Use our checklist to avoid unpleasant surprises and ensure predictable profits when you launch new fitness services or wellness programs.
Addressing all 10 steps with very specific answers is crucial to your success. To help illustrate the types of details you have to determine upfront, we are using a yoga program for expectant moms and dads as our example.
1. What exactly are you selling?
Get specific about the features of the new service.
How often will yoga sessions meet and for how long? Who exactly will lead them? What type of instruction will they provide? Exactly what will participants do? What materials will you give attendees? What supplies will you need for each session? Will you offer support outside of class via phone or e-mail? Is childcare included? Are other products or services, either from your business or others, bundled into this program?
2. To whom, exactly?
Your goal here is to be as specific as possible about your ideal customer.
When you’re clear on who your best customer is, everything from marketing to program design gets much easier.
In our example, clearly the attendees should be expecting a baby!
But perhaps your real focus is on first-time parents, not all expectant parents. Or helping already-fit women stay fit safely during pregnancy. Or you’ve designed this program to help kids in the family build positive feelings about welcoming a new brother or sister. Maybe you’re targeting expectant couples with health issues – preeclampsia, for example, or diabetes.
3. Why will customers buy it?
Here, you’re answering the fundamental question: what problems will this program solve for my customers?
Will they feel more confident about labor and delivery? Will a sense of calmness and serenity improve their confidence about delivering a happy, healthy baby? Will they be better able to handle the stress of a new baby? Will first-time parents feel reassured by meeting more experienced parents? Will they feel more secure about activity during pregnancy because healthcare professionals are involved?
4. How will they know these programs even exist?
Programs only succeed when potential customers know they exist.
What are the best ways to market and promote the new program so that you can reach new customers? Think broadly. If you can only come up with one or two ideas, you need to get much more creative. Give us a call if you’re stuck.
In this example, medical referrals are an obvious choice. Consider partnering with local retailers who specialize in maternity wear and baby products. Don’t limit your focus to the big chains – look for locally-owned stores as well. Consider other healthcare professionals like midwives and lactation coaches. Also: “nanny-finding services” and registered dietitians specializing in maternal nutrition (check the American Dietetic Association’s website to search your community). And remember to promote to current customers as well.
5. How will they buy your services?
Here, we’re talking about the logistics of agreeing to provide services to a customer and get paid for those services.
Cash or credit card? Upfront or session by session? Will you need a contract? How about a liability waiver?
6. What will it take to close a sale?
What can you do to make it easy for customers to decide to spend money and time on your program?
For example, perhaps you’ll need to let couples know upfront that you offer a no-penalty cancellation if they drop the program based on medical advice. Will allowing couples to attend one session at no charge before committing seal the deal? Perhaps offering babysitting will help them commit the time. Having a current client with a relevant success story introduce the first session might reduce fears.
7. How much will customers buy?
Here, we focus on how many customers you’ll probably win, and how much they’ll buy.
Start by estimating how many customers the program will attract. Consider both brand-new customers and interest from current customers. Expect interest to start small and build over time.
Then estimate how much they’ll buy. Will they want a nine-month program that meets twice weekly? Or just a first-trimester program? Perhaps they’ll want a post-partum program focused on handling the stresses of new parenthood and getting back into shape. And if you offer related products or services (vitamins or nutritional coaching, for example, or active wear for expectant moms), consider those sales as well.
8. At what price?
Specify what you plan to charge, including discounts and add-ons.
For example, will the price include childcare or will that be an additional charge? Will you allow customers to pay for one session at a time, or do they have to sign up for a full program? Do you offer a discount to repeat customers? Will attendees who refer others get a reward of some kind? Of course, check competitive programs and services as well.
And be sure you consider the value of intangibles like peace of mind when you think about the value you’ll be providing.
9. How exactly will you provide the services?
Focus here on the logistics: the details of implementation.
List all the actions required to implement the plans you developed in Steps 1-9. Be specific about who’s responsible for doing what, within what budget, by when.
In addition to tasks like designing and printing promotional materials, think about operational necessities. For example, how will attendees enroll? Where exactly will you offer the class? What are your physical requirements for the space – size, temperature, close parking, etc.?
Line up your instructors. Have a backup plan for instructors who drop out at the last minute. Make a list of all the materials you need, who will develop them, and where you’ll get them reproduced, etc. Identify website updates related to the program.
10. At what cost?
Often overlooked yet critically important: a sound estimate of costs so that you can predict your profit with reasonable accuracy.
You’ll need to consider both start-up one-time costs and the ongoing costs of offering the program. Include everything: promotional and advertising costs, printing costs, facilities-related costs, labor and professional fees, and any other costs directly related to offering this program.
Continuously update your estimates as you move through implementation. Inevitably, some costs are higher and a few are lower. Monitor your total actual cost versus your original plan. Be ready to take action – adjusting your marketing plans, tweaking the program design, adjusting the price – as needed and appropriate.
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