When I started my fitness business 12 years ago as a solo at-home personal trainer, I so keenly remember sitting in my Volkswagen Jetta, looking down at a check I received from my first client and thinking to myself, “Wow, someone is actually paying me for doing this… and we haven’t even had one session yet!” The feeling was exhilarating. That same exhilaration lasted for the first few years of business. Possibilities seemed limitless, and taking actions and risks that felt like big leaps at the time, I took without fear of failure. Maybe it was because at that early point in my business it seemed like there was not as much to lose.

As my business grew, so did the stakes; especially once I opened a studio. Employees, payroll and staff management. Rent checks, landlord issues and facility management. Bigger marketing campaigns, greater expectation for sales and ongoing member management. Growing budgets, increased expenses and more complicated money management. What was once my simple, one-person operation with relatively simple management, became a far more complex web of management and challenges.

But as my business evolved and matured, those “big leaps” became more difficult for me to take. The stakes were much higher and there was much more to lose. As an entrepreneur, we’re often told by coaches, mentors and influential voices to “just take massive action,” because big risk yields big reward, right? While I know this has merit, instead of being excited about taking “massive action,” the thought would paralyze me to indecision and inaction.

When I lifted the pressure of feeling as though I had to take big leaps of massive action in order to experience success, and stopped downplaying the importance of taking baby steps, I felt momentum immediately shift forward. And perhaps more importantly, that once exhilarating feeling I had from my “simple” business returned, and operating my “more complex” business felt a whole lot easier.

This issue is all about keeping your pace moving forward, whether you take big leaps or small baby steps:

- Joe Drake talks to us about the realities of business partners… the good and the bad and deciding if it’s a fit for you.

- Success in fitness can’t come without effective marketing and sales. Lynn Coffey and Mike Gelfgot share strategies for web marketing and overcoming prospect objections.

- Long-time PFP contributor and industry veteran Greg Justice shares a heartfelt tribute to the life and legacy of Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield in our Journey to Success profile.

As the leader of my business, taking baby steps toward a goal gets me there quicker than just thinking about taking big leaps. For others, big leaps are the preferred mode of attaining success. In the end, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re keeping pace and moving forward. Don’t we tell our clients the exact same thing?


P.S. Be sure to keep handy our annual Hot Companies section included with this issue as you plan for 2018. We’re featuring the best companies for equipment and services to help you prosper!