As we have mentioned in the past, marketing is not what it used to be. Potential customers don’t just want you to prove why your product or service is superior. They also want to feel connected. They want to know the people behind the company and understand the personality of your business. The best way to do this is by telling your story through brand storytelling.
If you think about it, man has been telling stories from the beginning of time. Our ancestors passed on stories from generation to generation. In fact, there are even cave paintings that tell stories from prehistoric times. It seems that we have always longed to tell our stories and also to hear the stories of others.
But the way we tell stories has changed. Not just since the time of cave paintings, but even in the last few years. At one point, telling your story was done by writing a long essay about yourself and the history of your business and posting it on your website. This simply is not enough anymore. Communication today is much more nuanced than that and there are several factors to consider.
First, stop thinking about telling your story as a one-time event. Brand storytelling is about creating an ongoing narrative around your company. It isn’t one written story or blog post. It’s the total of how you communicate with your customers and about your company.
There are several aspects that you need to communicate through brand storytelling.
- Who you are
- What you do
- How you solve problems
- How you add value to your clients
Telling Your Story: Who You Are
It may seem obvious that your story begins with you. But many health and wellness businesses miss this part. They don’t realize how important it is for clients to see the people behind a brand. Remember, clients want to feel connected to you; marketing is now about relationship. Who you are matters to clients.
Your narrative story is a great place to start this. Have a clearly written history of your business. Include why you started, where you began, the path you took and where you are planning on going. Don’t forget to include your passion and motivation throughout this story.
A written, narrative story is not enough for brand storytelling. You also need to communicate your personality through your communication. If you are a massage therapist, your story should feel relaxing, it should not be filled with intense language. Your language choice should match you as a person and the environment of your business.
Sometimes, in an attempt to be professional, business owners choose to use very formal writing for their communications. But this is only a good choice if you run a very formal health and wellness business. If you are fun and high-energy your clients should feel that energy in each communication.
Another way to continue your brand storytelling is through introducing members of your team. This can be done on your website and/or on social media. You can use social media to Introduce team members. Some ideas include giving a little bit of info about their role, giving a shout out about an accomplishment, wishing the employee a happy birthday or congratulations on a life event (just make sure your employee is okay with what you will be sharing).
Telling Your Story: What you do
Again, this seems like a no-brainer. But as business owners, it’s easy to forget that your clients don’t know everything about what you do.
If you are a chiropractor, your clients know that you do adjustments. But do they know that you also offer muscle work? Or that you offer packages that include nutritional lessons?
Your website should have all of your services clearly explained and easily found. But most established clients are not visiting your website on a regular basis, so they may miss it.
Your service offerings are well communicated through email blasts to your client list and via social media posts highlighting your services. Using the example of the chiropractic example above a great post idea would be to give a nutrition tip and then talk about the lessons that are available.
Another great way to bring attention to your services is through stories of clients who have seen success with your help. As a fitness professional did you help a client lose 50 lbs? Post before and after photos. As a chiropractor did a client finally get relief from their back pain? Post a short testimonial about how you helped them.
Telling Your Story: How you solve problems
This is similar to what you do, but it goes a little further. You see, every business is about solving a problem. You are looking for your client’s pain and seeing what you can do to relieve the pain.
If your client is unhappy with their physical condition, a fitness facility can offer personal training, nutrition classes, and supplements. You are seeing their pain and offering solutions.
This is like a mini story as part of your larger narrative. A client has a problem, they come to you, you offer a solution, the client is thrilled that their problem is solved.
Testimonials are great ways to share this if clients are willing. Or you can share the mini-story in your own words.
Telling Your Story: How you add value to your clients
Going beyond what you do and how you solve problems is explaining how you add value to your clients’ lives. It has been said that you should always leave a place better than you found it. And the same is true for people.
As a professional in the health, wellness or fitness industry you already believe in the power of investing in people. You do it every day. This part of telling your story is about communicating it.
What are the ways people leave you better than when they came? What do you do that makes their time with you more valuable (this is not about price)?
Are you present with them? Making eye contact and expressing genuine interest in your conversation?
Do you remember details about their life? Have you asked follow up questions such as, “Is your mom feeling better?” or “How was Suzie’s play?” Do you go out of your way to acknowledge their birthday?
Do you connect with your clients outside of your scheduled meeting times? A quick phone call check-in or even a handwritten note to say “thanks” goes a long way. Or maybe you created an online community to help you stay in touch with your clients.
There are endless ways to add value for your clients. And with each way, you are telling your story to that client, to others watching and to whoever they share with.
It is true that the entire world won’t see these things first hand. But it will show with the way you talk about your business and your clients online. Adding value builds relationships, and genuine relationships can be seen a mile away. And potential clients will want what you are providing.
Tips for Telling Your Story
That is a lot of information to convey through your written story and online presence. Don’t worry. We have a few tips that will make it easier to continue telling your story.
Make it Personal
You are the voice of your business. Be real with your audience (online and in person). If you are an intense, high-energy trainer, express that with your tone and language. Don’t try to be zen…leave that to a massage therapist or yoga instructor.
Use Consistent Language
Choose a few keywords or even phrases that truly encapsulate your business. Use them often in your written material and your conversations.
Most successful businesses have a value proposition that they use. An iconic example is Geico insurance company’s line, “15 minutes can save you 15% or more.”
Find your own phrase, value proposition or sign-off that ties your posts, blog, and website together.
