I guess I got your attention with my last post titled “Why I’m Exiting My Business.” To be clear, I am not selling my business or giving up on it—nothing could be further from the truth. I have reached a point in my business lifecycle where it’s time for me to assume a new role—the role of supporting my Team. It’s time for me to have some business freedom! I have hired a great Team including a Manager who is extremely competent and have another stellar employee assuming more responsibility as an Assistant Manager. My teachers are doing really well taking care of clients and helping them understand the Pure Barre technique and improve each class. And my front desk associates are proficient at our sales process and working with the teachers and managers. Basically, they’ve got this! So where does that leave me?
This blog is all about explaining how to hire a great team, motivate them, and lead them to success. (Spoiler alert: my book is also about these same things! Coming out in late July or early August! And, if that’s not enough, I’ve started working on a course that will teach you how to hire that Rock Star Team.) But in the beginning stages of your business, it’s just you. You have to do everything from teaching classes, taking care of your clients, selling, cleaning, restocking supplies, and a host of other unexciting and oftentimes dirty jobs—after 5 years, I have lots of bathroom “surprise” stories. Two drink minimum, please.
For those of you having difficulty visualizing what I’m talking about (maybe because you’re trying not to visualize the dirty jobs), this is what your business lifecycle looks like at the beginning. You support your clients.
But 5 years in, this is where I am. I’m supporting my Team and they are supporting our clients.
Do you see the difference? In the second image, you give all the responsibility to your Team and you focus on doing whatever it is that they need to be better at their jobs. Ok … maybe we’re not 100% there yet. But we will be, very soon.
It’s important to note that if you aren’t hiring the right people or people that don’t fit within your business’s unique culture, you’ll likely never get to the point of supporting your Team. You’ll stay stuck supporting your clients and doing everything yourself. No rest for you. No vacation for you. No other opportunities for you. Since your business should serve as your vehicle to a better, more balanced life, that’s pretty lame. Wouldn’t you agree?
Over the next year, I’m going to spend my time working with my Manager and Assistant Manager so that they are running the business without me and I’m solely focused on thinking up more ways to increase our revenue. Since I won’t be overseeing the studios’ day-to-day operations, I’ll have plenty of time to devote to my new role and I am anticipating working remotely at times. In fact, my goal is to be able to take a whole month away and be confident that everything is happening without me. Dare to dream! So how am I going to get to this point?
The first step in business freedom is to teach my managers how to track our key metrics, the most important being retention. In the fitness business, client retention is the main driver of your future sales. What? Did you think attracting new clients is?
Sure, bringing new clients into your studio is extremely important, but since most are initially purchasing your introductory offer which is significantly discounted (we offer an Intro Month, which is four weeks at $99), you’re really not increasing or driving sales until they make that leap to their next package. If you have 20 new clients walk through your doors and start taking class, but at the end of their Intro Month only 1 sticks around and purchases another package, that’s not good, and an indicator that something you’re doing isn’t working to keep these people around. It’s also a lot of work for you and your team for lackluster results. Forming a solid retention plan is the best way to drive and predict your future sales. As I’m teaching them about retention and how to track it, we’ll also be recording all of our work in a manager manual—that way, if any of them go on vacation someone else will know exactly what to do in their absence. Business freedom here I come!
Going forward, I’ll be discussing this transition in more detail and how it will allow me to gain business freedom as well as start working on something else that should be on every small business owner’s mind, diversification of income. But more on that as this new journey unfolds. Maybe the next book?!
I know you’ve been waiting for it … a super-serious discussion on hair ties will be posted tomorrow. Which ones are the best? But seriously, where do they go when they get lost?
Until then, stay on your toes!