October 5


Are you asking the right questions to grow your business?

By Brett Jarman

October 5, 2016

Are you asking the right question to grow your business? And I don't just mean grow your business but to help your business move forward. Often we get to the point where, we get stuck and we don't know what to do next or sometimes even where to start. And more often than not, it’s because of the type of questions we’re asking.

I come across this a lot in coaching where a client will come to me with problem and I don't actually solve it for them, I just show them different questions to ask and, in doing that, they actually solve it for themselves.

I recently got an email from a young chap, Nick, in Auckland, New Zealand. Nick wants to start a personal training business. Even if you are not starting a business or you are not a personal trainer, it doesn't really matter. I invite you to tune in while I reply to Nick because you’ll see a good example how flipping your questions around can open you up for opportunities.

Challenge your assumptions

So in Nick’s case; there were three things that were rolled into his one question. His ultimate question was, “Where do I start?”, but he preceded it with these three points...

1 - I don’t have enough confidence to actually bring my knowledge to the forefront.

2 - I have a dilemma finding a space to take clients so they can have an assessment and workout. I’ve looked at some of the main gyms and their rental space prices are quite high…”

3 - I may need to make a significant investment into gear and equipment so that could have an element of risk attached to it.

So basically he was saying, because I don't have the confidence and I don't have the space and I don't have the equipment, I don't know what to do next.

What I mean about the quality of questions is, often our questions are based on assumptions. And those assumptions are quite often wrong. So in this case there are three assumptions that he made:

· That he needs confidence

· That he needs a venue

· That he needs equipment.

Confidence is a result of taking action in your business, not a prerequisite

Confidence is a result of taking action in your business, not a prerequisite

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The first thing I am going to say to you Nick is actually no you don't need confidence. Confidence isn't a prerequisite for doing anything in business.

Confidence comes as a result. So if anyone doing things like for example me here doing videos. The more videos I do the more confident I get but I did not require any confidence to start. I just went ahead and did it.

In a personal training role you’ll come across people who you are talking to and you might be having a potential sales conversation with them. And I guarantee that in probably 80% of those conversations, someone at some point will say, “Yeah you're right, I should get personal trainer but I need to get fit first.”

It’s not true. You don't need to get fit first to work with a personal trainer. Get a personal trainer and then you become fit. Start making business decisions then you will become confident. Start training people and then you will become confident. So that's not a prerequisite so let's throw that assumption out the door.

You don’t need a [insert imagined need here] for your business

The second assumption that Nick made was that he needs a venue. Again that's not true.

Elsewhere in his email Nick actually mentioned he’s thinking of doing bootcamps. Bootcamps are outdoors so you don't actually need a venue. Sure you need a park or some sort of open space but they’re already there. You don’t have to create that.

You might need to get a permit or something from your council. That’s fine. Do what you need to do there but you don’t actually need to create or invest in the venue as such.

And another place where you can train people is remote training. Nick actually found me through a blog post I wrote on a website called theptdc.com, The Personal Training Development Center dot com. I've written a blog post there about how to set your rates as a personal trainer.

Now why I bring that up Nick is because Jon Goodman, the man behind theptdc.com, has a very good program for people who want to get into training clients remotely, meaning training just like I am training you here. Your training might be via internet, over Skype or the telephone. And it’s all done through videos, written programs, you can even get apps for that.

So again you don't need a venue.

You can also use other people's venues. People who have a home gym. They've already created their own venue so you could work with them. So that's another assumption out the door.

And you also don’t need [Insert second imagined need here]

Third assumption was that you need equipment. Again that's simply not true.

People can use their own body weight and become extremely fit. You don't actually need any equipment. If you are starting off, all you really need is a first aid kit.

If you want to have a least some piece of equipment to justify yourself. Get yourself a couple of hand weights and some skipping rope, and some witches’ hats. Do that and you can give someone a really awesome workout.

My wife was a personal trainer for about 15 years. For the last 12 years of that, she did it all outdoors. She’d throw a little bit of gear in the back of the car three mornings a week, it wasn't a lot. Literally fits in a bucket, maybe two buckets. She'd use boxing gloves, things like that. So you don't need a lot of equipment to start off. You certainly don't need all those big racks and things.

And I mentioned other people's equipment. Someone who has a home gym. Other people that have equipment are hotels. They're full of gym sometimes. You can do a trade with them where you say, "How about if I supervise your gym for a couple of hours a day and in return I get to use the gym and equipment to train my clients."

Apartment buildings, they often have equipment as well. So don't let the equipment thing hold you back.

The two most important questions to grow your business are...

The two most important questions to grow your business are...

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So getting back to the point about questioning. Forgetting about those assumptions, what I want you to do is think of a better question that you could ask yourself to help you move forward. In your case, in fact in most people's cases, the two most important questions you can ask are, “Who can I help?” and “How can I help them?”

