Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Your Distribution Channels

Most trainers don’t think of themselves as having “distribution channels.” They think that “distribution channels” are Wal-Mart or Kroger or Amazon. They think of them as solely for retail offerings.

Well – let me tell you this is not the case.

Your distribution channel could be your monthly newsletter, your joint venture with the local chiropractor, the seminar you give and any number of other things that get you, your service or your product in front of the prospect.

You can tap into the upside leverage of these distribution channels by capitalizing on the relationships that you’ve already created.

The obvious example is the e-mail list. That is the internet marketer’s distribution channel. Many internet marketers might only sell an e-book to their list. But how could they capitalize on those relationships they’ve built with their subscribers outside of that basic sale of the e-book? Here are just a few ideas:

Offer an affiliate’s product.
Offer a follow up e-book.
Offer information through a different medium (DVD, CD).
Offer a deluxe package with a combination.
Develop a membership site.
Offer a group mentorship program.
Offer one-on-one phone coaching.

I could continue on and on, but you get the picture. So if you already have the distribution channel in place, you need to look for ways to maximize it. Perhaps you could create other peripheral services to offer prospects. Maybe you could create products based on your expertise. They key is to do what I discussed in yesterday’s post – leverage each relationship. You have more channels of distribution than you’ve probably ever given thought to – it’s time to discover their hidden opportunities.

Monday, October 30, 2006

You Have To Read This!

I'm going to briefly deviate from my discussion of the Business Drivers and tell you to go to Alwyn Cosgrove's blog and read it NOW! If it doesn't make you recognize the value of investing in your knowledge and education - nothing will.

Don't wait another minute to read his post...


P.S. - Make sure you're one of the 5%.

Your Relationships

Your relationships are usually an untapped area of upside leverage. Think about the various personal and professional relationships that you have. How are you currently leveraging them?

Could you bring together fellow fitness professionals and start your own mastermind group?

Could you assemble a group of trainers to put together a product - like I did with Fitness Riches?

Could you find a mentor through a current relationship?

Could you form a strategic alliance or joint venture with a local business person that markets to the same type of person that you do?

Could you get affiliates for your online sales?

Could you start your own "(Your Town)'s Best Businesses Group that not only referred to one another but also acted as something of a mastermind group?

Could you ask your clients or friends or family members (or anyone that you have a relationship with) for referrals?

Could you educate those same people for what you'd look for in an employee and have them refer prospective employees as well?

Could you gain knowledge or wisdom from anyone you have a relationship with? Could you present your current challenges to them and ask them how they succeeded under similar circumstances? Could you ask your clients - active and inactive - what you could do better? Could you borrow successful processes from anyone you know?

The potential upside of your current relationships is virtually endless. Don't miss out on the opportunities all around you.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Your Business Model

Now don’t let me confuse you. Your business model is different from your strategy. It’s essentially the means in which you use to achieve your strategy. Let’s say your strategy is to make $100,000 per year by converting complimentary sessions into paying semi-private clients.

Now let’s say your current business model is:

1. Charging $25 per client / per session and you work with three clients at once.

2. You use the Phil Kaplan “Pay As You Go” approach.

3. You rely on sessions to provide all of your income.

This results in the average “training lifetime” of your clients being 6 months and they typically train with you two sessions per week.

So this means that:

1. Each client has a lifetime value of $1200.

2. You have to do 1334 sessions to gross $100,000.

3. You’ll have to have approximately 84 clients over the course of the year.

Now, let’s say that you change your business model to the following:

1. Charging, on average, $30 per client / per session and continuing to work with three clients at once.

2. Using the EFT approach for billing and offering 4 and 12 month options.

3. You offer a 10 Week - Group Weight Management Program that 40% of your clients participate in at $349.

4. You offer an autoship supplement program that 50% of your clients participate in. Their average purchase is $80 per month and you get 25% of that ($20).

These changes in your model result in the following:

1. The average “training lifetime” becomes 9 months because of the change to EFT and the more comprehensive approach (including nutrition.)

2. So now, before any of the “back-end” revenue, you have already increased the lifetime value of each client to $2160.

3. If you choose to continue to work with 83 clients over the course of the year, you’ll make an additional $11,586 from your Group Weight Management offerings.

4. If you choose to continue to work with 83 clients over the course of the year, you’ll make an additional $9,960 from your autoship program.

5. If you do the same 1334 sessions, you make $120,060 from those sessions.

This doesn’t even begin to account for the money saved in marketing costs since the clients will be with you longer.

