Mention 'planning' and most trainers start to doze off. Marketing, sales…we all at least recognize those as necessary parts of business success. Planning is something most of us avoid because we can't immediately see the return on our time. But planning is not a long, drawn out process exclusively for Fortune 500 companies.
Have you ever known a fitness entrepreneur who didn't want more time, more money, or both?
Are you just starting out or are you already well on your way to achieving your goals? Either way, this article can help you to get closer to that goal.
It's all about efficiency: using your time and resources more effectively. And that boils down to planning.
It is not something that requires a big financial outlay or a ton of time. Planning can be as simple as sitting down and considering the future of your business in a focused manner. It starts by asking what are the basic questions that need to be answered, and how can the best results be achieved?
Why planning is Essential
Most fitness pros make the mistake of thinking they have no time for planning and that they will "take care of that" later. But ironically, planning is a lot like exercise. Even though it might be kind of tough to get started, in a few weeks you'll actually feel better and have more energy.
The truth is that you cannot afford not to plan. But the key is not merely planning, it is effective planning. It's about determining what you want the future to be, and then figuring out what you have to do to get there.
What makes the elite fitness pros successful has nothing to do with working harder. It's not mere vision, or all dreamers would be successful. Successful fitness pros have a plan that they dedicate their resources to in order maximize their efforts.
Ability to Work Smarter, Not Harder
With a plan you can work smarter instead of harder. This gives you the opportunity to control your future, and to become proactive instead of reactive.
Here are three initial steps you need to take for a more successful business.
Evaluate what you have versus what you want. Before you can build the 'perfect' business, you need to define what you want. What do you want your business to look like?
Questions you need to ask include:
These questions will help you to understand the barriers you face and the opportunities you have.
- What type of business have I always dreamed of having?
- What type of business do I have now?
- How far apart are those two answers?
- Where am I and where do I want to be?
- Do I have the business I want, or is it what someone else wants?
- Am I operating like I think I 'should,' or the way I want to?
Develop your desired outcomes. Why does your business exist? What will it achieve? And for whom does it exist?
Your original purpose for going into business will usually stay the same. It's the why that got you into the fitness business in the first place. It's the how that changes as your business evolves, not usually the why.
Make Goals Measurable
Review the answers you gave in Step One as you set objectives. Once your objectives are set, you can start to plan for their achievement. You will need to measure your progress, so make goals measurable, not general. Goals might be related to sales or number of clients, your staffing, or profit, or anything else that is measurable
Look back in time. The past has much to teach, and it is too easy to forget some of the lessons without periodic reviews. If nothing else, look at your financial records to see what worked well and what did not.
These three steps will help you to define your goals and objectives more clearly. Armed with this, you will be part way along the path to developing a strategy with which you will be able to determine what direction you want your business to take.
You will be able to rule out the low return activities, determine what opportunities are available, which opportunities fit your timeline, and which ones make sense in terms of financial needs and resources.
Your plan should focus on marketing, sales, staff development, and the financial aspects of your business.
These are the primary areas for implementation and advancement.
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