If you truly believe in what you have to offer and you know you’re helping people - be forward, be proud, and tell people exactly how you’re going to help them.
Writing this piece is something we have wanted to do as a company for some time now. I think a lot of coaches, trainers, and business owners try to convey their message by "beating around the bush" If you truly believe in what you have to offer and know you're helping people - be forward, be proud, and tell people exactly how you're going to help them.
You Probably Began Your Fitness Journey as a Coach or Fitness Trainer Because of Your Love of Fitness, but Now, Reality Has Set in - You Need to Make More Money.
Fitness is funny, it’s the one thing in life, that if you put in the work, the results will show.
You know that if you have sound nutritional and training habits you will reap what you sow.
Maybe, it was your love of sports that carried you to your current destination.
You were a competitive athlete your entire life and you wanted to guide others to do the same.
Perhaps you were overweight or uncomfortable in your own skin.
You wanted to help others show that it is possible to fight fear and change their lives through fitness.
That Passion for helping others runs deep in your body, mind, and soul.
You were willing to complete those unpaid internships, work the long hours for free, and wake up everyday at 4am to help your clients reach their goals.
What About Your Goals?
You trust that, as long as you keep “over-delivering” and being a “team player” that you will reap the rewards down the road.
How long down the road?
You may even work for an amazing company, but deep down you know, you can’t do this long-term. Even if you own your own business, you feel you can’t get ahead. You work for your business, not on it.
You see them everywhere, you know,
The motivational videos by Les Brown, Gary V, and others that tell you to put your head down and “grind.”
You feel if you continue to make a difference in other’s lives and share your knowledge with others for free, that you will help thousands of people.
Unfortunately, reality has set in.
Now, you feel anxiety, helplessness, and self-doubt. Can I really make this a career?
Can I create financial freedom for myself and my (future) family and live a life of fulfillment?
Like every coach who is just starting a business, you want to become the smartest person in the room.
We were no different.
Education is at the forefront of our company beliefs, but it will not be the catalyst for you creating a successful career for yourself and business.
You have to understand the FULL scope of the industry.
This includes becoming an expert, communication, your ability to sell, your ability to upsell, your ability to be creative, your ability to network, your ability to create a brand, your ability to lead, develop employees, and scale.
We are writing this guide to help you learn from every one of our mistakes and how you can create change in your career and business right now.
Establish Your Core Values, Beliefs, Culture and Brand First
“If you didn’t care about your community before, don’t act like you care now. Your core values and culture will always be the foundation of a successful business.” - Dan Goodman, partner, CEO Varsity House Gym.
When we consult coaches and business owners around the world, we constantly hear the same mistakes. Your brand is much more than the cool posters you have hanging up, the equipment you have, the color scheme, and imagery you use.
We’re talking about CULTURE and CORE VALUES. The nitty gritty that nobody wants to work on.
We believe there are three components to establishing a successful culture.
Establishing your core values
Establishing your vision
Establishing your intangibles
ESTABLISH YOUR CORE VALUES
You are going to live and die by your core values. It will be the basis for all decisions you make.
How you act
Who you work with
Who you choose to spend time with
Who you choose to do business with
How you want to treat your clients
How you carry yourself on a daily basis
The summation of the answers to the above questions will ultimately be the lifeblood of your culture and brand.
What Key Characteristics or Slogan Do You Want to Be Known For?
For example, here at Business of Strength we
Lead from the front, are transparent, hold others accountable, and are results driven.
These core values will be associated with your brand name. They will be seen on every piece of content you produce, on your website, on your social media, and most importantly, seen in you.
ESTABLISH YOUR VISION
Creating the perfect vision statement may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn't have to be. You don't have to reinvent the wheel to develop a powerful vision statement.
A personal vision statement is the first step in creating the blueprint for your career. It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day session grind. Take a step back, and look at yourself from a 30,000-foot view.
- What do I want to be known for?
- What do I want to hang my hat on?
- What career do I want for myself?
- Where do I see myself in 1, 3, and 5 Years?
Identifying these ideologies will help shape your vision.
A vision statement should be concise – a sentence or, at most, a few short paragraphs. You want everyone you come in contact with to know and understand what your vision for yourself and or brand is all about.
However, a vision statement needs to be more than a catchy tagline.
- What ultimate impact do I want my brand to have on my community, industry and world?
- In what way will my brand ultimately interact with customers and clients?
- What will the culture of my business look like?
If you want to learn more about how to create a brand in much greater detail that will stand the time of time you can learn more HERE.
Another strategy includes looking to competitors in your industry and see what their vision statements are. This will give you an idea of how to differentiate your business values from theirs.
There is nothing wrong with learning from other individuals in the field who have come before you. This is where inspiration can come from.
Lastly, don't be afraid to dream big once you gather all your information and get down to writing.
Don't worry about practicality for now – what initially looks impossible could be achieved down the road with the systems in place.
Work on shaping a vision statement that reflects the specific nature of your brand and its aspirations.
ESTABLISH YOUR SERVICE
You are a walking brand and individual company.
