5 Keys to a Successful Fitness Center Business Plan (Part 2)

Today, I want to talk to you about your fitness center business plan. This is specifically for fitness coaches starting out who want to know where to go with their business plan.

We will discuss 5 keys to making your fitness center business plan a smashing success. Listen closely, because these tips have the power to transform your business for the better.

First, you have to figure out your niche. Who’s the market?

If you think that you’re going to train people from 8 to 80, male and female, that’s not going to happen.

All great marketing is about laser-like approach.

You want to become an expert in a niche market that is attracted to your style of training. That market could be stay-at-home moms, young athletes, or even busy executives.

You might focus on one-on-one, group, or boot camp style training.

You could be good at building muscle, burning fat, or helping people increase their energy and confidence.

Whatever it is, you have to tie your business to a niche, because once you do that, you can identify who your ideal prospect is in your community.

When I had my personal training facilities (before I sold them), I targeted women, mainly stay-at-home moms who had an affluent household income.

Quite frankly, they were solely interested in fat loss and really nothing else. We would do some muscle toning, but their excitement came from our high-intensity interval training, keeping their heart rate up and getting them to burn fat.

All they wanted was to see their body fat percentages and scale weight fall.

When I recognized this, that was the moment I knew that I would get the highest client retention around. That’s when I knew that I would get the most referrals from my clients.

Anytime we worked on other stuff such as functional training or core training, they completely lost interest. Even though I might have had interest in those areas, my prospects didn’t.

So what’s the best way to select your niche?

For starters, figure out who’s naturally attracted to you. What kinds of clients gravitate to your facility because of your training methods?

Another factor to consider is what your niche market’s population looks to get out of training. Do they prefer speed training or strength training? Maybe their goal is muscle gain, or maybe they just want to lose fat.

Whatever it is, know it like the back of your hand. Become the expert.

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The second key to a strong fitness business plan is to figure out what your top three best lead-generation strategies are. You figure this out by separating your marketing campaigns and isolating the highest-returning methods.

If you run an ad in the local newspaper, use a phone number from a company like RingCentral or Google Voice. With these services, you can track that phone number so that every time that number rings, you know it came from that specific ad in the local paper.

If you send out a post card to 10,000 local residents, use a different RingCentral or Google Voice phone number. Why? Because you’ll know that every time that phone number rings, those callers came from that specific post card.

This allows you to check your ROI. The ROI (return on investment) pretty much breaks down what you gained from those post cards in terms of client recruitment.

If your investment in getting 10,000 post cards out to the community flops, why run that same post card or printout again?

It’s really important to track your marketing. If post cards didn’t work, and your print ads did work, then you’re going to run a bigger print ad.

Now here’s something to remember. You want to keep using the same consistent phone number only for that print ad.

If you’re going to run ads on Facebook, use a different phone number, or you could send your leads, to a squeeze page. This is a unique page (separate from your website) that you put somewhere on the web, and only people from Facebook will have access to it.

If you drive traffic from Facebook to your website, what you can’t account for is that your statistics might include organic search traffic.

If you include your website when you mail out to an email list or through snail mail, you can’t really analyze how many leads your bringing to your site from each marketing method.

If you have a targeted website that only connects to Facebook ads, you know whether those ads work or not. If they kind of work, they might be worth your time to tweak them. If they don’t work, then it’s time to turn those ads off and look for another solution.

army-facebook Fitness Marketing

What I always ask is, “Hey, what are your top three best marketing strategies?” Identify your best strategies and stick with them.

It’s not about deploying 50 different strategies or whatever is working for the guy across town, because what works for them may not necessarily work for you.

The third key to keep in mind is to remember what you do for a living. You’re not a personal trainer, fitness coach, fitness expert, or a boot camp instructor. What you are is a person that delivers outcomes.

While everybody else sells personal training and fitness coaching, you sell results.

Say you’ve identified who your niche market is and what their wants are. Maybe your client — we’ll call her Mrs. Jones — just wants to reverse the clock and get back that body that she had before having kids.  Well, the outcome that she probably wants is to be leaner, weigh less, have lower body fat, and have more energy.

Those are the outcomes you sell your market on delivering.

It just so happens that the way I deliver my outcome is in fitness boot camp settings. I’m so confident at what I do that I guarantee results in a client’s first 30 days of training with me.

Here’s one way you can approach your prospects: “Hey, do you like the program? I want you to feel committed and confident that you’re going to get results with this program. If you’re not, give me 30 days to prove it to you. If it doesn’t work out, you get your money back.”

