In this spotlight we’re going to take a look at the strategy of an independent gym in a major city. This is a real life case study but the name of the gym and location has been changed.
Stayfit Gym was founded in 2014 by an investment entity. Located in a major city, Stayfit offers a unique workout experience for its 500+ members comprised in a 1,600sqm that includes top-notch cardio machines, innovative training classes and a lit 75-meter indoor/outdoor, walking/running track.
Stayfit needs a strategy to help achieve their strategic objective goals which are:
The core of the business environment is formed by its relationships with three sets of players: Customers, Suppliers and Competitors affected by the following environmental aspects:
The increased pre-occupation with health and fitness causes more people to exercise. This intrinsic motivation evolves to create social networks with people who work out and causes the formation of group dynamics that push each other to achieve fitness goals.
Growth in fitness technology, such as fitness tracker wearables and real-time audio workout applications, is helping more people learn about their bodies and exercise requirements Technology is therefore likely to make individuals become their own fitness consultants by exercising conveniently from home.
Youth will likely demand fitness technologies and gimmicks to establish healthy habits that work with their hectic, digitally-connected lives. Millennial customers are the driving force behind the recent 88% growth in health and fitness mobile applications.
The increase in import duty on gym machines results in low profit margins for fitness centres including Stayfit, and will continue to impact future profits of the industry when machines require replacement. The projected annual increase in inflation continues to increase consumer price-sensitivity, especially towards non-essential goods and services.
The profit earned by Stayfit Fitness centre is determined by:
Threat of Substitutes: Medium
Threat of Entry: Moderate
Power of Buyers: High
Power of Suppliers: High
Competitor Rivalry: High
The industry is becoming intensely competitive with new entrants, and fitness centres are actively seeking to acquire more members through cutting prices; hence, cost efficiency for maintaining financial strength is essential.
Small gyms, on the other hand, are operating with low-budgets yet are more able to charge higher prices due to the uniqueness of the group exercises they offer to their members.
In developing the strategy we will first define the company’s strategic direction, scope and the advantage.
The Strategic Direction
With the increased threat from boutique gyms and increased costs, Stayfit’s current objective is to maintain as many current members as possible while increasing total members' acquisition by 15% annually, to reach the maximum capacity which is 600 while taking into account the potential immigration of some of its members.
The difference between what Stayfit desires amidst the broader environment and internal capabilities is the accomplishment gap, which is to sustain competitive advantage while increasing liquidity.
Defining Industry Boundaries
The below identified sweet spot is where a company meets its customers’ needs in a way that rivals cannot in the context in which it operates.
Analysis of Competitors’ Offerings
Fitness centres which combine a wide variety of facilities and classes that are price-competitive, leading to a compromised service aspect such as low levels of cleanliness, mainstream music, minimal shower amenities and undifferentiated facilities and equipment.
Small group exercises gyms and boutique gyms offer:
Whereas other fitness centres offerings are undistinguishable, boutique gyms are highly differentiated and attractive to members due to their social element. Stayfit possesses the advantage of combining the benefits of both worlds, the variety of workout options found in fitness centres and the high-quality service experience found in boutique gyms, which sets its main competitive advantage.
In developing a strategy, Stayfit should identify which strengths can be exploited most effectively and which weaknesses can be minimised. Stayfit has the foundational assets for a product differentiation strategy, however, reflecting it externally is limiting given the tightness in cash.
The objective of a differentiation strategy is not only to be internal but should also persuade the market that there is a “distinct gap” between the company’s product and its competitors. Thus, in addition to the current product and price differentiation, Stayfit can further strengthen its differentiation through a brand, distribution and promotion differentiation:
It is vital that Stayfit preserves its differentiation to the extent that turns current members into brand ambassadors, thereby strengthening the impact of word of mouth in generating referrals. One way is through bundling; offering a combination of complementary products and services. For example, providing holistic wellness packages that include nutrition and mental wellbeing in addition to tailored workouts.
Extending reach to a similar target segment in distant areas
Enhance CRM system to provide a more customized service to current members, which enable it to retain existing members, up-sell, and cross-sell packages tailored to their needs. CRM systems can further be developed to enhance the company’s coordination, for instance, coordination between internal staff, such as personal trainers and the nutritionist, to support in responding to customers’ needs.
Despite an industry which is faced by an intensified price competition from fitness centres and high differentiation from small gyms, Stayfit was able to offer differentiated, uncompromised workout quality in its spacious workout facilities. By extending differentiation to include brand, distribution and promotion, Stayfit can increase revenue streams and sustain a competitive edge.
For the strategy to be enduring, the staff must be involved in understanding the nature of the challenge in the market, and be part of coping with the problem and contribute actions to deal with it.
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