Business GrowthFundamentals and Best PracticesGrowth Tactics Planning Out Your Year as a Fitness Professional

Planning Out Your Year as a Fitness Professional

With the New Year comes lots of people looking to get in shape after weeks of excessive holiday consumption. While it’s a busy time of year for many personal trainers and fitness professionals, lots are left sitting on the sidelines wondering why new clients aren’t knocking on the door.

It’s important to plan out your year as a personal trainer. Why? Because if you don’t, you run the risk of missing out on great opportunities to build your business and make your impact—like the New Year’s rush!

Having a plan allows you to look ahead at special holidays, seasonal events, and trends, so you can set up your promotions in advance and be ready when the business is ready for you. Planning out your entire year might seem overwhelming, but keep in mind there can be flexibility and space to shift.

Wondering how you can plan out your year for greater success in your personal training business? Here’s how.

Review Your Stats From Previous Years

Look at your previous years and take note of when your business levels tend to increase and decrease. Do they coincide with any specific holidays or events? It’s a common understanding that the New Year is a great time to market your services, but you may also notice that in past years you’ve had a big boom during the summer months.

If you offer highly niched services, your peaks and valleys may differ from someone who offers general fitness training. Running coaches will want to take note of race season, whereas someone who offers pre- and post-natal fitness services may be busy all year!

It’s also important to look for trends in when your existing clients tend to drop off. Do they become less consistent with their training sessions during the summer months? Do you seem to have a six-month lifespan with your clients? What creative ways can you use to boost client motivation and retention?

These are all important things to consider before mapping out your year.

If you’re in your first year of business, don’t worry. Make some guesses! Use what you know about the industry to plot out some peaks and valleys in your calendar. When do you think people will have fitness at the top of their minds, and how can you take advantage of these opportunities?

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Riding Holidays and Seasonal Events

Many holidays or seasonal events can bring a swell of interest in fitness and health, like the start of a new year, or the months leading into summer (when layers start to come off and we all realize it wasn’t just wool sweaters that had been keeping us warm all winter). Be ready for these events and you can really capitalize.

Another way to look at holidays is as an opportunity to all some fun and creativity to your business. Can you create an Easter Egg hunt for your clients based on finding exercise cards instead of chocolates? Could you come up with a fun “12 Days of Christmas”-themed workout? (My clients love this and talk about it all year!)

Coming up with activities like this puts the fun back in personal training. It gives your clients something to look forward to and talk about with their friends (which, hint hint, is extra marketing for you), and it can create some healthy competition amongst your community.

Holidays aside, make sure you’re thinking about which seasonal events in your community you can you use to increase your fitness business exposure. Are there any local organizations you can team up with to collaborate on? For example, if there’s a popular race in your community, can you reach out to organizers to create a special strength training plan to be distributed to the runners? Or maybe there’s a community beach party where you can lead a workout on the beach.

Think outside the box for these opportunities, and be sure to reach out to the relevant individuals with plenty of advance notice.

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When Should You Start Planning Ahead?

There’s no time like the present! If you didn’t have your yearly plan created by January 1, don’t sweat it. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of needing to have the year, quarter, or month planned out before they start. But if you’re late, that’s no reason to give up on the planning altogether. Just start now.

When you’re looking to involve other people, whether it’s by having them participate in your event or you participating in their’s, it’s better to plan ahead as early as possible. If you’re too early, they’ll tell you, and you can always follow up later.

Tips for Planning Like a Pro

First things first: write everything down. Get a large calendar (either physical or digital) and mark all relevant holidays and seasonal events you want to take advantage of. Be sure to put down any vacation time you have planned because you’ll also want to make a plan for keeping your clients engaged while you’re away. Consider adding some dates for professional development, like conferences or courses you’ll be enrolling in. And finally, make note of any business events, commitments, and promotions you already have planned.

Now it’s time for the fun part: it’s time to get creative. Brainstorm possible ideas for engaging your existing clients and bringing in new business. Don’t worry about the “how” yet; simply make a big list of everything that sounds like it would be fun and effective.

Take all the ideas that would need to occur in the next six months, and begin planning them in detail. Keep the list handy so that in the next four or five months you can repeat this process with the remaining items on your list (or come up with a new list altogether).

Break each of the items within the next six months into small, manageable chunks, and have deadlines for each specific task. If you have a digital calendar, I recommend you set calendar reminders on when to start the tasks and when to have them completed by.

Once your plan is done, sit back, relax, and get excited about all the awesome things you have coming up.

Businesses are ever-evolving and it can seem next to impossible to plan something that shifts so rapidly. But by creating an overview, you’ll be ahead of the game so you can make your impact in an organized way. And don’t forget: if inspiration strikes and you want to change course, go for it. Nothing is written in stone.

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