Regardless of industry, the most successful business owners are those who focus on continual growth and who look for ways to harness innovation to facilitate that growth.

The fitness industry is no exception; if you're going to increase your client base and boost your profits, you need to keep a close eye on breakthroughs within the industry, whether it's scientific research or technological innovation.

It's also important to have a well-thought-out strategy for business growth, right from the very beginning.

Building a Fitness Business Plan

A successful Personal Training Business is one that starts based on a solid business plan, here are some growing pains you may face in your PT business. You wouldn’t build a house without an architectural plan, and it’s the same for your business. The first and most fundamental task you need to do when you begin to write your business plan is to have a clear business strategy in place. Ask yourself the following:

  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • What are your goals?
  • What’s the purpose of your business?
  • What is your business structure—are you a sole trader, a partnership, or a company? Most personal trainers will be sole traders, but you may well be setting up the business as a partnership with another personal trainer.
  • Where will your business be located, and what strategic advantage does that location offer? Will you be based out of a gym, at your clients’ houses or will you have your own location?

Everything contained in your business plan will revolve around and support your strategy. When you write your business plan, remember to:

  • Keep it short and sweet—the process of writing your plan will help you focus, crystallize your ideas and identify priorities, saving both time and effort.
  • Keep it realistic—assumptions, being overly optimistic or un-necessarily negative will not help you to produce a plan that’s an accurate outline of how you intend to start and run your business.
  • Keep it close at hand—review, revise and update your plan regularly. This will keep it relevant as a roadmap for your business.

Download our eBook: Strategy is at the Heart of Your Business Plan. It's a business planning roadmap for the personal trainer who means business.Strategy is at the heart of your business plan ebook

A successful personal training business needs a plan that takes into account all the nuts and bolts to make it a financial success. Learn about marketing strategy, financial viability and how to define your PT services, so that you can achieve your full business potential

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Getting Financially Fit

In the beginning, you need to crunch the numbers to find out if becoming a personal trainer is financially viable. The way to do this is by conducting a break-even analysis. This will tell you if you’ll generate enough revenue in sales to cover all your costs, without first showing a profit. That’s your break-even point, and you need to identify it before you do anything else.

To help you figure out how much you should be charging, and to determine your break-even point, crunch the numbers with our online, interactive calculator. It'll help you to:

  • Conduct a break-even cost analysis
  • Calculate minimum hourly rates required to cover your salary and costs
  • Calculate your required charge-out rates to make your ideal salary
  • Figure out what starting costs you can include in your business plan

If you're going to borrow money, your bank is going to want to see:

  • Your break-even analysis
  • A cash flow forecast—accuracy and objectivity are essential here. Drill down into the details and be as objective as you can when working out the numbers.
  • A sales forecast—evidence that you’re able to sell your personal training service.

Revenue forecasting template and guide We can help you crunch these numbers with our Revenue Forecasting Template and Guide

Visualize and plan your cash flow, keep track of your income and expenses, and accurately predict your monthly and annual income.

Download the template and guide 

Financial Fitness at a Glance

Once your personal training business is up and running, it's essential to monitor your finances regularly to ensure you're on track for business growth. Many small business owners find the accounting side of things tedious, difficult or frustrating, and they start to let things slide—a sure-fire way to slow down or prevent business growth.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way, not if you have a business management solution on board that enables you to get a visual on your earnings with just a glance. This is one of the most popular features of the PTminder solution and one that our clients rave about. Having that information at your fingertips whenever you need it—and being able to look at the data in weekly, monthly and annual terms—puts you in a better position if you need to answer questions about the health of your finances. If you’re using an accountant, it makes their job much easier. If you decide to apply for a small business loan to grow your business, you’ll know exactly what you can afford in terms of repayments.

This feature also enables you to spot trends. Are you making more some months than others? What factors might be contributing to that and is there anything you can do to increase your earnings on those lower months? Here are five ways PTminder can help manage your finances.