So, if you want to work about the same amount of time, you’ll make over $41,000 more by changing your model. If you’re happy with $100,000 and would rather work less, you’ll be able to reduce your workload by about one-third.

So if you’ve never given much thought to your current business model, start evaluating now. Look at ways you can improve client acquisition, lifetime value, etc. Add in other steps or dimensions to your business and watch your profits go through the roof.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Your Capital

The next “Business Driver” I’m going to discuss is Capital. This can be broken down into human capital (your staff), intellectual capital (your knowledge) and financial capital ($$$$).

Are you leveraging each to the maximum? Probably not.

Do you train your staff on sales, retention, generating referrals, delivering great service and overdelivering on what you promise to your clients? Do you train in semi-private settings or small groups to leverage your staff’s time?

If you can get each of your staff members to improve 10-20% in each area you’ll double your business.

Are you leveraging your knowledge by packaging it and selling it as a product, writing articles for publicity or giving talks to groups to pre-sell prospects? Are you training your trainers with what you know? Are you creating systems to teach your staff what you know?

Do you get the maximum return for the money you spend? How about your marketing dollars – do you track the ROI? How about the wages you pay your staff? Do you track performance relative to compensation? How much money do you waste on unnecessary stuff?

By studying these things you can become your own “Profit Expert” and reduce unnecessary costs or expenses and uncover untapped opportunities or underperforming areas.

It’s you’re responsibility as a business over to become an RO (Return On) Expert – you need to understand the return on your investments in all areas – money, energy, people, activities and opportunities. Think of it like investing money – why settle for a 1 or 2% return if you can get 10 or 20%?

Your business is your main investment – treat it accordingly.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Your Business Strategy

Your strategy is the real purpose behind your business. Described another way – your strategy explains your entire approach to doing business and how each facet of your business moves you toward your desired outcome.

Most fitness businesses have strategies that are reactive. They essentially fly by the seat of their pants hoping to generate enough revenue to pay their bills and get to the next week.

The first thing that you need to do if that describes you is to adopt a more proactive strategy that has a long term objective. So set out what you want for you and your business.

Do you want lots of employees? Do you want your own facility? Do you have a revenue or volume goal?

Decide the specifics of what you want – that’s where you begin.

Now look at other successful businesses in and out of the fitness industry and try to identify what their strategy is. Then work backwards and see what they’re doing to achieve their desired objectives.

Then it’s easy. Take your specifically define objectives and develop an operating approach that will give you the results you’re looking for in the shortest amount of time. Be clear on what specific actions, approaches and systems will bring you your desired outcome. Use the successful businesses that you’ve studied as your model.

Changing your strategy can yield huge results. I’ve seen some businesses double or triple their results in a matter of months by changing strategies and implementing the steps that lead to the desired result. In our health club – we re-defined our strategy and were able to see dramatic results in a month.

So here’s the Cliff Notes Version:

1. Define desired outcome.
2. Study other successful businesses.
3. Work backwards from desired outcome to current position.
4. Take action.

If you want to see how we approach this, click here:


Monday, October 23, 2006

The Upside Leverage of Marketing

Marketing may have the greatest upside leverage of any of the nine Drivers.

How, you ask?

Simple. A bad ad, sales letter or brochure costs the same as a good one. A bad sales presentation takes the same amount of time and energy but results in fewer (and smaller) sales.

So – where do you begin?

Know your numbers.

You can’t improve on an ad if you don’t know what the control (the marketing term for your base ad or letter) pulls. Figure out what each marketing attempt converts. Figure out what your closing percentage on sales presentations is. Figure out what your average package / program value is. Once you know these baseline numbers, then you can work on improving on them.

Here are three ways to get started:

1. Look at what your best salesperson or trainer does and have everyone else emulate him / her. If you have someone that stands out – maybe it’s you – then have other staff members model their behaviors and techniques. This doesn’t exclusively mean closing initial sales…this can mean who gets the most referrals, resigns, upgrades, supplement sales, etc. Model success.

2. Look at what other successful trainers do. Look at how they advertise and market. Look at their web sites. Ask them. Buy their products – both the ones that are geared for trainers and the ones geared for the general public. Don’t bother reinventing the wheel. Too frustrating and it takes too long. Take what others do and make it your own. (Do I really have to remind you not to steal people’s stuff word for word? Model successful trainers – don’t plagiarize them.)

