January is the perfect time to sit down and get everything in your business in order for the new year. From reviewing what went well the previous year to what needs updating, upgrading, and a glow-up. But figuring out how to improve can be tricky at times, especially as a new owner or when you’re set in your ways and not sure how to pivot. Chris owner of Glasgow PT and The Upgraded Coach™ sat down with us to explain why the beginning of a new year is such an important time for gym and studio owners and trainers.
He breaks down why having a business coach is such an influential and powerful resource and how having a business coach or mentor can help you work out things such as retention, charging, and how to boost revenue. Follow along with our interview to learn more about what you can achieve by having a business coach for your fitness business and what you should keep in mind for your clients at the start of a new year.
Why is January such an important time for fitness businesses?
There are two types of fitness professionals. There are the ones that are already busy, overworked, and spending time juggling about a million plates. Which is what stuff like TeamUp helps with because it can help manage the payments and bookings and sessions. You won’t believe how many personal trainers still sit on a Sunday and message all of their clients asking when they want to meet next week and go back and forth. This whole process takes two days.
Then there are the PTs who are not busy enough yet. They are doing a bunch of stuff manually because they don’t know any better. But those are the ones who need to be coached and taught how to use the tools and frameworks to save themselves time and stress resulting in them having a successful year.
It’s knowing that personal trainers can save about 10 to 15 hours a week just by using the proper systems. Those two things need to be addressed at the start of the year, otherwise, it’s going to get very busy and people aren’t going to be ready to manage the rush or set themselves up for a great year. Clients won’t get the best of you nor do you get the best of yourself. Come March or April you’ll go back and ask yourself what happened to the new clients who have already started and left.
How can business coaches help business owners prepare their business plans for the new year?
Two huge assets of your business are retention and excitement. Retention comes from clients being excited, and of course, getting results for whatever they pay for you. As a coach in my business, we love doing “excitement pipelines,” and packaging that up.
Creating attractive services and packages
A lot of coaches and coaches I have seen who use TeamUp, deliver a great service, but their best-kept secret, no one knows about them except current clients. So we try to help them package up their classes, make them unique, and make them attractive so that people actually come on board.
We also show them how to stop clients from leaving out the back door through lack of future or results. When clients run out of future, they quit. I really want you to think about that when your classes or sessions become mundane. Give your clients a future and they will binge on every piece of content you put out there.
Charging and pricing models
Remember you are selling a solution, not time. So don’t continue to package up your service in such a way. Six, eight, 12-week blocks must be left in 2021.
Designing your delivery model and offers
You have heard of the saying “Chase two rabbits, you catch none”. This is the metaphor I always think of when speaking to coaches. Online coaching has fast-tracked over the last 2 years and most personal trainers have created an online offer. You should definitely have one in place. But, make sure to chase the rabbit that fills your diary first. In other words, push your personal training before diluting your marketing.
Your service is split into three parts. Coaching, Content, Community. Nail those 3 things for in-person coaching, fill your diary, then go on to doing the same with online.
Beyond business planning, what are the benefits of working with a business coach for a growing business?
Support and guidance
There is no hiding the stats. After 15 to 18 months, 90% of personal trainers aren’t personal training anymore. What the main takeaway from that is that in the first 12 months of being a personal trainer, it’s pretty crucial that you get support. If a client goes onto Google and searches how to lose fat, they're going to get a hundred million results.
What they’re going to get marketed to them is the biggest noisiest thing. That's just not suitable for them. What we’re expecting our clients is to invest in us. You’ve got to invest in getting help to grow yourself and your business.
Can reduce the guesswork
The second factor, most importantly, is business coaching can help reduce guesswork. It can shave about three or four years of guessing and trying and give you more time to find your place in the industry. If you look at the TeamUp stuff, there are standard ParQ templates. Can you imagine a new entry-level personal trainer not having that or being able to look at it? How would they even come up with that on their own?
