How to hire an amazing manager … or 2!

I get asked all the time how I got so lucky to have my two amazing managers, Emily and Christina. Um … it’s not really luck.  It was a business decision to hire both of them full-time and give them their current responsibilities to help run my business.

Wish you had an amazing manager?  Stop wishing and start acting!  Today, we’ll talk about when you know it’s the right time to hire a manager, and how to create a plan to find your own amazing manager.  Are you ready to hire your own amazing manager?  Not sure? Download the How to Hire An Amazing Manager Cheat Sheet here.

Here are some resources we talk about in the podcast:

She’s On Her Toes: How I Started A Business, Expanded It, Almost Lost It, And Got Back On My Toes: Did you know I wrote a book?  Whether you’re new to the podcast or have listened since the beginning, reading the book is a great place to start when thinking about creating a hiring process, hiring a team, and working on your own leadership skills.  Effective management isn’t reserved for those with an MBA.  Leadership can be taught–you’ve just gotta apply the fundamentals and you’ll reach your business goals.

DISC Personality Test:  I am really into self-awareness and understanding what drives my employees, so we’ve all taken DISC personality tests to make sure we know how to communicate and work together as a team.  When you hire a manager, it’s really important that you can work together in harmony–taking the DISC personality profile tests can ensure you’ll hire someone with the right behaviors and skills for the position.  And, as a bonus, you’ll know how to effectively communicate with them.

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want From Your Business: Taking self-awareness to the next level … Rocket Fuel explains that every business needs both a Visionary and an Integrator.  As the owner, you should take on the role of Visionary.  And … that leaves your manager to be the Integrator.  Find out if you’re a Visionary or an Integrator by taking the assessments here.

Grab that How to Hire An Amazing Manager Cheat Sheet here.

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and 7 other platforms.

Follow me on Instagram and see what I’m working on in my business each day @shesonhertoes

I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.



What Really Happened In My Business While I Was On Vacation?

If you’ve been following the podcast, you’ll remember in Episode 21: How Will My Team Manage Without Me?, that I recently went on a trip to Australia for almost 3 weeks. We promised a follow-up of what really happened–and there was a lot to talk about, so we recorded the conversation in today’s podcast.

While I was gone, my managers, Emily and Christina, had to manage the studios, create our August sales goals, keep the team motivated, and … hire a new employee. They did all this without me! How did they do it?

Since we already had a hiring process in place (learn more about it here), it wasn’t difficult for them to follow it and find success hiring someone. Creating systems for your business is really important and this scenario clearly demonstrates why.

If you went out of town on an epic vacation and needed to hire someone while you were one, could your team do it? Do you have a hiring process in place?

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and 7 other platforms.

Follow me on Instagram and see what I’m working on in my business each day @shesonhertoes

I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.

Podcast Episode 17: Is it possible to find more time each day? Part 2

Last week, we talked about how doing lots of things, doesn’t necessarily mean your business is benefiting.  In fact, you might be doing your business more harm than good by doing everything yourself and not delegating work to others.

This week, we finish the conversation (We talked so much that we split the episode into two parts!) by talking more about how to delegate effectively.  We even share some of our delegating fails, what we learned, and why we’ll never repeat those mistakes again.

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And finally, we share how we create our ideal day–the ultimate goal of the 5 Days to Time Freedom Course.  What would your ideal day look like?

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Get your ideal day by checking out the course: 5 Days to Time Freedom.

And follow me on Instagram @shesonhertoes for even more insights on the podcast and what’s going on in the business … there might be an occasional bulldog pic too!

Podcast Episode 16: Is it possible to find more time each day? Part 1

As business owners, we wear a lot of hats—CEO, Director of Marketing, Scheduler, Head Janitor, Costco Supply Shopper—the list goes on.  But seriously, can someone please let me retire from IT Specialist?!

Do you find yourself exhausted at the end of each day … but haven’t made a dent in your to-do list? Does it seem like you’re working just to pay American Express?  Are you on the verge of massive burnout?  #beenthere

Oftentimes, as busy business owners, we are so focused on the day-to-day and getting our massive to-do lists complete that we fail to recognize if all this work we’re doing is really moving our businesses forward.

What do I mean by that? Well … if you’re doing lots of things, that doesn’t necessarily mean your business is benefiting.  In fact, you might be doing your business more harm than good by doing everything yourself and not delegating work to others.

Yep.  It’s time to take a cold, hard look at how you can find time freedom.  I’ve created a new course called 5 Days to Time Freedom. In as little as 5 days and you’ll determine where your time is being spent and whether it’s time to outsource or hire an employee to help you take your business to the next level.