Use Your Life As Content
You are your brand. Share about your own journey. Post photos of your training sessions or of you attending a seminar or learning a new technique. Post about your down time too. Share with your clients about how you rest and reset.
And, don’t just share your positive moments. It’s important that your clients see that you are a human who also struggles. Did you oversleep? Fail at a specific movement? Let your audience know. It will make your story more personal and relatable.
Share Specific Examples
Share about your clients’ successes, your products, your processes, and the people involved in your business.
Make it Emotional
Integrating your personality into everything you share is vital. Make sure in the process that your emotion shows. Are you excited for a client? Interested in learning a new skill? Hungry after a training session? Let that show.
Again, don’t only highlight positives. Are you feeling frustrated with your progress? Share that. Are you feeling disappointed about a plan not working out? Share that.
Telling your story should be honest and accurate – don’t omit the difficulties. But don’t linger on them either. Help clients see that overcoming obstacles is all part of the journey.
Do One Thing a Day
Make sure that every day you are doing one thing to tell your story. Post on social media, write a blog post, send an email.
And most of all, remember that you are still writing your story. It is an ongoing process, so you will continue to share it with others.
Today’s post is going to continue the conversation about tools to grow your business.
In our last post, we discussed several direct ways to grow your health, wellness or fitness business. In that post, we explained some of the tools that will help you create a strong foundation, keep your clients engaged and attract new business. We even give some specific examples of tools to make your business run at it’s best. You don’t want to miss all the resources…
TOOLS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS FOR HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND FITNESS PROFESSIONALS
If you are a health, wellness or fitness professional, then you already know the value of improving your self. In fact, you have made a career out of helping others to do so. But, oftentimes we get so busy managing our business that we don’t invest time in improving ourselves.
Improving yourself is perhaps the most important part of growing your business. If you don’t evolve, neither will your business.
It’s not easy to be intentional about self-improvement, but if you aren’t intentional, it won’t happen. We have several suggestions on what to invest your time in. But, first you need to set time aside specifically for this. Add it to your schedule. Set a few hours aside each week, or even better, a block of time each day.
So what are the best tools to grow your business through self-improvement? Here is a list of our top recommendations:
Indirect Tools to Grow Your Business
We know this isn’t a unique suggestion. But research continues to show that successful leaders in the business world invest time to read daily. If you want to be a leader in your field, you need to do the same.
But what should you read? First, make sure that you are continuously reading about your field of practice. If you are a chiropractor, you should be reading medical articles and keeping up on current research. As a fitness trainer, you should continue to study human anatomy and stay updated on fitness trends. If you are a massage therapist, be sure to seek out articles and books to improve and expand your techniques and tools.
In addition to resources specific to your field, you should also be reading books about being a business owner. Most health and wellness professionals get their education in health and wellness programs. Which is great. But these programs don’t usually teach the entrepreneurial skills necessary to start and grow a business.
Of course, you may be an amazing chiropractor, personal trainer, massage therapist or other health and wellness professional. But you also need to build your business skills. Here are a few of our favorite books to help:
Written by the business world’s new gurus, Blue Ocean Strategy continues to challenge everything you thought you knew about competing in today’s crowded marketplace.
Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and thirty industries, authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne argue that lasting success comes from creating ‘blue oceans’: untapped new market spaces ripe for growth. And the business world has caught on – companies around the world are skipping the bloody red oceans of rivals and creating their very own blue oceans. With over one million copies sold world wide, Blue Ocean Strategy is quickly reaching “must read” status among smart business readers.
- The E-Myth Revisited Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It By Michael E. Gerber
In The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.
After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.
While most people operate with only three degrees of action: no action, retreat, or normal action. If you’re after big goals, you don’t want to settle for the ordinary. To reach the next level, you must understand the coveted 4th degree of action. This 4th degree, also known as the 10X Rule, is that level of action that guarantees companies and individuals realize their goals and dreams.
The 10X Rule unveils the principle of “Massive Action,” allowing you to blast through business cliches and risk-aversion while taking concrete steps to reach your dreams. It also demonstrates why people get stuck in the first three actions and how to move into making the 10X Rule a discipline. Find out exactly where to start, what to do, and how to follow up each action you take with more action to achieve Massive Action results.
- Learn the “Estimation of Effort” calculation to ensure you exceed your targets
- Make the Fourth Degree a way of life and defy mediocrity
- Discover the time management myth
- Get the exact reasons why people fail and others succeed
- Know the exact formula to solve problems
Extreme success is by definition outside the realm of normal action. Instead of behaving like everybody else and settling for average results, take Massive Action with The 10X Rule, remove luck and chance from your business equation, and lock in massive success.
New York Times bestselling author and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk shares hard-won advice on how to connect with customers and beat the competition. A mash-up of the best elements of Crush It! and The Thank You Economy with a fresh spin, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a blueprint to social media marketing strategies that really work.
When managers and marketers outline their social media strategies, they plan for the “right hook”—their next sale or campaign that’s going to knock out the competition. Even companies committed to jabbing—patiently engaging with customers to build the relationships crucial to successful social media campaigns—want to land the punch that will take down their opponent or their customer’s resistance in one blow. Right hooks convert traffic to sales and easily show results. Except when they don’t.
Thanks to massive change and proliferation in social media platforms, the winning combination of jabs and right hooks is different now. Vaynerchuk shows that while communication is still key, context matters more than ever. It’s not just about developing high-quality content, but developing high-quality content perfectly adapted to specific social media platforms and mobile devices—content tailor-made for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Continuing education is an obvious way to grow your skill set. It is also required for most health, wellness, and fitness professionals. It’s important to continue to improve the skills related to your field.