These snapshots of your earnings mean you’re in a better position to make decisions for your business. Depending on how well you’re earning, you may decide to grow your PT business by expanding your premises, investing in more equipment, developing a new niche or bringing new technology on board.

Uncover how PTminder can help you grow your fitness business with The Ins and Outs of PTminderPTminder Personal Training software

A short step-by-step guide to help you make the most of what’s on offer. Designed for personal trainers, PTminder is a business management app that will help you streamline the back-end management of your personal training business.

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Your Services — Determine What You Will Offer

When you're planning your personal training business, and getting into the nitty-gritty of your business plan, the services you plan to offer are at the very heart of it. You must be very clear about what these include. For example:

  • Will you train people in your area of expertise, such as bodybuilding, increasing fitness, weight loss, etc.
  • Will you specialize in training for multi-sports, marathons, long distance swimming, or other endurance sports?
  • Will you specialize in a class-based service for several clients at once, like Crossfit, Spin or Pump?
  • Do you plan to offer a combination of physical and mental fitness such as Pilates or Yoga?
  • Do you plan to offer a coaching service in specific sports like tennis or squash?
  • Will you combine physical training and nutrition requirements?

You get the idea—when you're planning what services your personal training business will offer, they should focus on your strengths, your areas of expertise, and your experience. That's the only way to start and a key element of business growth.

However, so is forward thinking. Just because you've started with a specific offering doesn't mean you're limited to it—in fact, if your business is going to grow, you need to look ahead and determine if you can build your client base by expanding your offering.

Grow Your PT Business With Health and Fitness Niches

Just because you occupy one niche doesn't mean you have to stick to it. It's where you are when you start out, but you can grow your business significantly by considering other niches that interest you. If you can expand your offering by finding a new niche, you'll attract a larger market share and realize greater profit.

How Do I Find a New Niche?

What can you offer your clients that no-one else can, or what is it you can do better than anyone else? Ask yourself:

  • Who do I like working with? Think about who your ideal client is and what they want to achieve. Who's likely to get the best results from you?
  • Where does my interest in fitness lie? Sure, you might have trained in a specific area, but do you want to limit yourself to just that?

Because the fitness industry is so wide-ranging, you have an almost unlimited number of options. There are no barriers to occupying more than one niche in the fitness industry. Although almost all PTs will start out with one specialized area, the ones that successfully grow their business do so because they've found ways to expand their offering.

The Virtual Personal Trainer

The notion of online training is not a new one, but the trend has accelerated since the advent of Covid-19 and is still gaining in popularity. Offering virtual services is a wonderful way of growing your business because it means your clients can work out with you anytime, from anywhere. Consider these options:

  • Live streaming classes—a variety of video messaging apps like Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype mean that your clients can still take your classes from home, whether they're group sessions or one-on-one workouts.
  • Workouts on-demand—pre-record your workout routines to share with your clients and take the time to produce a high-quality video. Then your clients can work out with you as their schedule allows.
  • Start up a YouTube channel that includes not only workouts, but nutritional guidance, health advice, recipes (you can even showcase your cooking skills!) and techniques for managing stress or frustration.
  • Ramp up your social media use—now more than ever, you need to remain connected with your clients. You can chat with them on Facebook or Instagram and continue to provide support and guidance. Offer resources across your social media platforms and organize challenges and competitions that get everyone involved.

Embracing the online solution opens up more opportunities for you to grow your personal training business. Online training is great because it gives you plenty of time flexibility and it allows you to recruit clients internationally. You can also use many strategies to automate the process, which means you can work with hundreds of clients at any given time.

