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Preventing Burnout for Gym Owners

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preventing burnout

Four ways you can start preventing burnout today and get back on track to enjoying your business.

The average fitness business owner spends anywhere from 60-80 hours a week working. And the worst part about it is, even when you aren’t at your gym, you’re still thinking about it, checking emails, answering texts and calls, and working on projects you “didn’t have a chance to get to” because you were dealing with clients.

If you can relate, I have some news for you: you’re not alone. Let’s look at four ways you can start preventing burnout today and get back on track to enjoying your business.

Identify Your Economic Drivers

The vast majority of fitness business owners are here for one main reason: they want to help change people’s lives. The problem is, the understanding of key performance indicators of your business can be extremely illusive. Some gyms would kill to have 100 leads in a month, whereas, for others 100 leads isn’t nearly enough. So how do you decide what you should manage your business based on?

Setting your pricing, figuring out how many clients you can manage, and identifying the best way you can solve a problem for your ideal client will all allow you to then decide the amount of leads, trailers, sales, and lifetime value you need to shoot for to allow your business to make sense.

Hiring a business coach is another great way to help you decide on these factors. Most business coaches have seen hundreds, if not thousands of business models and can help advise on what will make the most sense for you. Regardless of if you hire a professional or not, you will need a written business plan on how many clients you will need to have the profitability you’re looking for and a set time frame as to when you’ll get there. Then working backwards based on closing percentages, lead to trial ratios and total lead counts can create the clarity you need. 

Be Specific in Job Descriptions

The biggest mistake that most gym owners and managers make is making everything everyone’s responsibility as the “unwritten rule.” Everyone should be selling, everyone should be cleaning, everyone should be creating the best member experience. The problem that comes with vague job descriptions and high expectations is constant frustration.

Your expectations will be very different then your employees expectations. Don’t expect them to act like they own the business and then get upset when they don’t. Be clear and specific about what you expect them to do and be responsible for. Have someone in charge of lead nurturing, have another in charge of retention activity, someone in charge of social channels, someone in charge of events. Of course, many of these things can be handled by the same person, but your job descriptions should reflect that clearly. 

Decide What You Want to Handle and Hire Out the Tasks You Don’t

The famous quote “Leadership is not what you do, but what others do because of you” holds true in fitness business. You have so much more influence of your situation than you think you do. Know what you do extremely well, and what activities no one else can do but you that have the highest level of return, and do those things. Then hire out the tasks you have the hardest time with or have the lowest value for your time. It’s easy to hire out or delegate cleaning your training space. It’s hard to cast vision for the future of your company, develop marketing strategy, drive sales metrics, and so on. 

Another point worth mentioning here is, what about cost? When you’re running a business on razor thin profits, the staffing pill is a hard one to swallow. The good news is, you’re in charge and you can create a plan as to when to hire out versus keep consolidated roles. So begin by keeping the roles that absolutely have to be done well, such as selling new programs to grow to the point you need based on your previously set key performance indicators, so you can hire out the roles needed in your business. 

Measure and Develop

The third key to establishing roles in your business is ensuring your team knows what success looks like, as well as taking the time to coach your team members on how to grow as a professional. So many leaders in fitness “do it themselves” because no one else can do it as well as them, or they fail to take time away from production and clients because they “don’t have the time.” Well at some point your kids are going to have to learn to tie their own shoes, right? Your staff is no different.

You need to have a plan on how often you will measure the success of each team member as well as clearly defining and working with them to show them how it’s done. This ensures that you don’t end up having a frustrating conversation with your team member about how they aren’t performing up to par, when all along they thought they were doing fine. When it comes to development, remember, you don’t have to wait for a monthly performance review to coach them. Every second you spend with a staff member is a chance to influence them. 

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Ben Ludwig

Ben Ludwig currently serves as the Growth pastor for CrosspointNow network of churches across Kansas, acts as the Subject Matter Expert in Sales for Fitness Revolution, sits on the Advisory Board for the International Strength Training Organization and is currently a stakeholder, shareholder and Senior team member with the fastest growing fitness franchise in the world: F45 Training Headquarters. He has held a major role in creating sales processes, marketing best practices, and operational systems within F45 across the globe including presenting at a global scale to franchisees in 60-plus countries. Ben also has a working hand in many start up businesses including owning multiple fitness businesses and founding fitness businesses featured on Good Day Kansas and KWCH Channel 12 News. He also contributes regularly to fitness business magazines, podcasts and presents regularly on Fitness Business Topics. Ben also volunteers his time on nonprofit Boards of Directors, presenting, preaching and public speaking and is open to contributing his time and expertise in causes he feels align with his values.

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