And then that opens a whole range of possibilities.

Specialisation makes you more valuable in the marketplace

So the personal trainer, who can he help on the client side? I always encourage people to specialise. I think you get much better chance of success if you do.

Let's imagine you’ve got a poster on the wall in a local café and that poster says ‘Personal Trainer’. A lot of people would glance past it and think ‘oh yeah, another personal trainer peddling their wares,’ but if it’s says ‘Personal Training for Pregnant Women’ and I happen to be a pregnant woman, what do you think the chances are that it’s going to grab my attention and that I’ll pay a lot more attention to it? It’s huge!

Specialisation makes such a big difference in business. Look in the medical field. The specialists are the people who are the busiest. They’re booked ahead way further than anyone and they charge a lot more.

Here's some examples of where you can specialise.

Specialise in women. I've already mentioned, pregnant women, new mums, or even menopausal women. They’ve got, I wouldn’t say special needs as such, but if they had a personal trainer who understands what they are going through, hot flushes and all the other things associated with menopause and aging, they have concerns about osteoporosis and bone density... If they had a personal trainer who knows and understands them, they might gravitate towards them.

People who are retired are much more active than they used to be. They often have a high disposal income. So you could chose to specialise with those.

You might want to work with sports people. First example that comes to mind are cyclists. Clearly they have no problem spending money on the sport that they love and, as cyclists, they probably good cardio and fitness, and good lower body fitness but they may have postural difficulties or lack of upper body strength. So if there was a personal trainer who specialised in working with cyclists, they might gravitate towards them.

Endurance athletes is another one. I’ve got a client here in Byron Bay Australia, he specialises in working with triathletes and other endurance athletes. In fact he is setting up a global network for them. I'll put a link to it on this page because you might find that of interest. That's another example of specialising.

You might choose to specialise based on the people’s profession.

First-response personnel like firemen and women, police officers, ambulance and paramedics. In the case of fire stations, they've got often they got fitness equipment there that you could train them on.

You could train school teachers. If you specialise in school teachers, most schools have gyms now or certainly most high schools do. There might be anywhere between 30 and 60 teachers in a school. What’s to say you couldn’t be training them before and after school?

Now, bear in mind these answers, they’re just to trigger ideas for you. If you set aside half an hour or so you could blow these ideas totally out of the water and come up with something that is much more suited to you.

People who work in a home office just like myself or travelling professionals. I used to travel a lot, I think one year I was away like 120 days out of the year, on international travel, so I was spending a lot time in hotels and just being able to workout in my room was a big thing for me.

Those are just examples of people that you could specialise it.

Another way that you could define yourself could be if you say “I'm a no equipment fitness guy” and you can actually become famous for that, for the fact that you can teach me how to become fit with no equipment.

Who else can I help?

So just jumping back out here. The other answer to the questions, who can I help?

Equipment owners and providers. I've already mentioned people with a home gym or apartment buildings and hotel owners.

You could also go to other personal trainers. Some of them may be too busy. They may have extra clients or they may just want a break. If you have 10 local personal trainers and you went to them and said, “Hey if you’re planning on going on a holiday, I am more than happy to step in and work with your clients when you are away. You show me what the programs are…”

Same with bootcamp operators. They probably work 50-52 weeks a year. They might love the opportunity to have someone take over for a few works while they are away.

You’ve got the sporting goods stores. Find out from them, “Who are the people who are buying these pieces of equipment from you? Could I leave my brochure with you and when they buy it you can give them an offer of a first training session free and I’ll go to their home and show them how to use it.”

The power of questions

That's what came up, simply out of asking those two questions; Who can I help? and, How can I help them?

Can you see how that's more empowering than; Where do I start? or, I can't do this because of this problem, and this problem, and this problem? Throw your assumptions out the door and ask yourself questions that open you up to possibilities.

Now in terms of building your actual personal training, Nick. I am going to send you back towards, theptdc.com. Sure I could run through some specifics of how to start a personal training business. There's a ton of resources there. Jon Goodman he has done a fantastic job of putting in the right people to provide that information. He has one specific page with about 40 links on it. And there's a section there on how to start as a personal trainer.

I hope that was useful to you Nick and to anyone else who is reading. In terms of understanding how you can use different questions to help yourself and go forward.

If you got a question you like answered, feel free to contact me online. Hit me up at brett@brettjarman.com. I love to hear from you. I love to help out if I can.

If you are on my website please subscribe for more updates and if you are watching this on YouTube Subscribe to the channel because i will be putting videos like this one very now and then. 

Brett Jarman

About the author

I've been self-employed since I was 19​ (and that was quite some time ago) and have owned manufacturing, service and consulting businesses ever since. Every business goes through stages and each stage in each business needs a different strategy to flourish and prosper. I can teach you about the stages and the strategies to shortcut your success.

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