I talk with fitness coaches, PT's and nutritionists most days. Either current or potential Training Tilt customers mostly. The discussions typically are about their goals and objectives for their business. A common problem always comes up, and that's an inability to grow the business past a certain point.
This is an industry wide problem, I read somewhere that 70% of fitness professionals leave the industry within 4 years. So how come?
Let's start with the common symptoms:
- Can't retain existing clients long term
- Can't attract high paying clients
- Limited to a maximum number of clients (this is due to time)
If you can see a theme here then we're on the right track. This is 100% due to a broken business model. The good thing is it's totally fixable by adding great products to your business.
These are some reasons why service only businesses are difficult to grow:
You only have so many hours in a day
Services by nature require spending time carrying out that service, you are limited by how many services you can provide by the number of hours in the day. Sure you can get up earlier and burn the midnight oil but you can't add more hours to a day, trust me I've tried.
It's dependent on you being there
Touch wood but what if something happens to you? you get sick? have a serious accident or just need to take a hiatus? Ask yourself the question. If you weren't at work tomorrow would your business continue to earn revenue? Most coaches and fitness trainers would have to answer no to this question. That's a scary thing. Having products and the tools to sell them automatically will mitigate this risk.
The only way to grow is to employ more people to provide your service
This is the typical model for growing a services business. If you are lucky enough to have too many customers for you to service on your own you have two choices; one turn the customers away (not cool) or two hire more staff to provide the services for you. There is a big problem with this as as soon as you you hire staff you increase costs and 90% of the time you'll have to make the decision before you have enough business to keep them busy full time. The net result of this is a period of time where the new staff will not be adding to your profits and likely will be running at a loss. Then you'll have to work hard to quickly grow revenue. Then the cycle starts again each time you need to add a new staff member.
Now let's look at how adding products can help:
Economies of Scale
Adding products to your business will mean you can scale and grow your business without having to employ new staff. Physical products are great and nutrition and apparel are common products in the fitness industry but digital products are much better. The reason for this as digital products for the most part only cost you when you create them but can be sold over and over again at a minimum cost. They never go out of stock and you never have to re-order. Being the creator of a digital product you sell cuts out both the middle man and the manufacturer. You are the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of your own products.
Selling to existing clients
One of the easiest and fastest ways to grow revenue is to sell to your existing clients. But in a services only fitness business you can't typically sell more than one service to the same client at the same time. Adding products means you can leverage your existing clients and resell to them. Existing clients already trust and like you so you don't need to spend time and resources "selling" yourself and your products.
Down selling to out going clients
The reality of any business and especially a service business is customer churn. Sooner or later a client will decide they don't need/want coaching or training any more. That's cool, it happens. Sometimes those clients might still require some help just not your full service. If you have digital products like template training plans, access to resources like videos, training sessions or articles you can still generate revenue from these outgoing clients. Additionally if you are able to maintain a relationship with them through your products and keep them engaged they are more likely to come back if they decide they need 1-1 services again and less likely to go to someone else. This will extend the "lifetime value" of a client to your business.
Breaking down geographical boundaries
Services often limit your market to those in the same geographic region as your business. Sure you can offer an online coaching service so you don't have to physically meet your clients but you are still somewhat restricted by time-zones and other issues. Selling products particularly digital products breaks down some of these barriers.
Digital products keep working while you don't have to
The great thing about digital products (and the right platform to deliver them) is that once created and implemented using the right systems they sell themselves. You can only sell your services 9-5 (yeah right, you wish you only worked 9-5) but digital products work 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year.
So products are great but you love your services right? that's why you started your business in the first place. You also wanted to be your own boss and take time off whenever you wanted to? but it probably didn't quite turn out that way. Services should still be at the core of your business but ideally you want to decide how many clients you have and who they are. Quality high paying customers should always be at the centre of your business but products are what will take it to the next level.
At Training Tilt we offer many ways to add products to your fitness business.
- Paid memberships to your own on-line community
- On-line store to sell merchandise and training plans
- Tools for online coaching
Check out our features http://trainingtilt.com/features or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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