Welcome to your 16th and final installment of Fit-Biz Thursday, Faction. As we wrap the season I feel obligated to share some guidance on your next steps. While most of you are hanging around for the summer session, I’d imagine a few of you will be moving on, and I’d hate for this to be the last couple of minutes that you think strategically about developing your business over the coming days, weeks, and months.
I began outlining this material with a video in mind, but ultimately felt like the message would be best delivered in a written format. With 15 videos and more than three full hours of fitness business insights sitting in the Faction archives, I’d really like to see you maintain your momentum with personal and professional development.
Here are three initiatives for you to take on immediately following the spring season of the Strength Faction:
Read OUTSIDE of your industry
Consume business content from people who are far better than I will ever be. I stay sharp by consuming a ton of business-specific material each week as I hunt for articles and videos for my Friday-4 newsletter. As a result, my material comes across as new and original to you because I’m sourcing my ideas from a pool of people who don’t care at all about fitness business lead generation.
Watch all of the TED Talks you can handle. Read everything published on the Harvard Business Review. Pay for a subscription to Entrepreneur Magazine and actually find some time to sit down and read something that isn’t glowing back at you from a tablet.
In short, make your business more successful by attempting to replicate the habits of our world’s best businesses, not just the same handful of “successful” gyms we are all familiar with. Fitness business isn’t any more unique or special than those that are listed on the NYSE. Learn from everyone.
Network Your Ass Off
Attend a seminar far enough from home to justify renting a hotel room, and then make sure to be in attendance for every minute of the social events built around the presentation. Don’t be the guy who goes home early to process your notes from a long day of presentations. Be the guy who talked to every person in the room.
Back in the spring of 2015 I had my first opportunity to present at The Fitness Summit in Kansas City. This was my first attempt at speaking to an audience larger than my team at CSP. On our westbound flight, Tony Gentilcore looked at me and said: “I’d get some sleep. This isn’t going to be a low-key weekend.” Roughly 48 hours later, I was participating in a presenter panel without a voice. I’d spent two days presenting and socializing with every single person I encountered without the vocal conditioning I’d apparently needed.
The lack of voice was a minor inconvenience. I walked away from that weekend with dozens of quality contacts who now read and share my content. Nearly all of the material covered in the presentations during a typical seminar weekend is available for free somewhere online (in some format), but you will only get one chance to make the most of the social interaction opportunity at the event.
Tighten up the client experience
You can design the perfect logo, craft the most impressive Instagram story our industry has ever seen, and maintain the nicest looking website in fitness, but if your product sucks, it’s all irrelevant. Maybe the best thing you can do right now for your business is to stop trying to accumulate an epic business skill-set, and instead force yourself to experience your business.
Back when we added a second location and Eric transitioned to Florida for half of the year I needed to become more familiar with the happenings on our training floor. Until that point in time, I was able to count on him to be the owner who was continuously in touch with the training environment and client experience. Once he left, I needed to build this part of the job into my day-to-day routine. The solution I came up with was to execute my own training sessions during the busiest hours of the day; I deposited myself into the middle of the chaos, and watched how things moved.
I quickly realized that there were bottlenecks in our facility layout, employees who were not being put in a position to leverage their strengths, and client equipment requests that weren’t ultimately making it all the way to my desk. Nobody on my team was doing a poor job, but there was definitely opportunity for improvement that I wouldn’t have noticed had I not experienced CSP from the perspective of a paying client.
Until we meet again…
Farewell to those of you who will be transitioning away from the Faction for a season or more. I have a feeling many of you will find your way back to this special online community, and I look forward to seeing you then.
For the rest of you, start pulling together your favorite questions for a live Q&A set to take place next week. I’ll be sure to have Frank Duffy fanning me in the background and patiently holding my cup of ice cold lemonade in between sips.