3. Look outside the fitness industry. Look at other businesses that have discovered or refined approaches that produce great results. Modify them and make them your own. That’s exactly why I’m reading the book about Starbucks I mentioned in the last post. I’ve never even had one cup of coffee – but Starbucks has successfully captured the market that fitness professionals typically seek and have a tremendously loyal following among both consumers and employees (or partners - as they call them.) Good enough for me to want to learn more.

Then plug the things that you learn into your systems (you use the FCG Marketing Template don’t you?) and watch your business grow exponentially.

Upside Leverage

As you may already know, I’m a huge Jay Abraham fan. So over the next week or so I’m going to talk about what Jay refers to as the Drivers of Upside Leverage. Through my reading of his material I’ve come across nine of these Drivers, which are:

1. Your Marketing
2. Your Strategy
3. Your Capital
4. Your Business Model
5. Your Relationships
6. Your Distribution Channels
7. Your Services and / or Products
8. Your Systems or Processes
9. Your Ideology

So over the next several posts I’ll discuss each of these Drivers and how you can use them to yield more business and more profit.

On A different note – a while back I shared what I was reading. Here’s the latest update (I’m reading 4 books simultaneously…maybe that is an indicator of ADD – I don’t know.)

Why You’re Dumb, Sick and Broke by Randy Gage

The Metabolism Advantage by John Berardi

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (at Alwyn Cosgrove’s suggestion)

The Starbucks Experience 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary, Joseph Michelli

I’ll let you know if I think any are must reads - though from what I've read so far, all are very good.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Are You Ready For Change - Part II

Many of you may be wondering - "What the hell is Rigsby talking about - being ready for change? How's that apply to what I do?"

Let me elaborate.

I was talking to Alwyn Cosgrove yesterday and a couple of things we discussed led me to talk about change.

Alwyn and I are both fans of Thomas Plummer, the Health Club Expert. Thomas was talking about advertising and told Alwyn to invest in Yellow Pages advertising. Alwyn's response was something to the effect of "Which one? There are eight in my city."

Several years ago, placing an ad in your local Yellow Pages was simple and probably crucial - there was one per city (in most cities) and that's where people looked for businesses.

Today, not so simple - and I would suspect not so important. If there are multiple Yellow Pages in my town, I couldn't tell you - I don't own one. If I need to look for a phone number of a business, I go to the Yellow Pages online. Admittedly, I may be the exception - but if I am - I probably won't be for long.

Not so long ago, having a website was for "techies" and probably wouldn't help you with generating local business. Today it's dramatically different. My friend Brian Calkins generates virtually all of his non-referral business online. The health club that Nick and I own generates a significant number of leads online - and we're in small-town Kentucky.

Ryan Lee has made millions anticipating change and staying one (or two) steps ahead of the curve.

So are you anticipating change? Are you staying current with the trends and making the appropriate changes in your business? What worked yesterday won't necessarily work today. So keep up. And better yet - if you are a step ahead of a coming change - you can really prosper.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Are You Ready For Change?

Change is the only thing in life that you can count on other than death and taxes.

If you fight it, change will be your greatest enemy. If you embrace it and anticipate it, change will be your biggest ally. Nothing is more apparent than the effect of change on businesses - look around - you'll quickly see what happens to businesses that fail to keep up with change.

Businesses go out of business every day because they fail to keep up with change. If you simply view things as they appear - instead of staying aware of trends and anticipating what's on the horizon - you soon be left in the wake of the businesses that knew change was imminent and acted on it.

I graduated high school in 1990 - not such a long time ago (some of you won't agree...But I'm sticking to it) For those of you who weren't toddlers - how many people did you know in 1990 who used cell phones? How many regularly used e-mail? How about a CD player? Today in 2006 - have you tried to buy a audio tape (not to even mention a vinyl record) lately? Half of you probably don't even have home phones. Do you go into the bank to get cash - or do you go to the ATM?

It is said that the amount of information being published and becoming available is doubling every five years is more information today in one issue of a newspaper that the average person in the nineteenth century would have been exposed to in a lifetime.

Your prospects today are more educated and have more choices than ever before. They are more demanding, more knowledgeable, more price-conscious, and far less loyal. Because change affects a prospect just like it affects you, they're more uncertain, skeptical, and aware that they're at risk if they make mistakes.

Things change much faster than we imagine. And with that change comes threats, as well as opportunities to build your business. If you aren't keeping up with change, and your business isn't built to adapt to it, change will destroy it.

Are you ready?

