The start of the New Year always brings a sense of excitement, hopefulness, and it's a great time to give our business mindset a fresh start. However, it's easy to fall into some common traps. Here are three business strategies you want to avoid as you set-out on your 2014 fitness business plans.

1. Avoid setting a goal to attain a specific number of clients rather than setting a clearly defined revenue goal.
As fitness trainers, we often define our success by the number of clients we have. Whether it's the number of one-on-one clients or members. Let's set a focus this year to work smarter, not harder. Having more clients does not always equal optimal income. Set your goal revenue (weekly, monthly, and yearly) and then figure how many clients you need to achieve that goal. If the number of clients divided by your per session or membership rates are not in sync, it may be time to revisit your rates or get creative with the services you offer or need to offer in order to fill the gap. There is always a ceiling for the maximum number of clients you can take on at any given time; focus on working toward a revenue goal and you’ll see how it will force you to get creative and think outside of the box.

2. Avoid marketing or advertising where you can't test, track, or monitor direct responses from your potential consumer.
Direct-response marketing should be your primary venue for marketing because it provides metrics that allow you to determine if you're getting a positive return on your investment and test what's working and what's not. It's tempting to just throw up your logo or catchy new advertisement in the local paper; while this may have value, be sure that you setup the ad copy to track a direct response. Entice the reader to visit your website and enter a specific code in order to get a special service or download a report (this is actually simpler than it sounds if you’re a website novice – ask your web designer or someone with web experience how they can help you do this). Some of the most effective direct-response marketing opportunities currently include Facebook ads, email marketing, and even text message marketing.

3. Avoid starting your year without a master business calendar.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. The best way to setup your year so it's productive and profitable is to create a master calendar for the next 12 months. Map out your major events, programs, promotions, holidays, etc. Start with the bigger-picture events like special promotions or major programs (i.e. transformation programs, holiday specials, major events) then work your way into the smaller details including your regular email marketing campaigns (weekly or bi-weekly), social media campaigns, new member drives, and client appreciation promotions. Reevaluate your calendar monthly as your business evolves. Everything is flexible, but by investing valuable time upfront, you will create a solid foundation for your business.