As the worldwide spread of COVID-19 continues, it has caused quite a bit of uncertainty for small business owners, corporations, and citizens as we wonder what the implications of social distancing mean for our communities, and our economy.
Businesses which see a lot of foot traffic in a day, including restaurants, cafes, retail locations, and fitness facilities, have shuttered their doors for the next two weeks to a month to help boost the social distancing efforts and flatten the curve of viral outbreak. However, as this happens, many have wondered if there is a virtual alternative to the in-person service they typically provide.
Anyone in the fitness space has likely thought about this to themselves many times over the past week. How can you move your business model, which typically requires physical presence to work, to an online space, and still succeed at it?
Here is our guide to making your fitness services accessible online when you need to work from home.
1. Stream your classes or workouts
During this outbreak, many fitness-focused companies have taken advantage of streaming a workout class to keep their audience engaged. For example, Lululemon closed down all of their locations until at least the end of March, but stilled uses live streaming on Instagram to still provide a service to their customer base.
If you usually run offer workout classes that most people have to attend in person, this may be the time to explore how well it works offering a few classes through one-way streaming for free. We've seen from Lululemon's example that you don't need much to get started: just a smart phone and the Instagram app.
2. Create a set of quick workout videos
If you don't have time to set up a stream for a workout, then assembling a series of videos for a complete workout may be another option. This is a particularly good option if you work one-on-one with clients, but it can work just as well if you assemble the workouts and share them on social media.
Alternatively, if you are up for it, you can also create your own videos to distribute. All you need to get started creating video content is a camera, even just a smart phone camera. But as you build on your strategy, you can invest in more equipment as you see fit, such as microphones, lights, and tripods.
3. Offer one-on-one training through video conferencing
Using a two-way streaming/video conferencing app such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or GoToMeeting, guide your clients through a workout by giving a personalized demonstration of exercises to practice. While this doesn't completely replace an in-person session with a personal trainer, it is a good way to make the best of the resources available.
Outside of sessions, stay in touch with your clients and ask them how their day is going, and if they have any questions fro you, which brings us to our final tip...
4. Stay connected with your clients through social media
During an anxiety-inducing time, all of us need to stay connected and talk about how we feel with one another to remain grounded. If there was a time to be social online and engage with your members, the time is now. Be open, be honest, and be transparent about what is going on, and ask your clients how they are doing. You can do this by any means, with a quick pre-recorded video, or with a live stream, or even a post with one static graphic. It doesn't have to be overthought, at all. In fact, the less strategic, the better.
Right now is the time for all of us to open up the door to conversation, and open up about any feelings of distress we have. Once we can acknowledge those feelings, and where they come from, we can build ourselves up again.