What You'll Learn You are a business owner now. You own and run your own business. The first thing you do with your clients if you want them to succeed is create a plan. So the first thing we need to do to make sure that your fitness business succeeds is create a plan.
Fill in the template using the step by step guide.
Why is This Important? If you have chosen to become a self-employed personal trainer and own your own personal training business, it is essential that you create a business plan and map out where you intend the business to go.
It can be tempting to just jump straight into working with clients - while neglecting the big picture, business building tasks.
If you have chosen to become self-employed and own your own personal training business, it is essential that you create a business plan and map out where you intend the business to go.
It can be tempting to just jump straight in to working with clients - doing the doing - while neglecting the big picture, business building tasks.
What a personal trainer business plan REALLY looks like...
Why You Need a Personal Trainer Business Plan
In the short term you may enjoy working with clients and not see the need to do a business plan, but as time progresses it becomes more and more important. The busier you are in your business, the less time you have to spend doing things that will grow the business. Without a plan to put in to action, you will quickly meet a ceiling and become frustrated that there is not enough time in the day to try and grow your business and service your existing clients.
If you have dreams of owning your own studio, having trainers work underneath you or work across various locations; it is very possible, but it won’t happen by accident.
You need a plan to follow, to create a business bigger than yourself and the X amount of training sessions you can deliver per day. If you need finance, from a bank or investors - to build your own studio for example, they will need to see an extremely detailed and thought out business plan to even consider lending you money.
It is worth noting that a personal trainer business plan is rarely perfectly executed. You do not need to spend weeks agonizing over details. The fact is, business is fluid and things will change, certain things won’t work and new ideas and opportunities will present themselves. The point of the business plan is to have a guideline and to set the intention of where you are going. It will be tweaked and changed over time, but that is normal. Just like a training program, having an outline to start from will allow you to begin moving forwards and over time it will be modified to get the best possible results.
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During the process of writing a business plan you will be presented with questions, ideas or challenges that you might not have thought of before. This alone makes it worth doing, it will help you to start as you mean to go on with your eyes open and intentions clear.
Here's a personal trainer business plan template to download and below we'll walk you through how to fill it in.
The first section of the business plan is the executive summary. It is an overview of what the business does, the business aims and a summary of the financial projections.
You should do this section last, when you have the information from the rest of the plan that can be summarised here.
The executive summary is to give an idea of your business at a glance.
The elevator pitch is a very brief (a couple of sentences) summary of what you do. This is what you would say when somebody asks you what you do. Again, leave this section until the end of the business plan.
A great pitch has clarity. There should be no confusion about what you do after you have delivered your elevator pitch. It is therefore best to do this at the end when you have as much clarity of what you do as possible.
The pitch should be a couple of sentences long and should be all relevant material. Not a single word should be wasted on filler or repetition.
After hearing a pitch, the listener should be interested enough to ask your further questions and find out more details about what you do. The pitch should capture their interest.
This section is for the qualifications, experience and goals of the owner(s). This section is for both an outside observer to get an idea of the owners of the company and also for you to gain clarity on your strong and weak points, what you do and don’t have experience in.
This will highlight where you may need help, which parts of the business should be outsourced and where your time will be most valuably spent. As business grows, there will come a point when you cannot do everything yourself and you should focus on where you bring the business most value.
It is good to know beforehand exactly which areas of business you may struggle with and be able to seek help or education in key areas.
Products & Services
Do you sell a product, a service or both?
Personal training is a service business – you offer your time and expertise to the client. Examples of products would be selling supplements from your studio or selling an e-book or workout plan online.
You will have a core product/service; the bread and butter of your business – which is probably personal training. You may also choose to have additional offerings to supplement your income and possible make passive income.
Explain the products in detail, what they offer the client, how they are delivered and the resources needed to create/deliver them.
Depending on the complexity of your business you may only have one product/service or you may have dozens. They don’t all have to exist from day one. If you intend to create something later down the road to increase income, write about it here.
The market is the potential clients that your products and services are aimed at.