Check out the course, 5 Days to Time Freedom


Podcast Episode 15: How do you manage a team in the Gig Economy?

We’ve all heard about gigs and side hustles.  But what does the Gig Economy mean for your business.  If most of your employees are part-time, or have multiple jobs, how does that change the way you manage them and find success in your business?

The Gig Economy goes beyond driving for Uber and Lyft.  With opportunities for your employees to sell multi-level marketing products via Facebook, influencer blogging, and a plethora of part-time openings in brick-and-mortar stores, it’s likely that many of your employees won’t just be working for you.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that “gig” workers represent approximately 34% of today’s workforce and by 2020, that number will increase substantially to 43%.

In this episode, we’ll discuss the opportunities and challenges that “gig” workers bring to your business and how you can effectively manage this workforce.

Did you know … we’re on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts AND now … Spotify?!  Listen to the She’s on Her Toes Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

My Latest Business Mistake

Well … I did it again.  Last year, I told you about how one hiring mistake almost cost me my business (Read about it here).  And now, I find myself trying to fix another pretty big business mistake.  Not quite of the same magnitude as I’ve dealt with before, but moving in that direction.  F*ck.

And just like last year, there’s no one to blame but me.  Double f*ck.

What’s this big mistake?  A little background first …

As you’ll recall, for the last 12-ish months I’ve been working on giving my team more responsibility so that I can spend less time working in my business every day.  My team is focusing on the day-to-day tasks while I am working on more big picture things—like how to make more money, how to innovate, and how to add more value to our clients.  I’m working on some pretty big things for She’s On Her Toes—this website is getting some professional help and I’m creating some great courses on how to hire the right employees—so stay tuned for that!  I also have time to participate in Leadership Winston-Salem (Learn more here).  It’s been great for me, more time to do the things that are important to me.  And … I thought we were making great progress with my team.  Until it all came to a screeching halt.  Cue the dramatic screeching music!

My team is currently being led by my manager and my assistant manager.   They have been empowered to run both of my Pure Barre studios, take care of our clients, and ensure all of our employees are working to their ability and contributing to the success of the organization.  And they both do a great job.    But, I have failed them in a pretty big way—a way that limits their potential and our ability to keep growing this business.

I expected them to be able to take over and do all the things that I’ve been doing without teaching them how to anticipate and create a business plan.  Sure, they can perform daily tasks and get the basics done.  But, where they’re struggling is running reports, calculating retention, interpreting sales figures, and planning in advance.

They can easily provide great customer service.  However, they are blissfully unaware of the importance of managing expenses, calculating margin, and analyzing trends (both the good trends and the bad trends).  As a result, we have not been meeting some of our goals and it’s really frustrating to watch.  I know my team is capable of being more than where we are right now.  When you see a group of people working hard, and just not getting it done, when they are completely capable of doing so, it’s just the worst.  And it’s all my fault.  I haven’t been a good leader to them.  I haven’t been helping them focus on what’s important and planning.  But that’s all about to change!

The solution … my managers are going to start having their own meetings with my business coach, Mary Ann (Read more about coaching here).  And they start next week!

This lapse in leadership hasn’t been good.  Am I going to beat myself up about it?  No.  I truly think the sign of an effective leader is the ability to realize when things aren’t working, have the courage to change them, and don’t look back.

Why Do You Have to Hire Employees, Anyway?

Later this week, I’ll be attending our annual Pure Barre Conference where I’ll be giving a speech titled, “How to Hire a Rockstar Team: Learn the Key Steps to Create a Hiring Process” … and I only have 5 minutes to talk.  I could literally go on for hours about this topic, so taking it down to 5 minutes is pretty tricky.

But why do you have to hire employees anyway?  Wouldn’t life and business be so much easier without having to hire anyone to run your business?  In short: No.  Let me explain why …

In some businesses, it’s possible to do everything yourself and avoid hiring a team to take care of things for you.  But the nature of a fitness business isn’t like that.  So what is the definition of a fitness business anyway?

In my book, She’s on Her Toes: How I Started A Business, Expanded It, Almost Lost It, And Got Back On My Toes, I explain the following definition:

Definition of a Fitness Business

A fitness business is a commercial, profitable enterprise that can be run without you so you can be a role model in the health and fitness community you are creating.  This means you are free to work ON your business, rather than IN your business.

 So, do you get what this means?  In order for your business to continue growing and for you to be the leader of your studios’ fitness community, you HAVE to hire a great team to help make it happen.  There is absolutely no way that you can operate a fitness business, teach all the classes yourself, keep up with your clients, manage all of your finances, market and do all the other daily activities required to keep your studio open without hiring employees.  It makes me tired just thinking about doing all that work.

