Personal Fitness Professional - Summer 2017 - 10
Melissa Knowles | www.gymhq.club
Robert Linkul l www.bestrongerfitness.com
10 mistakes that could be
hurting your business
We fail to deliver
The starting point for operational improvement is recognizing where a business owner
may currently have issues. Here are 10 areas
where mistakes are made across a wide
variety of fitness businesses.
#1: LACK OF CONSISTENT AND ACCURATE FINANCIALS: Timely profit and loss
statements ensure that you're keeping an eye
on your margins each month so that adjustments can be made accordingly. It's common
for an owner to overestimate performance and underestimate liabilities.
#2: NO BUSINESS REPORT ANALYSIS (MISSING KPI REPORTS):
Without knowing your numbers, business analysis and action planning
#3: PAYING STAFF AS 1099 INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS:
There is no such thing as a "1099 employee." It's important to do an
analysis of each position from a behavioral, financial and relationship
standpoint to determine proper classification.
#4: EMPLOYEE MISCLASSIFICATION: Exempt vs. non-exempt
status. All job descriptions and pay should be reviewed regularly for
#5: LACK OF HOURS TRACKING AND OVERTIME PAY: Coaches, trainers and fitness instructors are an especially touchy area. It's
common for trainers to be paid by the session and not utilizing a
time clock. There have been multiple class action lawsuits concerning
trainer pay; track accurate hours.
#6: LACK OF WRITTEN POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: Think of
the Policy and Procedures Manual and Employee Handbook like the
playbook for a business. They lay out expectations for team members,
explain the business objectives behind those expectations, and provide the framework for how to carry them out.
#7: IMPROPER OR MISSING STATE REGISTRATIONS AND BONDING: Each state has different requirements for business registration.
#8: MISSING PROCEDURES FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE: A clear
system for dealing with client issues and complaints should be established beyond the terms outlined in the membership or service contract.
#9: FAILURE TO TRACK, ANALYZE, AND ACT UPON CUSTOMER
ISSUES: Customer service volume through all channels should be measured and root causes for complaints tracked. Cancellations should be
categorized by type and data analyzed on a regular basis.
#10: FORGETTING ABOUT PAST DUE MEMBERS: Getting members up-to-date is vital for a healthy draft. Set-up a system for follow-up.
Mandate that contact information be captured at the point of sale.
Fitness professionals need to eliminate be
exceptional at the simple things. We need
to collect and interpret initial interview
and consultation information, consider
physical limitations and movement assessment scores as we begin to create a
well-rounded program design specifically
geared toward achieving our clients' goals.
We schedule their first workout and teach
them proper progressions and cues of each
exercise. We perform each step perfectly, like a true professional,
and in the most crucial moment in our client-trainer relationship we
get complacent. In a moment designed specifically for us to shine,
we fail to deliver.
I observed a personal trainer working with her older adult male
client one day as he was performing a deadlift with a kettlebell. While
performing reps he continued to round his upper-back. After two or
three reps, she put her hand on his shoulder and verbally said, "keep
your chest up" while demonstrating what she wanted him to do. She
utilized verbal, visual and physical learning cues, providing the best
possible learning opportunity for her client.
After cueing, she stepped back, allowing him to continue. He did
two more repetitions with good form and started to round his back
again. Though she was obviously dissatisfied, she did not correct him
a second time. She allowed him to finish his set with poor technique
before moving to the next exercise. Trainers do this often, concerned
they will appear bossy or demanding to their client; they refuse to recue or even stop their client from performing the movement incorrectly. They don't want their client to feel unsuccessful, so they let it slide.
Failure to correct, regress or modify is an ethical issue we cannot
afford to overlook. We know how to reduce or nullify the risk of injury,
but complacency often wins out. The fear of annoying the client
becomes greater than the threat of injury however, a slightly overtrained client with poor technique will get injured. Injured clients
do not renew their training agreements; they don't refer others and
they don't speak well of their trainer, ultimately doing a great deal
On the contrary, a slightly under-trained client with great technique
can train year round and achieve their goals as they proudly sing their
trainer's praise to everyone they encounter. It's in our professional
DNA and genetic make-up as personal trainers to do the basic components of our job description extremely well. The well-being and
success of our clients and the reputable growth of our profession
greatly depends on it.
Melissa Knowles is Vice President of Gym HQ, providing corporate services
including accounting, payroll, HR and customer service for the fitness industry.
In more than 14 years of industry experience her expertise includes strategic
operations, staff training, cost savings analysis, reporting development and
implementation, fitness department overhaul, client retention systems and
| WWW.FIT-PRO.COM | SUMMER 2017
Robert Linkul is the NSCA's 2012 Personal Trainer of the Year, committee chairman of the Personal Trainers Special Interest Group and Career Development
columnist for Personal Training Quarterly. He speaks internationally and mentors
new personal trainers on business strategies, client retention and professional
longevity. Robert owns and operates Be STRONGER Fitness in Sacramento.