The word 'non-negotiable' insinuates exactly that: it's non-negotiable. I've found that integrating a few non-negotiables in both my personal life as well as in the professional realm for my business keep me accountable to those specific actions that will keep moving the needle forward.

There are four non-negotiables in my business that, if I keep accountable to them, have a direct impact on growth and keep me from wandering away from my core.

1. Listen to your business
If we actively listen to our business, we're more likely to discover strengths, weakness and opportunity we ordinarily wouldn't be seeking. What are your clients asking for? When you look at your revenue numbers, what is working and what isn't? Are you pushing a program or service that just isn't producing or isn’t efficient? Are you surveying and asking clients about their experience or what they would like to see more or less of? What are prospects asking for that you may or may not be offering?

Continue to actively listen to your business the way you actively listen to your clients in order to serve them better. When you listen to what your business is telling you (not simply just what youthink you should or shouldn't do) it often presents the most meaningful answers and solutions.

2. Tweak and test (and repeat) until you find your secret sauce
Many fitness professionals get burnt-out long before they've really discovered their "secret sauce." Defining your business and not allowing flexibility to evolve can hamstring longevity. This non-negotiable is really an extension of the first; listen to your business, then tweak and test what you're doing over and over until you hit that sweet spot. The sweet spot where you are meeting a need; you've discovered how to market and sell it (including marketing outlets and strategy); it can be systematized to make it easier and more efficient for you; and most important, clients see value in the service and are willing to pay you for it.

Start by taking what you are doing now and make a small tweak that you think could improve the service, test it out and see how it works. This process should never end in your business; so train your mindset to always be looking for opportunities to better your service and how you can get there.

3. Train your mental muscle to be so skilled at sales and marketing that it becomes easy, automatic and fun!
Sales and marketing for many professionals ends up on the bottom of the list. The reality is that if you can't communicate what you do and why potential clients should pay you for it, once again, the longevity of your career in fitness will be limited. Like any other skill, it must be understood, practiced and honed. You might start by dedicating at least one day a week or 30 minutes a day to read about sales and marketing or listen to a free webinar. Next time you attend a conference, commit to attending at least one or two sessions on growing your business. Whenever you're around other professionals (whether in fitness or another industry) ask them what's working for them in their business. Make a focus on sales and marketing a business non-negotiable and you will surely see the impact in your business.

4. Sell them what they want, but give them what they need
I often hear from fitness professionals, "I love what I do so much I would do it for free." By nature of what we do, we are altruistic. However, making money is not an issue, we need to bridge the gap between helping others and making a living out of doing so. This non-negotiable does just that. Find out what it is your clients really want and pay attention to the exact words they use to describe it. Use those words and feelings to communicate with them how you can get them the results they want. You know that once they begin to work with you, you can help them achieve those goals... and what they really need; but you have to get them in the door first!

Use these four non-negotiables as examples to create your own business non-negotiables. Track your progress; continue doing what's working and stop doing what's not; and always be looking for the greater opportunity.