Now that you have established your vision, it’s time to see it through and implement it into the service you provide for your athletes and clients.
Your ability to OVER-DELIVER a world-class service will separate you from amateurs.
Creating world class services both in person and online is far more than “creating valuable content” on social media.
You have to be extremely client-oriented. This will make attracting new athletes, teams, and clients A BREEZE.
This is not another talk about implementing a training session, and programming.
This is MUCH bigger.
Customer service is crucial to EVERY fitness professional.
Fitness is the business of people working with people.
In a world where so many things happen virtually, EXCELLENT Customer service will make you stand out from the “Wannabe fitness professionals”
Establishing great service is all about the small details day in and day out that will separate you from the common clan.
Here are 3 ways to deliver World Class Customer Service.
Listen Well and Listen HARD to Your Customers
For starters, how do you know how a customer wants to be treated?
You ask them. This is the foundational piece in providing world-class customer service.
Ask them what they want. You need to cater to their wants while simultaneously sprinkling in what they need.
- You listen to your customer’s in-person.
- You listen to them by phone.
- You listen by email.
- You listen by distributing feedback surveys.
- You listen by doing exit interviews when clients terminate their training with you
- You listen by creating a suggestion box.
Every Client Needs to be Treated in the Best Way Possible…Differently
Another challenge to the Platinum Rule is that every customer is a snowflake— they all want to be treated differently.
World-class customer service is 100 percent about treating each person as an individual and catering to his or her unique needs.
That’s an art.
It takes focus, experience, creativity, and most of all a genuine service passion.
4 Keys to Addressing Individual Differences
* Love getting to know your customers
* Are authentically curious about what your customers really want
* Tirelessly seek to improve each customer’s experience
* Treat feedback like a gift
Education Should Be at the Forefront
At Business of Strength (and Varsity House Education) we pride ourselves on continuing education. We teach human health and sports performance through our flagship model, the VH Health and Performance System we’ve implemented with over 10,000 youth, high school, ESPN’s top 100, D1 All American, NBA, MLB, MMA, NFL, everyday gym goers, and CEOs of fortune 500 companies.
We collectively have spent more than $50,000 on continuing education so that you don’t have to. Here is The VH Health and Performance Model.
The Brain: Unlocking the neural e-break, culture, positive environment
Stress: Helping mitigating issues outside of the gym
Recovery: Implementing methods within the scope of training to help onset recovery
Breathing: Helping athletes breathe the right way for optimal performance
Posture: Creating optimal posture for health and performance
Stability: proprioception, stability, balance, and cognitive function
Gait Mechanics: Proper running mechanics for better performance and less injury risk
Speed is King: Creating an environment that allows athletes to get faster the right way
Everything Revolves Around GCT: Creating a training plan that revolves around GCT
Strength: Strength Work Supplements Speed, Power & Performance
Furthermore, we have other industry leaders from around the world contributing to our platform to provide you with as much information as it pertains to fitness, health, and sports performance.
Your Training Knowledge Alone, is NOT Enough
We’ve almost become desperate trying to show coaches, trainers, and business owners this. Too many times have we seen coaches go back to college in search of an easier path only to come out four years later, $200k in debt and the same problems they had before.
At Business of Strength, we put education at the forefront. We teach human and athlete performance extensively. You want to be the most knowledgeable individual in your area or even the country. It's obviously important for you to be good at your job.
You know what’s more important? Your ability to be good at creating success. In 2009, founder and owner of Varsity House Gym, Joe Riggio was training athletes and adults alike out of this 800 square foot space.
His priority? Becoming the smartest person in the room. He put his training knowledge above his business. This is critical initially, but it falls short fast.
Varsity House Gym, circa 2009.
Varsity House Gym, 2020 present.
Our knowledge on fitness and sports performance are important but they did not help take an 800 square foot facility into a 7 figure, 20,000 square foot facility.
Your ability to lead, manage, delegate, solve problems, market, sell, retain, refer, create operational systems, and scale will be the keys to success in your career.
The sooner you understand these concepts, the faster you will accelerate to the top.
Create Battle Tested Principles & Systems
In 2006 when I started the first Varsity House, I had no formal business training. All I had was a burning passion for strength & conditioning success.
I was getting incredible results with my clients. Consequently, my “business” grew fast. I call this the honeymoon phase. You are riding on the emotions of this initial spike of business. Looking back, this was still not a “business.” I was simply exchanging my time for money. I believe a lot of coaches and business owners make this mistake.
Just because someone is paying you for your service - does not mean you have a real business.
By my third year, I was ready to level up, partner up, and move to a larger space that could accommodate the growing business. Phase 2 of Varsity House gym was in full effect. This is when it became a “real” business.
We had more clients, employees, growing expenses, and unfortunately, more problems. We quickly realized that the systems, (or lack thereof), were the catalyst for our inability to grow. We had no HR, no real on-boarding process, no defined vision, no sales protocol, no employee development plan, and no battle tested systems.
In order to scale to the level we wanted, It was time to level up - again!
