A lot of trainers continually ask me what to do about increased competition. It seems our scarcity mindset likes to rear its ugly head and feed our fears that someone else doing what we do will negatively impact our ability to be succeed.

The truth is if you're at the top of your game increased competition almost always enhances your ability to succeed by creating greater awareness and ultimately a larger audience for your products and services.

As many of you may know I own and operate a very successful training studio in a small city (total population under 100,000) but what you may not know is that within 4 blocks there are more than 12 fitness-related businesses including: 2 training studios, a Crossfit gym, Jazzercise, 2 Pilates studios, 2 weight loss centres, 2 martial arts studios, a public gym and a Kettlebell gym. Additionally, there are also more than 6 complimentary businesses including an organic market, physiotherapy clinic, 2 massage clinics, 2 spas and more. In all you could say this is the fitness district.

This has never stopped our business from growing; in fact I often forget how many other businesses operate in such a near proximity, oh and did I mention we are also the most expensive?

Here are five things you can do to make sure increased competition is never a detriment and always a benefit to you:

5) Position yourself as the local expert by continually distributing valuable information to your community. Regularly post articles on your website, send them to the local newspaper in hopes that they may use it in their publications. Visit local businesses and offer to educate their staff and customers with lunch and learns and other free educational seminars.

4) Offer highly leveraged programs and resources that create opportunity for you to always deliver instant value. For example offer semi-private and group programs. Create deep discounts on the first month of service and ongoing small VIP discounts (ex. 50% off the first month and a monthly 10% VIP discount this can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars annually). If this isn't comfortable, raise your rates to where it is -- this small gesture makes new prospects instantly valued.

3) Captivate an audience and dial for dollars. Attend events, malls, and anywhere you can where there are a lot of people. Offer prizes and rewards in exchange for contacts to build your mailing list but be proactive. Contact each new person that you add to your list and pitch them a high value short term, no-obligation offer that they can't refuse. Combined with a systematic approach to conversion like this one you can grow predictably and continually.

2) Don't engage in emotional or reaction marketing. Too many fitness professionals leave next month's marketing until next month. Develop a calendar and plan ahead. If you've been in business more than a year look back and choose dates for major promotions that correspond with last year's major growth points. If you're brand new start by identifying holidays and important personal dates (birthdays, anniversaries, business anniversaries, etc.) and build themed promotions around these dates. Track the results to be able to revise and repeat in the months and years to come.

1) The single most important rule when it comes to competition was made famous by none other than McDonalds founder Ray Kroc; you must "create faster." They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery but never mention how frustrating it can also be. Don't be distracted by imitators, instead focus on continual improvement. As long as you are the leader you will never be negatively impacted by competition.

The only time competition will negatively impact your business is when you become distracted by it. When you become worried the ability to create is hampered, you defy logic and make more conservative choices. This has never served anyone I know well. And besides if I can thrive with so many competitors within throwing distance you surely can!

Cabel Mcelderry, now known as the Profitable Personal Trainer, struggled as a solo personal trainer for nearly eight years before learning the strategies he needed to transform his barely six-figure business to a seven-figure (and growing) training studio in just a couple years. His studio (One-to-1 Fitness), now 5 years old, has won multiple awards for business excellence. Cabel has been recognized as one of the top 100 fitness entrepreneurs in North America and is currently one of 50 nominees for Optimum Nutrition's Canadian Trainer of the Year. Cabel still trains a handful of clients as his passion to help others will never fade but has also evolved. Cabel now also mentors fitness professionals in an effort to help them achieve similar or better results than his own. www.ProfitablePersonalTrainer.com

Topic: Entrepreneur Web Column

Magazine Archives:
  • Entrepreneur: Copywriting tips for the fitness entrepreneur
  • Entrepreneur: Why your marketing never works
  • Entrepreneur: Red Bull gives you wings!
  • Entrepreneur: How-to turn good clients into great trainers
  • Entrepreneur: Recruiting an effective team