If you’ve been following my advice and have an assistant or two and a few full blow employees under you, you know that you’re day is still filled from morning to night with new things to do. The work (or a better word is opportunities) do not go away just because there are more people to do them.
You may have even become a bit of workaholic. But this is different from what your parents may have done, if they were busy working people from morning til night. Because if you have a fitness business, and you’re managing time correctly, time invested should be leading to more money. That means you’re really a cash-a-holic, and that’s one addiction you may not want to cure.
When that happens, you’ll want to make the most out of every minute of the day, and look to outsource, delegate, or eliminate anything that you don’t want to do or does not bring money back into your business. Always look aggressively at your schedule and think of what can be eliminated or delegated. You may want to have a piece of paper and list every single thing you do in a particular week, and evaluate what needs to go. If you work from a computer for large periods of time, then a program like RESCUE TIME will log all of the time you are spending on different tasks for you. And nearly every single personal service you have today, including grocery delivery, can be outsourced (Fresh Direct). So if you’ve been using the excuse that you don’t have enough time, join the club – that’s not an excuse any more.
NOTE: If you so chose, you can always keep your business in a holding patter for a certain amount of time, and just refine and systematize it, and have fun with the rest of your day. While this isn’t possible in many fields because of the intense competition (for example if a chiropracter stops aggresive client acquisition strategies, she/he will soon be out of business) this is a DEFINITE reality in personal training. If you have acquired your group of loyal, high paying clients, and are doing all the things we talk about on this blog, then keeping them and getting a steady stream of referrals coming in from them can be achieved easily. You will see many Top-Level Trainers make over 6-figures for years on end without so much as a website, once they’re established. The rest of this post is for those with rapid growth aspirations.
One more more important thing you always need to make time for is more learning. Stephen Covey called it “sharpening the saw”. I liken it to lifting weights. If you’re not putting in new information, your brain will get flabby. A weird thing I started doing to get in as much new learning as possible is having an iPod speaker system in my bathroom, so I can listen to audiobooks whenever I’m shaving, showering, or whatever else us humans need to do (I’ll save you the details).
However, if you’re more into reading than audiobooks, I have few book for you that has short, 2-3 page chapters. It’ll help you make the most of your time in the jon, and help you get back to your business with more pep.
Before you dismiss any of this as just corporate advice, realize that your niche or marketplace is like your corporation with much of the same dynamics. These lessons will apply there as well. Here you go:
HOW TO BE A FIERCE COMPETITOR
This book, by Jeffrey J. Fox, is an excellent book on the harsh reality of competition in today’s business world (if you have a fitness business, even a small one, you qualify). Pick up some of the points he talks about in the book and make them your own. Or if not, just pray that no one competes with you that does.
Here’s a list of the chapter headings from the book, along with a few pointers from each of the chapters. This makes a great list to print out and refer to again and again.
The Fierce Competitor Company – Fierce competitor companies relentlessly, tirelessly, continuously, do whatever they legally can to pursue and capture ever profitable customer.
Bad Times Are Good Times – Good, akways surviving, fierce competitors hunger for new sales, new customers, new revenues, new products, new technologies, new geographies, new channels to markets, new brands.
Hustle. Hustle. Hustle. – “We do not have 100% market share. There is business to get. Go get it.”
Leaderships Is Not “Pushership” – True leaders don’t push the soldiers, the employees, the sales people. Leaders push themselves. They push themselves through the tough times into the good times.
The Difference Between Leaders and Managers – The simple biggest difference between leaders and managers is the tolerance for ambiguity. Leaders can deal with ambiguity, can deal with not having all the facts, not having all the data. Leaders make decisions, big decisions, midcrisis, decisions, without certainty of the outcome. Manages don’t.
Know Your Company’s Raisond’Etre – Everyone in the company must know why the company exists – it’s raison d’etre.
Manage As You Would Invest – Good companies and great leaders invest to strengthen their enterprise and to take advantage of competitors that do not.
“I Visit Customers In Stores” – Know what’s going on at the point of sale. Know what the customer wants.
Always Answer The Phone – Never let anyone out work you. It is noteworthy that he or she that is at the proverbial “right place at the right time” is the hardest worker.
Pile Up Cash – Winning companies are managed to maximize cash.
Be Ever Fearful – Being ever fearful makes you ever watchful.
Show Fearlessness – Leaders face the fearsome.
Play “What If’ Games – “What if” games expose weaknesses, in both the company and the competitors.
Leadership Is Full Disclosure – Leaders most create a “no fire zone” atmosphere in which every employee can ask any question, question any decision, without career consequences.
Get A Kitchen Cabinet – Leaders are surrounded by ambitious executives who have private and personal agendas.
Always Have A Plan – Fierce competitors always plan, and always execute, execute, execute the plan.
Stay Off Magazine Covers – Great leaders do not waste management and marketing time seeking to get on the cover of BOSSADACIOUS magazine. Instead, great leaders and managers care far moer about getting their stories of their products, grateful customers, and compelling case histories into the magazine and on television.
