As the seasons change from winter to spring, it is a natural time of year to "clean up" your life. Your house, your garage and your wardrobe... why not do the same with your business? It seems to be a human tendency to let things lie (and stagnate) over the cold winter months. Chances are, you have programs and systems that have been untouched throughout the winter that could benefit from a spring tune up.
Personal trainers consider that it is part their job to look at the life of a client as whole and help them to decide exactly where and when they have time for fitness and nutrition. Where someone sees only overwhelm, we are able to assess with a critical, calculating eye and make a plan of how to make things "better" and how to move someone from where they are to where they want to be. Personally, I like to take things all the way back to basics to give the client a sense that things aren't really as difficult and hopeless as they may seem. I want them to feel some sense of control over their lives again and get them excited about the process.
As a business manager/owner, I look at my business in the same way.
Take things back to basics. What is it that personal trainers (and personal training businesses) actually do? Three things: we find clients; we train clients; and we collect money for training clients. In a nutshell... that's it! There really is nothing else.
So... examine all of the systems and processes involved in doing each of the three parts of your business.
Finding clients: Do you have a marketing plan? How are you answering your phone? Are you using traditional advertising, and is the ROI worth the effort? Do you have a monthly, recurring event where you are out in public for outreach? Are you building a mailing list with qualified leads?
Training clients: Is your equipment maintained regularly? Do you and your trainers have a common language, specific to your facility? Are you tracking your clients' progress? Do you participate regularly in continuing Education? Are your clients getting results?
Collecting money for training: Do you carry too many receivables? Is your cash flow adequate for you to make profits? Are you accepting credit cards and debit cards? Do clients reserve their sessions with a credit card? Is your cancellation policy working? Are you constantly chasing money?
Answering the above questions take a bit of a gut check! Be really honest with yourself. If your clients are coming in and not seeing results, what can you do about it? If late cancellations are killing you, how can you stop that from happening? Is it really worth it to buy those newspaper ads?
Dedicate a week to answering the questions that YOU can come up with regarding the health of your business after the winter. Do your own spring clean up. I GUARANTEE that you will be happy that you did and you will have a stronger, BETTER business for your efforts.
Ernie Schramayr is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of All Canadian Fitness, a private training studio in Hamilton, Ontario (