Club Insider

Club Insider's COVID-19 Resource Center

The Coronavirus Crisis - Part I

By: Justin Cates

Justin CatesJustin Cates"Good Day. I hope this finds you well." If you have ever received an email or online message from me, that is my standard greeting. Over the years, I have always meant it. On the phone, I begin with the same sentiment, the first part of my call always being to see how the person on the other end of the line is doing. If you've met me in person, once again, it's the same. Every time. I admit... This has become habit. It doesn't mean I don't mean it, but it is a habit. Recently, though, it has just meant more. Now, I take a pause before writing or saying the usual. I read or listen a little bit deeper when receiving a response. Then, I respond accordingly and with conviction. Since a week or two into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Crisis, I have amended my usual greeting to now say, "I hope this finds you as well as can be during these times." Within that statement, I mean several things... I hope you are healthy. I hope your family is healthy. I hope your team is healthy. I hope your members (or other customers) are healthy. And, I hope your health and fitness club business is hanging in there. There's a lot that can and is going wrong within those statements because of COVID-19; thus, I hope you are doing as well as can be during these times. Wherever you are, whatever you are going through, know that you are not alone. Read More...

Exercise IS Medicine!
By: Mike Alpert

Mike AlpertMike AlpertI want you to know that, as I watch and listen to news and business channels, I am incredibly proud of our country. How we are handling this terrible COVID-19 virus and the efforts being made by doctors, nurses, scientists, first responders, economists and too many others to mention in my article is inspiring and uplifting. I have felt for years that, if we could get the public and private sectors to work together, we would achieve things that no one ever thought possible. And, as it is showing as we battle this pandemic, it can work with our health care system if we can get the experts in fitness to begin working together with them to promote Exercise is Medicine. Read More...

How to Navigate Change Amid COVID-19
By: Jim Thomas

Jim ThomasJim ThomasWhile all of us in the gym business settle in and wait for the pandemic to pass, we need to recognize that this could end up being a significant opportunity for your gym if you choose to expand and advance into the market place. But, it will require work and courage. Don't just sit and wait; develop a strategy, so that when this is over, you're prepared to advance. Here are some thoughts on what needs to be done now... Read More...

Saving Sales During the COVID-19 Crisis
By: Casey Conrad

Casey ConradCasey ConradI know what you're thinking... "Saving sales! Saving sales! What sales? We're all closed." Yes, I'm aware; I simply wanted to get your attention. Now that I have it, let's move to the meaning of the headline. To say the future for many small businesses is uncertain is clearly an understatement. As I write these words, our country has been shut down for more than two weeks but interrupted now for over a month. Although we can (and should) remain optimistic, the reality is that we do not know when States will allow non-essential businesses to reopen. When I say, "Saving Sales During the COVID-19 Crisis," I'm referring to managing your business in such a fashion that you position yourself for two key things to happen once we are out of lockdown... Read More...

Coronavirus Legal Considerations for Health Clubs
By: Paul R. Bedard, Esquire

Paul R. Bedard, EsquirePaul R. Bedard, EsquireThe Coronavirus has disrupted health club operations in unprecedented fashion. As of this writing, whether by legal mandate or out of an abundance of caution, many clubs across the country are temporarily closed. These clubs are grappling with issues, including but not limited to maximizing liquidity during closure, retaining members and employees, monitoring and ensuring compliance with the evolving laws governing this pandemic and forecasting what will be required when resuming "normal" operations. Read More...

How to Keep Your Gym Going Strong During and After COVID-19
By: Jon Butts

Jon ButtsJon ButtsThe COVID-19 pandemic hit the $94 billion fitness industry hard. To help stop the spread of the new Coronavirus, most gyms and clubs have now been forced to close for the duration. It's a stressful time for everyone, but shutting your doors doesn't mean you have to shut down for good. Consider these tips for keeping your business fit now and when you reopen... Read More...

A Letter to Clients From Karen Woodard-Chavez
By: Karen Woodard-Chavez

Karen Woodard-ChavezKaren Woodard-ChavezThe following is a communication that was sent to Karen Woodard's clients on March 17, 2020: In reflecting on discussions with many clients over the past few weeks, I would like to share a few thoughts with you to help move through this crisis from a personal and professional perspective. We will get through this very uncertain time. To do so, it is important that you care for yourselves, your family, your staff, your members and your business. Let me share a few things to consider in this wild ride... Read More...

We Got This!
By: Derek Barton

Derek BartonDerek BartonI have never experienced anything like this Coronavirus pandemic, and I'm sure you haven't either. I remember the '50s and taking the polio sugar cube vaccine. We were also trying to dodge measles, mumps and chickenpox. I even dodged a bullet twelve years ago from a blood clot in my leg, which later moved into my lung. Last year, after walking around in a friend's yard that was sprayed with the weed killer, Roundup, I woke up that night out of a deep sleep and couldn't breathe, but somehow, I survived. When we look back on our lives, we have all survived a lot of things, and I am confident we will survive this Coronavirus if we work together. Read More...

