Systems run the business and people run the systems – Michael Gerber
Most fitness business owners I speak to are overworked, frustrated and overwhelmed with the enormity of tasks they have to perform on daily and weekly basis. They have to wear multiple hats every single day that include the trainer, administrator, marketer, sales person, cleaner, bookkeeper and manager.
A fitness business owner must create leverage so they can have more freedom and flexibility to work how they want to work. There are really only 4 key ways we can create leverage:
- Operational Systems (Discussed today)
- The Business Model (Discussed in future weeks)
- Having a High-Performance Team (Discussed in future weeks)
- Becoming a Productivity Machine (Discussed in future weeks)
One of my early business coaches gave me a great litmus test for my business… If I was to pack up and leave that business that day for 3 months, would it survive? The answer was a definitive NO but I was able to answer that with a resounding YES a few years later. The difference had been the development of great systems and a focus on building a world class team.
Operational systems ensure everything gets completed to a high standard. Too often I speak to fitness business owners that are frustrated because clients keep cancelling, re-scheduling, defaulting or leave all too easily or frequently.
The result is an emotional rollercoaster for the business owner and a fluctuating income that is being dictated by the client.
Many business owners operate from a place of scarcity and they are afraid that contracts, direct debits and concrete expectations will ‘scare’ their clients away. The reality is that you are creating a rod for your own back when you fail to put these things in place. You won’t scare good clients away and if anything, you will repel troublesome clients who were likely to suck your time and energy anyway.
So, what are the absolute essential operational systems that every successful fitness business needs?
1. A Professional Contract
Most fitness businesses have a very loose and unsatisfactory contract in place. It is vague, unprofessional and doesn’t protect you as a business owner. This is why I had my legal team prepare a comprehensive contract template for all my clients. These are the essential elements that must be included:
- Session cancellation and non-appearance – You need to have a strict policy in place so clients pay if they can cancel within a time period (ie. 24 hours).
- Termination – There needs to be a notification period (ie 4 weeks) and process (ie complete a form) for a termination to take place
- Time Freezes – It should be stipulated on how many time freezes are available and how the client must request one.
- Contract Buy Out – If a client cancels their contract early, then it must be clearly communicated on how they can do so and what are the fees involved.
2. Direct Debit & CRM
I speak to far too many business owners that are spending far too much time and energy chasing money or reconciling money from clients. The solution is easy…. Have every client on direct debit and utilize a CRM (ie Mindbody, Zen Planner, PT Minder) that reconciles their payments with the sessions they attend.
Business owners that operate from scarcity will be afraid to do this as they tell themselves that ‘people don’t like direct debit’. That is an invalid assumption and when you give the autonomy to the client to pay how they want to pay then you are making life difficult for yourself.
A CRM will enable you to have quality controls in place and you can get accurate reporting that informs you on how the business is performing.
There are many other operational systems in place and next week we will give you a comprehensive systems checklist so you can have more freedom in your business and life!