Personal Fitness Professional - June/July 2009 - (Page 22)

[BE BETTER] BY PHIL KAPLAN BUSINESS Is It? It Isn’t T here are five words that make me cringe. One is “economy.” I’ve heard it used over the last 18 months as an excuse, as a warning and as a monster, swallowing up livelihoods in a groundswell of perceived disaster. I prefer to focus on “prosperity.” e second of the five words is “quick.” I like the word as it relates to the movement of the checkout line in the grocery store, but it makes me cringe when I hear it preceding “weight loss” or “muscle.” en there’s a third, and it’s the biggie: “business.” Oh, I’m involved in business, I speak on business, and I even embrace new business, but the word itself brings an uncomfortable shiver. It may seem odd to those who know me professionally, but the reality is that I never set out to be a businessman. My father is a CPA. He enjoys working in an office, sitting in on meetings, analyzing data sheets and presenting financials. I love, admire and respect my father for the manner in which he raised and supported his family, but I knew I could never spend the better part of my life doing what he did. So I didn’t. After touring the country playing guitar in a rock band and a variety of other adventures, I put my college studies in exercise science to use. I decided settling down had nothing to do with an office. I was going to earn my living meeting and helping people, enjoying a socially interactive experience with them and ultimately empowering them to change. I was going to be a personal fitness trainer. Yes, that would be my career. It all sounded great, except for one small factor: ey wanted money. Who are they? My landlord, owners of the restaurants I wanted to eat in, supermarket cashiers, car dealerships and just about anyone who had something I wanted. Yes, it was a marvelous ideal to believe that training people was going to fulfill me, but without some systemized management of the money exchange, I was going to starve. I made lots of mistakes, I came through many struggles, and ultimately, the truth hit me square between the eyes. If I was really going to call this fitness lifestyle a career and manage to have a roof over my head and food on my plate, I had to learn some real-world strategies. I learned to charge in line with the value I deliver. I learned to turn some of the people I met into paying clients. I learned to make meeting new people a regular part of every day as it ensured an ongoing stream of new prospects. I learned to systematically schedule my clients in line with the calendar I wanted to live by. I learned to plan so my income would align with the financial needs that attached to the things I wanted to have and do. With time, I learned to save a percentage of my earnings. Eventually, I learned to connect all of the needs of a personal training entity without ever feeling like a businessman. rough this mode of education and reactive growth, I wound up owning a number of facilities without ever abandoning personal training, my passion. I started sharing these strategies with others, and the word “business” was ironically bestowed upon them. JUNE JULY2009 WWW.FIT PRO.COM MARCH2008 WWW.FIT PRO.COM In 1994, I was asked to do a business presentation. I couldn’t speak of conventional business practices, but I could deliver the foundational elements of the strategies I’d learned to implement and share. “Pumps vs. Drains” was my 90-minute anti-business business presentation, the underlying message being “make sure your revenue pumps exceed your financial drains.” I shared real-world examples of trainers who discounted their fees to sell “packages.” I shared the financial ramifications of collecting in advance for what amounted to long-term service liability. I shared the insidious perils of those costs, ranging from gas to advertising, that trainers failed to consider. Finally, I shared how health clubs run their training departments at a deficit by offering the members “free sessions” that come with payroll costs. In my limited perspective, it wasn’t business. It was simply the smart operation of a personal training venture aimed at bettering the lives of others for an ample reward. “If I was really going to call this fitness lifestyle a career and manage to have a roof over my head and food on my plate, I had to learn some real-world strategies.” Over a decade later, I broke it down into: (1) We have to enjoy the process of meeting people and converting some of them into evangelistic clients who find extreme benefit in connecting with us; (2) we have to ask others to exchange money for the extreme value we offer and happily find benefit in the exchange; (3) finally, we have to make sure the rewards we receive exceed the costs of thrilling the people we’re asking to trust that we can help them. Meet people, find just reward for the good you do for others, and manage your pumps and drains, and it all falls into place. Call it “business,” if you’d like. I call it loving every minute of the career I’ve come to treasure. Oh, wait, I said there were five words that made me cringe, yet I only shared three. What are the other two? Well, they’re sort of linked together in a phrase, a phrase I uttered once when it really mattered: “I do.” Phil Kaplan ( is a personal fitness trainer and author who empowers fitness professionals to find growth and prosperity through his Be Better Project.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Personal Fitness Professional - June/July 2009

Personal Fitness Professional - June/July 2009
Letter From the Editor, Writers
First-Class Management
Product Profile
You Are at Risk
Nutrition Solutions
How to Handle Health Insurance
How Much Should I Charge My Clients
Twitter This, Facebook That
Young at Heart
Be Better
Hungry for a Franchise?
The Balancing Act
Exercise Spotlight
Journey to Success
New on the Market
[Facebook] PFP Fan Page: Sneak Peek
Fitness Marketing Makeover
Effective Sports Camps

Personal Fitness Professional - June/July 2009