All of the small business owners I know, be they gym owners or anything else, seem to have one trait in common: They’re working all of the time. I can only speak for myself but this permanent work mode has often not felt like work at all. It’s been a scramble to make a living out of doing what I love. My colleagues here at Gym Insight seem to feel the same way, judging by their commitment levels.
AVOIDING BURNOUT 101: EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY
Burning the candle at both ends is an apt metaphor for the kind of work ethic that is mandatory for success in small business. When you set up a gym it seems like you’re going to be hanging out in a place that you love, doing what you want to do. Instead you’re where you want to be but it’s like a mental treadmill that’s moving just a little too fast.
You spend your days putting out fires and calming frustrated customers and attempting to keep staff happy and productive. It is a lot of work that starts as soon as you wake up and continues until you flop down on the bed. Next thing you know, the alarm is going off and you’re off and running yet again. This continues until you just have to take time off to sleep for fifteen hours and then you go back to it all over again.
Research has shown that multitasking is not an effective way to work but if you can multiply your efforts by having someone else do the things that are less important and don’t require your personal attention it’s like you’re in two places at once. Likewise, automation is the key to taking care of repetitive tasks such as bookkeeping and client notification.
GYM OWNER PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
You own your own gym, for goodness sake there is no excuse for failing to workout! You know the benefits; just do it. Likewise with your diet, you have to input quality to get quality output. Again, you know the benefits. You need to balance all of your activities to work best at any of them.
If you are not in the business and you’re reading this (thanks for reading!) take it from the pros, you need at least three to four cardio workouts per week of at least half an hour each. Some stretching and strength training would also be good. Even doing this inconsistently will give you health benefits and increased energy. Try to eat some fresh fruit and vegetables each day and stay away from fast food like it’s the plague.
Everybody needs to delegate some work and probably also the authority to make some discretionary decisions as well. That can be the toughest thing to let go of, as a business owner. Of course, there are reasons to be cautious; trust does not come overnight.
BUILD TRUST TO REDUCE THE BURDEN
You need to build a trusting relationship with employees over time. If you are hesitant have a good think about the reason; is it your issue or are there fundamental concerns about your potential assignees? You may need to build trust or there may need to be some replacements. If you face it sooner rather than later you’ll find things get better down the road.
The downside is that if your business is not the right thing and it feels like another job and that you can’t wait for the weekend each week then maybe it just is not the right thing. If it’s not the right thing for you, swallow your pride and switch to something that is either easier or more aligned to what you really enjoy. Owning a business is too much hard work if you don’t love what you do.
For those of you that are passionately committed to your enterprise, the ultimate key, I believe, is having a sense of gratitude for the opportunity. For gym owners, remember to be flattered that someone is willing to pay to come around to your place and use your equipment. It shows that you have created an experience that is welcoming and hospitable. Your average gym rat might not say so but just by turning up it is a vote of confidence.
Merrill, Douglas. Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work. August 17, 2012. http://www.forbes.com/sites/douglasmerrill/2012/08/17/why-multitasking-doesnt-work/.