Pat Rigsby is the co-owner of several businesses in the fitness industry including the Fitness Consulting Group. He also serves as an industry consultant focusing on the development of profitable personal training departments. To learn how you can improve your club’s retention, referrals and profitability, sign up for his free newsletter at www.fitnessconsultinggroup.com. Pat can be reached at pat@fitnessconsultingroup.com.

Have you ever compared your training business to a McDonald’s?
Probably not.

But, before you go and condemn me for mentioning the restaurant chain that inspired the fitness horror story “Super Size Me,” let me explain why you might want to start emulating some of the things that McDonald’s does if you’re ever going to achieve maximum success with your personal training business.

So what in the world could you learn from McDonald’s? It’s simple: Create a systematized way of running your business.

Other than being the second-largest private land owner in the world (great for building equity in your business, but that’s for another article), the thing that McDonald’s does exceptionally well and allows them to become a successful company is that every McDonald’s delivers a consistent product through a replicable system. You can have the same hamburger whether you’re in Jupiter, FL, or in Elizabethtown, KY. They have a system for how the staff delivers the food to the customer, a systematic approach to ordering their food and inventorying it, a specific system for opening a new location, and even a system for cleaning the restaurant.

Like them or not, they’ve created systems that have made them billions of dollars, allowed them to create replicated models all over the world and helped entrepreneurs who couldn’t cook become millionaires by opening their franchises. It’s also those easily replicated step-by-step systems that allow them to command such a high price tag from potential franchisees. People will pay big bucks for a McDonald’s franchise because their systems virtually guarantee success. When was the last time you saw a McDonald’s fail?

Here are the two big questions we in the industry can ask. First, can we create replicable systems? And, how would it help our businesses? The answer to the first question is a resounding yes. The answer to the second question is a little longer.

By creating systems to help you train your clients, run your business and develop your staff, you’ll generate consistent and predictable results. And consistent and predictable results lead to a consistent and predictable income. By developing systems, you’ll also be able to train your employees and know that your clients will continue to get great results with or without you. Developed effective systems will also set yourself up to open multiple locations, if you choose, and continue to generate the same success.

And, something that most trainers never give a second thought to, creating turnkey systems will dramatically increase the value of your business when you choose to sell it. Today, potential buyers are buying a system for success rather than some equipment and a few leftover bottles of protein powder.
In fact, I’d suggest you approach your business as if you’re getting ready to launch your own franchise. And in order to do that, you have to be able to pass along a system that will virtually guarantee your franchisee’s success.

By systematizing your business, you’ll not only make more money, but you’ll also make your life a whole lot easier.

Let me leave you with three easy steps to start you on your way to creating a systematic approach to business.

1. Begin documenting everything you do and organizing it into your own franchise operations manual. Include everything on paper in an easily readable and understandable way, from the way you perform an assessment to the way you clean bathrooms.

2. Start delegating minimum-wage work. If you are going to move from technician to entrepreneur, you must eventually allow other people to perform the day-to-day tasks associated with running your business. Start with the small stuff like entering data, going to the post office, cleaning, etc. You’ll eventually become more comfortable with passing on responsibility.

3. Set a timeline for someone to replace you. Set a specific goal date for when you will have trained someone to perform your role in the business. Not only will this free you up to grow the business and tackle other projects, but it will also increase the value of your company.

And you never thought anything good came from McDonald’s.