The Re-Opening

By: Justin Cates

Justin CatesJustin CatesHere we are... one month deeper into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Crisis. How many months will there be? Now, a month later, some things have changed; other things remain the same. The case count and death toll has become numbing. At the end of each number, though, is a real person and other people touched by the loss, whether family, friends or co-workers. If you're like me, you have pinched yourself at least a time or two to make sure this is real. Unfortunately, yes, this is real, and we are living it day after day. Albeit a "new normal," when will we see "normal" again? Read More...

Exercise IS Medicine!
By: Mike Alpert

Mike AlpertMike AlpertI am sure that all of you who are reading Club Insider this month cannot wait to get back to your clubs and out of your home office. I can never remember a more taxing and stressful time in my business life than these past seven weeks. It is one thing being isolated at home and having to watch COVID-19 news 24/7, seven days a week, but also having the responsibility of our wonderful staff and vendors is additionally taxing. Clubs around the world have seen cancellations rise due to members who have been furloughed or laid off, and in some cases, some are simply afraid to come back once we re-open. Read More...

Doing All You Can Do to Safely Re-Open a Club Amid COVID-19
By: Bruce Carter

Bruce CarterBruce CarterNever before have most clubs in the entire country been forced to close out of safety for its members and staff. It's an unprecedented situation that is almost hard to believe. Yet, as with most things, time heals and so clubs are starting to re-open. Questions abound on what a club can do to make things safer, and yet, still take steps to get operating again as a profitable enterprise. Since this is a new situation, there are not "tried and true" methods on what to do, but what follows are a number of things that are a consensus of what most clubs will do regarding their physical facilities. Read More...

How Health Clubs Can Fulfill Their Legal Duties Owed to Members, Guests and Employees While Re-Opening During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Paul R. Bedard, Esquire

Paul R. Bedard, EsquirePaul R. Bedard, EsquireHealth clubs have always owed a duty of reasonable care to their members and guests, protecting these people from harm caused by reasonably foreseeable risks and warning these people of risks that are known or reasonably should be known by the club. Clubs must also provide a safe workplace for their employees. Although most premises liability claims have historically involved slippery floors, uneven surfaces and malfunctioning equipment, the advent of COVID-19 has made it likely that lawsuits alleging exposure to COVID-19 will likely join the top of the ranks. Read More...

Preparing Your Gym for a Comeback
By: Jim Thomas

Jim ThomasJim ThomasAs of this writing, many gyms across the United States are slowly beginning to relaunch their business, and others will be conducting a relaunch in the coming weeks. One thing is for sure: We're not going back to the same place we left a few weeks ago. It's a different marketplace, and it's a different economy. We will need a plan. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin: (1) What are you willing to give up to hit your goals? (2) What will you have to change to hit your goals? And, (3) What will you have to learn to hit your goals? Now, here are some things to consider... Read More...

Getting Back to a New Normal
By: Nancy Trent

Nancy TrentNancy TrentCOVID-19 came, and it hasn't yet left. As a society, we initially dealt with the shock, we learned to adapt and we continue to power through. Now, consumers and the brands they use need to dive into the recovery process. COVID-19 has made us more resourceful and resilient, and we expect the fitness industry to come back stronger. Traditionally, in a recession, companies that have a lean operation, a relevant value proposition and a loyal client base will survive. It has also been said that brands that invest during a downturn capture three times more market share. Going dark in a recession, downturn or crisis can cause more suffering. The more marketing cuts, the longer it will take to recover. Read More...

The Fitness Industry's Response to COVID-19
Insights into the Collective Improvisation, Innovation and Resilience of Global Fitness Operators

By: Stephen Tharrett

Stephen TharrettStephen TharrettIt came out of nowhere, and within just a few months, fostered a level of business disruption never experienced by the fitness industry. In just over a month, the COVID-19 pandemic forced over two-thirds of global fitness operators to temporarily close their doors, and in the U.S., had fitness clubs and fitness studios in 46 States temporarily shuttered. Fitness companies large and small, franchises and independents, clubs and studios, all found themselves in unchartered waters without their motors nor a compass to guide them. Read More...

Club Financing During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Paul Bosley

Paul BosleyPaul BosleyI started working in the fitness industry 46 years ago, and I became the operating partner of my first fitness center at the age of 27. Among the many lessons that my senior partner and mentor taught me, the one that applies to our current situation the most is "Cash is King!" Fast forward 46 years, and I am still an entrepreneur specializing in providing financing to the fitness, franchise and RV and campground industries. Over this time, I have witnessed many changes in the fitness industry. The main equipment manufacturers back then were Universal and Nautilus, and now, they are Life Fitness, Precor and Matrix. The growth in our industry changed from racquetball clubs and big box gyms to franchises and group fitness studios. Read More...

The Next Step Is the Hardest Step
Fighting Back to Protect Your Business

By: Thomas Plummer

Thomas PlummerThomas PlummerPublisher's Note: During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Thomas Plummer has written and presented a series of Letters to his readers. This month, we present the 7th Letter in that series because we feel it contains important information to consider as you move forward with re-opening. Whether or not you have re-opened, the points made by Thom are important ones to consider. This is a new world, and to survive it, new ways of thinking and the solutions that are a result of that thinking will be crucial. Read More...

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