Stop Doing it All: 4 Partners to Help Your Fitness Business Grow

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Stop Doing it All: 4 Partners to Help Your Fitness Business Grow

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Boutique fitness entrepreneurship is a time-consuming, challenging career path. Studio owners have to be proficient marketers, savvy business analysts, employee managers, visionaries, and accountants, and that’s before adding in teaching, client communication, and retail inventory. 

In an industry that’s growing and evolving like health and wellness, it’s impossible to know and do everything that needs to be done to move the needle closer to your long-term goals. You need people you can trust in your corner, helping you identify and execute your to-do list so that you can actively grow your business rather than simply survive. 

Hire a Coach

You are ingrained in your business every day, but your coach has eyes on the entire industry. If you’ve been feeling trapped in a hamster wheel doing the same thing each week to similar or inconsistent results, it’s time to hire a consultant to help. 

Coaches are not one size fits all, but many can help you in a multitude of ways: 

  1. Determine your fitness business’s long-term goals and metrics
  2. Build systems to optimize your results
  3. Prioritize your operations to make the most of your time
  4. Fine-tune your sales pitch to increase your sales revenue
  5. Improve your retention and decrease membership churn
  6. Manage your staff and create employee protocols
  7. Create your pricing and ensure that your profit margins are sustainable
  8. Stay up to date on industry trends and norms

This list is not exhaustive, so if you’ve been trying to do it yourself and are ready to work with an expert in your corner, start by checking out our preferred partners. 

Find a Mentor

If finances are too tight, a mentor who has walked a similar path may be a good substitute for a fitness industry business coach. When looking for a mentor, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you looking for a formal mentorship program or a casual sounding board?
  2. Do you have a budget to join an entrepreneurial round table group, or are you hoping for more of an “older sibling” style of guidance?
  3. Do you already have someone in mind, or will you need to search for a willing mentor?

When you begin your search, start with your local resources. There are organizations that want to help you succeed and are free or have scholarships available. You’ll likely be amazed at how much is available if you know where to look.

  • Contact your local SBA and SCORE offices- they often have excellent free mentorship programs that can help on a more short-term basis or get you started. 
  • Ask for recommendations in your industry Facebook groups or local Chamber of Commerce. 
  • Invite a studio owner you look up to get coffee once a month to be a reciprocal sounding board.

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Hire Your Team

You don’t need to “do it all” to be a successful business owner. In fact, you will likely be more efficient if you have a trusted staff member helping you complete your action items each day. If your to-do list is longer than your hours in a day, it’s time to hire a studio manager. 

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to hire a manager, break down the process into manageable steps:

  1. Decide what, exactly, you need more support within your business. Are you looking for someone to take ownership of sales? An assistant manager who will oversee the physical studio space? Someone to handle staffing? A person to respond to client requests? 
  2. Once you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for, build a list of responsibilities, personality traits, and experience for the position, or download a sample task chart here. Even if you’re in a hurry to hire, carefully create your list of traits, skills, and tasks so that you hire the right person for the job the first time.
  3. Create your job description using the items from step two. You’ll want to be as straightforward as possible to streamline the hiring process and minimize back and forth with unsuitable candidates. 
  4. Take your time hiring. You’ll be spending hours together and will need to trust that they can take on a significant role in your business.  
  5. Thoroughly onboard your newly signed manager so they are prepared to excel in their new role. While you train, consider building an onboarding handbook that they can reference as they learn and you can use in the future. 

Join a Collective

It may feel lonely as you spend hours in your gym, but you’re in good company with thousands of other studio owners worldwide. Joining a group of other business owners to ask questions and offer your own valuable feedback is an excellent way to speed up the learning process and pool your collective experience.

Numerous types of business groups, from formal to casual, free to membership-based, cover every business topic imaginable. If a collective is your chosen route, select your top three and try them all to find your ideal fit.

  • Search for entrepreneurial groups in your area. They don’t need to be in your industry to offer valuable business insight. 
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce if they provide regular training and networking opportunities.
  • Fit Degree provides an incredible studio owner Facebook group where members can get advice from coaches, ask software questions, and crowdsource ideas. 
  • Join a modality-specific organization such as IHRSA or Yoga Alliance to be informed of upcoming educational events and meetups. 
  • Don’t be afraid to create your own group. There’s no rule stating business owners in the same industry have to be at odds. Create a local studio owner round table and work together to educate the public, share training costs, and raise awareness about healthy lifestyles in your town. 

Entrepreneurship can be lonely, be you don't need to do it alone. Choose partners to help you grow in specific areas and give yourself permission to specialize in what you do best. 

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About the author:

Niki Riga
Industry Expert
Limitless Studio

Niki has been a client, a studio owner, and a coach in boutique fitness for over a decade, and she can’t think of an industry she'd rather be in. Her favorite part about coaching and studio ownership are the same: she loves supporting clients as they push past their limits and achieve their goals. Niki became a coach because she was regularly asked, “how did you do that!?” by other studio owners who were drowning in the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership but didn’t have the support to grow their studio to its potential. She created Limitless Studio to partner with owners who have a vision for their business and are ready to implement systems to build the studio of their dreams.