But don’t just limit your classes to topics directly related to your field. You can also find so many online or in-person courses that will help your business. Some popular topics of online courses include marketing, social media management, advertising, email marketing, etc.
If you use a program to manage your scheduling, payment processing, payroll or finances, chances are they offer video tutorials. Take the time to watch them. Most business owners are not using these programs to their fullest potential. You may be thrilled to learn about certain features that can help streamline your day-to-day activities.
Youtube? Really? Yes, really. While there are a ton of useless videos available on Youtube, there are also a ton of really great ones.
Want to improve your sales technique? There are videos for that. Need a little motivation? There are videos for that. Want to learn more stretching techniques for your client with hip pain? There are videos for that. Want to learn how to use social media for marketing? There are videos for that too. There are seriously videos for every topic you can think of.
We can’t possibly list all the videos that we recommend, but here are a few of our favorite channels by topic (and their info so you know what you are getting yourself into).
Social Media Marketing
Gary Vaynerchuk is the chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients across the company’s 4 locations.
In addition to VaynerMedia, VaynerX also includes Gallery Media Group, which houses women’s lifestyle brand PureWow and men’s lifestyle brand ONE37pm. In addition to running VaynerMedia, Gary also serves as a partner in the athlete representation agency VaynerSports, cannabis-focused branding and marketing agency Green Street and restaurant reservations app Resy.
Gary is a board/advisory member of Ad Council and Pencils of Promise and is a longtime Well Member of Charity: Water.
Gary is a highly sought-after public speaker, a 5-time New York Times bestselling author, as well as a prolific angel investor with early investments in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo, and Uber.
The best “How To” videos, Case Studies, Interviews and Education for Entrepreneurs. Created by Entrepreneur Patrick Bet-David to provide value and entertainment. Valuetainment is now referred to as the best channel for entrepreneurs on YouTube.
Valuetainment Posting Schedule:
Tuesday- How to Video with Patrick Bet-David
Thursday- How to Video with Patrick Bet-David
Friday- Case Studies with Biz Doc Tom Ellsworth
During the Iranian Revolution of 1978, Patrick’s family had to escape to survive and ended up living at a refugee camp in Erlangen, Germany. At 12 years old Patrick found himself collecting cans & beer bottles to raise money that could help his family and get him a Nintendo. These childhood experiences had a major impact on his perspective of freedom, hard work and entrepreneurship. Today, he is an active YouTube creator, author and CEO of PHP Agency, Inc. a financial services company with over 2,300 agents in 48 states.
Increasing Revenue through Sales
Grant Cardone is a NY Times Best Selling author, recognized international sales training expert, and motivational speaker on finance, sales, and business expansion. He is founder and CEO of three multi-million-dollar businesses. Catch him on the Today Show, Fox and Friends, CNBC and Access Hollywood.
Visit http://grantcardone.com for his latest blogs, news, tips, training, and where to catch him LIVE!
Subscribe now if you are ready to Transform Your Mind, Enhance your life, and CHANGE THE WORLD with me, TOGETHER.
You aren’t watching this video by accident. As a firm believer in God, I believe we were brought together to achieve something greater than me, greater than you, for the greater good of humankind.
Subscribe now and join my mission to change the world. I have seen and experienced, the power of the mind and what one can achieve when they are able to take control of, reprogram and optimize their mindset.
This channel will give you the tools, education, experience, motivation, encouragement, the exact tactics and cutting-edge strategies to support you in becoming THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF.
I will SHOW you just how to MAXOUT your mind, body, spirit, biz, $, relationships, and overall happiness and fulfillment.
Health and Wellness
Welcome to my YouTube channel! I’m Bedros Keuilian, and you’re here because you know that service and impact are the only real way to achieve wealth and freedom. That’s why I created this channel to give you the tools, strategies, and mindset you need to turn your business or idea into a massively profitable empire.
I release new videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
– On Mondays and Thursdays, I post short advice videos and clips from my guest appearances on podcasts.
– On Wednesdays, I post episodes of my own podcast, the Empire Podcast Show, with my cohost Craig Ballantyne.
Make sure you hit subscribe and comment on my videos! My mission is to serve, and that means keeping in touch with you and helping you on your path.
Welcome to my YouTube channel! I’m Tom Bilyeu and you’re here because you believe that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not the same as actually doing something with it. So, our goal with this YouTube channel is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams.
I drop new videos every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
On Mondays, I release a motivational video meant to inspire you all to take action. I’ll punch myself in the mouth if it’s all just empty motivation.
On Tuesdays, I have a long-format interview with elite entrepreneurs, athletes, and more!
Every other Thursday, I release our new show, Health Theory, where I interview the top health experts in their respective field and share those findings with you!
Tony Robbins is a catalyst for change and a strategist for success. He creates change in minutes, when normally it couldn’t be accomplished in years.
Lewis Howes is an American author, entrepreneur, and former professional Arena League football player. He hosts The School of Greatness, a talk show distributed as a podcast. Learn and hear the stories from various successful people around the world, become inspired, motivated and educated with the SCHOOL OF GREATNESS.
Visit Him On: http://lewishowes.com
Local networking events are great, they are a place where like minded individuals gather with the purpose of connecting with others. And you never know who you may connect with.
A few benefits of networking include:
- Staying up-to-date on trends by talking to others in your field
- Learning from guest speakers.
- The opportunity to speak with leaders and influencers that you may not get to connect with in a workspace.