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Weekend Mastermind

This weekend was fun around Fitness Consulting Group headquarters. Allen Hill of Fitness Website Design came to visit for a mastermind session with Nick and I.

If you aren't too familiar with Allen, he's easily the brightest mind in the fitness industry when it comes to creating and monetizing web sites.

So we brainstormed, presented issues to one another and worked on business building strategies. I thought you might be interested in a few of the points we addressed...Specifically when we worked on Allen's business. He's just a sample of strategies we presented to Allen to work on his business (see how they might apply to your business):

  • Develop completion plans for every task that is related to your business. Everything you do should be documented in such a thorough fashion that any competent web designer will be able to step in and produce the same quality of work.

  • Hire a full-time assistant web designer. Allen is swamped. Even as he's raised his fees, the demand for his services has continued to increase. People will pay for quality.

  • Develop a "labor guide." Growing up working in a garage help me with this idea. For every task a mechanic performs, he can look in a labor guide and have an estimate of how much time it will take to perform. Allen needs to do the same so he can give estimates to prospective clients and have a reasonable idea how long it will take his assistant designer (and future employees) to produce sites that match up to the quality he demands.

  • Hire a bookkeeper. Allen is a master of Quickbooks (and anything else performed on a computer) - but his time is too valuable to be spent crunching numbers.

  • Begin searching for a second niche market. The type of service Allen provides has been sorely needed in our industry, but I have no doubt that other industries have a void in this area as well. As soon as Allen has his systems and staff in place - there is no reason he couldn't go after a different target market as well.

  • Use you knowledge and skills to generate passive income from the "end user" market. As Ryan Lee frequently says - and we agree with - the big money is made selling to the general public. Allen needs to leverage his skills by using his ability to create high traffic sites that appeal to the end user and have strategies in place to reap passive income from it. We actually have a JV in the works that fits with this point - but he needed to refine his thoughts on it.

Allen is easily one of the brightest guys Nick and I have ever met. However, he still runs into the same problem that most trainers run into - he spend tons of time working in his business and not enough time working on it. It's easy an easy trap to fall in to. He makes a significant fee for the services that he provides - a substantial increase over what he made as a full-time trainer. It's easy to keep adding jobs because of the short-term gratification on the payday - but it is very shortsighted. Pretty soon, working 40 hours turns into 60 hours and in Allen's case - now 90-110 hours per week. Unfortunately, this approach usually leads to burnout, a shitty quality of life and a real distaste for your profession.

Follow along with me and I'll keep you posted on how Allen's business evolves. I have a feeling that the changes will astound you.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Time Leverage

You can make a nice income, but you're never going to get rich simply selling your own time.

Let me give you an example:

If you train clients (sell your time) at $50 per hour and you train 6 clients per day, the maximum that you can earn is $300 per day.

Not bad. But when you consider paying the club or studio if you're training there - or travel expenses and time if you go to clients' homes - not extraordinary.

Now, what if you hired a couple of trainers and were able to pay them $25 instead of $50?

You could provide them with your proven systems that consistently deliver results and any procedures that you follow.

Now you could spend more of your time selling their time. If you sold four of those trainer's time at $50 per session and still paid them each $25 per session, each of those trainer's providing six sessions a day would pay you $600 for doing no more work. Probably less.

This is a basic point, but one that is crucial if you want to make a lot of money. Selling your own time not only provides poor leverage, but also can wear you out - quick.

Does that mean you shouldn't continue to train. No. What it does mean is you should be constantly looking for ways to better leverage your time.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Creating Profitable E-Books With Craig Ballantyne

Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to interview my friend Craig Ballantyne about how he develops and markets his tremendously successful Turbulence Training e-book. If you've ever considered producing your own e-book, you have to read what Craig had to say.

1. How did you get started writing e-books?

Pat, essentially what I was doing was writing the same program over and over for my friends. Each of them was asking the same question - as it was about the end of University when my friends were starting jobs and wanted to get fit and lose some of the fat they had gained in University. So after a while I got smart and starting compiling all of the information into a manual - keeping what worked and dropping what didn't work. Eventually I had my first complete manual, which I called Get Lean. From there, I modified the workouts and re-branded the system as Turbulence Training.The take-home point from my experiences is that you must leverage everything you do. From writing programs to answering emails, I try to use the information as much as possible. So a good program will become one of my monthly workouts that I offer on http://www.workoutmanuals.com, and a client email q'n'a will become something I use in my newsletters.By leveraging your work, you decrease the amount of work you need to do for future projects, plus it makes writing an e-book much less intimidating if you have all that info stockpiled.

