Working in the fitness business is a really rewarding way to make a living, as many of the readers of Gym Insight Blog know from personal experience. There are some great lessons from training and working out that apply well to the practice of small business ownership.
What follows here are some lessons from fitness, applied to the business of fitness, which I have picked up along the way that I want to pass on as thoughts to share, food for thought if you will.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
As trite as it sounds, no pain no gain. It also means that pain today means winning tomorrow. Whether you are training for an event or you are building a startup gym business, if you don’t stretch yourself beyond what you can do easily you’ll never get to that next level.
Repetition Really Is The Mother Of Skill
You build a mind-muscle connection when you repeatedly strain to get the last repetition in a training set. That creates strength and endurance. The more times you do something the better you become at it and that applies to business ownership as much as anything else.
It applies to the business as a whole from founding it until the day you exit. But it also applies to each day of operations and each season. Each year you know a little better what to expect with the arrival of the seasons. It’s something to remember at the end of a tough day; each day is a new day.
The Eye Of The Tiger
The other guy or gal, who’s training harder than you are, is, always the biggest threat. If they’re hungrier than you are, hungrier for success that is. Avis Rent-A-Car used to have the slogan "we try harder", implying that because they were number two in that company’s business. They knew that they needed to go the extra distance to keep up with the industry leader.
Be the gym owner who tries harder, who trains harder and works harder to get the business and to retain the membership. That doesn’t mean betraying your values or your best interests for the sake of getting a sale. What it really means is that you hold on to your integrity but you nurture a burning desire for success within yourself.
When You Track Results You Create Results
If you want to get better results you need to track results. If you track your results daily you will be able to see the progress over time. You will also see where your weaknesses are. Business is the same: if you don’t track your business performance you will not have a path by which to improve it. The fact is: You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you are when you’re starting out.
Attitude Is As Important As Aptitude
A positive mental attitude is critical to success in any enterprise. If you don’t feed your body the right nutrients while you’re training you will probably get so far and no further. This is because you need to have the calories in the form that supports muscle growth and fat burning.
So how does this relate to your business model? What are the nutrients for your business? The core form of your business is as an organization that exists first in the minds of the stakeholders that come into contact with it on a regular basis. This means you, your partners, your employees, vendors even and of course your membership.
The business exists in the minds of everyone as a mental model of what it’s supposed to be. It is a result of your efforts to build it and to give it a form and function. Feed your business positive nutrients in the form of adequate investment in equipment, clean and maintain and training that gives the staff hope for a long term career.
The way that you treat your employees is like feeding them a diet. If you’re too soft and allow them a poor mental diet they may not resist but also they will tend to become complacent. If you are too harsh, starving them of development, they will desert you at the first opportunity; your business will be weak and feeble. The right diet for employee performance is neither too structured nor lax; it gives the nutrients of career development that provides the motivation and the skills to perform.
Decaire, Nic. Three Lessons I Learned as I Built My Fitness Business. February 2, 2015. https://clubindustry.com/clubs/three-lessons-i-learned-i-built-my-fitness-business (accessed March 8, 2015).
Milligen, Van. No Pain, No Gain… And Other Life Lessons Learned in the Gym. December 2013. https://www.athleticbusiness.com/leadership/no-pain-no-gain-and-other-life-lessons-learned-in-the-gym.html (accessed March 8, 2015).