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How to Survive AND Grow Your Gym Business

By Sean Greeley

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One bad month… sales are down.

Another bad month… revenue is still dropping.

A few clients stop working with you.

You have to fire an underperforming staff member (or they quit).

Your marketing isn’t driving the number of new prospects needed through your doors.

Rent and payroll are coming up soon… and stress starts building up…

How do you handle this situation?

Long term success in business is all about how you overcome challenges, setbacks, and failures.

But where do you start?

And how do you find the “quick wins” that will help you move forward today?

Today I’m going to share 8 strategies you can use to change your mindset and become a stronger fitness business owner.



When you’re just starting out (or trying to grow your existing business), there are LOTS of moments when you’re going to be hit with challenges. BIG challenges!

Maybe you’re struggling with sales or can’t get new clients in the door. Or maybe you’ve been working non-stop and you’re just not seeing the results you want for ll of your efforts.

In these moments, it’s easy to think, “Maybe this isn’t for me. Maybe I should just give up.” But if you do, you’re about to miss out on one of the most important keys to fitness business success:  welcoming adversity as an opportunity to learn and grow.

How will you respond when you hit a challenge in your business or your life?

Do you give up?

Play the victim?

Make excuses?

What if you fail?

Getting stuck or failing at something may seem scary – especially in the beginning stages of growing a business. But if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you must get comfortable with embracing adversity as an opportunity to grow. Here are three ways you can do that:

  • Take time to reflect and understand how the setback or challenged occurred
  • Capture the learning opportunities
  • Realize how you can grow through the challenge and continue improving for the future



Too many fitness business owners make the mistake of eating, breathing, and living their business. And it doesn’t take long before you’re pulling split shifts, sleeping at the gym or studio, and missing time with your friends, your family, and yourself.

But in order for your business to be successful, you must be successful and learn to separate the two.

Imagine a formula 1 car race. There are two factors that determine the winner:  the car and the driver. Even if someone has the fastest, most efficient car, if the driver isn’t performing at their best, or doesn’t know what they’re doing, not only will they lose the race… but there is a high probability that they may crash and die!

Both the driver and car must be well-trained and performing at their best in order to win the race.

Owning a business is the same.

You’ve got to take care of both yourself (the entrepreneur driver) and your business (the car) in order to achieve your goals. Create space to look after yourself- go to sleep, take time to eat (and chew!) your food, get in a workout (even if it’s a short 10 minute one). You’ll feel better and be in a better place to continue going for the long haul. Success in business is marathon, not a sprint. You must look after yourself to go the distance.



When a prospective client comes to you and says they’re struggling to lose weight or achieve their fitness goals, do you just jump into a new workout program with them? Or do you ask what they’ve tried before and assess what’s worked?

Growth is all about learning. If your business (or life) is in chaos and you’re not taking the time to review your progress, you’ll struggle month after month to take your business (and life) to the next level.

You need to take time to review:

  • What’s worked – Is there something that’s getting you measurable results?
  • What didn’t work – Was there a specific sales tactic, marketing strategy, etc. that completely tanked?
  • What you learned – How can your experience with one challenge change how you’ll face a similar one in the future and help you grow?

This is VERY important – most people don’t take the time to stop and review but it can make all the difference in putting a stop to the chaos for good.

Just like a client gets the best results when they have someone assess where they’re at, track their progress, and guide them, having a coach or mentor to review your business with you will help you achieve your goals faster and grow a stronger business month after month.

Knowing WHAT to focus on is critical to overcoming challenges and growing your business.



If someone told you to get in the car and drive, wouldn’t your first question be “Where do I go?” If you just start driving and there’s no clear direction, you’re just wasting time.

It’s the same with success.

You have to know the direction (your goals) and the destination (measures of success) so you can achieve them faster.

If you don’t have goals, how can you measure progress?

And if you don’t know what success looks like for you, how will you know when you’ve reached it?

Take time to define your goals (in your business and your life):

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • When do you want to achieve it by?
  • What are some ways you can achieve it?

Paint a picture of what success looks like for you. Is it hitting a certain yearly revenue? Having the time to sit down with your family every night for dinner? Going on holidays every year?

The answer will be different for every fitness business owner and entrepreneur. And it will change over the course of your lifetime.

The key is to decide what success looks like for you now so you can celebrate when you do reach your goals!



If you feel like you’re constantly working and nothing is producing the results you want, chances are that you’re missing one of these three actions (or have them in the wrong order): think strategically, make a plan, and execute.

Many people get stuck in the execution phase and don’t have a plan behind the actions they’re taking, or have a plan but haven’t clearly defined the strategy behind it. That leads to a LOT of wasted time, money, and frustration.

In order to avoid getting stuck or going in circles, you must follow these three steps to move forward in your business:

  • Think strategically – Get clear on what you’re trying to achieve and the best strategies you can use to efficiently get the results you want.
  • Make a plan – Build a project that defines each task required to get to your goal. What needs to be done, and when? Who will own each of the responsibilities?
  • Execute – Once you finally have a strategy and plan, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done and can focus on taking action. This is where the “rubber meets the road.” Discipline and focus are your key drivers for success in this phase.

Think of these three steps as building blocks for each other – you can’t make a plan if you don’t know the strategy, and you can’t execute a strategy unless you have a clearly defined plan.

Got it?




When there’s chaos in your business, it’s hard to imagine slowing down so you can do a review.

“I don’t have time for that – I have to get things done.”

That’s a dangerous trap to fall into.

And if you’re guilty of thinking that, you’re ignoring one of the most important parts of growing a business – the feedback loop cycle. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What did we do?
  • What results did we get?
  • How will those results inform better thinking and different strategies or actions to get to our goals faster tomorrow?

If you randomly sit down to do a review, you won’t really know how much progress you’ve made and what’s impacting your results.

The speed and consistency at which you go through the feedback loop cycle is what helps you continue to grow.

Remember:  What gets measured gets improved.

If you want to make something better in your business, commit to measuring results and reviewing them daily, weekly, and monthly.



One of the most powerful factors for growing your business has nothing to do with sales strategies, marketing tools, or building a team. It has to do with what happens between your ears.

Your mind controls everything you do, and the most successful fitness business owners and entrepreneurs know that if you aren’t growing, your business isn’t growing.

By following a daily personal development practice, you’ll be able to get your mind prepped for success. Hal Elrod, the #1 best-selling author of The Morning Miracle and one of America’s top Success Coaches, has outlined six S.A.V.E.R.S. in his book that can change your business (and your life!).

These six S.A.V.E.R.S. have already transformed the lives of thousands of people around the world and will show you how to wake up each day with more energy, motivation, and focus to take your life to the next level.

S – silence

A – affirmations

V – visualization

E – exercise

R – reading

S – scribe

Commit to these S.A.V.E.R.S. and you’ll be amazed at how your business (and life) can change from an hour or less each day.

Check out Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning to discover the not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life before 8am.



The journey to become a successful entrepreneur is never a straight line. Every single business owner will face challenges and setbacks over and over again.

When there’s chaos in your business, you may think that you need to work harder and longer to take back control of your business.

But that’s one of the biggest (and most costly) mistakes that you can make as a fitness business owner.

Most of the time, you need to take a step back from your business to assess where you are, how you’re progressing, and what you can do to grow.

Follow the 8 keys outlined in this guide to start changing your mindset and becoming a stronger fitness business owner every day. Not only will you conquer the chaos in your fitness business faster….but you’ll finally be able to take back control and create a life that you love!

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