Saturday, July 29, 2006

What's It Worth?

I'm doing some Bob Villa-like home improvements this weekend. Lots of painting and laying a new floor among other things. In theory, some of this stuff should enhance the resale value of the house. Well, this got my wheels turning. It made me wonder...

What's your business worth?

If you wanted to sell it, could you? For how much?

Do you plan on training clients when you're 60? (If you're 60 already, I guess the answer is "yes.")

Do you have an exit strategy?

Can you take a vacation or a few "sick days" without going broke?

Look, I'm not trying to piss you off. What I am doing is letting you know that most trainers don't think about these things...and that's why most trainers don't last very long in this business. Most trainers (who are making any money) look at things this way:

"I'm young and I'm making $50 an hour working in a gym while all my friends are stuck in corporate-world. I can drive a BMW and live in a great apartment and all I have to do is get up and train at 5 a.m. I can get my workout in during the middle of the day and train some more in the evening."

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think this is a very short-sighted approach. Sure, there's some immediate gratification in making some quick cash, but where's the leverage? Where's the equity?

I think you should take this approach:

1. Decide what you want your business and your life to look like in 3-5 years. Maybe even further down the road.

2. Work backwards from there in a "step-by-step" fashion until you get to the point that you're currently at.

Decide if you plan on continuing to train the volume of clients that you currently train or if you're going to open your own facility. Decide if you want to create your own information products or hire employees. But most importantly, decide how you're going to keep from being forced to train clients 12 hours a day until you start collecting Social Security to make ends meet.

Back to work.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Are You A Publicity Hound?

I was listening to a CD featuring Paul Hartunian while my wife Holly and I were driving to dinner for my weekly "cheat meal" (pretty much all of page 2 of the P.F. Chang menu.) If you're not familiar with him (Hartunian, not Chang), he's the guy who actually sold the Brooklyn Bridge. He's often regarded as the Undisputed Heavyweight Champ of using publicity to your advantage.

I've used press releases to grow my business, promote my team when I coached and any other way that I thought they might benefit me in the past with great success, but I must admit that lately I've been a slacker. After listening to Hartunian I'm definitely going to get back on track. Let's face it, when you buy an add or send a direct mail piece people know you're trying to buy their business. On the other hand, when they see you featured in the newspaper, on the news or hear you on their favorite radio show...You are now an expert. The media appointed you an expert, so presto - you're an expert. And best of all - it's FREE! Tough to get better than that.

Here's the link to Hartunian's site for more information:

I also must tell you that as far as I've seen, my friend Jim Labadie is the resident expert on generating publicity in the fitness industry. His site is:

He's got a couple of good products specifically for fitness pros who want to generate publicity and use it to their advantage.

I also came across something that might be a good PR opportunity for U.S. trainers (sorry Craig) - The President's Council of Physical Fitness is celebrating it's 50th Anniversary by asking for "partners" for their Get America Moving program. If you submit a brief application you can become a partner, something that would certainly make for a great press release. As an added bonus they will give you a backlink on their site which has a Google page rank of 5. So you can get some local publicity and maybe even get a boost in the search engines.

Check it out at:

Talk to you later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What Are You Reading?

I'm something of a "bookaholic" and noticed Bill Hartman had a great post about the value of reading the other day so I figured I'd share what I've recently read, what I'm currently reading and what's next on my reading list.

First, you need to know that I typically read about 2-3 books at a time. Typically I'm working between something that is an easy read like a No B.S. Book by Dan Kennedy and something that requires a little more focus. Here's what I've recently read:

All Five of Dan Kennedy's No B.S. Books:

No B.S. Wealth Attraction For entrepreneurs

No B.S. Direct Marketing For Non-Direct Marketing Businesses

No B.S. Time Management For entrepreneurs

No B.S. Sales Success

No B.S. Business Success

I've probably read each of them 3 times but always seem to find something new that I can apply to our business. As you can probably tell - I'm a big Dan Kennedy fan. My CD collection deserves a post of it's own, but DK makes up a big chunk of it.

Two great books by Mark Joyner:

The Irresistible Offer : How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less

The Great Formula

Mrk Joyner is a genius. If you want to get better at marketing online of offline, check these books out.

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renae Mauborgne - Kind of dry but definitely thought provoking.

Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale - Joe is awesome. If you're ready to start manifesting wealth and abundance into your life, check this and Joe's other work out.

Action, Nothing Happens Until Something Moves by Robert Ringer - Ringer is the author of the legendary "Winning Through Intimidation" and has written a great book about mastering the basics that lead to success.

Turbulence Training by Craig Ballantyne - Craig is the best fat loss expert in the business. I was needing to drop a few pounds after hammering away at the keyboard and enjoying all the food vacation brings with it. I followed Craig's plan and dropped 10.5 lbs in 28 days.