Let’s take a look at what this looks like using some pictures …

Business Lifecycle 1

At the beginning of your business, you might have a few employees, but for the most part, you are doing all the work.

  • You are taking care of most customer or client needs.
  • The clients are spending money and supporting your business.
  • Finally, the business is supporting you with a paycheck or owner draw.

Does your business lifecycle looks like this right now?

By hiring a rock star team, you are going to change your business lifecycle to look like this:

Business Lifecycle 2

Instead of you taking care of your client needs, your employees will provide service to your clients and you will then support your team.

  • So, you support your team.
  • Your team supports your clients.
  • The clients support the business.
  • And finally, the business supports you … and the cycle continues.

Does that make sense?  You are going to evolve into a true manager and leader of the fitness community and your employees will run the day-to-day operations of your business.  Not gonna lie, it’s amazing.

Ok, so we get the picture that hiring employees is critical to running a successful studio—or any business really.  How the heck do you do that?

You’ll have to listen to the speech!

Or check out my book, She’s On Her Toes.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Buy She’s On Her Toes Here

My Thoughts on Surviving 5 Years in Business

Well, I made it.  I have officially survived 5 years of being in business.  I guess technically we didn’t open the studio doors until September, but someone had to find the location, build it out, and train everyone—and that process started months prior to our first day of operations.  Wait, the studio didn’t just build itself and everyone didn’t just learn how to teach class the night before?  Nope, sorry!  There was a lot that went into opening, including writing some very large checks.

Last week, I renewed my franchise agreement with Pure Barre for my second 5-year term.  I also renewed my lease.  And neither of these things seemed like great accomplishments, despite the fact that according to the U.S. Small Business Administration and The Bureau of Labor Statistics, only half of all the small businesses that stated in May 2012 are still open today.  So, how did I beat the odds?  I could go on and on about how business success is all about great client services and offering an amazing client experience, and yes, those things are important.  But fundamentally, there are 3 things that are required to make it to the 5-year mark in boutique fitness:  you want to have reasonable rent, you have to properly manage inventory, and most important, you can’t do it alone.

Your Rent Must Be Reasonable

This one is tricky because when you are trying to find your location, you don’t really have control over how much the rent is.  Or do you?  It’s important to remember that everything is negotiable, including who pays for your buildout.  As a new business owner, you’d like to keep as much cash as possible in your own pocket before you open and one way to do this is to have your landlord pay for all or part of your buildout.  Not the best negotiator?  Get yourself a great realtor and she’ll negotiate for you.  You’ll have the most leverage to negotiate if you’re looking to sign a long-term lease of 5 years or more.  My landlords have paid for all or a portion of the buildout for each of my studios and that allowed me to have more cash on hand before each business opened, which is always a good thing.

But how much should your rent be?  If your rent is lower than 14% of your monthly budget, then you have a reasonable rent expense.  Another way to look at it is how many days sales does it take for you to pay your rent?  If it takes you longer than the first week of every month to meet your rent obligations, your rent is either too high or you need to increase sales, which leads us to the importance of properly managing inventory or more broadly properly managing cash flow.

You Must Properly Manage Inventory

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the number one reason small businesses fail is because they don’t properly manage cash flow.  In my experience over these last 5 years, the only reason I’ve had cash flow issues (meaning, more cash is going out than coming in) is due to mismanagement of inventory, or buying too much retail merchandise.  Often, it’s the timing of cash coming in vs. cash going out that puts me in a bind.  That’s right!  Even I have problems!

How does a cash crunch occur?  First I have to pay for the retail merchandise (cost of goods sold).  The clothing or accessories ship (usually from California, which is about 1 week via ground shipping).  Then we have to enter everything into inventory (maybe an hour, maybe an afternoon).  Then the merchandise gets sold which sometimes happens right away if the clothing is really cute or there is anticipation built up to purchase.  But sometimes it could take as long as several weeks or a month.  Do you see the issue here?  I’ve already paid for the merchandise and by the time I sell it at a minimum I’m out that cash a week at the maximum over a month.

This is where cash management really plays a role in the financial success of my business.  If I have to pay my bills with the revenues from clothing sales, I have to make sure it’s hitting my account in time.  Also, my vendors are trying to manage their cash flow as well so they usually send me my orders at the end of the month ensuring that they get to book their revenue when they need it.  This means I usually book the expense of buying the clothing in the month before I actually sell it.  Tricky.