- Gaining motivation and inspiration from the people and energy you are interacting with.
- The opportunity to recruit new employees (if that is your role).
There are networking events going on all the time, spend a little time searching online, including on social media, to find a few events near you.
Finding a mentor who has more experience than you is an incredible way to grow. Often times as entrepreneurs we think that we have to figure everything out on our own. But having a mentor will help you navigate unknown territory.
Mentors can provide guidance when it comes to areas of business that we are not familiar with. They can also look at your business with a more objective perspective which means they can provide valuable feedback about things that may not be working as well as you think. The constructive criticism of a mentor will help you to see your shortcomings and allow you to correct them.
Mentors can also provide encouragement when things get tough, and things will inevitably be tough sometimes. Learning from your mentor’s experience can save you time, frustration, and maybe even your business.
There are multiple ways to find a mentor. One is to attend networking events and start building relationships. There are also professionals that charge for mentorship.
Or you may already have a specific person in mind who has the business skill set you admire. Seek out time with that person and ask for their support as a mentor. That may seem like a lot to ask of someone, but you never know until you ask. Many entrepreneurs enjoy giving back by investing in other entrepreneurs.
The heart of a focus group is simple…listen to your clients. This can be done in one of two ways. You can hire an outside company to gather information from your clients. Or you can do it yourself.
If you are going to create a focus group on your own, there are a few things to consider.
First, make sure the purpose of your group is clearly defined. Ask yourself “what do I want to find out?” Setting clear goals in the beginning will help you to stay on track.
Next, define your target audience. If you want to learn from clients who have not participated in certain programs, reach out to them specifically.
Thirdly, create questions and conversation starters that will help you gather the information you are seeking. Aim for open-ended questions that will elicit more information. Avoid questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no.” Follow up each question with a probe such as “why do you feel that way?”
Of course, you will need to find a location for your focus group to take place. If your facility has the room, you can host there. Otherwise, you will need a small conference room or meeting room at a local cafe or restaurant.
You will want to recruit about 15 participants and assume that a few won’t attend. Most organizations offer some sort of thank you gift such as a gift card or cash. Be sure to provide refreshments and let potential recruits know that they will be available.
During the focus group, have one moderator to ask questions and probe for information and at least one other person taking notes. Some organizations videotape the group as well. If you do this, make sure that your recruits know in advance so they aren’t surprised or uncomfortable.
Finally, set some time aside to analyze the data that you have gathered. And create an action plan to make any necessary changes that you have learned about.
–This is a long list of items, but it is not exhaustive. It’s not important exactly how you are investing in yourself, but it is important that you make it a priority.
Are there some ideas that we left out? Leave us a comment below…we’d love to hear how you are growing yourself and your business.
Most business owners have a few things that are constantly on their mind. Towards the top of that list is the question, “How can I grow my business?” Whether you are a fitness professional, nutritionist, chiropractor or other medical professional, this is a real challenge. Luckily, we have put together a list of our favorite tools to grow your business.
There are two categories of tools for growth.
Direct Tools to Grow Your Business
First, there are direct tools that help with the functioning of your business. Some areas that you may use these tools are writing a business plan, scheduling appointments, or staying in contact with your clients. The goal of these tools is to directly and positively impact how your business runs. These tools will help things run smoothly which your clients will absolutely notice. If setting and changing appointments through an online program is easy, your clients will appreciate it. Likewise, if contacting you is complicated and inconsistent, they will also notice and they will be more likely to leave for another professional who promises more.
Indirect Tools to Grow Your Business
The other category of tools is indirect. These are tools that help you to improve yourself and the services you provide which will organically increase your business by keeping your clients engaged and attracting new clients because of your reputation. This category includes reading books, attending seminars, following leaders in your industry and absorbing all the information you can. The goal is to equip you to create an incredible environment at your facility (or online community), to continue to improve in your field and to offer your clients and patients the best possible product or services.
Direct Tools to Grow Your Business
You will need both types of tools to grow your business. Today we will be talking about direct tools and will post our favorite indirect tools soon.
If you haven’t already, you can read our recent post: Starting A Business – A Step by Step Guide for Health, Wellness and Fitness Professionals. This post will give you a solid foundation for success…so you start strong and then grow stronger.
Business Plan Tools to Grow Your Business
If you are just getting started, or if you never created a business plan, you should make this a priority. A business plan is like a road map for your business with a clear destination and the path you are planning to take to get there. You don’t want to start a trip without having a plan.
Many professionals have a vague plan in their heads, but creating a comprehensive plan with everything written out will provide more structure as you move forward.
LivePlan is an easy to use online program that helps you to formulate your business plan even if you aren’t sure what you are doing. You answer questions about your business and your financials and LivePlan calculates everything for you. You can also reach live help via phone or chat or you can access the sample plans and tutorial videos.
With this program, you can have a one-page business plan composed in less than an hour! And LivePlan doesn’t just help you get your business plan composed. They also have tools for goal setting and measuring progress to help make your business plan work.
Features of LivePlan include:
- Online and over-the-phone support
- Financial and sales forecasting
- Dashboards to monitor your progress
- Access to business and legal forms
- Many professional styles to choose from
Learn all about it on their website at www.LivePlan.com
Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business
One of the most important steps to growing your business is to develop a marketing plan so you can reach your target market and turn them into customers. This can be an enormous task, especially if you don’t have experience in the marketing field.
