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Sunday, December 16, 2012

“3 Business Mistakes that Are Killing Fitness Professionals”


1.              Treat your business like a business
Now lets be honest with ourselves…Most fitness professionals are doing what they are doing because it is fun or they really enjoy working out and if they make some money while doing this…GREAT!!!  Wrong mindset! If you are thinking like this, you have a hobby, not a profession.  This is going to be nice when you are single and have no responsibilities, but the minute you get married, have 2.5 kids, dog, and house…YOUR SCREWED!!!
If you think that all you need to be a successful fitness professional is a couple of useless certifications after your name and a really good personality…I am sorry to say that you are wrong. 
Here are some of the things that I think a SUCCESSFUL fitness professional needs:
a.      LEADERSHIP-Not only do you have to lead and motivate your staff, but you also have to do this for your clients.  Leadership is something that is not given…It is earned and it is something that has to be practiced on a daily basis.
b.      UNDERSTAND MARKETING-Who is marketing your business?  Are you leaving it up to the facility?  OK, but know you are leaving your success in someone else’s hands.  If you ask me, I want full control.  I want to understand, to the best of my ability, how I can manipulate different types of marketing sources.  For example, are you marketing yourself on social media?  I don’t mean posting your workouts or what you are eating, but are you marketing your business and what you can do for people.  Marketing on social media is great because you can reach millions of people and it’s FREE.
c.      CUSTOMER SATISFACTION-Any moron can make someone puke or feel like they got hit by a monster truck in the morning, but are you listening to your clients?  Are you giving the clients what they need and want or are you giving them what you want?  Giving the clients what they need and want will also help you retain them long term.
d.     MONEY-Do you understand how to run a business?  Do you understand your businesses cash flow, daily operating expenses, billing, etc?  Before you can even think about trying to figure out whether your company, or business, is profitable…you must be able to not only understand what these are, but also how they affect your business.
e.     READ A BOOK-One of the best tips that I ever got was from my mentor, Todd Durkin.  Todd asked me if I read every day and my answer was, “No”.  He than asked me what I was going to read and I listed all of these great fitness books that everyone recommended to me.  He responded with wrong.  He told me that if I read 1 fitness book, I must follow that with one book on business, and one people to better my understanding my clients or myself.  This was the best piece of advice that I ever received because it forced me to learn more about myself and my business rather than how many cool ways I can do a push-up or squat.

2.              Understand SYSTEMS-This is something that I learned from Alwyn Cosgrove.  Do you know what the word SYSTEMS stand for?
S = Save
Y = Your
S = Self
T = Time
E = Energy
M = Money
Lets go deeper into it…why do you think that Starbucks is so successful?  Do you think that they have the best coffee?  No, they have the best system.  When you walk into any Starbucks and order a Grande Mocha Latte, you will get the same exact one no matter what time of the day or where in the world you are.
Systems in the fitness industry need to be as tight as Starbucks.  Are you generating leads, converting those leads, delivering the results that clients want and need?  This is your system…Now perfect it.

3.              UNDERSTANDING YOUR CLIENTS MINDSET-What are some of the things that we first hear when new clients come to us? We have all heard someone say, “I want to lose weight”, “get stronger”, “fit into my jeans”, blah, blah, blah.  Time to dig deeper. Time to really find out what they are here for.  Talk to your client and find out an emotional attachment for why they want to lose the weight.  It is not to fit in the jeans or for a vacation…it is probably to feel more comfortable, in the nude, with the love of their life or how about just being able to play in the backyard with their kids without having a heart attack.  Now to me, that is why they are here.  Not to fit in jeans, but to change their life for the better.  That emotional component is what I need to really help a client. With some people I can get that answer in 1 or 2 sessions and some people it may take me a couple of weeks.  The one thing that I can guarantee you is that I will not stop until I get it out of them. Simply because I want to make them happy.

Now these are 3 things that have taken me years to really understand and have probably cost me thousands and thousands of dollars.  Don’t make the same mistake that I made…Learn from my mistakes and make your “hobby” into a business.


  1. Awesome article Rich.
    I especially love the piece on systems. If you don't have systems in place you have a job, not a business. Thanks for sharing.
    I'll definitely be sharing this.

  2. Printed...highlighted...posted on my wall next to my computer to read daily. Thank you!

  3. Lots of good take-aways Rich. Keep it coming!

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