27 Jan What I have learnt about marketing & the fitness industry – part 2
So here is my final blog for 2015, the last five things I have learnt about managing a small business, the health and fitness industry and even about myself (to read the first five things I have learnt, click here).
6. You absolutely and positively must have a plan.
I have said this time and time again and I just want to say it one final time for the year – you have got to have a marketing plan. In fact, you also need a business plan (containing your overall business objectives and strategies) and a social media plan (as this is now such a huge area and requires a different approach compared to a standard marketing plan).
It is one of the first things I ask any fitness or sports business. Unfortunately I still find that 99% of the time, they don’t have adequate plans or they just don’t have any plans period!
You would never take a big road trip without a map (or at least a GPS system). It is the same with your business – you need to know where you want to go and how you are going to get there.
You have no idea how much easier your life will be and how much time and money you will save. Having a plan gives you greater control, keeps everyone on the same page, makes you more proactive (as opposed to being reactive) and helps you focus on the big picture.
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get your plans into order.
7. Marketing is not the silver bullet for your business.
Marketing is important to ANY business and when done right can make a big difference in regard to brand awareness, generating leads and increasing customer loyalty. However it is not the be end and end all.
Like a group fitness instructor, it doesn’t matter how good the music is, how pumping the stereo system is, how snazzy the club or even if the class is right in prime time, if you are a poor instructor (not motivated, not knowing your choreography, are a poor role model or you care more about yourself than your participants) people will notice and stop coming to your class.
It is exactly the same as marketing – it doesn’t matter how wonderful your marketing or social media is, if you deliver bad service, have out of date equipment, indifferent staff or grotty facilities, your business will suffer.
8. Identify your weaknesses and work on them.
We all have our strong points but we have to recognise our weaknesses as well.
One of my big weaknesses in high school and my early days at university was my absolute and complete fear of public speaking – I would have preferred dying than getting up in front of a crowd and talking. I did anything I could to avoid presentations and if I couldn’t get out of it, what a total shocker it would be.
I had a feeling this was an important life skill to master (how right I was when I decided to go into fitness instructing) so God damn it, I was determined to try and overcome this fear. So I did a well respected presentation course to hone my skills including video taping my presentations, at university I would always volunteer to do the talking, and when I started working, I would always be the first one with their hand up when they needed someone to stand up in front of executives to explain what we were doing.
I soon realised, with practice, it wasn’t as bad as what I thought and I actually began to enjoy it. I even ended up presenting to a couple of thousand people at a work event roadshow.
Now this may not be your weakness but we all have one (or maybe two) – once you recognise yours, then you have to work on it, ask for help if you need to and turn it into a strength.
9. You need to find the “off” switch and use it.
This is definitely an area I need to work more on in 2016.
I always tell members you need to take a couple of days off a week to let your muscles repair, give your body a break, so you can work out stronger and safely next time.
But as a business owner, it is easier said than done as ultimately everything is your responsibility. You don’t just walk out the door and leave the job there – it comes with you and is often always at the back of your mind.
You need to take a break, clear your mind, hit the reset button and breathe. And I have to admit I find this really hard to do both in marketing and fitness (and boy does my partner remind me of this). But ultimately you need to find balance in your life so give yourself a break – it will make you a more productive and energetic manager in the long run.
10. You have to do what you love!
Well this is the one thing I have always known. When I was working in the corporate world, even though I was earning twice as much as what I currently do, I was so miserable and unhappy, it began to seep into all areas of my life. After the department was shut down and I lost yet another job (and this was after three redundancies over my working career) I thought there must be a better way. So I decided now was the time to bite the bullet and go out on my own. I have made plenty of mistakes along the way, but ultimately I am so much more happier doing the things I enjoy.
From my experience, people that work in fitness, health or sports are some of the most passionate I have seen. And that is so important – life is too short to be doing a job that you don’t enjoy – you spend most of your time at work so make sure you are doing something that you love.
So that is my final blog of the year. If you have any marketing or social media topics you would like to know more about, then send me a message and I will write about it in the new year.
And on a final note, I want to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a “Grand” New Year. See you in 2016.