When you qualify, you pay a couple of grand and after six weeks you get a certificate that leaves you ill-prepared for running a business. It took me three years to go whoa, and I almost left the industry because I didn’t know how to run a business. Get that first 12 months of help, as long as it’s financially viable.
Connecting with other coaches and business owners
In a coaching group, you can learn from other personal trainers and fitness professionals who quite simply just tried a few more things and failed/learned a lesson. They can save you from trying and failing because we all learn from each other.
We ask each other questions and having being surrounded by other coaches who are struggling with the same things can just stop you from feeling like you're the only one. Imposter syndrome hits hard with this job. Quite honestly your family and partner will support you, but they won’t quite get it. Some of them actually think you’re doing this because you’re going through a “phase” especially if you’re young or that it’s a hobby.
When you can communicate with people daily who know exactly what you're struggling with and know exactly how to succeed that is going to propel you to the next level. Without that, running a business is a tough game.
For me, it's about ensuring your safety in the industry, but also just being connected in some way with other coaches. There's also a community element to TeamUp. Just being able to bounce ideas from the other coaches who are ahead of you. “How do you do check-ins” “what form do you use” and being able to say “I'll use that” or “great, I'll just tweak it for me”.
What are some of the ways business coaches help owners and trainers beat fear and uncertainty at the start of a new year?
You’ve got to address what the actual coach is good at and what their strengths are. It’s so easy for them to get caught up in whatever the other coaches do. It’s one of the worst professions for watching what other people do. It’s about helping them figure out what they are are actually good at. Is it that you’re doing Zoom classes with 20 people in your class? But you’re quite introverted and quiet? Maybe you should start writing emails and blogs.
If your confidence is low, we need to pull out your strengths and what you’re great at. If it’s just coaching people, let’s make sure you’re getting paid the right amount. Most coaches are undercharging and especially after COVID, they just need the money back and that’s fine but they can get stuck on the road of getting burned out. Fitness is in much higher demand now so we can't have coaches going “I’m still hurting from COVID” because people need help.
Once you start to build a service you are proud of and that gets results, your confidence will rise. Be patient and don’t be so hard on yourself.
What is the secret to being a successful personal trainer and fitness business owner?
The secret is getting help. No matter how much. Start small. It could be anything from accountability with a fellow coach right through to signing up with a business mentor. Guessing can leave you feeling stressed, alone and questioning yourself. Just like your clients who pay your support, accountability and next steps… You’re no different and need the same.
What types of items do business coaching curriculum typically include?
The tools that I think are essential for starting out.
Resources like consultation forms, prebuilt that you would just edit and tweak for your market. Learning how to get all the information from our clients to make sure that we take into account their past injuries, history, health concerns, and goals. How do we ask the right questions that get this person who's typically a bit anxious and about, a standoffish when they sign up for a personal trainer. How do we get the most out of them so that we can help them the most?
Check-in processes that can cover sleep, stress, mindset, nutrition. We have all of those resources available for you.
How to run classes
How to actually be bold, and run, and market a small group training class. Or an online class or coaching service. Everything is right through from how to sign them up to helping them achieve amazing results.
As another resource to trainers and owners, how do you think software helps make their lives easier?
The customer experience for sure. It sounds obvious but a couple of coaches have messed that up completely. The fact that you can customize the emails to suit you and to put the links in that you want. For us, we put in the Facebook Group link and to stop coaches from feeling overwhelmed the systems work for you in the background. You won’t lose the human touch as you take over from the system at the right point.
The Zapier integration is also pretty neat. TeamUp deals with all the direct debit right through to the welcome email sequence. You can customize the app as well to your brand and I think people know about it, but they don't utilize it as well as they should.
Thank you for sharing Chris! To learn more about Glasgow PT and the Upgraded Coach, check them out on Instagram.
Video: Why Chris chose TeamUp to manage his training and coaching businesses
But for me, the payments, the scheduling and the customer experience is probably the three most important things when it comes to running a gym or running a group facility. I'm very happy with it. I've now recommended maybe 30, 40 coaches to the program.