Building a successful virtual fitness businessLights, Camera, Coach: A Guide to Adding Virtual Personal Training Services to Your Business

Whatever the reason, offering virtual services is a great way to grow your business and take it into the digital era. This eBook shows you how

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Marketing Strategies to Grow Your PT Business

It's not enough to just develop a marketing strategy, it's something that you should continually refer to if you're going to grow your PT business—you should always be thinking of ways to market it. In the very beginning, and as part of your business plan, you need to get the fundamentals right:

  • Market analysis and demographics—who is your target client? Do they fall within a specific age range or gender? What do they want to achieve and how will you help them do that? Where do they live and what is their income?
  • Your competitive advantage—what do you do better than anyone else? How are you different from your competition? How do you plan to get the message across to potential clients?
  • Advertising strategy—how will your advertising attract clients?
  • Competitors—what’s their market position? How is it relative to where you see your position? Do you have rivals with physical locations, online websites, or both? What advantages do they have in the marketplace?
  • Market forecasts and future plans—you need to stay abreast of developing trends and opportunities, so they can help you create forecasts and future plans.
  • Social media—this should be a part of any marketing mix. What platforms do you plan to use to communicate with your clients?

Once you've determined the basics and you have a clear idea of your target clients and the services you plan to offer them you can then move on and consider other ways to market your business for continual growth.

Build and Hone Your Competitive Advantage

Once you've defined your differentiator—what makes you different from the PTs in your gym, city, or accounts you see on social media - it's time to build and hone it with these strategies:

  • Invest in a really good website. When people search for anything these days, they start with Google, and the same is true of any PT business. There are lots of online platforms that will enable you to set up your own website, but it’s worth investing in a professional, if you can. They’ll make sure it’s got great SEO, navigation and contact.
  • Make sure people can find you on social media. Use these platforms to drive potential clients to your website, to communicate and converse, and to keep tabs on what’s happening in the PT industry.
  • Showcase yourself as an expert—no-one else has your mix of skills. You need to make sure they’re clearly visible, so that potential clients see you as a star of the PT world, an expert in what you do with measurable results.
  • Harness appropriate technology—not only will this make your business more efficient, but it helps you to build a better relationship with your clients.
  • Form alliances—if your business is based out of a gym, you’ll need to come to an agreement with the gym’s owner. That relationship can be crucial to your success, because if you’re providing a top-level service to your mutual clients, the gym will promote your PT business as part of their services.

Remember: there’s a lot of choice out there when it comes to personal trainers. That’s why establishing and promoting your competitive advantage is essential. Here's a simple guide to dominating local Google searches.

Define Your Customer Base

Consider your target client—you've determined their age, work background, location, motivation and goals. The next step is to use these characteristics to create the ideal customer profile to drive your marketing tactics. Marketing to everyone is the same as marketing to no-one, as you simply can’t cut through the noise. Figure out what your ideal potential clients want to know and give them that information.

Next, list how your best clients prefer to be contacted, and what worked when you originally marketed your PT business to them. Using the profiles of these ideal clients, you’re in a better position to find more that match. Set a marketing budget and develop a shortlist of targets that have potential for your PT business.

Generate Positive Word of Mouth

This is one of the simplest tools available to attract new clients, and the most effective. For a service-based business like a personal trainer, what people think of you is key to gaining new clients and retaining existing ones. Studies show that while 75% of people don’t trust advertising, 90% believe in recommendations from friends.

Word-of-mouth referrals flow when your existing clients get outstanding service and value from you, so it’s crucial to provide an outstanding customer experience that not only delivers results but does it in a way that they find enjoyable.

Gather Client Testimonials

This is a more formal version of the word-of-mouth tip above. When you’ve had a particular success with a client—hitting a goal weight, winning a competition, completing a programme—ask them if they’d be willing to provide you with a testimonial you can put on your website. There are two key ways to do this:

  1. A simple quote—you can transcribe it and include it on your website in a prominent spot, so that when potential clients land on your website, a glowing testimonial from a satisfied and happy client is the first thing they see.
  2. A case study—these are client success stories that are detailed accounts of the journey you and that client have been on together.

Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to share their success to help grow your business. More often than not, they’re happy to not only help you in return for helping them, but it’s an opportunity for a bit of mild showing off. And why shouldn’t they when they’ve worked so hard to achieve their goal?

Offer Tips & Tricks

Spending time with your clients and charging them for the benefit of your expertise is one thing and of course, the end goal. But to attract new clients it’s a good idea to offer them something upfront on your website, for free. This could include:

  • Regular how-to videos, such as demonstrations of effective weightlifting or swimming techniques.
  • A meal planner that clients can tailor to suit their goals.
  • Demonstrations of, and your thoughts about, a new product such as new athleticwear brands or fitness equipment.
  • A regular blog on your website.

All they need to do to access your expert advice is provide their contact details. This is an effective way of growing your email list, so that you can tell them about a new service you’re offering, or a discount, e.g. buy a block of classes and get a special deal.

7 ways to attract more clientsDownload the eBook: 7 Ways to Attract More Clients

The personal training business is a competitive one, so we've put together some tips that will help you win more clients, stand out from the competition, and ultimately grow your business.

Download the eBook

Offer a Frictionless Client Experience

Business growth is just like physical improvement—you must do the preparation and the work to get the results. One of the most effective ways to grow your client base is to make sure that their experience with you is not just about achieving their goals, but the journey itself is an enjoyable one.

One of the ways you can do this is by harnessing digital technology, so you can provide your clients with some autonomy over how they interact with your business. Your existing clients will love it, and they'll tell others about it—the all-important word-of-mouth tool.

What this means is leveraging business management software that:

  • Allows clients to book classes online giving them an option to select their preferred classes and manage their sessions online.
  • Gives clients visibility around timing in the form of an online calendar.
  • Has a smartphone app option—a business app is important to keep you connected to your clients anytime, anywhere.
  • Allows for an automated payment process so you can take control of your income and cash flow.
  • Supports customized SMS alerts, push notifications and session reminders to keep clients in the loop and stay engaged and informed.
  • Can track progress and measurements to ensure your clients stay motivated. After all everyone loves a trophy (especially true on a fitness journey!)

Incentives and Loyalty Marketing

Offering client loyalty incentives is often sadly overlooked as a marketing strategy, but the reality is it's very effective. When you implement one, you'll:

  • Have an excellent way to personally recognize your client’s efforts. This can be in the form of a point system, a free training session, special discounts or even gift certificates.
  • Have a means of channelling your client’s incredible progress into referrals and encourage them to bring in more people.
  • Be able to organize events like bootcamps, challenges or classes with different exercise forms for your clients and the local community to add variation to their routine and maintain a personal touch.

Lead generation checklist for personal trainers checklist Are you ready to take on more clients? Download this Lead Generation Checklist for Personal Trainers

Bookmark, download and save it to give your personal training business a boost and grow your lead generation efforts.

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PTminder 5

Software to Help Your Fitness Business Grow

Having the right business management software on board isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have in this digital era. The reason, of course, is that the right solution will streamline your admin processes, help you better communicate with your clients, and make sure you keep track of your finances, so you can spend more time with your clients, growing your business.

PTminder is a Business Management System for Personal Trainers to make running your business easy and efficient. It has everything you need in one place. Whether you're an independent personal trainer running your own group fitness studio or have a team of personal trainers working out of your gym, PTminder is the perfect all-in-one solution to grow your business, because it frees you up to focus on your clients

From keeping track of clients’ information including their bookings, payments and progress to letting them book and pay for their next appointment—it’s all there.

PTminder will act as your virtual gym buddy. The spotter you need for those heavy squats and fancy manoeuvres. That friend who's always there to keep you motivated and on track. The features inside PTminder mean you'll never miss a beat.

3 Unexpected Benefits of Using Personal Training Software Benefits of using personal training software

We take a look at three important benefits that you might not notice until you’re already reaping the rewards.

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