I really hate paying for insurance.

It always feels like going to a bookmaker and placing a 1000-1 bet on a 3 legged llama in a horse race.

The chances are, you’re not going to see the money again.

Well, that’s how I used to think, until one hot, dry day in Desert Valley.

We were in the middle of cycling from Washington DC across the USA to San Diego although we weren’t actually on the bikes that day.

My gear cable had snapped just outside a small town called Mexican Hat in Utah so we had limped for three days to a bike shop.

While the bike was being repaired, we decided to hire a car and drive around the Grand Canyon and take in Death Valley as well.

All was good until a coyote decided to take a gamble with its life by running across the road.

A quick reversal of the decision by the animal and some poor rally car driving skills on my behalf and we completed three flips, landing on the side of the car.

Fortunately, the worst thing to happen was the packet of blueberries that splattered all over the car.

However, the car was a write off and we ended up stuck with $10,000 worth of medical insurance claims just for the obligatory medical check up after an accident.

The costs could have been a lot higher but even if they weren’t, the insurance came good.

This is exactly why you need systems in your business.

You never know when your perfectly functioning, healthy body is going to suffer some trauma or illness which means you can’t work for a month.

We all pray and hope that these feelings of invincibility continue, but they probably won’t.

If you can’t keep the ship sailing, there’s a good chance it will sink and your entire life can change over night.

Even if you just want a holiday, you don’t want to be losing income simply because you haven’t built out your business yet!

Maybe you work for yourself and you’re not at the point of having other staff who you need to replicate your high quality of service.

I still cannot stress highly enough, the importance of building systems.

There is not one business owner who has lived on this planet who didn’t wish they had more time in a day.

Well, there are some – the ones who built systems and have automated businesses!

Systems are important even if you are still answering your emails and training all the clients because they will save you so much time starting the same jobs over and over again.

Even something as simple as the reply you give to a personal training enquiry can be structured in such a way that everyone gets the same reply instead of a long reply typed from scratch each time.

The prospect can be encouraged to either fill in an online consultation form or invited to book a ‘live’ consultation (all automated online of course…) so you can get much more detailed information from them about their current circumstances, goals etc.

You could easily save yours 3-4 hours per week in this way, opening up space to either train more people at £50-60 per hour or just have some recuperation time!

Why start from scratch with every new program when the clients and goals are largely the same?

This doesn’t mean use cookie cutter programming but you can use templates that are 80% set with 20% adapted for the individual.

Why sit down with no structure to a consultation when you can have a series of guiding questions that you know will help uncover the truth about what the prospect wants and needs?

Why leave it to chance that one of your trainer’s forgets something in the set up of a fitness class?

Why try to remember all the things you like people to know about nutrition when you could write a manual or create an educational video series (all automated of course)?

There are five big reasons you should start building out systems as soon as you finish reading this:

1: The more complete your business systems are, the more protective your insurance policy is in the event of a potential crisis.

There is nothing stopping you operating the systems yourself if you really want to, but you should still build them out so the chances of business continuity are much greater during any unforeseen difficulties.

2: Systems help future proof your business against people leaving.

Personalities will always be important in personal and group fitness training, but if you can bring in a new staff member with the right personality and values it is much easier to prevent members leaving when a certain trainer does.

You should always aim to make your fitness business about the community and the ‘way we do it here’ not about one particular trainer.

3: Systems help you be ‘luckier’.

That might seem to make no sense but whilst you can’t control luck, you can be in a better or worse position to take advantage of it.

Systems are the key to attack (expansion) and defence (withstanding a crisis).

Expansion without systems is a very messy approach if not impossible.

You want to be able to seize an opportunity to grow your business with minimal interruption and the easiest way to do it is to simply upscale the volume of ‘work’ the system is used for.

Without a well-oiled system, doing more tends to bring sloppier work.

Say you currently occupy a small personal training studio and have the opportunity to take on the unit next door and double the size of your facility.

If you currently have one trainer working for you but now need to generate 50% extra revenue to pay for the extra rent, it will be a lot easier if you can simply bring in another trainer and have them up to speed on how you do things in a week as opposed to them trying to soak it up just by watching you and ‘kinda getting it’.

4: Systems enable you to ‘Perform and Publish’

If you are having to do anything other than perform your key skill (e.g personal training) or publish your knowledge (e.g daily video content), then there is an area of your business that isn’t systemised.

This could be costing you a lot of time and ultimately money because of the business you have to leave on the table because you’re too busy.

Why repeat admin tasks when they can be either automated by software or systemised for someone else to follow at a cost of £10 per hour, freeing you up to charge £50+ per hour for personal training? 

5: Systems help you guarantee consistency of quality.

When you make things up on the spot you are prone to human error, loss of concentration due to a bad day and just forgetting things.

You’re not in a war zone but the ultimate example of systems is how the military create and drill scenarios and responses over and over and over again.

This is done to take the conscious thinking out of reacting to obstacles and problems in the moment.

Sports stars do the same.

It creates habit and automatic reactions in any given situation, making things less prone to erratic mistakes.

Also, sometimes a mixed reputation can be worse than a reputation for consistent low quality.

People are most likely to complain about things in life when reality doesn’t match their expectations.

If a service always offers low quality but sets up to be that way with low prices, they can do well.

However, if you are sometimes amazing, sometimes mediocre and sometimes downright appalling, people might come in with high expectations following a friend’s review only to be really disappointed and confused.

This is the fastest way to lose customers.

Systems enable you to deliver your service in the same way time after time, provided your staff have the right values and are trained to execute the system.

Start Systemizing!

Now you can go away and start to build your fitness business systems.

It may seem time consuming especially if you’re already busy but MAKE time and you will be amazed what happens in the coming weeks and months as you build out a more efficient and effective team.

If nothing else, building systems for other people to execute will highlight the holes in offering enabling you to get better and better every time you review what you’re doing.

If you want me to walk you step-by-step through the key systems for your business as it is, enabling big growth and happier people, check out the forthcoming Fitness Business Freedom program…