How do I make sure that I have enough cash to pay my obligations?  I work to keep my reoccurring membership payments for classes equal to the amount of my payroll expense and my fixed expenses, which are the expenses I have all the time and won’t typically change, like rent, utilities, insurance or carpet cleaning.  If I keep all monthly reoccurring payments equal to my most critical expenses, then I won’t run into a cash crunch when I’m purchasing clothing.

When I evaluate the financial performance of my business, I’m looking at how many clients I have on reoccurring memberships.  I’m also looking at how fast we can turn our inventory.  And I’m keeping a close eye on any expenses that are larger than usual or not typical each month.  Evaluating each of these things ensures I am managing my cash flow and it stays positive.  Because after all, cash is king.  And I’m sure my employees wouldn’t be too keen on not getting paid or my landlords for that matter.  Let’s delve into the final consideration, hiring a team to help you run your fitness studio.

   You Can’t Do It Alone     

You probably know a lot of people who mistakenly believe they are running businesses, but in fact, just own jobs.  The simple fact is: if you are doing everything and nothing happens without your direct input, then you’ve not yet built a business.

It’s important to remember that most businesses all start in a very similar fashion.  At the beginning of your business inception, all you have is an idea, a product or service, and you to sell it.  In the beginning, it’s just you.  Eventually, you’ll have to grow a team to replace yourself otherwise, you’ll risk hitting the maximum threshold of work that only one person can perform and probably physically exhaust yourself in the process.

In business school, hiring more employees to grow your business is called “scaling your company.”  And don’t let anyone fool you.  Scaling is just as risky as going into business in the first place.  So why risk hiring employees?  In the business of fitness, you don’t have a choice—you have to scale in order to survive.  Let’s review the definition of a fitness business:

Definition of a Fitness Business

A fitness business is a commercial, profitable enterprise that can be run without you so you can be a role model in the health and fitness community you are creating.   

There is absolutely no way that you can operate a fitness business, teach all the classes yourself, keep up with your clients, manage all of your finances, marketing and all the other daily activities required to keep your studio open without hiring employees.

There are no guarantees in small business ownership, but it seems your odds greatly improve getting to that 5-year mark by making sure you have a reasonable rent expense that doesn’t exceed 14% of your monthly sales, properly managing your inventory and cash flow and then finally, hiring a team of employees so you can be the leader of your fitness community and have time to think up the “big” ideas.

Did the last section just blow your mind with awesomeness?  It’s an excerpt from my book!  That’s right, I wrote a book.  And it’s being published for release by the end of August, which is probably why I didn’t pop the cork on getting to 5 years in business.  I’m just so jazzed about what lies ahead.

I’ll share the cover design with you as well as my thoughts on publishing in my next post on Thursday.  Click on the right column to join my email list to get notified when the book is for sale (I hate spam, so no need to worry about your email being used for anything beyond great She’s On Her Toes information).  On Friday, I’ll share with you a new tool I’ve been using to think up big ideas.  Because, what’s the point of thinking small?!

Until then, stay on your toes!

How to Make Your Business Matter

It’s time to get real—if something is important to you, you’ll make time for it.  If it’s not important to you, you won’t.  Simple.

Being in the fitness industry, I hear a lot of excuses.  So many that I’m kind of numb to hearing them.  I’ve heard them all.  Occasionally someone invents one that is so outrageous that I have to applaud them for it—true or not, still an excuse.  If you really wanted to do it, there wouldn’t be an excuse.

I bring this up because last week I didn’t post because I just wasn’t into writing.  It wasn’t important enough to make time to do it.  I hate that it happened and I’m sorry, but I had a chance to recharge and work with my Team more this week, so now I actually have some great things to write about.  Good times!

Ok, so a few weeks ago I had a chance to attend an incredible presentation about business given by Paul Dunn, Chairman of B1G1, a non-profit organization with a mission to create a world that’s full of giving.  B1G1 helps small and medium-sized businesses achieve a more social impact by embedding giving activities into their everyday business operations.

The main takeaway from Paul’s speech was that the true challenge of business in today’s world of the Internet, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and countless other social media outlets is to matter.  As a business, you must choose to matter to your clients and move from being dispensable to being indispensable.

Paul told us that in 1 second, there are 7,519 Tweets typed, 2,472 Snaps sent, 58,875 Google searches made, 68,234 YouTube videos watched, and 2,566,295 emails sent.  Incredible!  But, as a business, how are you supposed to compete with that?!  How can you stay relevant or important to your clients with all those other activities?  Or ahem, distractions?  How do you make your business matter in the midst of all these other things happening each second?!

