If you’ve ever had kids, you know the process of raising them into competent, healthy, self-sufficient adults is a big job. Even if you don’t have kids, you probably have some understanding of the effort involved. Ask any parent, though, and they’ll tell you that all the hard work is worth it – all the struggle and strife and the uncertainty paid off in the end because look what they wound up with!
In many ways, starting and running a personal training company is pretty similar.
You have a dream, and you set out to make it a reality. It starts as just a twinkle in your eye and grows, over time, into an adolescent. Finally, it becomes a mature business. Throughout the process, you guide it and shepherd it into various forms. You make it stable. You make it unique. You teach it what it takes to be successful.
And, maybe, eventually, you let it go. Alternately, you make it live at home until it’s 40. It’s the circle of life, and you’re now involved in a brand-new way.
The First Phase: Gestation
With babies as with businesses, the first phase is always gestation. Something has taken root, and it needs time to grow. With babies, this is pregnancy. Things change, your body grows, and you spend months getting to know this little person you have yet to meet. With business, it’s the ideation phase. You have a dream, you have a vision, you feel a burning passion, but you haven’t brought it into the world yet.
This is a very, very special time.
During this phase, you’re thinking about all the things your business will be. You’ve got big ideas in your head about everything from the decor to schedules. You may have told some close friends and family, or you may be keeping it to yourself, plotting, scheming, and coming up with a plan to launch your big effort.
The Second Phase: Infancy
Infancy comes after gestation. With babies, this phase means little sleep, lots of adjustments, and a BIG learning curve. With a new business, it’s mostly the same. In the early days of launching your company, you might feel all alone. You might feel like you’re the only one that can keep the darn thing alive and that, without you, it’d just go under in a minute. If you’re like many founders, you probably ARE doing everything. This is the timeframe when you’re most likely to be the receptionist, trainer, marketing professional, and accountant all at once.
While this period is exhausting, there’s excellent news: you’re learning a massive amount right now. Your brain and life are sponges: you’re taking it all in. Everything is new to you, and you’re bobbing, weaving, and adapting like a madman.
The Third Phase: Adolescence
Adolescence is the next phase of both kids and businesses. During this phase, everything is going pretty well. You’ve finally gotten on a schedule. Your child can now walk, talk, and fetch its own juice boxes.
In your company, you’ve probably on-boarded some good employees who are helping you get things done. You’re making money, and you have clients – the outlook is good! Everything is still new enough to be exciting, but you’re finally getting some sleep at night.
Sure, there are bumps here and there, but, for the most part, you’re up and moving! The terror and stress of infancy are over, at least for now.
The Fourth Phase: The Teenage Years
This is where everything hits the fan, so brace yourself. With kids, this is about the time when your sweet, dewy-faced little cherub starts sneaking out, smoking, and yelling they hate you. Your house turns to chaos for 3-5 years, and everyone is on edge. New parenting challenges arise daily, and it’s an “every man for himself” situation.
In business, it’s not too dissimilar. We’re talking growing pains. The cruisy attitude of adolescence is behind you, and your company is rebelling for growth, movement, and freedom. Your task, as a business owner, is to implement systems to facilitate this change while keeping your core values in mind. You might, at this point, open new locations, add more staff, implement new training, or even remodel and rebrand. The approach is different for everyone. All you know is that you’ve reached a fork in the road, and things can’t stay the same.
The Fifth Phase: Graduation
The teenage years have passed, and everyone survived. If you’re lucky, you even got out without any legal complications. Now, you’re back to relatively calm seas. At this point, the teenage child has set his or her sights on longer-term, more grown-up goals. They’re thinking about college, they might have a partner they like, and they’re moving out for the first time. This is a time of fledgling status and building independence in the world.
Your business, meanwhile, has gotten through its most recent growth phase, and everyone has learned some new skills in the process. Now, things are calm again, and you’re looking toward the future. You’re a verified boss, sitting back and watching your empire grow. You’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t, and you’re implementing everywhere. It’s time to toss that cap and gown – you’re on to the next phase.
The Sixth Phase: Positive Adult Relationships
This is every business owner’s favorite phase. It’s when you finally get to sit back and see your baby for what it’s become – a full-blown adult company with its own baffling set of strengths and personality traits. You’ve put in years of hard work at this point, and now it’s time to reap the rewards.
In an actual family, this is when you can start making jokes about your kids changing your diapers in your old age. In a business, it’s the point where you can begin to trust that your business will take care of you.