Another mistake we see, coaches who are too stubborn and refuse to seek out help. If you’re truly serious about creating a world class in person or online sports performance business - you need a coach.
In the book “Traction” by Gino Wickman he states that all companies are composed of six main areas creating the backbone of your business: Vision, Data, Processes, Traction, Issues, and People. Many small businesses only have pieces of these areas and very few have them all.
When we consult gyms around the world, another problem we see: most small businesses live within the “issues” list and are constantly putting out small fires that make up their entire day.
We define this as, “working for your business, not on your business.” The coach/owner paradox is a disease we see in the private sector sports performance industry. In order to work on your business you must create a consistent, repeatable, and measurable process that is written down, followed by all, and trained regularly.
This is operational Freedom. Your business will run like a well-oiled machine and the “systems” run themselves. This will allow you to focus on tasks that will move the needle of your business forward.
Give More Than You Take
“However much effort you’re putting in, multiply it x3” - Adam Menner.
When I broke into the private sector sports performance industry, I wanted to find success for myself. I wanted to be the smartest, I wanted to be recognized as world class, I wanted to be the one who others sought to be.
This led to a perpetual cycle of spinning my wheels, comparing myself to others, and constantly feeling like I had to “prove” I was smarter than others. Talk about exhausting.
It wasn’t until I shifted my focus to helping others, my team, providing as much value to my community, and documenting the process, that I was able to accelerate my career as a coach now business owner.
When you learn to remove your ego and serve others - great things happen.
I’m not saying don’t work hard and hone in on your craft. I’m saying don’t do it for yourself, do it to help as many athletes, people, coaches, and business owners as possible.
What’s the point of becoming incredibly knowledgeable if you don’t share with the world?
When I first started working at Varsity House, I was making $179 a paycheck every two weeks, working 60-70 hours, 6-7 days a week.
I was focusing on me.
I wanted the attention.
When I put my ego aside and used all $21,876 dollars on continuing education in both performance and business for the betterment of the company and others - GREAT things happened.
I was able to become a partner with Joe and Dan at Business of Strength, create a sister company, Varsity House Education, be featured in NY Times, NBC News, train NBA Athletes, but most importantly, serve others.
This leads to the question, how can I serve others?
Serving comes down to your ability to swallow your ego, do things without any expectation, show up, and understand that your name doesn’t have to be on the front page of every endeavor.
There are three areas that I consistently show up and give more than I take.
Your Employees and Team
You’re only as great as those around you. I spend a significant amount of time checking in with our team. I ask “how they are, what’s going, where they need help, is there anything you need from me.”
I want them to experience and create success. This will only be done if I put them before myself.
If you’re a one man show - help other coaches, trainers, and business owners. Connect with others. Genuinely offer your services, seek to learn, and don’t expect anything in return. Overtime, these relationships syou nurture will come back around to help you when you need it most.
Service Your Community
It always baffles me when I see coaches and business owners try to “make it online” before they have even made a dent in their own community. How backwards is that? The people that are right in front of you looking to be serviced, you put on the backburner.
Become a local “celebrity” before you even think about trying to service that coach in another state or country. Attend all sporting events, community get togethers, donate to charities, show up to all town events, and most importantly be present.
I make sure I call every parent of the athletes I’m working with.
I write hand written cards to all of my adult clients and their families.
I attend graduations, weddings, get togethers, and sporting events in my community.
Send personal emails for no reason to check in with your clients.
Hop on the phone for free when others call to ask questions.
Give away your BEST programs to your athletes for FREE to show you care.
I try to build real relationships with these individuals because I care. In the process of doing so, document your approach. As a byproduct, you will attract other like-minded coaches who see the success you have. This will open the door to helping individuals around the world.
The best gift you have to give others is yourself. There is only one of you. Be yourself, let loose, and show others you’re a real person. In 2020 and beyond, social media is only going to grow and mask the “realness” if you will, of people.
As soon as I became more selfless, it was freeing. I could give two craps about what people through because I know I was putting my best foot forward everyday to make a difference in the lives of others. The results? This led to more success.
We Are Building a Culture and a Community That Will Stand the Test of Time
At Business of Strength, we have built an entire company to help you build the career and business of your dreams. We want nothing more than to see you be proud of what you built.
We made too many mistakes and experienced too much success not to share with the world. We’ve worked with other 100 coaches, gym, and business owners from around the world that we are PROUD to call our friends.
The real mission of the Business of Strength is to create a community of like-minded individuals who can all learn, grow, and experience success together.
We pride ourselves by showing we care. In a world where marketing funnels, scammy products, and half-asses services are too prevalent - we want to make your business our business.
We will never have our community implement strategies that we have not implemented on our own business. We try to exemplify the gold standard by living in the trenches every day.
Most importantly, we are open, honest, and transparent. If we made a mistake or feel we implemented a strategy that did not work, we take full ownership of our mistakes. We will always be forthcoming with our business.
These are the principles that will stand the test of time. Nothing can surpass the strength within our, and hopefully your community.
If you would like to hop on the phone so we can talk about teaming up, please fill out the form below so we can get more information before we hop on the phone, free of course.