How to Make Better Decisions For Your Personal Training Business by Claire Winter

Whether you see yourself as a person who is good or bad at decision making, there’s no denying that at times you may find yourself swept along with the crowd.

Whilst this may lead to some good stories if it’s a night out with mates, it doesn’t always work that well as an approach to business.

The amount of work you put into the decision-making process depends on the scale of the potential impact of the decision.  Trying to decide whether to offer a drink to potential clients at the consultation stage?  Don’t overthink it, try it and see!  Trying to decide whether to open a facility or what courses to spend hundreds of pounds on? Run it through a decision-making process to avoid wasted time, effort and money.

Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it is right for you and no matter how convinced they are that it is THE WAY, there are always alternatives.

It can be tough to say no to people or to accept that something isn’t right for you. But it’s better than being lead down a road you don’t want to go.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s rolled their eyes at a parent uttering those words “if everyone else jumped off a cliff would you do it too?” I mean “duh, of course not, I’m not stupid!” But realistically in a less extreme example, most of us can be lead quite a way out of our way before we put the brakes on.

So how can you avoid this?  We can apply a “does this work for me and my business” filter.

The following questions will help.

Questions To Ask Yourself When You’re About to Make a Decision

What is the outcome I want from this action?

Make this as detailed and quantifiable as possible, consider how you will know if the decision is a success. Then check the option you are looking into will actually provide this outcome!

Will this benefit my clients? What are those benefits?

Think of your clients specifically, consider asking their opinions, remember they have different requirements to you and will have different priorities.  Specifying the benefits to your clients will avoid a vague “more is better” tick in the box that gives no real value to anyone.

Does this support my business goals? If so, how?

Again, detail here prevents an unsubstantiated decision.

Does this fit with my circumstances?

Trying to force yourself into someone else’s mould is not a great business strategy.

Doing Mac Nutrition University won’t turn you into Martin MacDonald.

You will never be great at being Mark Fisher Fitness unless you are Mark Fisher Fitness.

Curious Fitness is fabulous at being Curious fitness but no one else can be them.

You can copy everything that W10 does but you still won’t be W10.

Each of these businesses is successful due to a combination of factors, you can certainly learn elements from each of them but without applying a filter to your decision making and recognising where you are different in terms of location, client base, personality, learning styles, individual strengths and weaknesses and much more, you run the risk of failing from the start.

Do I want to do this?

Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do but if it is something that requires a large investment in terms of time or effort then you need to be honest about whether you are going to see it through.

What are the alternative options?

There are always alternatives!

Brainstorm them, think “ideal scenario with no limitations”, think “what happens if I maintain status quo”, think “what happens if I wait” (this is a good one if you often find yourself caught up in FOMO – fear of missing out).

What is the investment and what is the risk?

Be honest in terms of time and energy involved as well as financial costs.  Does it only impact you or are others investing too? (This could be in terms of support as well as more obvious financial input.)

What is your gut feel?

A tricky one this, if your gut feelings regularly lead you astray then maybe stick to more quantifiable information for your decision making, otherwise, it makes sense to at least acknowledge what your instincts are telling you.

Evaluate your responses

Once you’ve answered the questions you can evaluate the situation better.

Aim to remove unacknowledged emotion and biases as much as possible.  It’s your business and therefore doing something because you want to is absolutely allowed (subject to laws, impact on others etc) but acknowledge that’s the reason you are doing it, run a sense check to ensure it won’t have a negative effect on business and then go for it.

Some of the answers will carry more weight than others, sometimes leaving things as they are isn’t a viable option, sometimes other people’s opinions will carry more weight, sometimes you need to review your business or personal goals rather than the steps you are taking.  The key here is that you know what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you will judge its success in business terms.

No one is infallible and there is every possibility that you will find yourself scratching your head at some point in the future asking yourself why you did something.  That’s great, you get to learn and grow from the experience. Make sure you reflect on how you made the decision, did you have incorrect data, make unsubstantiated assumptions, get carried away by someone else’s enthusiasm or put someone else in a position of authority and forget to run their advice through the filter of your business?  Once you know what happened you can shore up your decision-making process in the weak area and move forward.

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