Small businesses took a big hit when Los Angeles issued a stay at home order back in March. Local gyms were affected drastically by these changes put in place. GoTribe Fitness located in Toluca Lake, California is only one of the local gyms that have been affected by the Los Angeles stay at home order. They closed their doors physically but figured out how to run a gym virtually via streaming sites and video conferencing. El Vaquero spoke to the co-owner/head trainer of GoTribe Fitness, Krickit Hodges, to discuss how COVID-19 has changed business and how hard GoTribe is working to keep things going without having members physically at the gym.
El Vaquero: “GoTribe was forced to close due to COVID-19 safe at home policies, how did that affect your small business?”
Krickit Hodges: “Ooof. Well, I am lucky to have an amazing team and leadership around me. Because I was freaking out. We studied the guidelines, reviewed safety protocol,(and) then decided to turn with the curve. We have been waiting to launch live streaming and our video-on-demand app. What a forced opportunity to do so! It was an entire tribe of trainers, managers, and leaders coming together!”
El Vaquero: “What actions did you do to continue business to go as usual?”
Krickit Hodges: “I think we had to have a huge talk about being positive leaders, and taking (it) one day at a time. A lot of us ourselves were scared, confused, and feeling a huge lack of leadership at times from the government. It was a decision on all fronts for mental action. Rely on each other, do the research, ask questions, and step up to be there for our community.”
El Vaquero: “How were you able to utilize social media and video conferencing?”
Krickit Hodges: “I suck at social media. So I have been learning so much. We are reading books, taking courses,(and) reaching out to influencers. The works. It’s difficult because I feel a negative relationship with social media, mostly because I don’t know how to have boundaries with it. But the research has helped. Then Juls, our manager, holds us accountable to certain posts, hashtags, and time on it daily for work! We also have united as a team to help one another repost and tag! Man we have really come together. Phew! We also have done videoconferencing in the past because of our other locations for meetings. I think we were used to that as a form of connection on all fronts!
El Vaquero: “Training people without seeing them in person seems difficult, how are you able to keep up with clients during this time?”
Krickit Hodges: “Training people without seeing them is very difficult. It requires a lot of skills. Luckily our personality quiz and love language quiz helps us to have an edge on feeling connected with somebody via a screen. And we had to immediately teach one another and share information about verbal queuing. How to place the phone, landscape versus portrait. Quickly call back for a better connection. Demo where the client can see you fully, and in the position you want them to do the movements in. This was actually a lot. But a skill set that is needed! Krysten, one of our trainers, taught each of us a lot about this!”
El Vaquero: “GoTribe focuses on a sense of community, have you seen that keep up while running a gym virtually?”
Krickit Hodges: “We have transitioned 90% of our members who are having financial issues to our other platform because the community is so important to them and to us! We developed three brand new low-cost options to stay with the same trainer. The next day after the quarantine order we released this! I couldn’t believe it! We are still learning as we go on how to make it feel like a community. I think social media has really helped us to do this. Tagging. Challenges. Etc! We had to step up. I have probably been the biggest pain in the butt for my team because I am very stubborn about learning new things. And that is all the last five weeks have been. We have to be on top of program design, offer a lift and burn virtually still is unheard of. We are one of the only companies to have a live heart rate system that works for people at home. We have to use all of the tools and gain new ones. It’s just constant right now.”
El Vaquero: “Do you think this will change the way the gym business will work in the future?”
Krickit Hodges: “1000%! Unfortunately, my husband and I have a lot of friends in the industry who have lost jobs. We have a lot of friends who have lost their gyms. And we know so many corporations that have been around for years that are shutting down. It is very sad. And somehow, it is a defining moment. Technology just propelled the fitness companies who are on the up and up with it! Hopefully, God willing, we are a fitness company that welcomes constant learning and owning our mistakes. Creates unlimited options for the many goals/lifestyles out there. And proves we care by our actions. The people who work at GoTribe currently are, hands down, the most phenomenal trainers I have ever seen. And we work together on everything. We have honest conversations. We challenge one another. We lift each other up. It’s the team.“
GoTribe is striving and working hard to get through these hard times. The future looks different for small businesses everywhere but there are ways to get through it. If you would like to get in contact with Krickit Hodges or GoTribe you may contact her via Instagram.
Gabby Pineda can be reached at [email protected]