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We're already coming to the end of another year of business. Most entrepreneurs use this time to start laying out plans for next year, however, I believe that before embarking on a marketing strategy or growth plan for 2012, we need to take a close look at 2011 and dissect what worked for our businesses and what opportunities we can capitalize on that were not there a year ago.

Here is a simple checklist to help you create a solid foundation for your next successful year of business:

1. Schedule a day or several hours to remove yourself from your "element." Don't take any phone calls and don't be tempted to open your inbox. You may even think about renting a hotel room or going to a cafe or library... but give yourself the time without distraction to spend a few unadulterated hours with just you and your business.

2. First, reflect over the last 12 months and write down your top five successes and your top five "teachable moments." For each of your successes, bullet point the action steps you took or decisions you made that led to that success. For each challenge you faced, bullet point how you can better make decisions next time or what lessons you learned so you don't repeat those same mishaps. Writing these things down will hold you accountable in the future.

3. Survey your current clients. Use free online survey websites like www.surveymonkey.com or create a simple email questionnaire to have your current clients give you feedback on what parts of your program or services they most enjoyed or least enjoyed. Ask what other services they may be interested in and look at these as opportunities to grow and serve your clients better. This is also a great opportunity to get testimonials from your clients for your website or other marketing materials.

4. Survey your potential clients. If you have an email list or connections with people who know you are a fitness professional but have yet to purchase your services, there is likely a reason why. Survey your potential clients with a simple survey to get feedback about what types of programs they would be interested in, what they are missing from their current fitness routine, why they haven't worked with you before, etc. The responses may provide you with great insight on how you can offer new services to expand your reach.

5. Review your current business systems. Do you have business systems in place (i.e. new client systems, marketing systems, social media systems, etc.)? If you do, how can you make the systems more efficient? Can you outsource or delegate any part of the system to allow you to focus on another area of your business? If you currently do not have systems in place, what are the top three systems you can simply create that will have a direct impact on your business? (Be sure to read Leanne Ellington’s article in the November-December issue of PFP where she talks in depth about creating systems for your business).

6. Set a specific action plan: weekly, monthly and quarterly. Be specific and detailed with your revenue goals and growth strategy. Break your goals down weekly, monthly and quarterly and assign a specific day either every week or a few times a month to revisit your plan and be sure that you are still on target and not getting distracted.

The New Year is a perfect time to refresh your focus and reframe your mindset for success. Be sure to savor your successes of the last year... this will be your driving force as you embark on 2012!

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What is your average annual income for your fitness-related work/business?