These are undoubtedly difficult economic times we are facing and they aren’t about to end any time soon so what does this mean for your PT business? If you’re doing okay in your business there is a tendency to stick to the same strategy in the hope that it will continue to deliver the same results. But this is not a wise strategy in any environment and especially in today’s economic climate. To maintain a thriving business you have to keep changing and adapting because the environment is always changing and changing at an ever increasing pace.
So here are the first 5 strategies which you can apply to your business right now to ensure that you not only ride the economic storm but thrive in it.
Build Your Core Foundation
Define your core product, the thing that you specialise in. This means creating a niche for yourself and the narrower and deeper you go the better. If you continue to try to compete with every other personal trainer out there you will struggle. If you can stand out from the crowd and be the best at what you do for a distinct market your chances of success improve greatly. Time spent defining your product and exactly who it is for will be time well spent and will help you to focus your marketing activities so that they deliver the greatest return.
Trim the Fat
Take a good look at your business and consider where you’re getting a good return on your investment and where you are not. In times of economic recession it is an excellent time to look at ways that you can become more effective and more efficient in the way you are operating. For small businesses, and particularly for independent service professions like personal training, it is often time that is being wasted, even more so than money, on activities that don’t create a profit. The tendency is to start cutting back on costs and this usually means cutting down on marketing and advertising which is a mistake. By all means assess your marketing in terms of its effectiveness but anything you are doing that actually brings in customers and brings in revenue needs to be prioritised, not cut.
Watch the Numbers
If you want a successful business it is essential that you get on top of your finances and I mean get really good at it. If you’re one of those people who dislikes numbers and figures, and who only really thoroughly looks at your accounts once a year, then finances will get the better of you eventually. You need to understand what is happening with the numbers to really understand your business. You need to spot mistakes so that you can adjust what you are doing and spot the successes so that you can do more of that. Remember that the numbers are always historical. They tell you what has happened financially so you need to be looking at your accounts monthly as a minimum and I would encourage daily and weekly number activities to ensure that you are truly the master of your finances.
A business exists to make a profit; a profit which can produce cash for the business or for you or enable you to own a benefit i.e. the lifestyle you want. Many small businesses will go bust because they don’t have the cash available to meet their basic needs as it’s all tied up in the business. When the banks aren’t lending these businesses often have no option but to fold. If you want the lifestyle, whatever that may be for you, don’t ignore the numbers – master them.
Get the Most Out of Your List
By your list I mean the list of clients you have on your database and if you don’t have a database or list yet then start building one. One of the key ways to increase your profits is to find ways to increase the frequency with which your existing customers buy from you. Your customers are proven buyers and potentially loyal to you and willing to invest in other services and products you have to offer. To sell to these customers is relatively easy and virtually free because you can do so by phone or email so there are no big marketing costs. Of course this means getting creative and developing additional services and products for your target market but if you have created a niche for yourself and know your market well this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Follow Up Every Lead
Wasting leads, letting potential customers slip through the net, is common and easily done. But in an economic recession you simply can’t afford to do that. It is inefficient and means that a large part of your marketing investment is being wasted. There are numerous reasons for wasted leads. One of the most common is psychology. People give up too soon either because they don’t enjoy rejection or they don’t want to pester or hard sell. Another reason, I’ve heard admitted, is simply laziness. People just can’t be bothered to carry out the tasks involved in following up a lead. Lack of sales skills is sometimes the cause with people not knowing how to make their prospects make a decision. Other times it’s because no system has been devised for the consistent follow up of leads.
Whatever the reason, the result is not good for you, nor is it good for your potential clients. If your purpose is to serve your clients, and if you believe passionately in the benefits of the service you have to offer, then failing to follow up your leads effectively means you cannot fulfil that purpose.
Discover the next 5 strategies to recession proof your business in next months’ newsletter.
A tip from one business owner to another
The easy road is always the hard road in the end. The hard road is always the easy one in the end. Choose carefully.
Yvette Nevrkla is author of The PT Business Gym book and founder of The PT Business Gym, a business which provides business support and resources specifically for personal trainers.