It’s that time of year. It’s the time of year when fitness professionals take a step back to review their past year and plan for successes in the year ahead.
Great breakthroughs in any business come from gaining clarity around the areas the business is “stuck,” and identifying the best strategies to focus on in order to skyrocket you (and your business) to the next level.
- Understand the “critical questions” you should answer when planning to grow your fitness business in the year ahead.
- Define the strategies that will best attract new clients to your business (and keep the clients you have currently).
The following are 10 questions you can use to craft a winning sales and marketing plan that will separate your business from the competition, add more new clients to your roster, and increase your personal income in the new year (and beyond).
1. What’s Your Dream?
Owning and/or growing a fitness business are tough. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of energy. You’ll regularly face big risks, challenges, and things that will scare you or beat you down.
If you don’t already have a big dream, a purpose, tremendous passion for everything you do and vision of where you want to go, then it’s all too easy to give up.
In the fitness industry, the stats show that more than 81% of fitness professionals quit after 18-24 months. And for those that start their own businesses, the failure rate is 90% within 2 years.
If you’re a betting man or woman, those aren’t good odds in your favor.
But if you have a dream, believe in it (and yourself… even when it’s scary sometimes), then you’ll have the fuel needed to keep going and push through challenges to grow to the next level.
2. What Are Your Targets?
Setting the right goals, and very clear targets, is critical for keeping you focused on the things that matter and keeping score of the game.
All good marketing plans must begin with defined sales goals. And good sales goals must be tied to revenue goals, not just new client numbers.
The point of marketing should not be to generate leads - it’s to create qualified sales opportunities so you (or, better yet, your team as you grow to have others working for you) can close more sales and drive revenue growth.
Set a “revenue goal,” then back that with a “number of new clients needed goal,” based on average purchase amounts the new clients spend when signing up for your programs/services.
Confused? Don’t be. This is straightforward.
Re-read this section, if needed, until you understand. Or comment below with questions!
3. What’s Worked Best for Bringing in New Clients This past Year? And Why?
Most people make the mistake of looking around at what everyone else is doing in order to find new “breakthrough” strategies they can use in marketing.
That can be valuable, but what’s much more valuable is looking at historical information in your own business. This doesn’t have to be a big research project. You simply take time to look back, reflect, and (if you’ve got the data) review some numbers.
Don’t stop doing what’s working well in favor of something you “hope” (but haven’t proven) might work better. Always keep doing the things that are working well, and better yet, take time to understand why they’re working well and think about how you can make them even better.
4. What Didn’t Work out so Well When You Tried It? And Why?
Hopefully you’ve given a go at trying some new marketing strategies this past year. If not, then get out of your comfort zone, learn, and try something!
Some of those things you try will work well. Others may flop, and some things that have previously worked well may start to decline.
You will always learn more from what doesn’t work than what has.
Success is a poor teacher. Failures leave an imprint.
Take time to learn from the experiences you’ve been through. Often the biggest breakthroughs come from looking at what hasn’t worked in your business.
And remember, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again until you do.”
5. Why Do Your Best Clients Continue to Renew and Stay with You?
Every fitness professional and business owner has clients who they absolutely love working with.
If all you had to do was get up and work with these type of clients everyday, business would be a dream.
Take the time to ask your favorite clients what they most love about working with you. Why did they sign up with you originally? Why do they continue with you?
The answers you find here will help you in many ways, but most importantly they will allow you to better define your target market: who is your best customer, where they live or work, and why they buy from you.
6. How Many Clients Left Your Business This Past Year? And Why?
Every business loses clients for different reasons. Sometimes people move out of town, and other times clients have challenges that come up in their life that prevent them from taking care of themselves the way they should.
In some cases, your business simply didn’t deliver on the job someone hired you to do, or you didn’t attract the right type of clients in the first place with your sales and marketing messages.
Take time to interview past clients and listen to what they have to say. You’ll identify tremendous opportunities to grow and improve on all fronts.
7. What Competitors Have Entered Your Market This Year? What Do Clients Who’ve Left a Competitor Say They Most Disliked About Working with Them?
If you’re maintaining a good business, competition will be coming for you. That’s not a bad thing. It simply means you’ve got to evolve your positioning from: “we’re the only game in town,” to: “here’s why you should choose us.”
This is where “real” marketing begins.
Take time to learn what people have to say about their experiences with your competition. What didn’t they like? Why did they leave?
This will support defining a positioning statement that makes it clear to the market why they’d be a fool to choose anyone but you.
8. What Trends Are on the Horizon That You Might Want to Capitalize on or Take Advantage Of?
Business is an intellectual sport, and everything is always changing.
What new things are happening right now that you may want to capitalize or take advantage of?
It’s a whole lot easier to stay ahead of change, rather than wait too long and be the one left behind.
Take time to understand what is going on and get out in front.
9. Where Are You Getting “Stuck” in Your Business?
Every fitness professional gets “stuck” somewhere in the business, at every level of growth.
It might be that you’re simply so busy working with clients that you’ve got very little time to dedicate to marketing or keeping your books organized, or something else.
That’s a great problem to have and means you’re doing things right! Now the opportunity lies in first increasing the capacity of your team so you can do more marketing and handle the increased business that will be coming your way.
10. What’s the One Thing You Can Do That Will Make the Biggest Impact on Your Growth in the Year Ahead?
There will be a number of opportunities you identify (from the questions above) that you can take action on. But make note: you should not focus on all of them at the same time.
The more your energy is spread all over the place, the less effective you become.
Go through your list of ideas and strategies. Find the one thing that will make the biggest impact. Then, put your full focus behind it and don’t stop until you’ve succeeded.
The steps you take now will determine your success in the upcoming year. If you want to succeed in the year ahead, answer these ten questions and create an awesome sales and marketing plan for growing your business and client community.