You want to research as much information as possible about your target demographic.
Who are they, what are their typical behaviours and why do they want to do business with you?
The more you know about your potential customers, the better. To stand out, successfully market and attract clients, you need to know exactly who you are speaking to and what you are offering them.
It is a good idea to specialise in a specific niche. This doesn’t mean you can only work with these people, but rather that these are your ‘perfect clients’ who your marketing and communications will speak to.
Examples of a niche market might be ‘stay at home mom’s in X area’ or ‘male executives aged 30-45 who want to build muscle and lose body fat’.
One of the most important parts of this section is answering the question ‘WHY would your customers buy from you?’.
What is your unique selling points and what makes you the right fit for the potential client.
Market research can come from first-hand experience as well as formal research or information found online.
What do you know about the buying habits of your potential clients? How big is the market and in which direction is it headed? How much competition is in your area/niche and is there room for you?
If you are already trading or have started selling your products, you can use this information to get an idea of the larger market.
Marketing is the lifeblood of your business. Without successful marketing, people will not find your business and you will not make sales. It might not be as enjoyable as training someone, but it is as important – you need somebody to train to begin with!
It is important to view marketing as an investment and study the return on investment rather than just the cost. Most successful businesses will spend more on marketing and advertising than anything else. This is because it directly leads to more money coming in to the business. To grow the business, you need to expand your marketing.
Not all marketing costs money, it can be done through word of mouth, special events and being out and about meeting people.
Marketing is an ever evolving pursuit driven by the data you receive. If something works, you probably want to do more of it. Meanwhile if something doesn’t work, you want to change it or stop. That means that what you write in the business plan will change over time, but you should plan your intentions and starting points.
Note both online and offline marketing. Things such as:
Speaking to potential clients in the gym
Who else is offering a similar product/service to you, or otherwise serving the same need for the client? Write down their strengths and weaknesses. This is important to see where you can get an advantage and be better than them.
What are your own strengths and weaknesses? Complete a SWOT analysis to see where you stand out, the opportunities and the weaknesses and threats to your business. This information will help you plan marketing strategies and inform you where you most likely need help in your business.
What is your unique selling point? The thing that makes you stand out from your competitors and be the single best solution for the potential client’s problem.
The more you can differentiate yourself from the next personal trainer, the more you will stand out and people will want to do business with you.
Operations and Logistics
How are your products made or sourced and delivered to the client?
This section is mostly relevant if you are selling products. Services may require some equipment and one off purchases but no inventory or on-going logistical concerns.
Cost and Pricing Strategy
How are you pricing your products/services and what are the profit margins?
At what point will you break even and start making money, after factoring in all costs?
Consider why you are choosing a certain price point and what that means for your business. For example, if you are choosing a budget price, it probably means you need to do a high volume of sales and the business needs to be set up to accommodate that. Meanwhile if you are offering a high end product/service, then everything in your business should be designed with a high end clientele in mind.
The financial forecast is one of the most difficult sections for a new business owner to complete, without any experience or evidence it can feel like you are simply pulling numbers out of the sky.
If you are already trading, this section is easier to project based on past growth. If you are just starting out, just do your best and keep it realistic.
Listing all of your costs (both fixed and variable) and the minimum living expenses required personally is a good exercise to show you how many clients/products you need to break even, to survive and to do well.
If you have desire to grow and for example take on other trainers or your own premises, the financial projections are important to understand when this will be possible and the volume of sales you need to do to achieve that.
Personal Trainer Business Plan Conclusion
Writing the business plan is a valuable exercise for any business, new or old and should be revisited periodically, to update and ensure you are following the plan.
Things happen every day in business and it can pull you in different directions, ‘fighting fires’ and dealing with today’s situation. That is normal and happens in every new business, but the more you can stick to the plan and follow a straight path from A to B, the more likely you are going to build a successful business.
Spending a few hours completing a personal trainer business plan is a more than worthwhile investment of your time and energy. It will straight away set you apart from the majority of personal trainers who never bother to have a business plan and jump in to their business with their eyes closed.
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