facility (T). Once identified, you can use this information to make business goals that will help you grow.

Determine the Strengths of Your Gym

Determining the strengths of your gym might be harder than it sounds. This requires you to choose the strengths that really stand out and make your facility better than the competition. Look at your personal training staff and class instructors. Do they have up-to-date industry standard certifications? Are they willing to take continuing education classes to improve their skills?

Consider your equipment. If you provide your members with cutting-edge weight and cardio equipment, that is a strength. You might want to list membership dues and operating hours as a strength.

Some gyms will highlight their strengths in terms of staff-to-member ratio. A major selling point for a lot of people is staff availability. If you have several fitness specialists, class instructors and floor staff available during operating hours, log this as a strength.

Assess the Weaknesses Associated With Your Gym

If you’ve ever done a member survey or asked for feedback, you can use some of this data to determine your weaknesses. You can also ask staff members to rank-order three areas they think the facility could make changes.

Examples of weakness associated with your gym might include lack of marketing materials, limited client base, high staff turnover, poorly trained staff, a high turnover rate of customers, inconvenient location, maintenance issues, outdated equipment and peak hours that can’t handle the high traffic. Simply put, anything that takes away from the value you want to provide to your customers is considered a weakness.

Identify the Opportunities for Your Gym

If you’re trying to stay afloat in a competitive market, you have to offer amenities and perks that other gyms are not providing for their members. Talk to your customers and ask them what they would like to see. Look at similar fitness facilities in other areas and find out what they are offering.

It might be a cutting-edge class, group-fitness training, extended hours or childcare improvements. The list goes on and on. There is always an opportunity to grow your existing business to make it more appealing to new members and keep your current customers satisfied.

Find the Threats Your Gym Could Face

Determining the threats to your gym requires you to look both internally and externally. If you’re in a bigger area, there’s a good chance you’re not the only facility in town. What do the other gyms offer that you don’t? Do you face competition from a larger, well-established competitor?

Chain gyms can come into a town and wipe out the smaller facilities. If you’re facing this threat or there is a possibility of this happening, it’s important that you provide a service that reminds your members why they want to stay with you. You should also keep tabs on the economic outlook of your area and pay attention to growth.

If your town is seeing a decline in the housing market and people moving in, this could be a threat to your gym. Internally, your staff can present a threat to the facility. If you are experiencing a high turnover or conflict within your organization, this will impact your gym.

Like with dieting and fitness, you can sometimes reach plateaus or ruts with your business. Similar to a consultation with a fitness expert, a SWOT analysis gives you the chance to assess your business holistically and adjust your plan to meet your goals.

References

About the Author

Sara Lindberg, B.S., M.Ed., is a freelance writer focusing on adolescent and teenage development, secondary education, and higher education. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in exercise science and a Master's of Education degree in counseling.