We're all wired for short-term hits and immediate gratification.
As consumers, we can be impatient to get what we want.
Businesses should be different.
Often, they're not.
Short-termism is when businesses make decisions based on short-term benefits.
It's recruiting an unsuitable candidate where you're desperate for the additional manpower; it's accepting £10 today rather than waiting for £100 in 100 days. It's buying a cheaper product now, even though you know it won't last much beyond tomorrow.
But short-termism isn't always a bad thing.
Businesses must often act quickly in order to exploit an opportunity or increase profit but short-term tactics should be aligned with a long-term strategy.
If you're always thinking short-term, then you may struggle to maintain a sustainable profit because you're not looking far enough down the line.
Whilst the results of short-term thinking can be immediate, they're also often transient or temporary. Balancing short-termism with a sustainable long-term business plan is where the real growth is.
You didn't open your first gym solely based on short-term ideals because the first few years of any business are often the hardest. You want the initial effort to gather momentum and then start growing.
You put money into your business knowing that you might not see a return on that investment for some time. You bought or hired equipment, bought or rented premises; you hired staff and signed them onto contracts, and you started building relationships with suppliers, not because there was an immediate pay-off, but because all of that is important for sustainable growth.
You had one eye on the short-term but the other on the long-term.
It's why we're excited to launch the RE:GEN Studio. It's an electricity-generating bike for gyms. We also have offerings for offices and hotels too.
Most people we talk to are excited about human power and having clean renewable energy for gyms, but some are reluctant to engage directly with the technology because they think it'll be cheaper to put standard equipment in their gym instead.
They're equating price with value.
Price is important, but it's often used to justify short-term thinking. It shouldn't be the only way of making a decision.
Initially? the RE:GEN bike will cost more money, because you're not just buying an indoor bike.
You're buying a bike that's been developed by some of the country's top universities and engineers; it's a bike that's going to generate the electricity powering your gym, and it's going to reduce your energy bills.
It's also going to align your business with the values of eco-conscious demographics (millennials and Gen Zs) who are often willing to pay more for sustainable products and services. It's going to encourage new members to align with your values. It's also going to help you stand out against your competition.
The Energym app also incentivises members to generate more clean-energy through rewards, meaning more electricity produced to power your gym. Users can also earn Sweatcoins to spend on digital rewards and physical products every time they exercise.
Standard gym-equipment doesn't do that.
Standard gym-equipment loses money right out of the box.
Using human-generated power in your gym is more sustainable both economically and environmentally. Both of these things will be key to your business success in the coming years. Unless you run your gym by candlelight, you're always going to need electricity. You can switch tariffs or swap providers to save a few pounds but let's face it, your bills are never going to reduce dramatically.
Unless, of course, you find a way to use clean-renewable sources.
How we use energy is going to change. It's been a big topic of conversation over the last few years. In 2019, the UK Government declared a climate emergency, setting a target to become carbon-neutral by 2030.
It's going to be a big challenge because 80% of the electricity powering your gym comes from fossil fuels. Businesses will have to adapt, and for those used to short-term thinking, it's going to be a shock.
What you do today (and how you proceed into the coming months and years) will play a part in whether or not your business survives or thrives, especially in a future where climate change and environmentalism are day-to-day realities.
Short-termism has a place in business but don't let it become the biggest factor in your decisions. The cost of change now can lead to a significant return on investment further down the line.
Don't be afraid of making decisions.
The future will be here sooner than you think.
Find out more about how the RE:GEN Studio could save your gym money on its energy bills.