Monday, February 26, 2007

Time is Your Most Valuable Asset

If you spend every cent you have you can go train someone and earn more money. In this sense the amount of money we can have access-to is infinite. Unfortunately, we all have a finite amount of time on this earth. If we waste a minute, we have lost it forever.

While this may seem intuitively obvious, amongst the fitness professionals I meet, this one simple principle is the most important yet underappreciated principle of business. Let me describe one conversation that I had with someone inquiring about business coaching that is representative of conversations I have had time and time again with different fitness professionals. We will call the fitness pro Jeff.

Pat: Tell me how your business is performing relative to your goals.

Jeff: Well we are doing OK but I know we can do better.

Pat: If you know what to do, what is keeping you from doing it?

Jeff: I always get interrupted and I can never find the time to work on new projects or grow my business.

Pat: Is your business profitable?

Jeff: Yes it is. But I know I could easily do better.

Pat: How much would you like to make in the next twelve months?

Jeff: After all expenses $150,000.

Pat: Do you believe that this is a realistic objective?

Jeff: Absolutely.

Pat: How many hours a week would you like to work?

Jeff: 50 hours per week and I would like to take 5 weeks vacation (including holidays).

Pat: So Jeff, that means you would like your business to earn about $64 for every hour that you work. ($150,000/(50 hours x 47 weeks)).

After an examination of Jeff’s workweek, it was obvious that he was involved in a number of activities that were not worth $64 per hour. If Jeff spends 35% of his time working on tasks that could be handled by a $15/hour employee he is either going to have to work a lot more hours than he wants to, or he is going to have to get his business earning more like $90 per hour for the balance of the time he works.

Now, I am quick to advise fitness pros to be careful with how they spend money. But Jeff’s penny pinching was not in his best interest. Jeff was trying to save paying an assistant (about $12,000 per year). But, by trying to save money it was costing him considerably more. He was not having fun and he could have been implementing changes that would yield him more like $50,000 in additional profit (4 times what he thought he was saving).

As a fitness professional, the most important decision you make is what you spend your time doing. Fitness pros that I meet who work too many hours and do not make as much as they want, often treat their time very causally. Typically, they do not plan their day and tend to be reactive. Often they do not even keep a schedule outside of their sessions.

Rarely can they tell you how they actually spent their non-training time.

Conversely, successful fitness pros plan and track their days and their week as carefully as they spend their money.

I recommend that you emulate the successful fitness pros. Think about what will give you the best long term ROI [Return On Investment] for your time. Do not be distracted by saving a few short-term dollars if you have an opportunity to create something that will generate returns for you year after year.

If you want to really maximize the value of your time, check out:

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Foundation For Success

A while back I began talking to one of the sharpest guys in the industry, Jeremy Boone, about
how our thinking patters ultimately dictate our success (or failure.) I'm going to share
an interview I did with Jeremy as well as an opportunity to take the same test that I, Alwyn
Cosgrove, Craig Ballantyne, Kelli Calabreese and countless others took to help set the stage
for us to be successful.

You can check the interview out at:

And if you're really interested in seeing 'why you do what you do' and how you can use that information to become more successful, more fulfilled and have a more lucrative business - you owe it to yourself to take the Mindscan at:

Talk to you later.

P.S. - Did you know that you'll be able to see Alwyn Cosgrove, Bill Hartman, Charles Staley, Chad Waterbury and a host of other extraordinarily smart fitness pros at J.P.'s Summit in April? If so, why didn't you tell me? If not, I'll have more information soon - as this seems like it will be one of the few 'must attend' events for successful fitness pros.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Marketing ROI Formula

Here's a simple form you can use (actually you can cut and paste into a form) to see what your return on investment is for any marketing piece or tool you use.


Marketing or Advertisement:



Insertion date:

Cost to produce ad or piece:

Cost to run ad (if additional):

Total ad cost:

Profit expected for each sale:

No of sales to breakeven:

No of enquiries from ad or piece:

No of sales from ad:

Return on investment – (No of sales from ad x profit from each sale – total ad cost):

Return on investment divided by total ad cost x 100: (% ROI)

This can work for ads, mailings, referral cards - anything you product and can track. You'll quickly get a picture of what works and what doesn't.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Direct Response Marketing Concepts for Fitness Pros

There are several key concepts that fitness professional must focus on to become an effective direct response marketer:

1. Targeting your audience
2. Responsiveness of the audience
3. Cost per response
4. Cost per new client acquisition

Let's start with targeting:


For most studios we are typically focused on a three to five mile radius from your facility. The reality is that many factors influence how far someone is willing to drive on a regular basis to your studio.

Some of these factors include:

1. Whether you are in a rural or suburban or urban environment.
Generally the denser the population, the busier the traffic, and the more choices available the less distance someone is likely to drive. This computation is further complicated by factors such as whether someone is traveling into or away from the city center to get to your location. Whether you are dealing with youth in sports training or adults as clients, and the general characteristics of your area.

