All-Star Help A Small Gym Get Larger!

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Dec 14, 2009
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Hi everyone. I am a coach for a small gym. I was hoping some of you would have some really great ideas to help us out. Over the past 2 years I have been watching our enrollment slowly decrease. In 2009-2010 we had over 100 kids in our gym. For the 2010-2011 season a large group of kids left and went to a competing gym in the area. The gym is larger then us, however they have the same success rate when it comes to winning, and I have recently found out are more expensive. This year we lost a few to money, and people just not being interested in cheering anymore. I have been trying to figure out what it is that makes us loose more kids then we gain. Every year there is someone who walks around and tells people we are closing. Or that we are too expensive. To me, it is like we have some sort of reputation in the all star community that is just not true. Last season was our best one yet. We won over 20 national titles and won several grand champion and choreography awards. I am reaching out for some help. Does anyone have any ideas to help us get back on top again? We are restructuring our entire gym, and offering new services. We are looking into taking over another gym...but I want to take the gym in its current location to the next level. Ideas? Thanks in advance. :)
 
Hand out detailed surveys to your existing customer base. Everybody has different expectations, when it comes to what they'll be satisfied with, out of a cheer program. Find out what the majority of your customers like/don't like/would like at your program. Even use the rumor mill, even if you have to take it with a grain of salt. Maybe some of your kids/parents know why other kids/parents have left.

Then have a VERY open mind with how you could improve the program.
 
This happened locally and the driving force behind the cheerleaders leaving was the perception of how they were treated. In this particular case, the families felt that the practices were unorganized, expectations weren't met in regards to tumbling (little to no progression) and competitions (constantly being changed), uniforms were different than represented, additional fees were added on, and the owners were difficult to contact and didn't give honest answers.
Since there were so many that left at once, maybe the owners and coaches need to take an unbiased look at how the program as a whole is run.
 
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You should have a performance team. Just take the kid interested in it and make one big team and go around the town doing community service as well as put on little shows with your routines. Many years ago tons of teams used to do it and it worked wonders and brought so many people into the gyms. No one does it anymore so we are bringing this back this year. While your having these performances have a signup table for either open gyms or a second round of tryouts.
 
I would have a meeting with all of the parents and athletes to see what you could improve on and things they would like to see change. Most likely their complaints are the same with everyone who left. Just send out flyers and do little summer camps. Also we had a bring a friend day at my old gym when it was just starting out. It really helps bring people in.
 
Hand out detailed surveys to your existing customer base. Everybody has different expectations, when it comes to what they'll be satisfied with, out of a cheer program. Find out what the majority of your customers like/don't like/would like at your program. Even use the rumor mill, even if you have to take it with a grain of salt. Maybe some of your kids/parents know why other kids/parents have left.

Then have a VERY open mind with how you could improve the program.

Not trying to advertise on the Boards or anything, but this is very common and one of the driving reasons that I have developed GYM-SAT Customer Satisfaction Monitoring program. This Cheer Biz News article goes a little bit into the service - http://cheerbiznews.com/in-the-gym/service-with-a-smile/ - and there's more info at www.cheerindustryinsights.com.

It goes waaaay beyond typical customer satisfaction. Would love to hear from you!
 
I agree with The Sixth - you need a survey. I use one 3 x per year to see how we are doing. This gives the parents a chance to weigh in and they are less likely to attack me with their opinions in the gym (not that anybody really does that...;)). Plus if I know what is broken, I can fix it before the end of the year/start of the new season to avoid losing people.

I use an online survey tool www.zoomerang.com - its free to sign up for zoomerang an really easy to create the survey, then I text the link, add it to our Members section of the website and email it to the address on file to make sure I get the most participation.

I've also done surveys just for the cheerleaders, to help assess areas we are strong in as well as where we need to improve related to team dynamics, practices and even coaching staff. Hope this helps!
 
Think outside of just all star. I coach at a very successful business and it is do because of all the different programs offered, tumbling, high school, rec gym, competitive gym, preschool gym/cheer dance, dance classes, dance troupes, competitive dance, and even swimming. While your current facility/faculty may not be able to handle many of these, the preschool and rec cheer/gym and cheernastics is a way to start. It is inexpensive to the gym and in my gyms case is the highest department in profit. I would say about an 1/8th to a 1/4 of our cheerleaders start. We aggressively (eithout being to pushy)market the higher cost programs from this pool.
We get a lot if kids from friends of the cheerleaders, and it does help that the other gym in town has lots of drama, so we picked up about ten kids from them this year.
Also, we had several customers come to us without being marketed based on our staff's professionalism at competitions, and how other pgyms parents saw how we interacted for the kids and how we handled both our wins and our losses. Nobody wants to pay this much money for competitions to not be fun and as least stressful for the kids as possible.
This last year we also got a lot if kids simply through them seeing our successes this year. Only 3 times did a level two or up team lose when in state. Almost all parents really want their kids to be successful, and to a lot of parents that's measured by winning.
All of these things helped us, maybe some of it can help you :)
 

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