The goal of marketing is to promote and sell your product or service. This includes market research, advertising, social media engagement and more. Your marketing plan is what shapes your sales strategy, it creates the value, presentation, and materials that your sales team will need. So it’s really important that you have a great plan in place. Creating a comprehensive marketing plan takes time and experience. Unfortunately, most small businesses can’t afford to have a marketing professional on staff (at least, not right away).
Your options include choosing to outsource to a marketing company that specializes in your field (including MyFitBrand) or you can use a program to help you create and implement a marketing strategy that is focused on growth. Like all business decisions, you have to decide what is best for you. For some businesses outsourcing to a marketing company is a no-brainer because of the time it saves. For others, using a program to help them is the right amount of support. If you aren’t sure what is best for you, one of the marketing experts at MyFitCoach will provide you with a free consultation with zero obligation, just contact us.
Sales and Marketing Pro
From the same developers as LivePlan, Sales and Marketing Pro offers a robust system to plan and implement your marketing plan. You will have the ability to create materials, implement a sales strategy and forecast your sales efforts.
Sales and Marketing Pro was created through a partnership with marketing guru John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing. So you know the guidance you are getting is proven. It includes detailed step by step instructions and examples throughout which make it easy to follow. You can draw inspiration from the library of existing marketing plans and customize as much as you need.
Features of Sales and Marketing Pro include:
- Expert guidance is built right in!
- Create Professional Marketing Plans
- Sales Planning and Budgeting Tools
- Complete Marketing Toolbox including Social Media, Email Marketing, and Print Marketing, Public Relations.
- Turn your Plan into a Professional Presentation
See all the details at www.paloalto.com/sales_and_marketing_plan_software/
ProFit GPS is a web-based program is designed to make marketing simple for fitness professionals. It includes everything a gym owner would need to create a marketing plan. And a good marketing plan will help you get new customers and retain the ones they have. There are two different levels of membership that offer access to an online hub with marketing tools ready to go.
Features of ProFit GPS include:
- Pre-made social media content including a posting schedule to keep you in front of your followers on facebook, twitter, instagram and more…you simply download the recipes, tips and workouts and post them as your own.
- Offers designed to get customers in your door
- Marketing strategies to keep your current customers engaged, increase referrals and per-client revenues
- Facebook group and Messenger Bot Marketing Strategies
- Lead Generation and Retention Strategies
See package details and pricing at www.profitgps.net
Scheduling Tools to Grow Your Business
Many chiropractors and medical professionals use a program that has scheduling built in. But many other professionals in the health and wellness field do not have a tool for this. We see so many massage therapists, personal trainers and even gym owners using a planning book to schedule. While this approach may be easy for you, it is not easy for your clients. And many of your competitors are using online programs that make it simple for clients to schedule, cancel or change a training session. This eliminates back and forth calls or text messages. And clients love it.
If you are still scheduling with a daily planner, it’s time to get an upgrade. There are several options and most include more than just scheduling tools.
Our first choice for scheduling is Acuity Scheduling which makes it simple for clients to schedule or reschedule with you. This eliminates the frustration of back and forth calling, texting and emailing. Clients can access your schedule, choose their appointment time and even make payments with the mobile app. Accuity will automatically send a reminder email or text for you. The clean and simple design makes using their system a pleasure and they offer top-notch customer support as well.
- Multiple schedules for different staff and locations
- Can be embedded into your existing website
- Syncs with Google Calendar, icloud, Outlook, Exchange, and Office 365
- App is customized with your logo and colors
- HIPAA secure feature is available
- Accept payments and deposits through PayPal, Square, Stripe, Braintree, or Authorize.net
- Offer classes, workshops, or group events
- Easy upsell clients with check-out add-ons
- Advanced reporting about appointments, no shows, & performance
- QuickBooks, Freshbooks, and Xero integrations for invoicing and accounting
- MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and MadMimi integration for bulk e-mailing
For details and pricing visit: www.acuityscheduling.com
EZFacility offers more than a scheduling system. It is an all-in-one web-based software that can manage all of the business needs of your sports or fitness business. EZFacility manages scheduling, management, and membership. Like Acuity, clients can access your schedule and make payments via the mobile app. Beyond scheduling, EZFacility also offers systems to organize locker and equipment rental, front desk check-in, league scheduling and management, employee time clock and more.
- Facility Scheduling & Management
- MemberMe+ – Branded Mobile App
- Trainer & Instructor Scheduling
- Customer Relationship Management
- Package Sales & Attendance
- Invoicing & Payment Tracking
- Locker & Equipment Tracking
- Photo ID’s & Player Passes
- League Scheduling & Management
- Merchant Processing with Constellation Payments
- Payroll & Commission Tracking
Acuity and EZFacility are our top recommendations, but we also like a few others including Pike13 and MindBody. You can read more about these options at www.pike13.com or www.mindbodyonline.com.
Payment Processing Tools to Grow Your Business
Whether you need to accept payments on the go, or if you need an in-house payment terminal, you have options for accepting payments. In today’s fast-paced world, clients want to be able to make payments quickly and securely. We have listed the details for a few of the major players so you can compare features quickly.
2.5% + $0.10 per tap, dip or swipe
Payment Methods Accepted:
- Credit and signature debit cards
Ways to Accept Payments:
- Over the Phone Virtual Terminal
- On your ecommerce website
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Payment Methods Accepted:
- Credit and signature debit cards
Ways to Accept Payments:
- On your ecommerce website
2.7% per swipe, keyed payments are 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction
Payment Methods Accepted:
- Checks (yep, you may still get them, and only PayPal supports)
- Credit and signature debit cards
Ways to Accept Payments:
- On your ecommerce Website
Which payment processing system is best for you? It depends on your business. Each platform has its own benefits.