2. Who is your target market?

My specific target market is the 35 year old man with kids that has a long commute to work and a long work day. He's tired, he's busy, and he's stressed, but he needs to lose body fat and he want to gain muscle. He also needs exercise to give him more energy. However, he's not afraid of hard work, and wants a short, but intense workout. But he has to be able to do it at home, either in the morning before the kids get up or at night after the kids go to sleep. My target market is the typical Men's Health reader. From that description, you should be able to think of one, if not several people that you know. And for everyone out there reading this, I think you need to get that detailed with your target market. You should be able to describe him to this level, and beyond. If you are able to do that, not only will you prepare a great e-book for the client, but just as importantly, you'll be able to write good sales copy that appeals to the problems and emotions that your target market has. My business coach Tom Venuto helped me through this process. And as a result, we came up with a good site and great ad copy. We even designed the look and logo of http://www.TurbulenceTraining.com to look relatively similar to Men's Health magazine. Clean background, shot of a model's abs, and similar colors. That said, it's not only my target market that buys the book, nor is it only my target market that will benefit from the book. But when putting together your product and site, it is important to be specific.I've had men and women from age 18 to age 80 use this program. Single, married, or divorced, kids or nokids, the majority of men and women need to lose fat fast. So while my program is designed for a bit of a niche market, it's a niche market that is big and has mass market appeal.

3. What type of impact on your business has writing e-books had? (Freedom, Passive Income, Reduced Client Load, etc.)

It's had a significant impact on all of the above. But writing e-books is not something I stumbled into. I've been writing for years for the magazines, and I was working on my manual before I even knew that the opportunity to make a living by selling e-books existed.I put in my time in terms of both researching the book (university) and perfecting the application (training people for over 10 years), so now I've cut back and while I still work 60 hours a week, the composition of those hours has changed. At present, I only train people that allow me to learn and perfect the programs, and develop new manuals for my websites.

4. Where would someone begin if they wanted to develop their own e-book?

See my points above on leveraging your current writing. From there, go with what you know. For example, if you've been training 50-year old male executives for 10 years, don't write a book about helping women lose fat after their first kid. You won't have the experience or testimonials to back up and prove your sales copy. Once you have your topic and your niche market picked out, simply start with an outline. I recommend a book called "Info Millions" written by Bob Serling. Bob goes over step by step guide to writing a product. One thing to note is that my e-book doesn't contain a lot of chapters filled with written theory. I just sell a workout plan. My audience doesn't have time to read why this, that, and the other thing happen in your body. They just want to be told what to do so that they can get results fast.Another way to put together a book fast is to joint venture with other trainers or experts...exactly like you did Pat, with Fitness Riches.

5. How would they identify a target market?

Again, go with what you know. If you've been servicing stay-at-home moms, don't choose the niche of young athletes.Once you have your niche and you want to break it down even more, you might consider using this keyword selector tool:


Enter your keyword or keyword phrase, and this tool will tell you how many times the keywords have been searched on Overture in the last month.Fred Gleek, an information marketer who I have studied, suggests picking only niches having over 5000 searches per month. Otherwise, Fred believes the niche is not economically viable.Too many people tell me about their e-book idea that would only be of interest to about 1000 people in the entire world. You can't pigeonhole yourself. But at the same time, going too mass market and writing a book for everyone is not the best move either. Become an expert in an area, develop a hook, and go with that. NOTE: This will work for anything. So even if you (or someone you know) want to write a book on a topic outside of fitness, that's fine. Just follow the system. It's worked for thousands of people in dozens of industries.
6. How could they market their e-book?

You'll need to use a multiple-pronged approach, but think of yourself as just like any author promoting a book. The only difference is that most promotion should be Internet based. The reason I say that is because people are much more likely to go to your site if they get a link handed to them. The percentage (from our tests) of having people go from print media to a website is less than 4%.So you'll want to do Internet Radio shows, teleseminars, and conference calls. Do anything that gets your link in front of people while they listen to you.You'll also want to get an army of salespeople (affiliates) working for you. So send your e-book to people with big lists and see if you can write for their site/newsletter or do an interview. I find that when people interview me about my e-book, it makes for a great sales conversion rate - so if you want to interview me for your newsletter, just let me know.In addition, you can submit your articles through various article directories so that other websites can pick up your content and provide a backlink to your site.The lists are the key. So you simply want to get your website link, your name, and your product in as many targeted lists as possible. With all of the promo methods mentioned above, you should get some traffic and you can start building your own list - where you can continue to market your e-book.