6 Tips to Get Through the Rough Years
In parenting as in business ownership, there are some rough years to look forward to. And it’s okay! Everyone goes through it. Before you can start cruising, though, you’ve got to develop some strategies to get through the bumps. Here are some we recommend:
1. Understand What’s Normal
Kids and businesses create a range of “normal” that’s pretty dang wide. Is it “normal” for your kid to not sleep for a few years? Yes. For them to develop weird dietary things? Yes. For them to bite their friends? No.
In business, understanding what’s normal at each phase of development will help guide you in the future. For example, knowing it’s normal to face growing pains keeps you from panicking and makes it easier to stay the course. Knowing it’s not reasonable to bounce checks once a week, though, will make it easy to make different decisions.
2. Build a Community
The stronger your community can be, the better. This is a time when you need support in your life, and good friends and mentors are critical to the process. If you are a new parent, you surround yourself with other new and experienced parents.
Together, you could commiserate on the difficulties of childrearing and the struggles you faced as a team. As a new business owner, you should surround yourself with people who understand and have been through what you’re going through. Other business owners offer the best support, systems suggestions, and empathy you can hope for.
If you’re not sure where to find a community or your current community doesn’t involve many business owners, check out Meetup or a similar platform. Your local Chamber of Commerce is also an excellent place to find Biz to Biz groups and more.
3. Know That Communication is Key
When it comes to raising a good business or a good kid, communication is critical. People must understand what you need, what you want, what you’re doing and why, and how they can help. If you’re not already a strong communicator, this aspect of running a company and a family will test you. And that’s okay. Let it test you, and then rise to the challenge. The better you become at communicating, the more everyone around you will benefit.
4. Develop Systems
Sometimes you have to figure the entire thing out as you go, but it helps to have some systems involved along the way. This is a great time to lean on an established community and let it lift you up. Take Alloy, for example. Alloy is committed to providing comprehensive approaches for new business owners. That’s why we equip each of our training partners with the following:
Start-up Guidance, Initial Training, Ongoing Support, And Refresher Training
We will never stop giving you the tools you need to thrive within your Alloy fitness training franchise – from guidance on setting up your gym location to business management training before you open your doors, to on-site visits and remote support when you need it.
Equipment, Technology And Operational Tools And Operations Manual
You’ll have access to pre-approved suppliers and vendors, and you’ll leverage useful technologies such as accounting software platforms, a unique CRM system including KPI measurement tools and other reporting functions via our exclusive Alloy dashboard. PLUS, you’ll have access to our confidential and detailed operations manual that will help you run your business from day one.
Sales And Marketing Programs And Materials
You’ll have access to a range of materials and tools that will assist in the promotion of your local fitness business, including membership retention initiatives, templates for ads, website presence, and more.
Launching a new business is difficult. We know – we’ve been there and done it. Today, we specialize in providing strong systems to help new business owners thrive and get their companies off on the right foot.
5. Maintain Consistency
In business and with kids, consistency, rigor, discipline, patience, humor, love, and kindness are essential. It can be tough sometimes, but the rewards are worth the work. If you maintain these traits, everything goes much more smoothly for everyone involved.
Not only do employees, partners, investors (and yes kids) benefit from consistency and hard work, but it makes the entire process much more clear, which limits misunderstandings and builds trust.
6. Set Standards
Every household has a set of standards by which they operate. Kids grow up knowing what’s expected of them, what their family values are, and what they need to do to thrive in a given situation.
Your business, then, should be the same way. Consider developing a mission statement that aligns your employees around a set of shared goals or objectives. This keeps everyone moving forward strongly, together, and ensures a happy, unified team that’s willing to keep growing and pushing.
Welcome to New Business Ownership
Don’t let the long days and sleepless nights scare you. Starting a business and growing it into “adulthood” is one of the most gratifying things you’ll ever do. When you can stick it out through the early, tough years, you get the benefit of knowing that better days are ahead and you’re looking forward to great things.
Suzanne is a dedicated fitness industry leader and innovator who loves to get stuff done. “It’s better to give than to receive” is a mantra Suzanne thrives by and says she shines brightest when she is serving others.
Suzanne entered the fitness industry when she joined Rick Mayo at team Alloy in 2011, prior to their partnership, she had been a microbiologist. Another very important role that Suzanne has taken on through the years when called to serve has been that of a respite Foster Parent.
Suzanne’s current focus is optimizing the systems for the new Alloy Personal Training Franchise Solution Model. Currently, Suzanne is also overseeing renovations at the original flagship location, ni Georgia AKA “The Mother Ship”.
When is not running the day to day operations of Alloy Personal Training Center she enjoys spending time with her 4 adult children, their spouses, her five adorable grandkids and 9-year-old golden retriever, Charly entertaining, cooking, or simply hanging out and enjoying a glass of wine.
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