I know that title sounds a little harsh. I really don’t really mean it to. I just think it’s a tragedy when well-intentioned people start businesses but have no idea what it even means to run one. It’s a little like lining up on the Boston marathon starting line without ever training. Or, flying a plane without any experience. You just wouldn’t do that, right??
Running a successful business is incredibly hard. Running a failing business is even harder.
There is pre-work that needs to happen BEFORE you pull the trigger of actually starting and owning a business, and it involves a lot more than just “building it and hoping they will come.”
Why? Because if you don’t, you’re literally ushering these things into your life: stress, anxiety, inattention to your own health, many sleepless nights, financial hardship, significant challenges in your most important relationships – you get the idea.
There are some non-negotiables that need to be in place in order to run a successful business. But first, let’s define what constitutes a successful business. A successful business 1) makes a profit, 2) owner pays him/herself, 3) Coaches earn a good living, 4) systems are in place and followed, and 5) the business is growing year over year.
So, here are the seven business non-negotiables I believe are part of running a successful gym:
If you wanted to go on vacation, would you go without a plan? Pretty good chance the answer is a big fat “no.” Having a solid plan in place you work from is paramount to running a successful business; but too many gym owners take each day as it comes, putting out fires and hoping tomorrow will be different. I recently read a statement that highlights this point, “A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.”
You are in a business to help people no doubt, but if you’re not taking care of yourself and your family, you can be of little help to others. A smart business owner starts a business to make money. And they know a constant monitoring of profit, not revenue, is critical to business success.
Solid business owners are clear on what is acceptable in their business and what isn’t. They live by – and memorize and publish – their core values. At any given moment they can tell you exactly where they are as a company. They may not have started out knowing what to focus on, but they relentlessly educate themselves in being a better leader and owner.
At 321Go, we have seen the incredible power of mastermind groups within our M3 program. But of course, our program is just one option. Surrounding yourself with a mentor and other peer business owners becomes the lifeblood of growth for all successful business owners.
A savvy business leader knows more clients does not mean more profit. If your systems are broken – or non-existent – bringing more clients into the mix is only going to make things harder. I read once “Would you enter a sick horse in a race or fill up your gas tank if you knew there was a hole in it?” Probably not.
Good leaders know what they are good at and have done the work to get crystal clear on their ideal client. They don’t try to reach everybody. And they don’t over promise something they can’t deliver.
There is a difference between being tired and being burnt out. If you’re tired, you can still love what you do, you’re just stretched. Being burnt out means you’ve lost the passion for running a business. A good business owner is honest about where they really are.
But what if you’re six months or six years into your business and you didn’t do the pre-work? In my opinion, there is hope for the first six. All of those can be learned or implemented. We have seen many business owners change and learn and grow into successful business owners who run their businesses, rather than allowing the business to run them. And it’s been awesome to be part of. But in order to do that, you have to make the sacrifices, take the risk, and invest in yourself and your business.
If you don’t love what you’re doing though, you might want to reconsider being the owner of that business. You’re not doing you or anyone else any good, and just causing a lot of heartache and stress for yourself. Love yourself enough to do something else. Life is too short.