7. What is your biggest "success secret" for developing and selling successful e-books?

Aside from the obvious, having a great product, the most important factor is getting your name in front of a lot of people.It's simply a numbers game.So you want to write lots of articles, get lots of content on your site, and get lots of other people posting your stuff and promoting your product. All of this will drive traffic to your sales page. On your sales page, you'll need a great headline (the headline is sometimes said to be responsible for 90% of your sales), good copy, and a great offer. If you have everything in place, then it's simply a matter of getting more people to your site.After that, great customer service and a back-end offer (like I have with my TT Membership) will ensure you have a long-term customer that you can sell to again and again.

If you're serious about launching your own highly profitable e-book, I'd suggest you study Craig's sales copy and pick upyour own copy of Turbulence Training at:http://www.fitnessconsultinggroup.com/turbulence.html

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Alwyn Cosgrove

I just got finished reading a new article on Alwyn's blog called:

Project Management - the future of personal training?

Very insightful stuff. I've talked to Alwyn about what he discussed in the article before and I think he's right on track. You can check out this article (guaranteed to make you think) at:


While I'm mentioning Alwyn, I've got to tell you - yesterday was like Christmas morning for me.

My new copy of his Program Design Manual arrived.

If you've read some of my previous posts you might know that we had a flood here in senic Elizabethtown a couple of weeks ago. I happened to be in Florida at the time so I couldn't rescue anything that might have gotten damaged. I mentioned that my now deceased lawn tractor washed away. Most of the stuff in the yard suffered the same fate. We also experienced some flooding in the basement - where I had temporarily set up my home office while we were doing some renovations upstairs.

Not good.

Being the information junkie I am, I had volumes of books, manuals, etc. downstairs. Any of it that was within a foot of the ground...Ruined.


I was upset about the tractor. I was upset about some of the books and things in the yard.

I was traumatized about the Program Design Manual.

If you have a copy, you understand.

Having a systematic approach to running every aspect of our businesses is something I'm pretty anal about. We systematize everything including taking the trash out.

Did I mention I'm anal.

When it comes to delivering consistent results to our clients, the Program Design Manual is the equivalent of our Bible. We based our own program templates on what Alwyn put together. It's kind of like my "training security blanket." If I want a new staff member to understand the right way to deliver results - I hand them the Manual.

So needless to say, I immediately contacted Alwyn to get a new copy ASAP. It arrived yesterday.

Like I said...a kid on Christmas morning :)

If you don't have a copy yet, you need to get one YESTERDAY! You can find it here:


It's quite possibly the most valuable resource a fitness professional can own.

And you can experience Christmas in October :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Don't Focus on Money

If you are in the pursuit of money for money's sake - and that is your main focus - no matter how hard you work it will elude you. Money is simple a currency for trading value or benefits. The sooner you take your focus off money and place it on delivering a better service, a more valuable product, a desired result or a tremendous benefit to the market - the sooner you'll start making real money.

The amount of money you'll make will vary according to the uniqueness of your product, the greatness of your service and the size or demand of your market...but the concept remains the same. Delivering greater value = reaping greater profits.

You can't focus on your clients or customers if you're focusing on the money.

Money is the by-product of delivering value to them.

If you deliver extraordinary value - people will pay significant amounts for the privilege of using your service or product.

Help others get what they want. In turn, you'll get what you want.

Monday, October 09, 2006

He's At It Again!

Just in case you've missed it, my friend Alwyn Cosgrove is posting regularly on his blog again. It will be daily reading for me.

It should be for you to.

Check it out at:


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Let The Buyer Beware

I've been talking to several business coaches / consultants lately - both inside and outside the fitness industry. Something that really astounded me was how few of them were willing to put their money where their mouth was.

No guarantees...but even worse...

...No equity option as a means of compensation.

See, a money back guarantee is great in most transactions - but in consulting it's still not the safest way to go for the business owner. Let's look at this for a minute:

If you offer a money back guarantee to your clients and they don't get the results you promised - they are typically not much worse off then they were when you first began working with them. In fact, depending on the guarantee (eg. - 20 lbs. of fat loss in 10 weeks) - they may be better off and still get a refund (10 lbs. of fat loss.)

