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Your Personal Training Business Culture

Posted November 23, 2009 in News, Blog

Over the past decade, I have had the opportunity to work with (and within) countless different fitness organizations. Add to this the extensive exposure which I have had to prospective PFP clients, companies for whom I have conducted sales and motivational seminars, as well as all of the individuals and groups which I have spent time with at conferences, training seminars and fitness and sporting events. During all of this time I have had the cumulative pleasure of getting to know a great many fitness organizations and their cultures.

But what do I mean by Personal Training Business Culture?

Every workplace in the world, regardless of industry or intent, is a completely unique sum of all of its moving parts. It is impacted in infinite ways by its locale, community, managers, ownership, products, clients, level of success, attitude towards growth, sales approach, so on and so forth. In fact, if you were to interview different individuals who comprise your organization, and ask them what motivates them to be a part of the team, you would certainly get a variety of answers.

Perhaps some are building a career in an industry that they love, others will be there simply in exchange for a paycheck, and others are only there until something better comes along.

Your corporate culture is a sum value of all of these interconnected attitudes, personalities and contributions. Each of the individuals in your team, from your most junior part time receptionist to your most senior Personal Trainer, have the ability to impact your club business culture and therefore your bottom line profitiblity.

Over time, the culture of your organization will change and evolve as a result of maturity, growth, key personnel changes and management initiatives. In order to evaluate Personal Training Business Culture within an organization, I ask two simple questions.

Firstly, do you have a monthly revenue or sales target for your organization or department? It is rare that I see anyone who doesn’t have some type of a monthly goal. However, the answer to the follow up question really separates the wheat from the proverbial chaff.

What are you doing to ensure that you reach that target number?

Wow. The seconds that follow that question reveal more about an organization, it’s key players and its potential for growth than anything else I can imagine. In fact, more often than you can imagine I hear things like:

    “We’re hoping that the current marketing piece really makes an impact.”
    “I hired a new Trainer who says he really drove numbers at his last club.”
    “We’re hoping that the economy has finally turned a corner!”

More often than I wish to admit, I have even heard:

    “I’m crossing my fingers that we have a big month.”

Oh dear.

You may be asking yourself what these two questions have to do with club culture or PT Business Culture. In short, these two questions reveal nearly everything about the effectiveness of your management strucuture, the motivation of your sales and service providers, as well the general motivation of your team to be successful.

At the end of the day, it has everything to do with expectations of success and motivation. Does your team want to be mediocre? Does your team expect to fall short of targets? Are they motivated to be the best?

These are the questions that you need to ask yourself. If you don’t have individuals that are doing everything possible, every month, to exceed goals and expectations, then you stand very little chance of growth and success, and therefore you do not have a strong Personal Training Business Culture.

I don't know how many times I have heard senior club managers jump to the defense of underperforming team members who are completely negative in their approach to their jobs, claiming that they are "really a great Trainer"!

Why are you in Business?

A very savvy Club Owner and Business Consultant once stated to me, early in my career, that I would be surprised by how many people out there are not in business to make money. It seemed like a ridiculous idea, but my experience has proven his theory to be correct time and time again. I repeatedly find myself exposed to operators who seem to be in business to a) indulge their own ego’s b) cater to staff ego’s or c) just keep the doors open. None of these motivations can possibly lead to a successful Personal Training Business Culture.

If operating a fitness facility were a game, then net income would be on the scoreboard. Are you winning?

With no further ado, I would ask each of you, regardless of whether you own a chain of clubs, or if you are an Entry level Personal Trainer, to ask yourself:

What are you doing to ensure that your company exceeds expectations this month?

If there is no answer to that question, than I think that you need to take a long look at your company’s Personal Training Business Culture. Do you have the desire, need, approach, personnel, management etc. to win? If not then perhaps to is time to make some changes.


Sean Walpole CPT, MTS
seanw@edgefitnessconsulting.com
(646) 736-7868

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