A culture, in simple terms, is a way of life of a group of people – it is the behaviours, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept – generally without thinking about them. Typically, culture is passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
When it comes to your fitness business, developing a strong culture is critical to building and retaining a loyal community of clients and staff as both you and the business grow.
By getting the culture right:
- Clients pay early and upfront;
- Clients (and staff) how up ready and waiting to be part of a workout;
- Referrals flow naturally; and
- Everyone loves being part of what you have created.
But when culture goes wrong:
- Clients will leave the business just as fast as they signed up;
- Staff become demoralised and will quit and poach clients to open up shop across the street; and
- You may question if this career path is something you truly want to continue doing with your life.
Here are seven (quick) tips to create a winning culture in a fitness business and have more fun along the way as you grow:
1.Know What You Stand For
Your values serve as the foundation of your business – this is why it is so important to not only take the time to define them, but keep them front and centre.
- Live by them and teach by them;
- Hire and market to them; and
- Be sure to fire (negative clients or staff) to them when necessary.
If you get lost in your business or are unsure of which direction to turn look to your values. Shape your decisions by them. Hold yourself accountable to them. They will inspire you and others to grow in the right direction every time.
Although each business will have different values, there are commonalities which generally include:
- Personal Responsibility;
- Honesty, Honour and Integrity;
- Commitment to Excellence;
- Continuous Improvement/Development;
- Leadership, Mentorship, and Coaching; and
- Giving Back and Making a Difference.
2. Have a Big Why That Inspires Everyone around You
Your purpose is what gives your company heart.
It is what inspires you to get up and go to work to serve your clients on the good days, the bad days, and the ugly days when times are tough.
You will know you have got your purpose right when it lights a fire in your belly. And, when it inspires others to want to be part of your purpose too then you have definitely got it right.
Here are some examples of purpose (or mission) statements from fitness businesses:
“To help people live a larger, happier, and healthier life”
“To inspire others to reach their full athletic potential”
“To help athletes and coaches be better”
“Empower clients to achieve their goals and fulfil their dreams.”
Mission statements should align the entire business, and teams, to do what it/they need to do.
3. Know Where You Are Going
Growth companies and communities (and yes that includes you even if you’re a solo personal trainer working alone at the moment) always have a big mission.
They have defined where they want to go, they have a dream, and, therefore, they have a goal.
The most common missions are called “target missions.” An example of this could be to have ‘X clients across Y locations by DATE.’
When you have your mission defined, it will lead and guide your short- and long-term business goals and priorities. It will also aid decisions when other opportunities pop up.
You will then need to answer the question, “Does this align and support my mission?” Without this clarity it can become to easy to be distracted by the latest bright shiny object or fad of the month going on in the fitness industry. Therefore, do not let yourself become distracted.
Your community wants, and will crave, leadership and, as the leader, you must step up and say, “This is where we’re going!”
4. Have a Plan to Make It Happen
A goals without a plan is a pipe dream.
Once you have got a mission, it is your responsibility to develop a plan to make it become reality.
You know how to do this already, because it is the same thing you do with your clients every day. They bring the goal, you then develop a plan to help them make it happen.
Now it is time to do this for your business too! A good plan will inspire your team and give them confidence in your vision (as well as give that vision some context and meaning).
It is vital that staff know what needs to happen in order to get to where you (and the business) want to go.
5. Enrol Your Clients and Team in the Mission
Everyone wants to play for a winning team, and everyone wants to feel like they have contributed and will be part of the journey to make it happen.
Many exercise professionals and business owners keep their dreams and plans locked away in their head. They do not talk about their goals or plan to anyone, let alone enrol others in supporting them with the mission.
Do not make that mistake, and do not be afraid to publicly declare your goals and mission. This will help to inspire your clients and staff to be part of something special.
6. Market and Hire to the Values, Purpose, and Mission
Once you are clear on:
- What you stand for;
- Why it is important to you; and
- How you are going to get there,
Let your values, purpose, and mission inform all your important decisions.
Looking to take on a new trainer to help with your clients? You could give them some tests that will reveal character and demonstrate how they align (or do not align) with your values and purpose.
The same principle applies when you are marketing to bring new clients in the door. Share your values and let your community know what is important to you. Tell your story and what has inspired you to join the fitness industry full time.
The right people will not only want to be part of what you are building, but they will be inspired to share and tell others about you too.
7. Have Fun along the Way
At the end of the day, building a fitness business is hard work. – but it can, and should be, fun.
When you create and nurture a great culture you can attract and build a powerful community that makes it a true joy to get up and do what you do each and every day to help positively impact your clients lives.