How Fitness Studios Can Survive Another Possible (or Current) Shutdown

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” —J.R.R. TolkienSo let’s be real: You need to prepare for another shutdown. We can all hope that it won’t happen, but hope is not a strategy. There’s a chance that your studio will have to endure another mandatory shutdown, and it’s important to have a plan in place if that happens. 

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” —J.R.R. Tolkien

So let’s be real: You need to prepare for another shutdown. We can all hope that it won’t happen, but hope is not a strategy. There’s a chance that your studio will have to endure another mandatory shutdown, and it’s important to have a plan in place if that happens. 

So here are some thoughts, ideas, and possible solutions for you to consider as you create your own unique shutdown strategy: 

1. Invest in your studio’s virtual experience. Again. 

If another shutdown happens, your virtual offerings will likely be the glue that keeps your studio together until your in-person services can resume. And in order for your studio to survive (and even thrive), you need to further invest in your virtual experience.

It’s not an option to offer the same online service in the same way that you did when businesses were first required to shut down. Your online classes and services need to be better than before. Because if your members don’t feel like the virtual experience is continuously improving, they’re probably not going to stick around. 

Here’s what you can do to elevate your studio’s virtual experience: 

2. Partner with fellow local businesses. 

Small businesses are taking a hit. But if you partner with your fellow local businesses, you can help each other survive another shutdown. 

3. Build a robust referral program. 

It’s important to provide your members with an incentive to “bring” their friends and family to the studio. Create (or improve upon) a referral program that’s easy and fun. 

Programs like “Bring a Friend Day” are a win-win-win. The member wins (they get to invite a guest), the guest wins (they get to try out a virtual class at no cost), and your studio wins (you get a new prospect to try out your online offering). 

At Mariana Tek, we have a guest framework built into our software that allows your members to easily bring a friend to class. It’s designed to be simple and fast, which makes it more likely that your members will use the feature. 

4. Don’t be a downer. 

Let’s play a game.

Would you rather hear this message from your fitness studio: 

“So it looks like another shutdown is coming. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. This really sucks, and we can’t wait to get back to normal. We’ll do our best to give you a good service while we wait to reopen.” 

Or this message: 

“Yes—another shutdown is coming. And no—we’re not going to let that get us down! Our virtual classes are better than ever. And our trainers are FIRED UP and ready to help you stay fit and strong. Get excited, because greatness is coming your way.” 

No brainer, right? 

Be the motivation and the inspiration your members need right now. Show them how, in spite of another shutdown, your studio will be rockin. 

And that’s not to say that you can’t be vulnerable. You’re allowed to (and should) tell them about your challenges. Because let’s be real: this is a tough set of circumstances. But you can be vulnerable and optimistic at the same time. Show them how your studio will fight and endure despite the difficult road ahead. 


We can’t control a mandatory shutdown. But we can control our response and reaction to it. Solidify your plan today. Get in front of this challenge. So if the time comes, and your studio needs to close its doors yet again, you’re ready to slay that dragon.