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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Developing an Effective Personal Training Business Plan

Developing an effective personal training business plan is much like developing a plan for any other business, for the most part. There are a couple of fitness-related exceptions, but generally-speaking, any plan will need to follow standard steps towards a sound end-state. This state is the actual plan document, and having one helps increase chances for success.

The need to develop a business plan means you'll also need to take several steps along the way. The first will be to sit down and blue-sky some ideas or concepts. Questions such as what sort of business it needs to be and whether it'll be more people-centered or Internet-centered need to be asked. Much of this is known as conceptualization, and doing it will give you a solid start towards setting an actual plan down on a document.

After you've come up with several concepts related to a fitness business, start to solidify them by creating a document that you can edit and change around. This allows you to step back or have others step back with you and see if the ideas put down make much sense. If they do, keep going forward. If some or all of them don't, try again and until you do have enough that make sense.

After you've created a base or foundation upon which a plan can be built -- you'll have your mission and your vision for doing so -- start planning the things you need to do to create a real physical business. Questions to be addressed can include financing and monetary resources, for one. Also, the matter of where the business will take place, if anywhere at all, needs to be looked at.

Good business plans also look at marketing and advertising activities as an integral part of growth right out of the gate. There are hundreds of resource articles out on the Internet about this particular aspect of the fitness business. Know this: Advertising today can be the simplest and also the most complex activity your plan will have to address. This is because the Internet is at once very simple and very complicated. Make sure your plan has a coherent process for handling both conditions.

Keep in mind that you need to make sure the business plan has a mechanism for actual planning, actual doing, actual checking (or evaluating) and actual action to be taken when the other three activities have been completed. This is called PDCA, in business parlance. PDCA itself doesn't take up a huge part of a business plan, but the plan certainly makes sure that it's called for at all times. So, what is it you want to do as a trainer, for one thing? Once you know that, sharpen your plan to help you do the things necessary to succeed. If you want nationwide recognition, eventually, make sure your plan has long-term, thoughtful, goals for accomplishing that. A good plan is like a nice recipe in an expensive cookbook. It'll list all the ingredients necessary to bake a good cake.

Actually, there are a number of excellent software programs available that will walk you step-by-step through the plan writing process. And all of them have generic and specific sample plans, including for those related to the fitness and personal training businesses. They're a good first start on things. You can also hire a specialist or MBA who's been trained to write these documents, though this can become expensive if you're not careful. And many of the best personal trainer certifying organizations include learning how to plan a business in their training programs. Take advantage of these resources.


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