Business planning is one of those essential jobs which can appear daunting. But it doesn’t need to be one of those jobs that you keep putting off.
A business plan can have a lot of uses and be created in an infinite number of ways depending on what you want from it.
At its most fundamental, writing a business plan is a way for you to crystallise what you want from your business and how you plan to get there. It does not need to be over-technical, it does not need to be overthought and it does not need to contain every last detail, tactic and strategy which you are going to employ.
Start by going right back to the essentials.
Setting Business Goals
What are you looking to achieve with your business?
This is often a simple question with a complicated answer.
It is unlikely that the answer will just be money, but it is equally unlikely that money won’t be in the answer somewhere. Most people fit somewhere in between the extremes of a spectrum with maximising profit at one end, and solely non-monetary fulfilment at the other.
Exactly where you fit on that spectrum is often quite hard to precisely pin down. But you might know that to do this job, the business needs to bring in a minimum amount a year. You might look at it slightly differently and say that you want the job to be earning you a certain amount in a certain amount of time.
You might look at it in other ways and decide that you want a certain number of clients or to deliver a certain number of sessions. Or it may be that you have a certain number of hours a week to dedicate to this.
Often it will be a combination of these and other driving factors. There is no right or wrong answer and your goals will change and will need to be reviewed continually.
What’s important is that you decide what you want now so that the rest of your business plan can be streamlined to get you there.
Identifying Target Audience
Based on your goals, the next thing you need is a customer base to get you there.
It is incredibly difficult to appeal to everyone and it is a common mistake for businesses to try and be all things to all people.
You don’t need to do this.
You know what you do best, you know why you are different from the competition and you will know, pretty exactly, who your core audience is. And it is them who you should unapologetically focus on.
You will acquire plenty of clients who don’t fit the profile of your core client but focussing on that core market keeps you honed on your goals and gives clarity to your brand.
This principle also goes for what services you provide. Nobody picks a restaurant because it has the longest menu. Remember what you do best, and don’t try to do everything just because you can.
So trust yourself, believe in what you do and target your core audience. There might be a time when you want to grow into other areas to achieve your goals but nail that core market first.
Pricing Your Services
If there is one thing to remember from this article it is this. People do not buy wellness services based on price.
You will not lose clients because someone has opened up down the road and is a little bit cheaper. You will not lose clients because you have to raise your prices a little.
Neither will you gain clients because you’re a bit cheaper than the competition. That just isn’t how the economics of wellness works.
Now of course there are limits around what you can charge. The income levels in your area, the location of where you provide your services and the quality of the premises are all going to impact how much you can charge. But nobody picks wellness services because it’s the cheapest. People will pick the best that they can afford.
With that in mind, go back to your goals:
- How much do you need to make?
- How many sessions do you want to deliver?
Then go back to your target audience:
- Where do they live?
- Where do they shop?
- What do they wear?
- How much disposable income do they have to spend on wellness?
You should also conduct research into your competitors:
- What is the local market like?
- What services do competitors offer?
- How much do competitors charge?
But don’t just assume that your competitors have got their pricing correct. Compare your services to theirs and remember that they could be too cheap or they could be running a business model where they don’t mind being too expensive (for example because they only run a single class a week).
Good pricing requires courage and confidence. Believe in yourself, remember that you are providing something valuable and do not be tempted to under-charge if that is not part of your strategy.
If you trying to build a strategy on being the cheapest is a race to the bottom and will fail in the long term. Clients will assume they are receiving a budget service for budget prices. Reassure clients by charging what your services are worth.
Building Your Brand
When building a brand the first point of call is your goals. What is it that you are trying to achieve? What is it about you and your services which differentiate yourself? List that down.
Then look at your target audience and ask yourself the key question; how do I most effectively communicate what I do to that audience?
Put yourself in the shoes of your core client. What brands do they like and interact with? List them all down too. How have these brands appealed to this target audience effectively?
From there you’ve got the foundations of a brand; the key things about you, your services and what you want to communicate. Plus examples of how established brands have successfully communicated to a similar audience.
It has to be you, it has to be authentic, but you’ve gone to the effort to identify your target audience so there’s no harm in utilising the work of other brands who have built successful businesses appealing to the same folks.
Marketing Dos and Don’ts
You need to be able to convey the essence of what you do to your core client in a couple of seconds.
Be clear and be where your clients are.
Potential clients need to know what you do and how they can do it. Don’t make that difficult for them. Businesses can get this wrong in a couple of ways.
Some businesses spend so much time elevating their brand that style trumps substance and they produce a wealth of very nice looking marketing materials that leave the audience wondering what on earth is being sold.
Others businesses brain dump. Too much information, too much detail too soon, layers and layers of complication, vast amounts of information to read. It all becomes too much and they lose interest.
Include a Call To Action (CTA)
In software, there is a concept called a “call to action”. It’s the bit of a screen that you want the user to engage with. It takes them to the next step on their journey.
Whether you are dealing in online marketing or physical marketing, make sure there is a call to action. This could be a link or button that takes them to your website or social media pages, a phone number etc.
The potential client should never see any marketing and then have to think “what do I do now?”
Know Where Your Clients Are
Focus your resources on where your clients are. If you’re running a hyper-local business then there is no point in spending tens of thousands on a fantastic website when you could get more new business by walking to the school gates at drop off time and introduce yourself.
Likewise, your clients will know your potential clients. Make sure you make it easy for them to tell their friends about you. Maybe have a think about some branded gear for them to wear around town and turn them into walking adverts!
If you’re building an online business then you have a different set of challenges. Your website will need to work harder for you: physical marketing will need to be replaced by digital marketing and media will play a larger part.
But the principle is the same for both: be clear, and be where your clients are.
Make Your Classes Easy To Book
Creating a successful group fitness class schedule is about offering flexibility and variety. Make sure you publish your schedule on your social channels and use a booking system such as Gymcatch to help with your bookings and payments.
Gymcatch helps instructors set up online schedules easily and simplifies the booking system for you and your customer.
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