If you're a studio owner that's business is in trouble and pay a business coach $500-$2000 (that you can barely scrape together) for advice on how to "right the ship" - if you don't get the results you were promised - you may not have a business anymore.

By my way of thinking, a better "guarantee" would be equity as compensation. If your business normally nets $2000 per month and the business coach's impact helps you increase that to $5000, then he / she should get a piece of the $3000 increase.

Is this option for everyone? Definitely not.

If you're business is already enjoying success, the fee may not be a problem.

If the advice results in a significant increase in profit, the coaching may cost more.

But, realistically, the people who probably need the coaching / consulting the most are the ones who would have the greatest difficulty affording it. And if the business coach has more at stake (like their compensation) - don't you think they are more likely to work hard to get you results?

Please don't take this the wrong way. You don't need to use this approach to hire a coach or consultant. But if you're strapped for cash, this might be the option to get the help you need. Either way, I'd be far more inclined to hire one who at least offered this option.

They're willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Are You Suffering From Burnout?

Last weekend at the Ryan Lee Bootcamp I talked to at least a dozen fitness pros who are suffering from "trainer burnout" and had no real strategy to escape from it. I suspect what they shared with me was common in our industry. Here are some of the "symptoms" that were common among these trainers:

1. Feeling like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Every day is the same...get up, train 7-8 clients, squeeze in a workout, go home. Repeat.

2. Training clients 6 days per week.

3. Feeling like they were on call...being willing to train clients anytime from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

4. Feeling like they were losing money if they took a vacation, day off or got sick.
5. Making at leasy 80% of their income from personally training clients.

6. Having no "exit strategy." Unless they changed professions, they'd still be training clients when they're 65.

7. Thinking like - or being - an employee. (I have nothing against employees...I rely on them. I just want my employees to think like business owners.)

If you find that you are experiencing some or all of these "symptoms", you may way to start putting a plan into action to avoid experiencing "Trainer Burnout." Here are some simple steps to start with:

1. Start creating systems. Just document everything that you do that relates to your business. Even if you don't have employees (yet) - still do it. Be as detailed as possible so that any random trainer could come step in for you while you were vacationing and your business wouldn't miss a beat.

2. Understand leverage. You can leverage your time by switching to semi-private training or providing group offerings. You can leverage your knowledge by creating information products. You can leverage the success that you've enjoyed by systemizing it and hiring an employee to replicate it.

3. Develop, Write Down and Begin Executing Your Plan. I've mentioned it before - but you have to set specific goals and document them. Start with a 3-5 year goal, then a 1 year goal and finally a 6 month goal. Obviously, the shorter term ones build upon one another to eventually lead to the long term ones. Review your goals daily and take at least one step toward your 6 month goal each and every day. Before you know it your 6 month goals will be realities and you'll be well on your way to achieving the longer term goals.

The next 5 years is going to pass by (quicker than you think) - what you do with it is up to you.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Decide Where Your Going

Direction is central to becoming successful. When you have your dream, you can then decided in what direction you’re headed.

Translate your dream into some easily definable short-term goal in a series of easy-to-accomplish steps that you can visualized. Put these goals in writing. Put them in a place where you can refer to them every day. Do not be afraid to share these with people you trust to be supportive, to help guide you. Start talking to people about how to ready your goals. All these things make your dream and your goals more real. They make you commitment real, rather than just being something buried in your head that you can easily forget.

This is where more people go wrong. They don’t know what they want. Without making that choice, people end up with whatever life gives them. And that gift is rarely real success.

Set clear, realistic goals. Goal provide focus and directions, and with them many things that seem difficult become easy. With clear goals, the steps to your dream often seem to just fall into place. Without goals, it can be impossible to decide what you need to do.

I know people that spend more time thinking about their fantasy football teams than they do about their business and life goals. It’s true and it’s very sad.

Write down what you want to achieve. Work backwards in incremental steps from that destination to where you are today.

Now start stepping.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How To Stay Poor

The two biggest enemies of learning are comfort and arrogance - either will cripple your desire to learn and grow. And when you don’t learn and grow, success will not only be hard to come by, it will positively avoid you.

The fact that you are reading this blog means you understand at least part of this message. But in business today, I can assure you that this problem is chronic. That’s true not only for people who need to educate themselves, but also for those responsible for educating their staff.

I have worked with studio and club owners who’ve complained that their staff weren’t doing their jobs, but who didn’t give them any training or support to develop their skills. The owners didn’t even bother to ensure that their own sales and marketing skills were solid.

