Pay attention next time you go to the gym because you may learn a thing or two about how to run your business.

We understand that working out may be the last thing on an entrepreneur’s mind after an 80-hour week, but personal trainers and start-up companies have a lot more in common than you might think. Strong discipline and dedication are amongst the key skills that the two share, along with a fierce desire to succeed.

Outdoor training with a personal trainer
photo credit: Tim Jordan

Personal trainers are bursting with energy, never staying still and often completing multiple tasks simultaneously. Remind you of somebody? That’s right, you will often find the entrepreneur racing around the office trying to complete 3 tasks at once or bouncing new ideas around the boardroom.

Here are 5 ways to apply a personal trainer attitude to your business.

1. Focus on long-term goals

Personal trainers know that good results take time. They don’t expect instant gratification from their clients and realise that personal fitness is a long-term commitment.

Be your own personal business trainer, devise a strategy of how you will achieve your long-term goals. Keep yourself motivated by setting smaller objectives and milestones that you need to meet along the way to keep you on track. Monitor your success and strive to do better the closer you are to achieving your mission.

2. Identify weaknesses and strengths

It is a personal trainer’s job to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their clients to ensure they create the best program for their individual needs. A personal trainer would steer clear of gruelling push ups if they recognised that their client lacked upper body strength.

Identify your business’s strengths and weaknesses, mark out what you are doing well and what you need to work on. Marketing and sales, for example, may be flourishing, but if your product development isn’t doing as well, you’ve got a clear problem. Assessing your capabilities will help you to realise which areas you need to spend more time improving upon, don’t be afraid to consider outsourcing certain aspects of your business if they are struggling.

3. Organisation

PTs get up at the crack of dawn to complete a workout, they stick to a rigorous diet plan, while constructing detailed exercise routines for other people.

A good business must be run like clockwork, everything needs to be planned in advance, with all aspects of the company accounted for. Smaller businesses can often lack organisation as multiple people handle a variety of roles. Ensure that you delegate tasks out to the right people and keep an eye on their progress. Be one step ahead of your calendar so you know exactly what needs to be done and when.

Running business man
photo credit: Allan Comverse

4. Hard work

Anything worthwhile takes hard work. Imagine a personal trainer, they didn’t wake up with a six pack, they spent hours labouring in the gym until they achieved their goal. Personal trainers are always looking for ways to improve themselves and so should your business.

Entrepreneurs are no strangers to hard work, you had the courage to start your own business and have been burning the midnight oil to make it a success. When you first start out, the excitement is untapped, there are so many new contacts to make and tasks to complete, but there will be a time where the freshness of your business naturally plateaus.

This is when the hard work really starts for entrepreneurs, when you hit the wall in a proverbial marathon. Don’t give up when business gets slow, work harder than ever and reach the finishing line.

5. Good communication skills

The best personal trainers are those who communicate openly with their clients throughout their fitness journey.

Businesses are more concerned with corporate social responsibility (CSR) now than ever before, with transparency ranking as one of the top priorities for companies worldwide. Transparency isn’t just an HR buzz word. It’s crucial that firms – regardless of their size – demonstrate to their customers and staff that they have a caring side. It’s all too easy to build a negative reputation in the business world these days, so don’t take CSR for granted.