“I Never Made A Dime Talking” – WACADAD: Words are cheap and deeds are dear.
Never Take Your Hnad Off The Tiller – You can’t steer if you don’t have the wheel.
Control Or Roll – If you can’t control an event, have a plan to contain fallout.
Get Out Of The Office – Spending time in the office insulates leaders and managers. Absent marketplace reality, without customer facts, the conversation gets inbred.
Walk Areound The Company – Leaders walk, visit, watch, ask, listen, hear, help, praise, give credit, say “Thanks”.
Never Forget The Third Shift – Every contributor counts.
Be Obsessive About Execution – The fierce competitors are obsessed, possessed with the execution of their game plans for success.
Get Rid Of Executive Parking Spaces – A company’s VIPs are it’s customers. It’s customers get the VIP parking spaces.
Fight Unionization – In the same marketplace, a well managed unionized company loses out to a well managed non-unionized company … every time.
People Are Not The Most Important Asset – Profitable customers are a company’s single most important asset.
Nurture Those You Hire And Acquire – To nurture is to provide clear goals, a safe and friendly workplace, good tools, first rate training, and wise and instinctive management. To nurture is to nourish, protect, challenge, mentor, coach, politely give constructive feedback.
Prune All Deadwood – Deadwood employees don’t produce results.
Bulldoze All Silos – In business parlance, a silo is a company division, or unit, or department that is deliberately managed to stay apart from the rest of the organization. Like the Balkan countries, silos war against each other instead of outhinknig the competition.
Broom Out All Bureaucracy – Bureaucracy is anti-simplicity and anti- commonsense.
Scoop Up Newly Available Talent – New talent brings new energy to the compnay and raises performance standards for all.
Forget About Pedigress – Pedigrees are for dog shoes and horse breeders, not for impact players.
Pay For Performance, Not For Activities – Pay for knockouts, not for punches.
Continuously Rip Out, Tear Out Bad Costs -Rip out costs. Purge waste and inefficiency in whatever form. Use the savings to deploy and launch a new product.
The Do and Don’t Cut Lists – Good companies, due to great leaders, stay cool and calm in economic crises and have the dicipline, conviction, and courage to do the opposite of what hunker-down managements do.
Forget Monthly Reports – What leaders want to know is what will happen next month, next year, next decade.
No Money, No Meeting – Meetings must be measured in money minutes.
Be Fanatical About Selling – Every day fierce competitors are smashing phones and anything else that interfers with the way they sell.
Don’t Fire Sales People – Don’t fire the people who bring in the money that pays for everything.
Hire Fiercely Competitive Sales People – The one performance factor that distinguishes the rainmaker from the ordinary sales person is that he or she sells more.
Banish All Selling Thieves – “Selling time” consists of face-to-face selling, presales call planning, and skills training. Activites that steal from selling time are big, small, abvious, invisble, and insidious.
Always Conduct Daily Meetings – Investing ten minutes every day in a sales meeting will jump start revenues.
The Big Opportunity – Great managers keep their best sales peole int he field – selling, selling, selling.
Never Cancel Batting Practice – In additino to not cancelling preseason training, never cancel batting practice, Your people might strike out.
Double The Training Budget – Fierce competitiors train, train, train so they can sell, sell, sell.
Love That Cranky, Fickly, Demanding Customer – Cranky customers can crank the cash register.
Fire the “Strategic Customer” – Good customers are those who are net profitable to the company.
Customer Service Is A Survival Strategy – Being good to your customers builds a new sales force, a new advertising media.
Worship At The Altar Of Quality – Winning companies worship at the altar fof quality and always werve hot food hot and cold food cold.
Get Rid Of “Mr. Ought-to-Be” – When it comes to customer rquests, great managers are “Yes men”.
Always Leave Flowers, Floor Mats, and Footprints – Good companies are not shy about letting their customers know they love them, that they care, that they did and do good work, that they showed up.
Don’t Cut Prices – Don’t cust prices. Do add value.
You Are Never On Vacation – Good companies are never on vacation, and if they sell to vacationers, the red carpet is ever out.
Lock, Load, and Launch – Lock in new product concepts. Load the new product pipeline. Launch new producst and services.
Sue The Blankety Blanks – The second you learn of a theft, a breach, a counterfeit, a counterattach, call you lawyers. Call all to arms.
Welcome Serendipity – Companies should concentrate on what they know. But they should not be so rigid, so myopic, as to outright spurn the serendipitious discovery.
Go Green! – Educated customers, regulated customers, and pro-environment custmers are either voluntarily choosing green products or are being compelled to do so, even paying premium price premiums.
Be A Master Gardener – Tend yur people like you would tend a garden.
Summayr: Characteristics Of The Fierce Competitor Companies -you’ll have to read this one for yourself.
Whoa! That was 60 all together, and if you just read through all of them, you’re head may be spinning. A lot of these principles were very advanced and only for mature companies. But if your goal is to have one of those some day, then you surely saw the value in them. For some more details, get your hands on the book. And keep thinking big.
In case you missed them, here are the two previous installments of Kaiser’s Book Club: