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A Personal Trainer’s Plan for Success

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May 24, 2022
tim saye

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Do you want to set yourself up for success as a personal trainer? If so, it's a great move to invest time, and energy into your business strategy to ensure positive results at every stage of the process.

This article introduces three methods that can help you nail your business planning and strategy for continued success. Whether you're a newbie in the fitness industry or a seasoned professional, planning for success is important.

Method #1. SMART Business Goals

You're probably already familiar with the term as it's a fundamental practice trainers are taught to do to help clients succeed with their fitness goals.

Setting SMART business goals will help you feel more motivated and keep up to date with tasks that need to be done. When setting goals, you need to put a time limit on them as this gives you a deadline to reach.

When setting SMART goals, make sure they're:

- Specific. Vague targets will be hard to comprehend when achieved. You want your goal as clearly defined as possible. An example could be, "I want to acquire 5 new clients in the next month."

- Measurable. You want to be able to track your progress. With the example above, it will be easy to measure success.

- Attainable. This is crucial. You want to set challenging but not unrealistic goals to keep you motivated. Too big of a goal like making £100k per month within the first year of your career could be a reach and make your goal setting unproductive.

- Relevant. Make sure your goal aligns with your aspirations and where you currently are with your career. If you intend to quit your full-time job and grow your PT business to a full-time business, you might not want to take on more hours at your current workplace, even if it's a gym.

- Time-Bound. Set a realistic deadline, so you feel the sense of urgency to take action and work towards that goal.

When you're planning, you can create a vision for the short-term and the long-term. You can also set revenue goals with the SMART method.

Short-term goals are great to get you into action immediately. If you have ambitious long-term goals, which you should, it will help you get closer to them if you break them down into smaller milestones and schedule them into short-term goals.

Revenue goals are excellent to keep your business growing. Once you've set your next revenue milestone, you can figure out what it will take to get there and build business goals based on that.

Method #2. The Importance of Strategic Planning

Growing a business often involves making decisions about how you want to expand your business. Creating a plan is a crucial component of your growth.

First, you need to collect a wide range of information about your company, including how it works internally and externally.

Your strategic plan will complement your business plan.

Elements of Strategic Planning

There are three major components for strategic planning, you can work on those by asking and answering the following three questions about your career.

Where does your business stand right now?

You need to understand where your business stands right now, how it operates internally, and what drives profit. You also need to know how you match up when compared to competitors. Review this data periodically to keep yourself on track.

Where do you want your business to go?

Now you'll set your top-tier objectives. Work out your goals, techniques, objectives, values, mission, and vision. Where do you want to be in 10 years? You can use the SMART goal setting method to develop your idea.

What steps do you need to take to get there?

Now that you have your goals and ambitions, you need to work out what you need to do to get there. Do you need to take CPD courses to improve your skills and expand your knowledge? To get more hands-on experience working with a niche, do you need to target a specific audience? Do you need to hire a team to help you delegate and work smarter, not harder? You can ask yourself many questions here, and with the answers, you can create an action plan.

Method #3. Importance of Future Basing

Future basing is another impactful business planning method. Future basing is an excellent way for you to build a compelling vision for your personal training business.

Why is Future Basing different to goal setting and strategic planning?

Now you may be wondering, is future basing that different from goal setting and planning? The truth is that it's very different. It's a much more energising process, allowing for much freedom. Obstacles won't limit you, and instead, you can get a much more creative view of your business operation.

Why? Because with engaging in a future basing practice, you'll assume that your success has already happened, state what that's like in the present tense, and then work your way backwards to reverse engineer how you achieved it.

Does Future Basing work?

Future basing gives you the chance to use your creative imagination. It also helps you connect your vision with your desires, values, and creativity. There's even evidence that shows that if you achieve the goals based on the core values of future basing, this can enhance your well-being.

How does the process for Future Basing work?

There are three stages when future basing your fitness business' success.

Stage One

Stage one involves setting a date for your future base. Whether you choose a date 5 or 10 years from your present doesn't matter. The point is that you start the process by writing down "Today's date is 17th May 2027" to set the scene for your vision.

Stage Two

Stage two involves describing, in much detail, the world of your future and all your business achievements. You will need to write down complete and specific statements in the present tense to get yourself into the mindset of your future self.

"I feel fortunate that I run my own strength and conditioning facility in [location] and have an amazing team of trainers who look after my clients and my business."

In this stage, you can identify multiple areas of your business, like Everyday Management, Financial Stability, Skill Development and any that you feel is important in the success of your fitness business. Then you make statements similar to the above under each category.

Stage Three

Stage three involves identifying the steps you took to achieve this future. At this point, there will be a detailed map of the milestones and the connected actions so that when you look at it, you can create a to-do list from it. Writing these milestones in the past tense will be essential to indicate that you've already achieved them.

An example sentence would be, "I opened [business name] gym in September 2025". You can write down as many milestones as you identify as the steps towards your vision in 2027 or whichever date you choose at the start.

Stage Four

At stage four, you review the future base and your timeline. You also commit to the journey, and you identify what you're doing now and the next immediate steps you need to take.


Becoming a successful personal trainer doesn't just happen. You'll need to work for it and ensure that you know exactly where you want to get to and how you want to achieve that.

SMART goal setting, strategic planning and future basing can all play a role in creating that plan and making your success happen. Expect to spend half a day or at least a good few hours on each method. Don't forget that you plan to fail when you fail to plan.

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