In our culture, social acceptance is fundamental to a person's health and quality of life. Most of us learn this from the day we are born. Rejection has scientifically been proven to be harmful to one's health; equating to self-esteem issues, lowered immune function, depression, anxiety and many other health-related problems. The natural coping mechanism for preventing rejection is to blend in with society. This is a survival mechanism developed over many centuries. However, there are two major problems with this concept as it relates to our profession. First, each and every individual we serve is unique and has unique needs, desires, goals and aspirations. Second, if we follow this innate need to blend in with our business practices then we will get lost in a sea of other businesses and ultimately fail.

As an entrepreneur or fitness professional, it is imperative to set yourself apart from everyone else. You may need to do some soul searching to figure out what makes you different from every other professional or facility in your area. Hone in on your strengths. Figure out what makes you dissimilar. For example, if you are a boutique facility, don't try to offer all the amenities that a large gym offers. Niche businesses do not target the masses; instead they cater to highly-defined markets. Specialize or fill an untapped slot in your marketplace. Don't compete with others by providing the same services; incorporate unique service offerings that aren't currently being offered by other places. If you are a small facility then focus on a semi-private setting. If you offer unique services like yoga, Thai massage or acupuncture then promote yourself as a holistic facility. There are a variety of markets you can appeal to like special needs populations, dancers, athletes, sports rehab clients and so on.

No one company can obtain 100% of the market share, so don't try to. Instead, focus on a part of the population with unique wants and needs. Like-minded people with similar needs enjoy being surrounded by others like them. It produces a sense of comfort for your client and fills a gap in the local economy all while setting you apart from the rest.

For more information on how to establish a niche market appeal check out these articles online:

Tammy Polenz, CPT, has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 1991 as a personal trainer, club manager, corporate wellness consultant, and gym owner and designer. She is the author of Think Fit 2 Be Fit, founder of Vedas Fitness in Cleveland, and Wellness Director for Cleveland Hopkins Airport and has been featured in numerous fitness magazines and media. Learn more about Tammy at

Topic: Marketing

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