As the public becomes more consumed with their health and fitness, more and more people are becoming fitness professionals. They have the drive and desire to motivate people to get into better shape. However, many fit pros don’t understand the business side well enough and have trouble turning their passion for helping people into a viable living.
This is why Coach Thom Lamb, founder of the Rookie to Rockstar online coaching program, is devising a fitness business bootcamp. These are some great tips that will help answer any questions a new coach may have about building their fitness business.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been trying to write about this for a few months now, and every time I do I get overwhelmed. Like any other business, running an in-person or online coaching business (or both) is a huge undertaking.
I think, overall, the fitness industry’s training knowledge is fine. (With a huge disclaimer that I am referring to the 10% of the coaching population that should actually BE coaching, not the guys who spend more hours on Photoshop and email marketing than they do actually coaching clients).
What a lot of coaches really need is a bootcamp in business knowledge.
My goal as a coach is not to squabble over squat technique or the minutiae of macro calculations, but really rather to share knowledge to help other coaches and trainers get better at providing great service to their clients.
If we want to really help people we need to be more successful at developing systems and metrics. We need to apply If This Then That-type thinking to improve our profitability and our consistency. These things help to reduce and simplify the number of decisions that we have to make on a given day as coaches & business owners, and this is where most fitness professionals need help.
This is a huge subject so instead of spending a few weeks (or probably months) writing out a course on it, I’m just going to start sharing some tips.
It’s also an important note that coaches will be at all different stages of business development, so I’ll try and start with some basic stuff.
The Fitness Business Bootcamp
Tip Number one: Have all your clients on a weekly planner sheet.
I find regardless of whether you manage clients online or in person, or both you, want to have what I call your Roster, or a list of all your clients on one sheet. Personally I like to use Google Docs for this.
When I talk to coaches I’m usually surprised to find out that they really don’t have this, or at least they don’t update it each week.
First off, this immediately helps you relax at the end of a day, because the minute you get more than a few clients you will, if you don’t have all their names written down somewhere, start to forget things, or even worse constantly worry you HAVE forgotten something.
There is a nice saying that you don’t write things down to remember them later, you write them down to remember them now.
Also, while your bank account can be a good indicator of how well you are doing, using that as a metric of success can be a bit like using eyesight to detect icebergs, just like the Captain of any ship knows advance warning can be a real handy thing. We need to find metrics that predict business success.
This brings me to my next tip.
Tip Number Two: Use your Roster to calculate how often your clients are training.
I call this training frequency, and here is how you calculate it.
Next to your client’s name, phone number and email, have a column for each day of the week; if they train that day put a one in that cell.
Then tally up at the end of the row the total times trained per week, then find the average of that for ALL of your clients. Yes, include the ones that bought training but stopped showing up. Likewise, for online clients, the ones who keep paying but never answer your emails or track their workouts need to be included in the average, too.
Why? Because we want a metric that tells you how healthy your business is, and guess what ? The number one indicator of that is how much your clients like your product and consume it. If you have people who aren’t completing their training sessions, then you need to think hard about what it is that you’re doing (or not doing).
I prefer the word product to service, I find that service is something like cable or cell phone, where it really doesn’t cost you when your clients use your product. When we talk about training, however, you usually profit per usage, and you have a fixed time cost when your clients have a session (at least in person, online training starts to look more like a service but that’s a discussion for another day).
There are a few other stats that I recommend trainers track as well, but for years now, I honestly believe this is the best indicator of long term success for the trainer. If this number goes up, you will get better referrals and better retention. Because simply put this is how often your customers are using your product.
It just doesn’t get any simpler than that.
Once your clients start to use your product, AKA they work the F out, they feel better, and usually if we see this average of all clients go up, well guess what the common denominator is: that’s right, YOU.
The nice thing about metrics (fancy word for numbers) is that they tell the truth. They tell us whether we have improved or at least maintained our client satisfaction, and show us if something new we have introduced actually made clients happier or not.
Updating a Client Roster and tracking Training Frequency are two great ways to help you rest easier at night, knowing that you haven’t forgotten to follow up with anyone, that everyone has been booked in, and that overall, the things you are doing are improving customer satisfaction.
In Part two of this series I’ll talk about a couple more numbers that will help you translate that into more profits, and how you improve your billable rate.
I hope this helps you help your clients. Thanks! 🙂
Thom Lamb is a coach who trains clients in person and all over the world online. He’s also a Veteran Strength Coach, Post Rehab Trainer and Functional Nutritional Consultant that has 12 years and over 600 clients under his belt. He also loves helping other coaches improve their business savvy. Please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.