Be in the outcome business. Advertise your results, not just your programs.

Another thing you want to work on when it comes to your business plan is the prices you will set for your services.

I can tell you this right now: You don’t want to charge what your competitors are charging. You don’t want to build your price points based on what the competition is charging, because if you’re good at what you do, you should be the Rolls Royce of your service.

What are some of the things that you can do so that you can charge what you are worth, instead of charging what everybody else is charging?

Well, number one, you can offer risk-reversal. A risk-reversal is a guarantee to cover the client’s risk if they try out your service.

In my organization, Fit Body Boot Camp, what we offer is a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee. Here’s how that works.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones sign up for a program. It doesn’t matter if they paid for a whole year or if they’ll be paying month-to-month, they have the full 30 days to try the programs out.  Even on day 30, if they decide our boot camp isn’t right for them, they simply can ask us for a refund and we give them all their money back.

That is risk-reversal, and that says something to the community. It’s says that this fitness location is so committed to the results that they will deliver that they are willing to offer a risk-reversal guarantee on the money that’s been paid.

That builds confidence in the consumer.       

Another thing you can do is showcase proof of your results in the form of testimonials.

You should have video testimonials on your website and on YouTube. You should have a lot of Yelp reviews. You should have a lot of Google Local and Google Places reviews.

The more testimonials, reviews, and video testimonials you have out there, the more likely people are to have confidence in your service. They will be more willing to spend money with you even though you charge more.

It’s all about creating your category of one, giving consumers reasons why you can charge more.

Now why is it that Mercedes, BMW, Bentley, and Rolls Royce can charge so much more than all those other reliable car manufacturers can?

They created a category of one. They created a status for themselves.

Driving a Rolls Royce, driving a Bentley, driving a high-end Mercedes or BMW says a lot more about you than just, “Hey, I want to go from point A to point B.” It says that you come from a different status.


Finally, the last key to constructing the perfect business plan, and this is to create re-occurring revenue, is EFT or auto debit (EFT stands for electronic fund transfer).

Far too often, personal trainers are in the business of being check collectors. They just go after clients, trying to flag down payments from months past.

Why bother?

If Mrs. Jones signs up, odds are she’s going to sign up next month and the month after. If you are good at what you do, there’s no reason why she wouldn’t want to commit for a 6 or 12-month program with you.

All you have to do is get the first month payment and tell Mrs. Jones, “Hey, each and every month on this very same day, we’re going to take out X amount of dollars from your bank account or your credit card account for your training.”

This way, I don’t have to go around being a check collector and I don’t have to worry about any back office hang-ups. I can just focus on my personal training and outcome delivery.

That’s really what you specialize in.

Why is that important? Let’s say you have 50 clients and you charge around $200 a month. All your clients are on EFT.

Guess what that means? You will earn $200 a month for 50 clients, which brings in just over $8,000 a month.

How would it feel if, at the first of every month, you knew you were guaranteed $8,000? Come the following month, you’re guaranteed $8,000 on top of whatever else you sell to your clients.

That is a reassuring feeling to have. That tells me that I will have peace of mind at night when I sleep because I won’t start every month at zero. I’ll start at $8,000.

EFT and auto debit are priceless in our industry. One, they encourage your clients to commit to your training; two, they garner reliable and consistent income for you, the fitness expert.

You know what, I’ll throw in an extra tip for you guys because I appreciate you so much.

The last key I’ll leave you with is to be decisive.

This is a concept that holds us back in both fitness and in life.

When you look at the great influencers of our society, they all have one thing in common. They all failed at some point in their life.

Heck, we all fail in many aspects of our lives. So what separated these successful moguls from the rest of the crowd?

Instead of getting down on themselves, they thought about the reasons why they failed. They embraced the feeling of being at the bottom of the barrel.

See, when people fail, we become more receptive. They can clearly identify the weak spots in themselves that they need to fix.

Success, however, can be a dangerous thing in small batches. It can make people complacent, to the point where they stop challenging themselves.

No matter what, never lose your edge. Experiment and see what works. When a marketing campaign backfires, use it as an opportunity to redirect your business towards what is profitable.

If everything doesn’t work out for someone, it doesn’t mean that he or she is a failure. It just means he or she will have to tackle whatever is preventing success from becoming reality.

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What matters is that you aren’t afraid to make decisions and live with the results.

Those are the top six things I would focus on if I restarted my personal training business all over again. Now make a great plan and get rolling!

Committed to your success,