Fitness Riches by a bunch of successful fitness professionals (including me :)) - I've read it five times not counting the editing I did and learn something new each time. I'm not sure if that means I need to read a little better or there's a ton of information. I'll go with the latter. It's hands down the best fitness business book ever put together. In spite of the editor.

What I'm currently reading:

Power of An Hour: Business and Life Mastery in One Hour A Week by Dave Lakhani - I first heard about this book for Joe Vitale and actually exchanged e-mails with Dave a few times. Seems like a great guy and what I've read of the book so far is outstanding. I'll keep you posted.

Rule #1: The Simple Strategy for Successful Investing in Only 15 Minutes a Week! by Phil Town - I saw Town at one of those Peter Lowe seminars and liked his presetation so I picked up the book. I like his simplistic approach. I'll keep you posted on this as well.

Up Next:

Strength and Conditioning Interrogations Manual by 21 of the leading experts in the S&C field today - I can't wait to dive into this. Honestly, I'd buy anything ANY of these guys write so if I can get them all together - all the better. You can get it at

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing by the Eisenberg brothers - These guys won me over when they sent me a free copy. I purchased their first book, Call To Action, during a promo to get them on a bestseller list so they comped me this when it came out. Looks interesting. If it's anything like their first book I'm sure it will be good.

Feel free to let me know if you have any suggestion of books I should check out.


And A Special Thanks To...

I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks to Craig Ballantyne at, Bill Hartman at and Alwyn Cosgrove at These guys that I've always looked up to as the leaders in the fitness industry all were kind enough to give me and the Fitness Riches book a plug on their blogs recently. Man, do you want to talk about feeling honored. These guys are the best our industry has to offer. That is exactly why I love working in the fitness industry.

If you are wanting to take a quantum leap forward in your business I can't suggest strongly enough that you study these guys. Go to their blogs, check out their websites, read their articles and get their products. Success leaves clues. Study what they do and find a way to model it. You'll find yourself on the fast track in no time.

Talk to you later.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What's Your Job?

How much of YOUR time do you devote purely to working on your business and marketing each week?

If you answer "a couple of hours" or "I catch up on weekends" - well these are bad answers. Very bad. Unfortunately, they accurately mirror the way far too many fitness entrepreneurs think and conduct themselves.

Lets' talk reality: If marketing and growing your business isn't your primary responsibility, what is your job? And who's the "breadwinner" who is bringing in the money? --- who will either be stolen away by an astute competitor or go off on his own as soon as he wakes up to the fact he's carrying you.

By the way, instead of marketing, what ARE you doing? Are you a bean-counter? You can hire them dirt cheap. Are you "too busy" doing the "important stuff?" Are you your own glorified secretary? Or if you are a multi-hat, do-it-all-yourself-guy, how do you have all the time of your workweek allocated so there's no time left for marketing? (Just for the record, you should be catching up on everything but marketing over the weekend.)

Oh, and if you deliver the services you sell, as I do, and you spend all your time delivering, you'd be better off working for somebody else.

This, you see, is the greatest obstacle to maximum income for every "busy" entrepreneur: taking on lesser responsibilities and delegating and/or neglecting the most important responsibilities and the most profitable activities.

We are first talking about a vital ATTITUDE SHIFT in the life of the fitness business owner. As I've often put it, the switch from "doer of the thing" to "business builder and marketer of the thing." To the trainer who says he has no time for business building or marketing because he is seeing clients all day, I say two things: one, it's a lie - you are also writing programs, writing checks, going to lunch with people who can't contribute to your success, ordering supplements, surfing the net, etc. But two, close your book off one full day a week, see no clients, and devote it totally to working on your business and marketing it. "I can't afford to do that," you say. I say you can't count.

I would say, incidentally, that one of the big commonalities amongst the many major "success stories" in our industry, is this attitudinal change. After making the thinking change, then we are talking about BEHAVIORAL CHANGES. Re-allocation of time and energy. Firm scheduling of time for your chief responsibility. Raising fees/prices as need be to reduce the amount of your time devoted to delivering services, to liberate time for working on your business. Fire 5%, 10% or 20% of your lowest value clients to liberate time for working on your business. Fire the employee requiring the most babysitting to liberate time for working on your business.

Once you embrace this approach you'll see your business literally explode.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for stopping by.

Frequently I have things that I want to share or discuss that may not fit into the context of a newsletter or article. That coupled with the growing frequency of questions that I receive from fitness professionals and club owners each week has led me to launching this blog as a way to keep us in touch.

So look forward to me sharing random thoughts, my opinionated perspective and answering lots of your questions as time passes. You can also expect me to pick the brains of lots of the "smart folks" in and out of our industry.

Talk to you soon...