A couple weeks ago I began writing a series providing tips on building a comprehensive business plan for your affiliate gym. So far, we’ve covered the importance of developing your mission, coming up with high-level goals, setting your rates and finding bright spots. Today we’ll continue this series by discussing the importance of writing out your policies and procedures.
Step #6: Write Your Policies and Procedures Manual
What would it take to replace you today? For example, if you were paralyzed tonight, and your family relied on your box to pay for groceries, could someone step in tomorrow and take over?
This section will take awhile, but you’ll only have to do it once. Failure to write your policies and procedures in advance means you’ll fail to scale.
Your manual will be specific to you. You’ll need a checklist for everything, from running a group to sweeping the floor. You’ll want a job description for all possible staff. Leave no doubt about the way you want your business run.
Start with this exercise: pretend you’re going to Disneyland for a week, and I’m coming to run your box for you. You have time to write me one email that will tell me everything I need to know about your particular preferences, and how to run your gym for seven days. Think about things such as:
- Where do I park?
- Where do you hide the key?
- Do you start class precisely on time, or five minutes past the hour?
Be sure to write it all down. That email is the skeleton of your policies and procedures manual. You’ll write in it every month forever.
Step #7: Start Watching Your Cash Flow
Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Surprisingly, it was never discussed in my rudimentary business classes in college. Back then, it was all revenue and expenses; I’m not sure why, but I suppose I expected everyone to pay and get paid on the same day, every month. This is, of course, not the way things work.
This simple story, Cash Flow Trumps Revenue, helped me better understand cash flow.
Step #8: Read. Read. Read.
Practice your business the way you practice your snatch. Revisit all of the above in descending order of frequency (cash flow daily, procedures weekly, high-level goals every year or so.) As soon as you think you’re ‘good enough,’ go run 10 miles. You’re never good enough to stop learning.
Step #9: Take Action
This is the most important part of this series.
Over several years as a business coach for gyms, I’ve heard thousands of great ideas from gym owners. Seriously, entrepreneurs don’t struggle for a lack of ideas. They struggle on action.
They become paralyzed by too much choice. Or they aren’t sure how best to use their finite amount of free time. Or maybe they’re not sure WHICH big idea to pursue first, so they try to do them all—and wind up finishing none. Or maybe they’re waiting for more clients, more staff, more money…
Whatever the reason, an idea without action is just a wish. We built our Incubator with clear steps and accountability to make sure you take the steps necessary to succeed. We even guarantee it!
As always, this post is meant to be discussed as our own experience. There are a thousand ways to be successful in business. If your goal is to open an affiliate gym, make sure you’re running a business, and not indulging a hobby. Your members are best served by consistency and professionalism. Do the work.
Looking for additional tips to help you create a solid business plan? Get your copy of our free Fitness Business Plan Template.
Guest Post by Chris Cooper, Founder of Two-Brain Business and gym owner
Want help? We help Affiliates – new and old – set up their businesses as a Business Mentor. I will work one-on-one with you to create systems that match what you want from your business…and from your life. Learn more about our Incubator program.
Zen Planner is a management and billing software for boutique fitness businesses.
We help gym, school, and studio owners streamline their day-to-day tasks so they can get back to doing what they love — helping their members. Enjoy all the features you need to manage your fitness business, including robust reporting dashboards, automated payment processing, skills and belt tracking, attendance history, and online retail.