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A few years ago, I was at a sticking point in my business; I felt like I had lost my momentum and couldn't quite find that "secret sauce" again. What had worked without fail for my business in the past, was no longer working and my resiliency and tenacity as an entrepreneur and as a fitness professional was certainly put to the test.

I sought out advice of one of my mentors. She told me I needed to take a step back and simply "listen to my business." And as many good mentors do, she didn't detail exactly what that meant, but left it to me to explore, interpret and apply.

Based on her advice, I wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to "listen to" or what I should "listen for;" but I began looking at different aspects of my business where I may be missing something. I thought the obvious first step would be to survey my current clients. But we were already doing this on a regular basis; and while always valuable, I found that most of their answers were somewhat predictable and their feedback was relatively easy to address.

I realized what I needed to do was start looking for the feedback that may not be as obvious but could be what undermines our potential success. So I sent a survey to our past clients (and kept their identities anonymous) and asked questions that I knew would give me answers that would probably be uncomfortable to face:

- What is the primary reason you are not continuing with us?
- If there was one thing you would change about your experience with us, what would it be?
- If there was one thing you could tell our leadership team that would help improve our member experience, what would it be?

The feedback distinctly highlighted the aspects of the business that were in greatest need of energy and attention and gave us concrete feedback of what to prioritize. These same questions are now on an exit survey and as a result, we've seen a direct impact on client longevity and the satisfaction of current clients.

What we need to be listening for in our businesses is often what is the hardest to hear. All businesses ebb, flow and evolve. But if we're so intensely focused on doing things a certain way and fail to stay tuned-in we may be missing significant opportunities.

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