When tasked with developing an exercise amenity for your residents, employees, or private membership, stay true to your brand and give your customers what they want really want…YOU. Here are some important Do’s and Don’ts:

Don’t try to be something you’re not

Should I build a smaller version of a health club? – Absolutely not. Membership-based facilities commonly range in size from 6,000-60,000 sq. ft. depending upon the depth and breadth of their offering. Yes, the demand and subsequent allocation of space dedicated to the fitness amenity continues to grow. Robust non-health club amenities are approaching upwards of 5,000 sq. ft. today. Still, others remain constrained and operate with as little as 500 sq. ft. in many environments. The biggest mistake operators can make is to attempt to simply “scale down” or homogenize a dues paying model to fit theirs. You can’t be all things to all people, and you don’t have to be. What matters most is designing a space that will sufficiently balance exercise facilitation with YOUR brand of appeal. Establishing something that reflects a lesser offering of what your customers can find elsewhere will only lead to disappointment and a focus on your shortcomings rather than your natural strengths.

Do create a tailored environment

If you endeavor to provide exercise facilitation for the people that matter most to your business, strive to give them what they want! Exercise + Your Unique Brand = Retention. Your customers are your customers because they want to belong to your tribe. If your constituency simply wanted to join a health club, they would sign up for one (or already have). If you want them to consider displacing their gym membership and allocating some or all of that investment towards your offering, make it unique.

Keep in mind that on average; still only 10% or so of the US population is a member of a commercial health club. We continue to only scratch the surface of comprehensively addressing the exercise needs of our society. The opportunity to address the remaining 90% is immense. Only you can offer YOUR convenience, atmosphere, peer group, and brand. Seek to fill the void for those that have yet to find their best place to sweat.

Don’t lose sight of what’s most important

Contrary to what one might assume, your guests are unlikely driven by any specific brand or piece of equipment. Seeing lots of something in a health club doesn’t mean you should attempt to blindly rubber stamp it as your offering. Health club buyers make decisions based upon criteria that support their business requirements. You will need to do the same.

Naturally, to be taken seriously, you must provide a crafted balance of equipment, accessories, and dynamic space for movement and flexibility training. These are non-negotiables. To support this balance, a first step is to select floor coverings that will facilitate each area and transition. This is as critical as the equipment selection itself. Lighting, color, ventilation, wall dressing, electrical and data considerations follow. Considerable time and focused expertise must be applied in this phase of planning and design well before equipment selection.

By creating a fitness amenity with your brand and your customers in mind, your tailored offering of space and experience will provide comfort, safety, familiarity, and an energizing environment that will have your guests questioning why they would ever workout anywhere else.

This post is authored by Bryan Green, Founder and CEO of Advantage Fitness Products