Rework for fitness coaches
This is an article to help fitness coaches build a business. If you toy with the idea of having your own gym, this article is for you. Think about who you want to target and stop wasting time on investors. The best businesses are the ones which are built on your own capital. Here is how you can get started. It is based on the book rework written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.
When you start out as a fitness coach you want to be anything to anybody. Desperate for clients you chase your own tail. Anything that pays goes. Even anything that does not. This article will help you to focus and find your core to start your business. It will outline what to do and what to avoid.
The mistakes I made which you should avoid
I started my website as marathon-CrossFit. The idea was to create marathon runners which can also lift heavy. That is the kind of thinking which will not get you a lot of clients.
Back then I thought it was a great idea. Many people told me "but your website is not about marathon running or CrossFit".
During my training, my focus shifted to strength and powerlifting. I felt too weak to perform the WODs I wanted. My times in the marathon became worse and I lost interest.
The funny thing is with this self-adjusted focus the brand got momentum. I now own some niches around powerlifting. These are Stronglifts 5x5, Wendler 531, kettlebell training and Smolov.
These tips will help you to think about focus way before I did. Enjoy your journey to become a successful fitness mogul.
What you should avoid when you rework your business
Have you ever seen Kitchen Nightmares? Gordon Ramsay always starts the process of improving restaurants the same way. He cuts out two-thirds of the menu. Lack of focus kills many businesses as they spread themselves too thin.
If you are going to do something, make something you are proud of. That is hard when you do everything for everyone. You have to chisel away at the things which are merely good. Keep the stuff that is truly great. This way you will attract the right kind of people to your business and get noticed. Nobody is interested in mediocracy. Everyone is interested in greatness. Instead of making things more complex and adding features, make your product easy to use. Add value by deciding what not to sell.
Another roadblock is to think of an exit scenario too early. Companies that are founded to be sold usually don't do well. Great businesses are built on the belief to change the status quo.
Also, avoid being a copycat. It will be hard to outdo someone who has already thought about what you want to achieve. Your competitor will always be one step ahead of you. There was never the best copycat in the world. Look for something unique about you and make it your own.
Look for your competitors. Embrace them and have a rival. Try to make your product better than theirs. This will also help you with instant positioning in the customer's mind. The stories you can tell will be enriched by this narrative.
When you tell the story of your product, avoid long-winded, high-level explanations. Keep it simple so that a six-year-old can understand it. None wants to listen to or read corporate jibber jabber. There is enough of it out there already.
Once you get big enough to have a team be careful how you treat them. If you treat them like children, they will act accordingly. Don't sit in meeting rooms discussing problems. Go to where the problem sites. Grab the bull by the horns if it is important enough to warrant your personal attention.
Stay away from the high horse. Avoid words like need, must and only when you are in meetings. These are abrasive, value-laden words. They pass judgment on a situation which you are not in. Thus you cannot fully understand. The likely result is that there will be no fruitful discussion as participants start to stonewall.
Another thing to stop is to use the word "ASAP" or as soon as possible. It is unspecific, rude and unprofessional. I have defaulted to telling people exactly when I am going to deliver based on my priority list when they say ASAP. They have usually dropped by two places on the priority list just by demanding results "ASAP".
In addition, do not get too sure of yourself. Once you start to assume your plans are correct and follow them blindly you will be less likely to improvise. In this case, you might be driving down a cliff at full speed without even realizing. Don't be the go who sets his RV on cruise mode and starts making some fried eggs in the back in the middle of the highway.
Lastly, have some fun. There are studies which show that workaholics can even hurt productivity. This happens by making non-workaholics feel guilty and less motivated.
What you should do to build an empire
If you want to build a fitness empire start small. Then you will need far less time and resources than you can imagine. Test the waters. Don't quit your day job to slave 100 hour work weeks. Squeeze in a couple of extra hours each week to make your side hustle generate some money. This should happen before you cut the relationship to your only source of income.
This will also keep you from using external investment. Only use it as a last resort. Outside investors will not be interested in your idea and vision, but in plain hard cash. They will make demands at times when you would prefer to reinvest in the business. Also, the process of pitching your ideas to possible investors is time-consuming and demotivating. Save that time to build a machine that people will want to hop onto.
Instead of spending time creating fancy powerpoint slides build an audience. Share valuable information with your potential clients. Make it useful, informative and entertaining. This way you will get relevant reach without paying a dime for it. Teach people with how-to guides, courses, and videos. Most companies are so secretive that you can pick their clients right from under their noses.
If you want to take this a step further and get some media coverage go for a niche rather than mass media. A well picked small magazine or blog can do a lot more for you than an expensive double page in a newspaper.
Apart from this, you should be working on your core. The core of a hotdog stand is hotdogs. Amazon's core is not just about books. It is also about storage, delivery, prices and a great selection. Rather than letting outside investors determine what your core is, work on it with the saved time from pitches. Make your core so simple and easy to use that people will love it and tell their friends about it.
Some people have trouble to see what the core of their business is. If you ever have any doubts think about what you would love to use yourself. Apple was so successful during their years with Steve Jobs because of he was the ultimate user at the core of the company. He wanted to use an iPhone. He wanted to use the iPod. Both revolutionized the market.
Once your core is ready, launch immediately. Just get started and wing it. Meetings should be held in a manner of "Let's take a decision" instead of "Let's think about it". This will generate a bias towards action in your company. Action gets results. If something gets overlooked and is really important, it will pop up again. Refrain from overengineering. Most of the challenges you anticipate will never come to pass.
Once you are confident enough that you can survive the battle, pick a fight with your rival. This will mean publicity for both of you. Abit if bickering and bragging can also be a lot of fun. It will keep you alert and make you learn more about your weaknesses which the competition will pick on.
A blog is a good start to get some traction and test assumptions. Next thing you can do is to offer how-to guides and calculators for your potential clients. This way you will test whether what interests you also interests the general public. Document and measure everything you do for improvement. It will also help when you hire the first people into your business. Processes are the biggest differentiator between Startups and scaleups. Your business has to become repeatable before it can scale. This is also the best way to make your business more interesting to potential investors.
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