Stripe is an excellent option for a brand new digital startup, it helps you establish your business and grow it.
Paypal is a useful addition to have on your site and now accepts payments in many different ways. It’s widely accepted used and offers familiarity
Square is great for small businesses with both online and offline sales. As your revenue increases, you may want to consider another option due to the high transaction rates.
Email Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business
If you are not sending out regular emails to your current contact list, what are you waiting for? Business in today’s market is very relational. A good email marketing system makes it easy to stay connected to your clients. We recommend sending valuable content on a regular basis. Things like tips, workouts, recipes, information on upcoming events and offers. Some of our favorites have a lot of the same features including:
- Automated/autoresponder emails
- Landing Pages and Sign-up Sheets
- Dynamic Content for personalizing for your company and your clients
- Easy Importing of contacts
- Tracking and analytics to help you really reach your clients.
- Integration with your website
Plans start at $19 per month
Plans start at $15 per month
Some plans also include the ability to create landing pages and webinars
Plans start at $17 per month
Plans start at $0 – seriously, there is a free plan that allows you up to 2000 subscribers. It doesn’t have all the features of others at this level, but if you are on a tight budget for your small business, this is a great place to start.
All of these email marketing systems offer a free trial, so do some research and try one out before you commit.
We know that it seems like a no-brainer to have a website that is working for you. But you would be amazed at the number of companies that have an out-of-date website or no website at all. Did you know that potential clients will judge the credibility of your company based on your website? If a client lands on your site and doesn’t like what they see, it can mean lost business. We won’t get into all the details of why you need a website now, but you can read our post about it 7 Reasons You Need a Website for Your Fitness Business.
Now, to be fair, we are a marketing company that works in the health, wellness and fitness industries so we are going to self-promote for a moment. We offer website design as one of our services. And we design great sites at affordable prices. You can find all the details at www.myfitbrand.com/websitedesign/. We also offer payment plans so that every business can have an amazing site that represents their company.
Phew! That is a lot of resources for you to look into. If it seems overwhelming or you don’t know where to start, we would love to provide a free consultation. We will schedule an appointment. Learn about your business goals and come up with a few good steps and tools to grow your business. You can contact us at www.myfitbrand.com/contact/ and we will be in touch with you soon.
Also, the comments are open if you have any questions or are looking for suggestions on other tools.
We are looking forward to helping you grow your business.
Starting your own business may seem like a big jump, and many people are scared to take that risk. In fact, there are statistics that seem pretty scary when it comes to starting a small business. The Small Business Association states that 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10. But don’t let that scare you from following your passion and starting a business.
If you are thinking about starting a business in the health, wellness or fitness industries there are ways for you to set your business up well so you are more likely to succeed. If you take the time to plan well from the start, you will be able to implement each step and create a strong foundation for your business.
Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Business in the Health, Wellness and Fitness Industries
Step 1: Gain Experience
The very first step to starting your own business is to assess your readiness. You need to be real with yourself and decide if you have the experience and knowledge necessary to run a business.
First and foremost: do you have the necessary skills to practice in your field? Whether you are a personal trainer, massage therapist or chiropractor before starting your own business you need to gain firsthand experience. If you are just out of school, or you just completed your certification, you need to spend the next season of your career learning. Take this as an opportunity to hone your skills and find your professional footing. Find a mentor to learn from so you can better yourself.
Once you have gained experience and have developed a following of clients, you need to ensure that you have the business skills necessary. Even if you are the best at what you do, you will need to understand the operations side of running a business. Do you know what software to use for scheduling and billing? Who is your accountant? What are the overhead costs of running a business? How many clients or patients do you have to see in order to make ends meet? Or to make a certain profit? What will it cost to have a receptionist? How many employees will you need?
Again, a mentor would be a great resource at this time. Put in the work while you are learning from someone who has already navigated the process of starting a business. Have patience while you are building your foundation…it will be worth it in the end.
Step 2: Your Idea
Most people think that a business starts with a building, or maybe even some capital, but really a business starts well before these details are worked out. Your business starts with your idea. That’s why it’s vital for you to fully define exactly what you want to build. The more detailed and clear your idea is, the more prepared you will be to implement it properly.
Throughout this post we will be walking through an example business, MyFitGym to help you visualize each step. We are using a fitness facility as the example, but all of these steps apply to other health and wellness fields too. If you are starting a medical or chiropractic business, or a massage therapy or nutrition business or really any business at all, you need to start by clearly defining your idea.
In order to clearly define the business idea of MyFitGym, instead of saying “I want to open a fitness facility,” we should say “I want to open a fitness facility in the Allentown district of Buffalo that offers affordable personal training and boot camp classes to women ages 25-45 to help client lose weight and improve their health.” (More about defining your target market below).
Another important question to ask yourself about your idea is “What makes my idea unique.” What is it that will make your business different than your competitors? Why should someone choose your business over a similar one? There are a lot of possible answers to these questions.
Let’s use the example of the gym above. What makes this gym unique? Perhaps the pricing is different than local competitors. Or maybe, it is limited to only women so that it provides a more comfortable space for the target market. Or maybe it offers different styles of classes than other gyms.
Make sure that you know what it is that makes you different because you will need to make this difference clear to potential customers.
