Are You Running Your Fitness Business Like a Business?

What does it mean for a fitness professional to run their business LIKE A BUSINESS? What does that look like?Business

Let’s try a few examples:

Picture a guy (call him Trainer 1) who’s training people out of his garage.

He’s very charming, and he’s in amazing shape, so when he meets people face-to-face he is pretty good at closing them.

Plus, he’s got great connection around the community, so he appears on other people’s websites and at community events and people know about him.

He occasionally gets stressed out having to chase down payment checks for training, but for the most part life is good. For the past six months he’s had HIGH profits and he’s confident he can keep them high as long as things keep working out for him.

Is Trainer 1 running a business?

NO! 

More on that later…but first let’s look at Trainer 2.

Trainer 2 is obsessed with knowledge. She can happily stay up all night long reading through through fitness and nutrition journals and planning ways to implement that cutting edge expertise out on the floor.

By the way, she works for a big box gym, but she has a set of regular clients who are really close to her because they know she offers the absolute best training. Doesn’t matter if you’re injured, obese, or have a medical condition, she will absolutely get you to where you want to be physically.

She does want to build her own personal brand and escape the big box grind…but all she has so far is a bare-bones website and a few business cards. She’s not a naturally social person, so usually when she has time to market herself she gets overwhelmed and defaults back to her research instead.

Now, you can probably guess that Trainer 2 is not operating like a business owner, but do you know why? Turns out, she actually has the same core problems as Trainer 1!

I’ll explain…but hang on….

Trainer 3 actually does own their own business. In fact, she’s got a pretty sizeable gym. And it’s been turning out steady, high profits for several years now! Great! So how does it work?

Well, she offers boot camp training, but also 1-on-1. She accepts clients who are looking for weight loss, but also people who are looking for athletic training. She also does dance workouts. Also yoga. And in case anyone wants it, she offers 24/7 access to the gym with an electronic keycard.

Phew…that’s a lot. Like I said, she’s making good money, but how’s her personal life?

Pretty girl with headache and stressSHE’S STRESSED OUT OF HER MIND! Oh man, she’s working every second of every day to keep all these different things running.

She’d love to take some time to travel and relax, and she’s got plenty of money for it, but she can’t imagine leaving the place for a single week because she knows the entire business would collapse!

Trainer 3, you see, is not running her business like a business.

And yet she has the same basic problems as Trainer 1 and Trainer 2! 

“How is that possible?” you might be thinking, “Those three trainers are so different!”

True! However, they are missing each missing a fundamental understanding of what it means to run a business like a business. That’s what I’m going to explain here, and you’ll quickly see what each of those trainers are missing.

First, The Vision

 

This part is actually quite simple at its core, and yet this is the thing 90% of business owners refuse to ever do, and it’s their own resistance that causes them failure and bankruptcy down the line.

Which is crazy, because if you do this step correctly you’re not only giving yourself better odds of survival, you’re actually building a foundation for astronomical, mind-blowing success!

So here it is: you need to establish a vision for your business.

Now don’t freak out about this, because like I said it’s actually quite simple. In fact, it’s totally possible to sit down and do this even if you’ve already been in business for years or you’re still working a day job.

What you have to do first is ask yourself what are you really passionate about in fitness? Are you like Trainer 2, where you love to nerd out about optimizing your workouts and nutrition for total physical perfection?

Or do you just love the spirit of it, the motivation it takes to stay consistent and the rush you get from a good workout?

Keep in mind there’s no wrong answer here. Just be honest with yourself. What keeps pulling you back to fitness no matter what other chaos enters your life? Why does it matter to you?

Got that? Good, write it down. note writing

Now I want you to write down this next part too…

What would it look like if you had a business that could be completely sustainable and profitable while still giving you the freedom to focus on your passion?

Write down what you’re picturing with as much detail as possible.

That is the vision for your business. Can you change it later on if you need to? Of course. Does it have to be perfect right now? Not at all. In fact, part of how you’ll get a clearer sense of your ultimate vision is by following what you have on paper already and learning from experience.

Why The Vision?

 

The vision is important because it gets your brain out of micromanagement mode.

See, most people really do, at some point in their life, have a vision for where they want to go, but the thing that stops them from reaching it is the mindset of micromanagement.

Instead of taking the time to make the big, important decisions that could open their life to new opportunities, they fall into this pattern of trying to make slight adjustments, or waiting until the conditions are just right, or following a “to-do” list that was really designed by someone else’s needs.

Writing down your vision for your business and committing to it gets you out of micromanagement. So take it seriously and do it!

Now do you see what Trainer 1 and Trainer 3 are both missing? They don’t have any vision! They don’t know what they ultimately want from their businesses!

Trainer 1 is just reacting to things moment to moment and banking on his natural talents. That might work for now, but when his luck runs out (which at some point WILL HAPPEN to each of us) he’s going to be left high and dry.

Meanwhile, Trainer 3 is running around trying to be everything to everyone! And because of that, she’s letting her own needs and desires take a back seat! Either her competition is going to start offering better versions of all her services, or she’s going to just personally burn out.

Trainer 2 is maybe the only one of the examples who has some idea what her vision is…but she’s not effectively implementing it. It’s only a dream right now.

That brings me to the next part.

The Plan

 

Now to take that vision and turn it into a reality, here’s what you need to do: create a business plan.

BUT NOT JUST ANY BUSINESS PLAN!

See, for this plan you’re going to look over that vision you wrote down (you did write it down, right?) and write out on a separate list all the roles you need filled for that business to exist.

Again, this doesn’t have to be perfect. This is something you’re going to tweak and refine the more you learn through experience.

people searchOnce you have that list down, put down your name for ANY ROLE that isn’t filled already.

Why?

Because you are now responsible for turning that role into a system that can keep running without any direct involvement from you.

Of course, there are shortcuts.

For certain things, you can find automated systems, or you can contract out to freelancers or companies who specialize in those needs.

But for the most important roles, you’re going to need to hire people.

And whether you hire someone ASAP or explore that role on your own, the ultimate goal is to turn that role into a system by WRITING DOWN the best practices and desired outcomes so that the rest of the business can rely on that role functioning in a specific way every time.

And remember: even if you don’t do the work directly, you as the business owner and entrepreneur are responsible for making sure every role becomes a system, because a business built on systems CREATES RELIABLE RESULTS FOR THE CLIENT AND KEEPS THEM COMING BACK!

Now obviously, Trainer 1 and Trainer 3 in the examples aren’t doing this. But the truth is, Trainer 2 isn’t doing it either. Trainer 2 might be in the least risky position out of the three, but NONE of those trainers have taken total mental and emotional ownership of their businesses, and that’s why they aren’t growing.

So take ownership and start building a business that will thrive and last!

Committed to your success,

Bedros