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What I have learnt about managing a small business & the fitness industry – part 1.

What I have learnt about managing a small business & the fitness industry – part 1.

I thought it was timely to have my final two blogs on what I have learnt over the past 12 months about managing my own small business, the health, sporting and fitness industry as a whole and even about myself.

Well I can sum it up by saying it is a lot like doing the plank (as I am demonstrating above), a hell of a lot harder than what it appears but when done right, makes your stronger than ever.

So here are my first top five items of what I have learnt from 2015:

1. You just can’t do everything on your own.

When I decided I had enough of working in the corporate world and wanted to branch on my own, I thought I could do everything myself.

So I learnt how to use WordPress to build my Web site, I designed my own email template and logo, I did all the research myself on obtaining contact details for my database, I shot my own videos and set up Google Adwords on my own.

Big mistake!

Sure I was learning a lot and saving a bit of money, but ultimately I did everything on a fairly average basis as I was not an expert in these fields. I had a good understanding of the basics but the results were not as good as what I had wanted.

Plus I was spending so much time learning about these areas, I forgot what I should have been doing in the first place – helping fitness and sports businesses with their marketing.

In fact, I was falling into the exact same trap I was warning others about, doing everything themselves instead of focusing on your speciality and losing sight of why they went into business in the first place.

So I reached out to experts in their fields and outsourced the work to them- the results, a more professional Web site, videos, photos – you name it. And more importantly I had more time to spend on what I should have been focused on – marketing my own business and working with fitness centres and sporting clubs in improving their marketing efforts and hopefully making some money along the way.

2. You can’t be all things to all people.

Again I had previously written about this mistake in another blog so you would think I would have known better.

But here I was going out and telling people I could do everything to do with marketing – you name it I could do it.

As they say I was a jack of all trades but what was I a master of? I soon found out that people want to work with those who have specialities in the areas where they are lacking. They are after masters in their field.

So I had a think about where my strengths were and identified areas where businesses needed the most assistance – marketing plans and social media. I had at last found my sweet spot. Just like every business needs to find what they do better or differently than anyone else.

3. Never assume anything.

Though things may seem obvious to even blind Freddy, you can never assume people have the same level of understanding as you do.

This is even more so with marketing, especially social media which is constantly changing – even I have a hard time keeping up.

Just like a group fitness instructor tells people what they should do, they should always explain the reason why so people have a better understanding of what you are proposing. Make sure people understand the basics first before things get too complicated. Tell them the what but don’t forget the why.

4. Those that say they are marketing experts, usually know the least.

Oh I have done a marketing course, I bought this book, I attended this seminar, yep I know everything I need to know about marketing.

Then I ask them about their plans, I look at their Web site, review their social media and I see right away how many mistakes are being made.

Yes marketing isn’t too hard to understand (unlike say IT or being a doctor) but as I wrote in my previous blog, marketing can be deceptively hard to get right. It can sometimes just be the small things that make a big difference.

There are a lot of tricks of the trade but unless you are deeply involved in marketing on a regular basis, you would probably miss them.

And you know even if you consider yourself pretty clued up when it comes to marketing, it never hurts to get a second opinion (something I often do myself). It is like the old saying, you can’t see the forest because of the trees, sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes to give you a different perspective and to nudge you on the right track.

5. Sometimes the old fashioned methods still work the best.

Though social media gets so much attention when it comes to marketing, never forget the basic marketing activities that still work effectively today.

  • Your database is one of the most valuable marketing tools you own. Make sure it is up to date, easy to use and captures all the relevant details about your clients and leads.
  • Email marketing is so simple, cheap and when done right, can be a great source of leads for your business. Even today, email is the preferred way for people to receive communication.¬†Plus it is ideal for those who are not on any social media channels.
  • Referrals is one of the biggest and easiest source of leads for your business. Never be shy to ask your members or clients for leads. Explain how this is critical to the success of your business (again never assume they know why you are asking) and reward them to show you appreciate their help.
  • Make sure you have a professional and up to date Web site and Facebook page as this is often the first thing people will look at before they physically visit your business. Never underestimate first impressions – they do count.

Look out for my final blog of 2015, the last five items I have learnt over the year.

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