By Josh Leve
As small business owners, you juggle everything. From marketing, accounting, human relations…oh and you’re probably training too. So how do you keep all those balls in the air? How do you make it all work, while generating the revenue necessary to pay the bills today and live the lifestyle you want tomorrow?
While it’s one thing to map out sales and marketing strategies, they won’t work without the systems in place to take your business to the next level.
At AFS, the Association of Fitness Studios (www.afsfitness.com), too often we hear members state they don’t have enough time to implement said strategies. Our rebuttal, while stern, is – you need to find the time. “Not having enough time” is the excuse clients give trainers. And just as we tell clients, “finding the time” is a management skill and all about setting priorities.
Think of it this way… a child runs into his father’s office at home and says, “Dad, dad, can you come out and play with me?” Dad says, “No, not right now son, I’m busy.” Then, a while later, the child returns and says, “Dad, Dad, I hurt myself real bad, I’m bleeding.” Dad now redirects his attention to his son because it’s now become a priority; he needs to take action. You need to do the same thing when it comes to setting up systems in your fitness business.
Simply put, creating systems builds a business. They are everything and they are everywhere. Here’s a great exercise to get you started. For a full week, take notes on everything you do. This means how long things take and the number of tasks in a given 7-day week. Map out everything. You could have a list of nearly 20 or more when complete. Such as …
- Teaching classes
Once you have your list, begin to strategize. Can you delegate certain tasks to others? Do you have a business partner who could be doing more? Would it be more efficient to outsource certain tasks such as accounting or cleaning?
Once you have begun to delegate and move things around, complete this exercise again after a month. How have the changes affected your budget and your use of time? Remember, you want to continue to increase your efficiency, especially if you plan on expanding your business to take on more classes, trainers, programs, etc.
Another exercise is to look at your business from the outside in. How is your brand being represented? For example…
- When a new member or client signs up, do they receive a welcome pack, an outline of your mission statement and core values? What about expectations and what to expect next?
- When someone walks in the door, how are they greeted? What information do they receive? What is their experience? Is it better than a competitor down the street?
- When someone answers the phone, is it the same welcome greeting over the phone as in person? What’s the process when someone leaves a message? It’s critical to get back to people in a timely manner.
These types of questions should become part of a larger goal within your business. Every action item needs to have a clear system to ensure you get the results you want.
Here are some more helpful systems you can begin implementing quickly within your business.
- Use the TRAF Method when dealing with paperwork
- T – Trash – unimportant items
- R – Refer – or delegate items that can be handled by someone else
- A – Act – on items that are important and urgent
- F – File – items to be handled later
- Make a “To Do” list each day
- Prioritize items
- Do the most important item first and work your way down the list
- Develop systems to help standardize work
- Write down every step of the process you use
- Review and revise
- Collect all procedures in a manual that can be used for training staff
- Update as necessary
Finally, it’s important that you – as a business owner – remove yourself from non-critical tasks. Delegate, consider getting an assistant, and trust your staff. Doing so will propel your business ahead faster than ever before. It takes a lot of work, but sometimes all that’s necessary is to patch broken systems or create new systems so they work for you. Remember, systems build a business…how quickly it grows is up to you.