Before moving forward with your idea, it is wise to do some research on what already exists in the market. You can find out if there is a market for your idea, who your competitors are, etc (see section on market research below).
Step 3: Your Mission Statement
Don’t make the mistake of skipping this step. Because you will need to refer back to your vision and mission when making important business decisions…think of these statements as a compass guiding you towards your business goals.
Your mission statement is present-focused and is the “why” of your business strategy. Which is pretty important. So, how do you write a good mission statement? And what does it include? It starts with the idea you already clearly defined in step 1.
Throughout the writing of your mission statement, keep in mind the story of your fitness business. Why did you start your business? What makes your business unique? Why should someone choose your business over a competitor? These answers aren’t written directly in the mission statement, but they are at the heart of it.
Next, define what your business does for your customers. Write this down! For MyFitGym we could write “MyFitGym creates a comfortable environment for women to reach their health and wellness goals. Our certified trainers provide high-quality, affordable personal training and group fitness classes designed to help women lose weight and increase their energy.”
See how the story is underlying this statement? You can tell that this gym was created out of a need to provide a more comfortable environment than local competitors. It shows the uniqueness of the business and encapsulates the passion to help.
Here are a few examples of other health and wellness businesses with solid mission statements:
Fall Creek Chiropractic
“Our mission at Fall Creek Chiropractic is to partner with our patients in creating healthier, happier lives and to be a positive resource for our community’s health through caring, family-based, extraordinary chiropractic care.”
Rochester Regional Health
“To enhance lives and preserve health by enabling access to a comprehensive, fully integrated network of the highest quality and most affordable care, delivered with kindness, integrity, and respect.”
Hands On Sports Therapy
“At Hands On Sports Massage, we treat existing injuries, provide preventative maintenance, and educate our clients about their muscles and bodies. Our customized massage treatment and preventative maintenance program will maximize your athletic performance by increasing your range of motion, flexibility, agility, speed, function, and focus, so you can train and compete at your greatest potential.”
Most companies write their mission statements towards their customers, but some also include internal aspects. What does your business do for its employees? Or owners? It’s even okay to write multiple mission statements, one for customers and one for employees. This is up to you and genuinely depends on what your business prioritizes. If part of your mission is to create an amazing work environment for your employees and trainers, then it would be helpful to create a mission statement for internal purposes that is included in training material and orientation, but that is not made public.
Step 4: Your Vision Statement
Your vision statement is different in that it is future focused and intended for internal use. It tells you and your employees where your business is heading. It is what you dream for your business to become. With your vision statement, you are setting the direction for your company.
Your mission statement is focused on what you do. Your vision statement is focused on the outcome of that effort. As a health and wellness business, you want your vision statement to focus on the health outcomes for our clients (the output of the services your offer).
Here are a few tips for creating a good vision statement:
- Look 3-10 years into the future.
- Dream Big.
- Use present tense wording.
- Capture the passion and energy of your business.
- Use clear and concise language.
For MyFitGym a good vision statement would be “MyFitGym provides an environment where women across the state of New York can reach their health and wellness goals without feeling self-conscious. By creating a non-judgemental and safe environment we allow women to reach their potential and live a life full of energy and passion.”
This example has a growth mindset by stating that we can reach women in the state instead of just our neighborhood. It is written in the present tense – showing that we are taking steps in our business to reach this vision. And it shows the passion we have for women improving their health.
Step 5: Understanding Your Target Market
Who do you want to serve? That may seem like a simple question, but many businesses don’t define this well.
If you think that your target market is everybody, you will likely fail to reach most of them. Here’s why: it’s not easy to cater to both 21-year-old college athletes and 55-year-old empty-nesters. Many companies end up trying to reach too many groups of people and end up reaching none of them.
Do you have a passion for working with young athletes? Great! Focus on providing the services that will benefit them. Do you love to work with women who have been struggling to lose weight? Awesome! Create a business that meets their needs. Just don’t try to meet the needs of everyone while you are just starting to build your business.
Above we talked about being specific with your idea, and this is a vital part of that. Choose a specific group of people that you are trying to reach and design your business, your marketing and your environment around that group.
Here are a few demographics to consider when defining your target market:
- Does your business serve only men? Only women? Or both?
- Do you want to work with teenagers? Young Professionals? Retired Adults?
- Socio-economic status
- Is your business going to be focused on lower-income individuals who don’t have access to health services? Or are you focused on a higher income population? Or somewhere in between
- Geographic Location
- Do you want to serve people located in a specific neighborhood? Region? Or maybe you offer online services and can reach people farther away?
- Health and Wellness Goals
- Do you plan to help people prepare for fitness competitions? Lose weight? Restore mobility? Eat better?
Once you have defined your target market, you have some research to do. Read up on how to best market to your ideal clients. This is a good time to enlist the help of a marketing company that specializes in the health, wellness and fitness industries.
Step 6: Your Product or Service
If you have followed the first four steps, this one should be almost complete by now. To succeed in business you need to know exactly what you are offering your clients. This is probably where your idea started.
Just like with your target market, you need to narrow this down to a few basic products or services.
It’s easy to get bogged down by continuously adding more and more features to your offerings, but the opposite is what leads to success. Make sure that you have established your basic services before adding more. There is always room for growth as you build a strong foundation.
As crazy as it seems, growing too quickly can be a downfall for your company.
Using our example from above, MyFitGym offers personal training and boot camp classes for women. Once these services are in place and running smoothly, we can add nutrition services or seminars.