They felt they knew enough.

Through their arrogance they closed off their own development and that of their staff. The only way for their business to go was down.

Comfort - The Enemy Of The Successful

There are those in the industry world who feel that even if they don’t know it all, they’re doing all right. They don’t, or won’t, make the effort to learn because they’re too comfortable. Without the pressure of losses, or obvious failures, they won’t do anything different. This is a certain path to lifelong mediocrity.

In my time in the industry (14 years), many trainers have come across the idea of continuous improvement. The basic idea is to always work to do things better. Unfortuantely - 10 times as many are satisfied.

Do you want to succeed? If so - you have to work outside your comfort zone to keep getting better.

Put time aside to learn something new and put it into action regularly. Not only will you become a more fulfilled person, but you’ll be miles in front of your competitors who just stay comfortable and do the same thing all the time.

Read books, read magazines, listen to audios, attend seminars, go out and see what your competitors are doing. See what people outside the industry are doing. Get involved. Get educated –everyday.


Monday, October 02, 2006

The Ryan Lee Bootcamp

I spent the weekend at the Ryan Lee Bootcamp and let me tell you - if you didn't attend, you really missed out. I can't tell you how many great fitness professionals I met or finally saw face-to-face after numerous e-mails and phone calls. The presenters were awesome, and I'm certain that anyone who attended left feeling Ryan overdelivered. So here are some random thoughts from the weekend:

  • Nick beat me to the punch (check it out at http://www.nickberryonline.blogspot.com) - in saying that if last year "Velvet Rope" was the underlying theme, them this year that theme was "Systems." I can't tell you how many people I talked to that wanted to learn more about how to systematize their business. Rest assured...I will be talking more and more about this during the upcoming weeks.

  • The difference between the really successful and ordinary is action. At last year's bootcamp Alwyn Cosgrove called out the audience about taking action and I took it to heart. While our businesses we already successful - it became obvious to me that I was thinking too small. There was no way I was going back this year not feeling like I'd really made some real progress in that 12 month span. I often hear people tell me about what they'd like to do, could do or should have done. Shut up and do it.

  • Inspiration. I don't know about you, but when I get to listen to people like Brian Grasso, Alwyn Cosgrove, Mike Boyle and Ryan Lee - and also have conversations with guys like Dax Moy, Craig Ballantyne and Zach Evan-Esh - it inspires me to be better at what I do. These guys (and many others) are unbelievably good at what they do, they've put in the sweat equity and have tremendous passion. I don't want to sound corny, but frankly I consider it being in the presence of greatness and it does nothing but help me improve. Hopefully you feel the same.

  • Industry Incest. This will be the basis of an upcoming post but, in a nutshell, fitness professionals do nothing but mimic other fitness pros. However, the truly successful ones are looking everywhere else to learn so they can stay ahead of the crowd. If you're serious about creating a tidal wave of new business instead of a trickle then start reading more than just Fitness Mags.

  • The successful trainers consistently invest in their education. Our group was having dinner with Ryan, Jim Labadie, Jason Hunter, Joe Stankowski and Todd Scott. The topic of information products came up and the fact that I had everything Ryan and Jim had done was mentioned. Jim even reminded me of an e-mail I sent him just making sure I had everything he offered...he found something he had taken off the market and I bought that in about 45 seconds. Ryan talked about how much he invests in his education and mentioned that all the most successful trainers are the first to buy products when he rolls them out. Heck, even though my tractor floated away in our recent flood - the thing that upset me most was the fact my copy of Alwyn's Program Design Manual got ruined. Most all of the top guys have coaches, belong to mastermind groups and take advantage of every resource they can. Do you?

  • Ryan Lee. Some people in the industry take cheap shots at Ryan, but as far as I'm concerned - they can go to hell. Ryan's Sports Training Profits program was the product that really got me fired up and moving. In a phone coaching session Ryan helped me sort through a few ideas and helped me really focus on developing the Personal Training Money Machine idea. He also has been the guy to keep me focused on innovating because he's always a step or two ahead of everyone else. He's a genius...but he's a genius that is committed helping improve the industry. If you're smart you'll be paying attention to the directions that Ryan moves in...what he does typically turns to gold.

I'll be posting pretty frequently over the next several weeks as my travel has slowed down. I gather Nick will be doing the same. We'll both be adding to the FCG site as well. After hearing what so many of you guys had to say, we're more motivated than ever to deliver as much information as we can to help you build your businesses.

Talk to you soon!