Transparency is one of the biggest buzzwords in business today, and the fitness industry is not exempt. In fact, IDEA has declared it to be “the new standard for business success.” Here’s a closer look at what transparency is, why it matters, and how fitness businesses can improve their transparency initiatives.

Defining Transparency

Experts agree that boosting transparency is a simple way to boost both employee and customer relationships and satisfaction. What, exactly, do we mean when we talk about transparency. Zen Planner CEO Jeff Gardner told IDEA, “I define transparency as open and honest communication with all of your stakeholders: your employees, your clients, and your partners.”

This may sound simple, but it’s harder than most people realize, especially because transparency can be uncomfortable. Yet it’s very much worthwhile, Gardner contends. “The biggest benefit of transparency is that it reduces fear and increases trust. In the absence of information, each person will interpret a situation differently. And we know that interpretation will include worst-case scenarios. Why create that unnecessary instability?” he says.

Fitness business owner Alwyn Cosgrove proposes another eye-opening way to think about the concept of transparency. “If we think of the actual word transparent, some of its antonyms are unintelligible, unclear, questionable and vague. I don’t see any reason not to be transparent.”

According to personal trainer Joanne Blackerby, transparency is especially paramount in the fitness world. “Transparency should be considered an absolute for fitness professionals. Appropriate transparency requires practical skill development to build trustful and respectful relationships. We are engaged in a business based on personal relationships,” she states. 

Group of people in fitness clothing smiling.

Tips for Achieving Transparency

Now that we’ve covered why transparency matters, it begs the question: how can your fitness business be more transparent in a way that’s mutually beneficial to you and to all of your constituents? Start with these tips:

  • Be clear with your expectations and goals. This applies to both staff and clients. If everyone is on the same page regarding objectives and expectations, this is a huge boon for trust and community. You’ll be enabling them to work together, as opposed to being at cross-purposes. 
  • Speaking of authenticity, clarity is a must when it comes to pricing. When you conceal the pricing of your products or services, you give people a reason to be suspicious of your motives.
  • Give your members a reason to trust you, and trust them back in return. “Lengthy contracts, restrictive policies, and demeaning placards detract from building a relationship of trust. Instead, use simple, positive communication to demonstrate your confidence that members are not going to exploit special services or to abuse member privileges. And, make sure your employees have a ‘yes’ attitude and give people the benefit of the doubt,” says Club Industry.
  • Speak — and act– with authenticity. Transparency is not about scripts, selling an insincerity. The more people speak from the heart, the better they can truly connect. If you make a mistake, own it. If you have a success to celebrate, share it. 
  • Seek and welcome feedback. Just as transparency means speaking with authenticity, it also means listening in an open-minded way. Soliciting feedback is an important first step. Equally important is acting on it. If something went wrong, find out what happened, learn from it, and commit to how you’ll do better next time. Share this lesson with your community members. 

“I feel strongly that transparency is here to stay, and that it is one of the most important parts of building a business for the long term,” concludes Gardner. The takeaway? If your fitness business hasn’t yet made transparency the imperative, there’s no better time to start than now.  

Transparency is just one path to positioning your fitness business for success. Also critical? Giving them what they want, including access to the latest fitness trends, such as wearables.  Download the catalog today to learn more about how our fitness monitoring technology can help your fitness business gain an essential inside edge in today’s competitive fitness industry landscape.