According to Paul, the answer is to get smaller.  What?  Smaller?  How is getting smaller going to make your business matter more?  It’s all about getting bigger and growing.  Having more, means your business is getting more successful.

Paul would argue that instead of marketing to the masses, you need to drill down and be irresistible to a specific group of people.  In order to get smaller and matter to your clients, you also have to figure out the “why” of your business.  Why is your business opening its doors every day?  Why do you do what you do?

This weekend, I had the chance to get together with several members of my team to talk about a lot of these things.  The purpose of our meeting was to figure out how Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons can matter more to our clients and specifically, how we can update our membership perks to add more value to our clients and increase the quality of their experience with us.

This is why I love being a business owner.  This type of meeting and interaction with my Team is what gets me going.  Solving problems like how to be better at what we do and getting my Team’s thoughts on how to solve these problems—there’s nothing better than that in the business world.  We spent 2 hours collaborating and came up with some great ideas!

In addition to attending Paul’s speech, I’ve also read 2 great books that I think you should check out:

The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue, Robbie Kellman Baxter

Smart Retail: Practical Winning Ideas and Strategies from the Most Successful Retailers in the World, 4th Edition, Richard Hammond

To start our meeting, we first took some time to create a list of the qualities and likes of our typical Pure Barre Platinum client.  Pure Barre Platinum is our 12-month contract that offers the best pricing and most membership benefits.  Approximately half of our active clients take class as Platinum members.  It had been at least a year since we last updated our Platinum benefits, so it was definitely a priority to see what else we can do for our most loyal and engaged clients.

I’m glad that my Team was excited about talking through who our typical Platinum client is, because they came up with some great ideas, that I had not thought of.  Of course, our typical client lives within proximity to the studios and is health conscious with disposable income to spend on exercise and fitness.  But my Team also identified that they want to be ahead of trends, they are also goal-oriented and in some cases extremely competitive.  Once we had a good list of the things are clients represent and value, we could take a better look at how to add more value to our Platinum membership.

We realized that we could do a better job engaging our clients and incorporating nutrition and healthy eating into our offerings at Pure Barre.  Specifically, we discussed doing the following:

  • Allowing clients to bring unlimited free friends to the studio to take class. Right now, we just allow 1 free friend each month, although if someone wants to bring more, we are always accommodating.  This is something we’ll definitely adopt.
  • Working on partnerships or events around healthy food.
  • Creating a private Facebook group for Platinum clients that would give them access to all the things that are important to us as teachers, healthy eating, staying on trend, enjoying time with friends or getting support from the group.
  • Alerting Platinum clients when new retail comes in before it arrives.
  • Inviting clients to take over our Instagram accounts for a day and show us what they are up to.
  • Create videos to help clients stay on trend. We were especially excited about creating one called “How to take your best barre selfie.”  Who wouldn’t want to learn that?! Haha!
  • Offering birthday discounts so clients can treat themselves on retail when they are celebrating themselves.
  • More marketing of our Bride-to-Be and Baby-Bounce-Back packages on Facebook to bring in new clients.
  • Creating better or more-easy-to-understand marketing documents to sell Pure Barre class packages.

Ok, so some of these ideas don’t necessarily just offer value to our Platinum memberships, but that’s kind of the beauty of getting the Team together, you start to have great ideas about other parts of the business or you realize that doing something else that’s pretty simple would improve the business.  Since a lot of my clients might be reading this, I’m not sure if or when we’ll adopt any or all of these ideas.  If you feel strongly about one or all of them, please let me know so we have that input!

By completing this exercise, we also stumbled upon our “why.”  Sure, we offer Pure Barre classes and provide a killer workout, but that doesn’t really encompass why we do what we do.  Our “why” is this:

“We challenge people so they can learn their true strength.  Being strong is about being fit and eating well.  When you prioritize being fit and eating well, you live well and your possibilities are limitless.  Taking care of your mind and body allows you to take care of everything that is important to you.  We make that happen for you.”

 Pretty powerful.  Figuring out our “why” makes taking care of our clients easier because we know how to get smaller and matter.  We can now become irresistible to a specific group of people and that is how we’ll continue to be successful by increasing our clients on our Pure Barre Platinum membership.

Next week, I want to tell you about another presentation I got a chance to listen to given by the Founder of ActionCOACH, Brad Sugars.  It was a big pump-up presentation with jumping and shouting.  One of the chants was “I am a money magnet” and we all had to stand up and shout it.  But, what can you do with the money to matter?  I’ll delve into that in my next post.

Until then, stay on your toes!