I’m reading another new book. “Linchpin” by Seth Godin. I’m not that far into it and I already love it. The main reason I love any book is actually two reasons in one – it gets me thinking in a different direction, and inspires me at the same time. If a book can do that in the first 10 pages, I’m in - as long as it keeps a good pace and doesn’t stray. Seth usually stays right on target.
Today, I want to discuss a very important topic he nails in the first 10 pages. It has to do with you being indispensable. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a business owner or someone simply trying to advance your fitness career. You need a big fat YES answer to the question, “Are you Indispensable?” Because if you're NOT, well then, you could be in for BIG TROUBLE.
In other words, in your place of business and in ALL aspects of your life, would those around you fail to thrive in your absence? If you're not that badly needed, you’re in big trouble.
How’s your street corner?
Growing up in Southern California I had the opportunity to work side by side with Mexican-Americans. In some cases, they were men we hired RIGHT off the street corner where they would gather each morning hoping to be chosen for work that day.
There was no real extensive thought or evaluation that went into choosing them. It was almost as if the quickest and most assertive one to the back of the truck got the day’s job. Many went home each day, wondering no doubt if they would learn to survive on the northern side of the border. Each of them in his own way was dispensable, replaceable, and just another cheap form of labor needed to get the dirty work of the day done.
The only difference between them and I, was the fact that I had a relationship with the owner of the construction company. But it wasn’t only that. I also was a terrific soccer player in my day and at that particular time, played on an indoor team with the owner. He and I both knew that this work was only a summer job for me, but as any owner would, he preferred me over another Mexican guy who couldn’t speak English and was otherwise disconnected from the core of the operation.
Today I want to think about your fitness business in the same way I've described this experience.
Your street corner is the place where you do your business - working with clients to advance their health and fitness goals and, if desired, guide them toward true and lasting body transformation. Is your street corner studio unique enough to survive the long run? Or are you just another gym that someone can choose from when they finally decide to move away from the couch. Because if you are just another gym, you will NEVER survive.
One of the most important pillars of your street corner is your staff, especially your fitness trainers. If you are not careful in your hiring process, you will end up choosing from that street corner where the workers wait. And in the end, you will end up with a staff that is not only dispensable, but undesirable, uninspiring and guaranteed to suck the energy right out of your fitness business. That’s why your recruiting for fitness trainers is so essential and that’s why it should NEVER stop.
The other part of this that I want to mention, is that I believe, you should ALWAYS have your business structured in a way that allows you the financial freedom to hire at the very least 1 part-time fitness coach. Now, if you're paying close attention, you know that for me and my fitness business, this is no longer the case. That's because I've made too many mistakes over the last 5 years, and I have other goals with my fitness career right now. Push that aside...
Great fitness professionals who are passionate about what they do, can think for themselves and afford the ability to inspire and care properly for your client base - the lifeblood of your fitness business. And if you’re not continually sifting, sorting, and screening your lifeblood, well…soon you’ll be dead.
To find out more about our recruiting system on Exercise Careers.com and how well it’s worked for so many others, you can read more about it at:
Soon, you too will be choosing from the cream of the crop like Shana is…
PS If you're interested in reading a whole lot more about my unique situation, and all of the mistakes I've made and that I'm willing to share, you can read my Founder's Notes blog.
PS I know this post got a little long but the topic is important and vital to your fitness business, so I hope you made it this far. Included below is an absolutely appalling "about us" page I ran across today from a nationwide chain of gyms. A perfect example of being “dispensable.” My comments are in RED. And I have done my best to keep the company confidential. And in no way do I personally claim to be perfect.
About US…(the most important page on your web site by the way. Make sure it’s a good one – I still need to clean up a few of mine. For one of my best, click here.
Company was founded in Year by two fitness industry veterans (explain this to me. I want to hear the story. Tell your story) who believed that the traditional health club model wasn’t meeting the needs of the vast majority people (whatever that means). They started Company to give customers more of what they really want out of a fitness membership.
The result is a simple, yet revolutionary fitness club concept: an extremely affordable, family-friendly facility that offers state-of-the-art cardio, strength and free weight equipment (These are ALL features, NOT benefits, and there is nothing here to backup their “revolutionary fitness club”. I'm ready to walk away already).
Company is focused on offering more value than most other gyms in three areas: Quality (more value in quality? What does that mean?), Convenience and Price (This statement is so weak, and mis-directed I think I’ll just let it speak for itself – if it even can). We achieve these goals by locating our gyms close to home, offering lots of world-class equipment and providing excellent kids' room facilities (More features – how will I personal benefit from this stuff).
Our knowledgeable, friendly staff, non-commissioned sales force (this is supposed to make me feel more at ease I think) and local management combine to make Fitness 19 the club for families who want a healthy lifestyle without the hassle or hefty cost. Come check us out! (This is as weak as an offer can be, painful to see!)