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Health Clubs Should ‘Re-strategize’ Every 90 Days to Stay Competitive 

Since 18.5% of the American population joins health clubs, “this means we are all competing for the same [18.5%],” said Mark Miller, vice president and CEO of Merritt Athletic Clubs, during his 2016 IHRSA Institute session, “Strategic Planning for Club Operation Professionals.”

Independent health club competition grows increasingly more difficult with consolidation, niche studios, high volume/low cost growth, healthcare, technology, social media, and service voids, Miller said. Attendees shared additional challenges they face in their clubs, including staffing, member retention, staff retention, and attracting a younger market.

Combating ever-growing competition requires a strong leadership strategy. Club owners and managers should identify what they want the club to be, what resources they have and how they will achieve their goals. 

Miller advised conducting a re-strategizing every 90 days to ensure the focus remains in line. Miller introduced the “Four Primary Management Practices”—strategy, execution, culture, and structure—followed by the “Secondary Management Practices”—finding and keeping talented employees, leadership, and innovation.  

A common theme at the IHRSA Institute, Miller discussed the importance of core values.  Clubs should answer the questions: 

  • What are your company’s vision and goals?
  • Is your marketplace willing to pay for what your club has to offer?
  • Do you have the right people and resources in place?
  • Are you willing to be different, unique, or change your thinking? 

A healthy organization is built on a cohesive leadership team that creates, communicates and reinforces clarity.  “The only way to do great work is to love the work you do,” said Miller. 

Read more coverage from the 2016 IHRSA Institute.

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