Alex Strien, SME funding specialist, Spotcap UK
The UK Sport and Leisure industry is estimated to generate over £200 billion annually.
More than half of the businesses contributing to this figure are SMEs. The industry, a bit of a dark horse in the British economy, actually employs more people than the manufacturing, transportation and construction sectors.
It includes anything that meets people’s demand for leisure opportunities, e.g. – experiences and facilities, in particular for sport, culture, recreation, entertainment, eating and drinking, days and nights out, betting and gaming, and accommodation.
During the first few months of the year a booming part of the market are the businesses that meet demand for fitness and well-being.
As people start preparing for beach 2017, these businesses should look to make the most of this interest.
What are the most talked about services that have potential to add value to SME sport and leisure customers and your business in 2017?
Brits are snacking more than ever, and they are doing it on the go. As such being able to provide healthy, natural, quick eats that are easy for customers to take along with them is a quick and easy way to make the most of this trend.
If you are yoga studio, invest in a smoothie bar. If you are an online athleisure wear business consider expanding your offering to include some of the new healthy betterfor-you products out there.
Developing an app might not be the most obvious tactic if you are an SME but it could make a huge difference in attracting new, as well as repeat, business.
As we all know we now fill our down time with online browsing. An app allows you to increase your visibility and availability.
It also makes word-of-mouth referrals easier.
When you develop it remember to make sure it is easy to use and that is based on how customers use your product or service.
Some of the larger sports and leisure brands out there have had phenomenal success with building loyal followings through local events connected to their business.
Today people increasingly want to feel that they have a relationship with the businesses that are part of their life.
If you are a local boxing gym, consider putting in place a free monthly clinic. If you run a young children’s football league organise a community kick-up competition on the high-street.
There is more interest in fitness and health than ever but the way people work out is changing. Rather than joining a class or a gym people are looking for individualised training.
If your run a business that focuses on providing any form of physical activity adding staff to meet this trend should be a consideration.
The extra pair of hands would allow you to create tailored fitness plans and give your customers more hands-on guidance when they want and need it.
Investing for growth as a small business owner is never easy, but if you have a clear vision and purpose, you’ll be more likely to achieve growth. Time to get involved.