Ellen Berg

Ellen Berg is Co-Founder and CEO of NonStop Gym SA, an innovative chain of sports clubs with 17 sites throughout Switzerland. She launched her career at a major player within the consumer goods industry before deciding to follow an entrepreneurial path. Ellen Berg holds a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management from Chalmers University of Technology and also studied Management and Economics of Innovation at ETH Zürich.

Watch an extract from the interview

How has this crisis affected your growth strategy?

We opened our first club in January 2014 and have grown rapidly since. Not being able to take on new members affects our growth strategy as all of our revenues are linked to memberships. We made a choice not to invoice a single member during lockdown. We were down to zero revenue, which of course was very, very tough. But it’s short term, hopefully not long term. Our priority is to get the existing clubs back and ensure our members feel safe. After that we’ll work on bringing the concept to more people with well-placed new locations.

How do you feel about the future prospects for your industry and your company?

Things are tough for everyone in fitness right now. But we’re operating in an industry that’s becoming increasingly relevant for more people. Long term, this crisis is an opportunity to capitalize on people’s renewed health focus and welcome new members to NonStop Gym when they’re ready. We offer top-quality training at a great price and we’re open 24/7. I think cost will be even more relevant for people as the economic effects of the crisis unfold. And many people will also be more flexible. We’re seeing it already. More people are working from home so they have more flexibility to squeeze in training. Before, we used to have clear peaks – morning, lunch, after work – and now it’s more evenly spaced throughout the day.

We also want to develop our concept to make our training more interesting, inspiring and motivating. That’s something we can do both at the clubs, but also via online tools, for example by offering digital training support. This can continue even during coronavirus times and we’re working on a training app to support people outside of the gym space.

Would you say the crisis is also an opportunity?

At the moment, we’re caught up in the day-to-day of getting through this second closedown so it’s hard to see the positive, but of course there is a bright side. For us as an organization, it’s boosted our team spirit, we’re even closer and stronger than before. It challenges us to improve our concept, especially in the area of COVID-19 safety and security. I’ve also seen some positives for my industry as a community. We share a mission to get more people in Switzerland to work out and stay healthy. I’m not originally from the industry and this has been a great chance to discuss with peers for the good of the industry overall and I’ve enjoyed that exchange. On a personal level, and on a member level, the lockdown was surely tough, but it also pushed us to explore new habits. I’m a big fan of testing new kinds of training and finding what fits.

This has been a great chance to discuss with peers for the good of the industry overall.
Ellen Berg
Co-Founder and CEO of NonStop Gym SA

Last thoughts – does a crisis like this change your outlook?

Yes, it changes your mindset. I, like many, have gone through different phases. At the beginning, I felt shock at our perfect plan being totally messed up. But it shifted quickly into a sense of gratitude that everyone’s healthy, and that we still have a business. The shock of having the business plan ruined was replaced by a new type of motivation, one of humbleness and of gratitude for working in an industry I find incredibly meaningful and a concept I believe in. That’s the basis for developing a new business plan. Overall, I think this crisis will have some positive effects on helping people get a better work-life balance.

The shock of having the business plan ruined was replaced by a new type of motivation, one of humbleness and gratitude.
Ellen Berg
Co-Founder and CEO of NonStop Gym SA

Have you been inspired by this article?

More interviews and articles from the #EYnewnormal magazine

Our latest thinking

Here you’ll find the most relevant EY insights to help you navigate through the COVID-19 crisis – and beyond:

16 December 2020

Swiss social security: What to expect in 2021
As of January 2021, the Swiss social security will undergo some changes. There will be increases in the social security rates due to new regulations adopted by the Swiss government, amongst them the incorporation of the Swiss paternity leave as of 1 Jan 2021.

11 December 2020

IBOR Transition: Regulatory and industry-led market developments in November 2020
The transition from Interbank Offered Rates (IBOR) to Alternative Risk-Free Rates (RFRs) has an impact on all financial and non-financial institutions operating with the impacted floating reference rates. It affects a wide range of financial instruments on the derivative and cash markets.

30 November 2020

High unemployment is leading to an increase in reporting obligation in 2021
Due to the significant increase in unemployment from March 2020 onwards, caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the number of reportable professions for the year 2021 has increased compared to the previous year.

26 November 2020

Work permit quota outlook 2021
For 2020, the Swiss work permit quotas for non-EU/EFTA nationals as well as for assigned EU/EFTA nationals will most likely not be exhausted and for 2021 the quotas remain at the same level.

Are you our next interview partner?

The New Normal Magazine is open for thought leaders and decision makers.

Contact us