It’s every studio’s’ biggest fear: a shiny new studio opening on the next block with a marketing budget that’s 5x the size of yours and all of the best teachers.

As an owner or manager of a studio, the preference is for there to be minimal (if any) competition closeby. However, the reality is that this is just not the case anymore. The fitness industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries with specialty fitness studios opening up rapidly around the world.

Competition is a natural part of the experience owning a business of any size. The word alone conjures up feelings of needing to “defeat” or “establish superiority” over competitors. But is this really how we want to view the boom of the health and fitness industry? The fitness industry is a growing one that encourages exercise and health, helps to build community and is responsible for so many wonderful jobs. Studios and gyms help thousands to cope with or ward off mental health, anxiety, weight management, and insomnia issues. In our minds, the health and fitness industry is one that we should all support and rally around.

You don’t have to view competition in a negative way; in fact, greater work can be done when you see it  as an opportunity to make your service and your offering even better and as an opportunity to learn from others, to work hard and to be the best you can be. Below are three ways you can work alongside others in the industry, not to gain or to win, but to continue to strengthen and empower this industry.

Without competition, your business runs the risk of becoming complacent with few – if any – adjustments to your schedule, classes, marketing, community building and general approach to your studio. While this may work in the short-term, the reality is your business will not survive or thrive without innovating.

To continue to innovate your studio offerings, try:

  • Mixing up your class schedule with different and unique workouts
  • Setting up a social media account – be unique and original and have a clear voice for your studio. If that is too much for you to handle and you cringe at the thought of hours spent on social media, why not hire or recruit someone on your staff to work their magic?
  • Offering workout challenges that are unique to your studio
  • Refreshing your studio bi-annually so that it stays ahead of the times
  • Asking influencers to represent your brand to their networks so that you can benefit from more organic growth
  • If the studio down the street offers a different flavor of fitness (e.g. if you are a yoga studio and theirs is a cycling studio), think about joining forces for an event or even for a member offer.

Competition allows you to stand out of the crowd, to distinguish yourself and to find your niche. Competition also encourages you to perfect your service and provide your community with a service that is polished. In regards to your studio, this may relate to your customer service, your ambiance, the quality of your equipment and props, the quality of your staff and instructors, or the added perks that your members receive. The list goes on!

To stand out:

  • Invest in quality cleaning sprays and make sure your space is always spotless and smells lovely (we believe that natural and essential oils are a great tick)
  • Motivate and remunerate your staff for providing 5-star customer service
  • Find your niche and embrace it – this could be providing towels, serving tea, offering snacks, having quality shampoo and conditioner, providing hair straighteners, loaning yoga mats for free. These seemingly small additions can have a really positive impact on your members!
  • Ask for feedback and take it on board (don’t take it personally)

You will not be successful unless you are able to expand your business. To do this, you need to be able to appreciate a competitor and strive to achieve what it has (if not more). Learning from the competitor is one of the best ways to grow, and being open to sharing your learnings will only help the industry and your business even more.

To continue learning:

  • Keep all lines of communication open
  • Be friendly to your competitors when you see them at industry events (in fact, even have a chat!)
  • If you try a competing studio avoid being negative or critical – rather appreciate the studio for what it is and how it is serving the community
  • Think about competing with other locales / postcodes rather than competing within it. For example, if a competitor opens up on your block, it makes that block all the more attractive for fitness fans. Before you know it, you’ll be a hub and a destination for fitness enthusiasts. There’s strength in numbers and the studio down the street increases your suburb’s overall attractiveness.
  • Be open to sharing teachers amongst studios (maybe not the one next door, but don’t close your teachers off completely because this may make them frustrated)
  • Be open to sharing ideas and to working together for the good of the community