This is an excerpt from EuropeActive's Essentials for Personal Trainers by EuropeActive.
From One-Person Business to a Steady Company
An important prosperity scenario is expanding a personal training business by employing multiple personal trainers. This is possible by hiring them as employees or by connecting them to the business as self-employed contractors. Naturally the consequences differ greatly. The risk is significantly higher if an entrepreneur hires one or more personal trainers. However the income is also higher. The relationship between base salary and commission can be managed. Little specific information is present on the criteria for hiring someone or expanding the team. A good principle is to not grow and mature too soon. It is better to first build on the strategies mentioned previously before switching to having a lot of employees. So, an entrepreneur should first increase turnover per hour and then try to build up continuity with subscriptions for personal training. When working with a team, usually a small team of two to six people, the entrepreneur should make sure to divide the core tasks efficiently, making sure that not everyone does the same thing, namely delivering sessions. Specialise the team in terms of two issues. The first concerns content: Make sure that every member has their own specialty, or better yet assemble a team of personal trainers with complementary specialties. The second concerns the commercial dimension. Hire a few trainers who continuously recruit new clients in addition to delivering sessions. In this way the entrepreneur will work intensively on the growth of new clients.
An entrepreneur should preferably work on the business instead of just in the business. Ideally a personal trainer who starts their own business should be working on this process from the very beginning. They should strive to make the business saleable, whether or not that is the ultimate intention. This approach has not been applied often in personal training. Why should personal trainers strive to make their business saleable when they have not yet envisioned this goal? They are just getting started. The crux is in the long-term view. Personal trainers are just getting started when they're only 25 or 35 years old, but what about when they are 55 or 65 years old? Since the profession is also very physical, personal trainers need to think ahead about age from the beginning of their careers. But long-term planning is not just about the physical aspects of the profession. The business perspectives might even be more important. A successful personal trainer has added value and made profit in the first years. That is step one. Step two concerns ensuring continuity. When a personal trainer grows value in the first year (e.g., more sessions, more turnover per session), it is a shame when that value stays at the same level for decades afterwards. In all business, an important goal is to continuously raise the economic value of the company. Of course an individual personal trainer could decide explicitly to not strive for this, but it is advised from a long-term business perspective. When personal trainers embrace this growth strategy, they must set up management systematically. They will need a customer relationship management (CRM) system to ensure mutual tuning, to build up a database and to obtain reports. They should also ensure matching between methods so that clients do not experience large differences between personal trainers.
These processes are crucial when personal trainers strive to make their business saleable. No one will buy a business when its turnover completely depends on one or two people. A business as an entity has value only when there is continuity. This is true for turnover, profit and all other matters; some are mentioned in the following list:
- Build a brand. This should not be linked to one person. It has to be an entity that is presented everywhere.
- Work with a CRM system to record processes and register matters such as client information and make financial data clear.
- Keep tight control of all financial processes. Never work in undeclared employment. This creates a wrong image towards the team, and it also keeps the formal value of the personal training business low.
- Build a strong and person-independent team. Because personal training is highly person-dependent, the head of the company must continuously search for good colleagues and then train and coach them.
The exit strategy mostly means that personal training is approached professionally. A personal trainer deals with the same principles that every other business does.