Issue Four: The Power of Delegation
Hey Fitness Pros,
In our last edition, we highlighted my appearance on the Principles of Program Design podcast. In that episode, we discussed the pros and cons of the different business models for fitness professionals. If you missed that one, you can catch it here.
In this edition of the Business Digest, we’ll discuss the transformative impact of teamwork.
Introduction: From One-Man Army to Team Leadership
When I launched PEX Health and Fitness in 2019, I embodied the quintessential one-man army. As a personal trainer, I juggled 40-50 hours of training per week, along with the additional tasks of programming and scheduling. Stepping into the role of a business owner, I found myself trapped in the cycle familiar to many first-time entrepreneurs – trying to do everything. From opening and closing the studio to handling bookkeeping, accounting, cleaning, equipment maintenance, inventory, bill payments, and managing relationships with vendors and contractors, I was the face behind every operation.
This approach, while ensuring smooth daily operations, left little room for strategic business growth activities like marketing, advertising, and expansion planning. I was stuck in a loop of operational tasks, hindering the potential growth of the business and driving me to exhaustion.
Recognizing the need for change, I began to delegate tasks to the other coaches, who stepped up remarkably, reflecting the “lead by example” culture we fostered. But the real game-changer was hiring a General Manager. This step was transformative, not just for the business but for me personally.
1. Cultivating Leadership to Attract Excellence
In my early days of solo management, I learned the hard way that to attract top talent, you need to become the leader people want to follow. This means fostering a workplace environment where respect, hard work, consistency, professionalism, collaboration, and personal development are paramount. These are non-negotiables. By living these values myself, and being completely transparent in my efforts, I gradually built a team that mirrored this ethos, paving the way for the onboarding of a General Manager who would embody these principles as well.
2. The Ideal General Manager: A Catalyst for Growth
A General Manager is more than an administrative overseer. They need to be a mini-version of you – inquisitive, supportive, challenging, independent, intelligent, and a leader by example. Organizational and disciplinary skills are critical. Our GM brought these attributes to the table, driving operational efficiency and nurturing a culture of collective responsibility and growth.
3. The Impact of a Rockstar Co-Captain
Introducing a General Manager to our team was transformative. It shifted my role from a task-focused manager to a strategic leader. I now had a collaborator, a confidant with whom I could discuss strategies, brainstorm ideas, and explore new business avenues. This partnership allowed me to step back from the minutiae and focus on big-picture objectives.
More importantly, it provided a clear distinction in roles within our team. I could engage in high-level discussions without having to involve other coaches, maintaining clarity in workplace roles and responsibilities. It helped preserve the integrity of our workplace environment, keeping it (relatively) free from unnecessary complexities that often arise when operational and strategic roles blur.
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The journey from a one-man show to a thriving team-centric environment has been both challenging and rewarding. It underscored the importance of delegation, trusting your team, and the critical role a General Manager plays in scaling a business. If you’re at a point where operational tasks consume all your time, consider this your sign to start building your team. It’s a leap of faith, but one that can lead your business to new heights. By positioning the right people in key roles, you set your business on a trajectory of sustainable growth and innovation. It’s about crafting a symbiotic ecosystem where every member, including yourself, operates at their highest potential, collectively pushing towards shared goals.