2. Psychological barriers such as rivers or interstate freeways. People tend not to cross major barriers such as these.

3. Ease of access and familiarity of location. If you are in a familiar retail area with recognizable land marks clients will likely drive further than in an unfamiliar or hidden area.


For our private club we get a heavy pull from quite a ways east - which is actually heading into another small town. Much less distance pull from the south and east towards the city center (people are less likely to drive away from the central urban area for services).

We have natural barriers to the north of us – the Ohio River. In our marketing efforts – my results improve substantially if I can focus on the more responsive areas.
Once you have figured out the likely willingness to drive to your area - almost all of your marketing efforts should be focused on targeted prospects within those geographic areas.


Really think about who your business draws currently. You usually are better off to target what you've got - obviously that category of people like what you have to offer - than target what you want.

If you have a heavy sports training clientele it may be smarter to try to find more of the same than to attempt for example to attract adult executives. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't from time to time broaden or expand your market – but these changes really start from within first.
Again, It is often most profitable to expand within a successful niche than to attempt to be all things to all people.


What is the average median income of the clients who you appeal to?
Really look at your existing clientele and figure out who you appeal to and expand upon that.


Can you narrow down some common characteristics of your clients.
What other activities do they participate in. What community organizations do they belong to? What are their occupations?
What is their common educational background? Any demographic or psychographic predisposition that you can narrow in on will help you attract that type of client with your other marketing efforts.

Starting from Scratch

You may be tempted to go the other way and say to yourself - who would I ideally like to attract? There is nothing wrong with that approach except the following reality:

Whatever you are attracting now - indicates who you appeal to most easily. Do you have a generally median income clientele that train at your off the beaten path studio? If that's
so - before making a major push for higher income clients you'd better look at your facility, your location, your service, and your business structure. No matter how much you want to appeal to a given clientele - it will do you no good unless you really have every aspect congruent with your desires.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bigger Isn't Always Better

Most fitness professionals believe that the bigger the business, the more money they’ll make. More clients equals more profits and a bigger staff results in a bigger paycheck.
The reality is more staff, more clients and bigger business might result in more gross revenue – but it doesn’t necessarily equate to more profits.

You might find out that you can gross $30,000 in a month – and still not make any money after all the staff, landlords, advertisers, and insurance bills are paid. If you have a business running nicely with two full-time trainers and you add another full time -
with no other changes - everyone just has 1/3 fewer clients!

If you have a high profit studio running in 1000 square feet - and you add 2000 square feet to ‘grow’ - with no other changes - you know what happens? You have the same number of clients with three times the rent.

Make no mistake - everything else being the same - a higher gross revenue is better than a lower gross revenue - it's just that revenue doesn't equal profits and, size does not equal success.

Anytime you make a decision to increase your square footage, add a trainer, or upgrade your facilities - make sure you have all the steps in place to make sure that these changes effect not only the revenue but also effect the net. In fact, if you figure that bigger facility, more trainers, or new equipment will just add enough to your gross to pay for the extra expenses – don’t do it. Bigger is almost by definition - more complicated, risky, and difficult to manage.

Instead, focus on maximizing every asset you currently have. Try to earn more profit per square foot, per trainer and per client. Look for way to enhance the lifetime value of your clients and leverage you existing resources. Only after you’ve done everything you can with what you currently have should you consider expanding.

Monday, February 05, 2007

How Long Is Your Shadow?

I must admit -the title and part of the basis for this post came from Roy Williams, a.k.a. The Wizard of Ads. Mr. Williams is arguably the most prolific advertising expert in the world today. He also has a keen understanding of human nature (helpful in advertising) and something he once wrote prompted me to talk to you about 'your shadow.'

If you're lime many fitness professional's , your business thrives and grows until it reaches the length of your shadow. Then the problems arise. Longer hours, no vacations, less time with family, constant e-mails and phone calls just to keep up with the monster that your business has become.

So you consider hiring trainers to help alleviate the workload but you're convinced that no one can do the job as well as you can. Finally you give in and hire someone and pass them a couple of clients. They 'drop the ball' on collecting a payment or updating a program and you lose the client. You try to train train the new trainer as to how things should be done - but it's always just come naturally to you. Finally you just throw in the towel and decide it's just easier to do everything yourself.

You don't own your business. Your business owns you.

My dad has a business like this. Even though he has a couple of employees, if he wants to take a vacation - he closes the doors and accepts that he'll make no money while he's gone. He's good at what he much so that the business relies on him constantly delivering the service.

It doesn't have to be that way.

If you start systematizing your business today by document each and every step you take to do what it is that you do - before long you'll have a detailed map someone else can follow to deliver the same results that you do.

Then you can take a vacation.

If you want to learn how to completely systematize your business, you need to check out Alwyn Cosgrove and my new product at You'll soon have your business automated to the point that you'll barely remember the days of training clients at 5:30 in the morning and 7:30 at night.