Step 7: Market Research
Market research can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary research is conducted by you (or a company you commission to do this). The result is firsthand information that you gather through focus groups, online surveys, phone calls, questionnaires and more. With this technique, you are going directly to the source to gather the information that you desire. This approach yields responses that are specific to your company’s needs, but is cost and labor intensive. Secondary research is the data and public records that you have available to you. This is usually affordable (or free) and easy to access.
Smart business owners start with secondary research first and then conduct their own primary research.
MyFitGym may start by doing research on local demographics to ensure that a potential location would be a good fit for their services. They can look into what competitors are in the area and the average income of nearby families. After that, they may send out a questionnaire to households in the neighborhood to see about their gym-going habits to make sure they are filling a need in the community.
We know it seems like a lot of work to put in before you open your location or start offering your online services. But if you take the time to clearly define your business, write out your vision and mission statements, and define your target market and your product or services you will have created a strong foundation to build your business on.
As a result of your hard work, you will be more likely to succeed.
This Week’s Topic: How to use Social Media to Market your Fitness Business
There is so much to learn about using social media for marketing and one blog post will not cover it all…but we will try to give you the basics so you can get started marketing your fitness business right away.
Do your research
If you have been following this series you have already narrowed your target market and now you can put that knowledge to use. Go online and read content that is currently attracting your audience. See where they are engaged. See what they are posting themselves. Join in the conversations to find out what matters to them. This will allow you to create content that they will value.
There are so many social media outlets available today and there will be even more in the future. Choose one or two different platforms and focus your efforts there. This is another opportunity to do research. What social media platforms are your ideal clients using? If they are active on snapchat, then don’t spend a lot of energy on twitter. Don’t worry about not reaching everyone…remember that it’s about the quality of interactions, not the quantity.
Each social media platforms and each has it’s own strengths, here are a few of the main players:
- Instagram is a very visual platform. If you have the photo skills (see some tips below) and are running a business that is based on aesthetics, this is the platform for you! As an example if you run a recipe blog or you work with figure competitors, posting photos of your recipes and clients would be a great way to bring attention to your business. Your eye catching photos are guaranteed to get lots of likes.
- Be aware that many followers do not read a lot on Instagram, this platform is less likely to start conversations.
- With the newer Instagram Stories, you are able to share your day or a conversation easily. This feature is similar to Snapchat and attracts the same younger crowd.
- Instagram doesn’t allow active links except for in your bio, so followers have to do some work to get to your website or blog post.
- Facebook is the single largest social media platform out there and it now attracts clients from older age brackets. If you are looking to attract clients in their 40s and above, this is the platform to focus on.
- Facebook is more conversational. Because of the format, followers are more likely to see what you have written instead of just your photo like on Instagram. Also, if a follower comments on your post, their friends will see this activity bringing a lot of potential attention to your page.
- If you are looking to attract Millenials, Snapchat is the tool for you. As many younger individuals are moving away from the social media platforms that their parents are using such as Facebook.
- Snapchat allows you to really tell your story and shows the personality of your business (Instagram is now doing this as well)
- Be aware that each snap only stays live for 24 hours so if a potential client sees your information but doesn’t act, they won’t be able to access it again.
Be sure to stay active on your social media accounts. We know that it can be annoying to keep all of your notifications on, but you don’t want to miss an opportunity to connect with your followers. If someone sends you a message or comments on your post you want to respond quickly…this will start online conversations that will allow clients to connect with you.
Take good pictures.
This one seems pretty obvious, but if you scroll through any social media platform, you will see plenty of businesses that post poor quality images. You don’t need a fancy camera or any expensive tools, your smart phone will do the job. Here are a few tips on taking a good photo for social media:
- Use the rule of thirds – imagine your photo with vertical lines dividing it into thirds. You want the focus of your image to be mainly in the left or right third.
- Use natural lighting if possible – outdoors is great, but in your gym you may want to be near a window (not with the window directly behind the subject).
- Check the background – Do a quick scan of the background of your photo in advance. Make sure there is no excess clutter or extra people that will ruin your shot.
- Try multiple angles – try taking multiple photos from different angles to see which one looks best for your post. You may like one better than the rest, but you may also have a few great shots to turn into a collage.
- Use a photo editing app to add filters, wording, frames and more. A few of our favorites are Aviary, Pixlr and Canva. For just adding text we like InstaQuote and WordSwag (which also allows you to add your logo to each photo).
Don’t always sell
The goal of your social media accounts is to create relationships with your followers. You will not do this if you are constantly selling. Be sure to create content that simply gives your clients something of value. For example most of your posts should be motivational quotes, encouragement, exercise tips, workouts, etc. If you fill your social media accounts with sales, you will lose followers fast. A good rule to follow is that for every sales post you should share 3-4 non-sales posts.
If you want others to share your posts, you need to do the same. Find other resources that are not direct competitors, but that may also be valuable to your clients. For example, if you are personal trainer, find a few local health food stores or restaurants and share their recipes, sales and tips on your page. Your clients will love the information and the other businesses are more likely to share your posts.
Pay attention to which posts are working and which ones are not. What images are getting the most “likes” and which ones are sparking conversations? You want to mimic those. So many different factors can be at play: What time was it posted? Are there certain colors that are getting attention? What font did you use? Did you use specific hashtags? It may feel like it would be impossible to figure out what is attracting customers, but if you really focus, patterns will show up and you will start to see what is working best.
There is so much more to cover regarding social media for marketing, but this is a good place to start.
Have you successfully used any of the tips above? We’d love to hear about your experience…just leave us a comment below!