Once you’ve had your fitness bootcamp up and running for a period of time, you become aware of some things that you should have done differently from the very beginning — the sorts of things that could have helped you avoid money zapping mistakes.
Well, that’s certainly true for me. While I’m glad that my business has gotten to the point that it has, I made things a lot harder on myself by failing to take some steps early on that would have made things much easier. This article reveals six things that I didn’t do when I started my bootcamp business.
- Be aware that people will question you and your methods.
It’s funny — when people go to see a dentist, only the most courageous will speak up and ask questions about what the hygienist or the dentist is doing. In the fitness bootcamp business, it can seem like everyone is an expert and that everyone has an opinion about what you should be doing differently. Remember that you are the professional, and you are the one designing the class. Stick to your methods, and people will keep coming back to your class, especially if they are seeing results.2. Choose the right kind of clients.
If you offer your bootcamp at $5/class, you will get a particular element of the socioeconomic spectrum. On the other hand, if you charge $99/month, you’ll get a different element. Both elements have people who want to work out, so you need to decide which end you want to target and stick to your guns. One thing worth noting here is that value doesn’t necessarily go along with the lowest price. If you are providing quality training, people will pay for it. This means that you can charge a little more than you might think you can, and people will pay it. Most people don’t miss their training sessions because of a cash shortage; they are either low on the motivation end or aren’t getting the results they want. Both of these are problems that you can help them solve. 3. Call your potential clients before they come in the first time.
If your newest clients sign up more than a day before their first session, you need to take the time to give them a quick call. Even in a 10-minute phone conversation, you can link to your new clients in a deeper way. Find out what their fitness goals are, and then ask them why they chose those particular goals. Let them talk. Listen as they tell you why they need your service. What do they want to change at this point in time? Why do they want to change it? Once you go through the things they want, you offer them a specific solution.
As your group grows, your programming has to remain simple. You might think that a lot of the exercises are getting boring, but that’s because you’re the one running the class. While you might be thinking about variety, though, your class members are thinking about results and about having a good time. Never lose sight of the power of such simple moves as the push-up, lunge, squat, row, plank and the mountain climber. These work and they should remain the core, basic exercises in your class. They are efficient, easy to teach and you can use them for other activities such as bootcamp fitness games, and they are easy to teach. 5. Find a mentor.
If you want to have the chance at the quickest success in your bootcamp business, learn from those who are already doing what you want to do. When I started in 2005, I bought a “How To Run A Bootcamp” product. This gave me more confidence knowing that I was learning and using fitness and business techniques that were already tried and proven by a bootcamp veteran. These days, you’ll find those who have never actually run their own bootcamp, never have gotten up at 4am five days a week for those 545am classes, never have spent years on the bootcamp front line yet try to sell you their “business in a box” methods. They have great sales copy, slick graphics, fake testimonials and are after the dollars. Anyone can make claims. Find a mentor that has actually done it or is doing it. Interview them via email or phone and ask them the hard questions before falling for their sales pitch. A mentor can be the most valuable asset that you can get, just do your due diligence before hiring them or buying their product.
In 2007, I had the good fortune of working with Austin Fit Magazine each month as their videographer. I got to go to a different fitness business each month and film their class. Some months it was martial arts, or boxing, or Crossfit, or another fitness bootcamp. I was able to interview the owner and instructors first hand and believe me, I picked up some very valuable tips from each of them. One of the biggest was that each had a strong sense of community within their business. They worked out together but they also got together socially for holiday parties, mud runs, community events, etc. Doing this yourself – building community will grow your business like nothing else!
6. Have Fun
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work hard. As Vince Lombardi once put it, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” However, you don’t have to worry yourself about spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on equipment to start a great bootcamp. Your program doesn’t have to be all about equipment at the beginning; with a weighted rope and a couple of sets of resistance bands, you can put together a heck of a workout. Your challenge is to give people their love for exercise back. They’re coming to see you because they are starting to hate the gym or any other number of reasons. You can make them love exercise again, and that, my fellow trainer, is the ultimate reward!