By Michael Gunther

At the start of the New Year I always like to challenge myself with a new exercise focus or regime. This helps keep me interested and pushes me to reach my health related goals. One year my goal was to train for a half marathon, last year my goal was a triathlon, and this year I decided to try a new boutique gym called Gymnazo. You’re probably thinking, “gym what?” Gymnazo is a small specialized gym started by one of my past employees and her husband.

At first I thought a boutique gym probably wouldn’t have all the regular exercise equipment and amenities of a larger gym. You know the ones that have thousands of members who fund amenities like pools, juice bars, etc. I thought smaller meant sacrifice and scaled services – I mean what can someone do to enhance or change the gym concept?

Well, now that I’ve been there a few weeks I realize there truly are no new ideas (a gym for exercise) but there are innovations of old ideas that can transform a business, or even an industry. Most consumers today want a few things from organizations when they purchase services or products: Innovation, simplicity, personalization, and sense of community.

I think Gymnazo is one of those organizations that has redefined gym membership through these consumer-based needs.

Innovation: I‘ve never been a gym rat, but I understand the importance of muscle tone and growth for overall health. The thought of lifting weights in the same routines over and over seems as fun to me as putting needles in my eyes. The exercises at Gymnazo are all about building muscle and tone through unique exercises done at your own pace. I haven’t had to do the same thing twice, which truly helps me keep energized during the workout. No weightlifting routine fatigue.

Simplicity: Not only is the sign up process easy, but you can schedule all of your sessions online. You receive electronic reminders the day before. You can sign up for sessions a month in advance. At the big box gym, I had to get up at 5:00 AM to sign up for the spin classes scheduled the following morning.

Personalization: Their sessions meet in groups of eight people and the trainers ensure that everyone is working at their own pace. They even personalized each exercise to meet my needs when I had a shoulder injury I thought would prevent me from working out altogether.

Community: Social media has shown us that people want to connect with brands and people who have similar interests. In general, searching for a sense of community. This organization has created a loyal set of customers not only online, but also offline. All the members and trainers are welcoming. How many of your customers could you get to a Saturday night appreciation event? They had a packed house.

This experience got me thinking about the fact that there really are no new ideas, just innovation of old ideas and concepts. Think Google, Yellow Pages, and libraries – a new way to search for people and information. Think cellphones, landlines, and the telegraph – new methods of communication. Think texting, emailing, and snail mail – news ways of sharing information. Think Swiffer, vacuum, and the broom – new products for cleaning floors.

There are probably thousands of new opportunities surrounding us every day if we look for them. There are many times I think “wow – who thought of that? It’s so simple” when I see an innovation of an old idea.

Bottom Line

What are the new opportunities within your firm? Is there a way of doing things that’s better and more effective? How are you currently servicing your clients – is there a better, more creative way? How about products – are they becoming antiquated – what will keep you a step ahead of your competitors? These innovative game changers may be right in front of you. You just need to take the time to slow down and evaluate what’s missing in your customer experience, what new needs are in the marketplace, and how to stay relevant.

This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family has influenced his career. Michael Gunther is Founder and President of Collaboration LLC, a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive business owners to build profitable, sustainable businesses through results-oriented education and consulting services. 

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