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The NPE Success Principles

By Sean Greeley

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Today what I’ve got to share with you is PURE GOLD.

Anytime you feel lost or stuck in your business, follow these principles and you will breakthrough and succeed.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce the…

The NPE Success Principles: 10 Proven Principles For Success In Business And Life

I invite you to download this image and set it as your desktop background OR download the PDF file so you can print it and put it on your wall.

Or be a superstar overachiever and do both!

How The Principles Came About

Since 2006, we at NPE have helped over 45,000+ fitness entrepreneurs in 96+ countries grow to the next level. 

And we’ve harnessed our collective brainpower, years of experience, and hundreds of thousands of hours invested in working with thousands of clients around the world to frame this architecture that… if you follow it… will NEVER steer you wrong.


I want to dive into each of these a little deeper and share a little about how we came up with each of them.

First off, we listed EVERY way we’ve EVER seen a client fail or experienced failure ourselves in business.

Second we listed all the ways we’ve succeeded and the lessons we learned that allowed us to grow and push through challenges in our journey.

Then we listed some of the great strengths we’ve developed as a company over the many years working with thousands of fitness professionals and business owners around the globe.

That led us to an elimination list, categorization, ranking, percentages, and then… defining THESE principles.

9 hours of nose to the grindstone brainpower… and it was done.

Diving Deeper Into The Principles

Let’s talk a little bit more these principals, HOW they came about, and WHY they are so important in THIS order.


“Take active responsibility for your success,
because no one else can do it for you.”

Everything you want to do in life must first begin with your mindset.

All personal growth and development (which is the root of sustainable business growth and development) MUST begin with taking full responsibility for where you are now, how you got there, and the changes that must be made to grow.

NOBODY can do it for you.

So if you’re willing to do this, continue.

If you’re not, I’m sorry but we can’t help you. And nobody else can either.

Are you ready?

Really ready?

To accept full and complete responsibility?

If so, let’s continue.


“As a business owner you must attack your fears to grow.”

Stepping up as an entrepreneur means you must be willing to take risks.

Often BIG risks.

Quitting your job, signing a big lease, hiring staff that will go on your payroll, investing in new systems or technology, equipment, coaching, whatever… is scary.

You are putting your money, your time, and your family’s income ALL on the line.

It’s intense.

And EVERYONE is scared.

If you’re not scared, then you simply aren’t challenging yourself enough.

But this is how it’s done.

You must accept first that there is risk, it’s part of the process, and if you want to grow – even when you feel afraid – you must do the thing anyway.

Not only that, but HOW you approach the action required matters.

If you do it with a half-way, kinda wimpy effort then you will get the equivalent result.

You must AGGRESSIVELY attack your fears to conquer them!

You must be willing to put it all on the line, win or lose.

And then, do it all over again.

The most successful people I know are all willing to do this again and again and again.

Not in a reckless way, but in a calculated way of assessing risk, strategizing how to win, and then attacking all problems, fear, and anything else that stands in between where you are now and where you want to be.

You must have an undying passion to NEVER settle for anything less than success.

And even when you have no idea how it’s all gonna workout, you don’t see how you can make it, and you feel like giving up… you gotta have faith.

Believe in the truth that you are, in fact, exactly where you’re supposed to be.

And you are prepared for what’s in front of you.

That’s why you’re here.


“The fundamentals of success are the same for every business… including yours.”

We talk to a LOT of people.

And one of the lamest excuses people tell themselves as a reason WHY (and they truly believe this) they can’t succeed is because they think their business is different.

That’s like saying “I’ve tried nutrition and exercise, and it didn’t work for me. My body doesn’t function on oxygen, water, sleep, and movement like everyone else’s. My body is different.”

Guess what?

That’s baloney!

Your body is not different.

And your business is not different.

The fundamentals of success are the same for your business just as they are for everyone else.

It doesn’t matter what type of training you like to do – whether you enjoy using kettlebells, gymnastics, CrossFit, Pilates, Yoga, Olympic Weight Lifting, Outdoor Boot Camp, etc.

EVERY business must have systems and processes in place for how to attract prospective clients, sign them up, and then grow a team to support the workload.

Just like every human being needs air, water, sleep, and movement to live and be healthy!

Let me say that again…

The fundamentals for business success apply to EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS – in the fitness industry or any other service business for that matter – and YOU my friend, regardless of what your momma told you or how special a snowflake you might think you are… are NOT different.


But the sooner you accept this reality and get your head on straight, the sooner you can get to growing and becoming better.


“Don’t reinvent the wheel, just follow the dang instructions.”

We’ve spent many years coaching thousands of clients in more than 96 countries to success in their business. We’ve run literally MILLIONS of tests on what works, what doesn’t, and how to constantly improve. We’ve refined what works over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

That’s why you hire a coach.

When you don’t know how to do something, and you want to learn how to do it in the quickest and fastest way possible, do what your coach tells you to do.

Don’t be that fat and out of shape client that tries to tell YOU how their fitness and nutrition program should be designed.

Ugh… I mean really!

You’re fat.

And out of shape (financially speaking).

We know how to get people strong and healthy in their business.

So, make this process easy on us both.

Forget everything you think you know.

And be a good, coachable student.

And please… for both our benefit… just F.T.D.I. (follow the dang instructions.)

It’ll work out.

We promise.

Yes, we’ve done this before.

And NO, your business is not different (success principle #3).


“Know WHAT you stand for, WHY it’s important to you, WHERE you want to go, and HOW you are going to get there.”

The first thing we do with a new client is help them define what we call CVMVGP.

This stands for Core Values, Mission, Vision, Goals, and Priorities.

When you align your time, energy, and focus with all these pieces, it gives your work meaning and passion.

You know what you stand for (core values).

You know the reason WHY you do what you do (your mission).

You know where you want to go (vision).

And you’re clear on what’s important right now (goals and priorities) so you can focus your time and energy working on the RIGHT things that matter – and not waste your time on things that don’t.


“Value is perceived by the client experience, relationship and results you deliver. Focus on delivering value and price becomes irrelevant.”

A lot of businesses we work with charge way too little.

And hey I’m going to tell you right here that if you’re charging under $150 a month for any type of services, I have NEVER seen a model that is sustainable long term with this pricing structure.

For a gym membership, sure.

But for services, never.

Sooner or later, even if you are profitable for a short run, you’re going to need to reinvest in your business. Whether it be purchasing more equipment, a new facility, bringing on more staff, whatever.

OR you’re going to invest in marketing because competition steps into your area, and the easy days of just hanging up your shingle and clients flood your business run out.

To reinvest in your business, you need profits.

And increasing profits almost ALWAYS involves raising your prices.

It’s normal and natural to freak out about this.

You grow friendly with your clients.

You don’t want them to think you’re greedy.

You’re afraid they’ll quit and leave you.

You don’t know how to market, so your mindset is all about fear of loss (someone leaving you) as opposed to understanding that re-investment means a better business and client experience for everyone involved.

And PRICE is actually not as important as the VALUE you deliver to those you serve.

We teach our clients this formula to help them understand this.

If you focus on increasing the value you deliver, you can (almost) charge whatever you want!

Or at least certainly step up to be at the higher end of your market as opposed to competing at the bottom while you’re losing money!

Why do people pay $5 for Starbucks coffee (I hate this coffee by the way, I’m a New Englander Dunkin’ Donuts fan) instead of $0.99 for a cup of coffee from the gas station?

Because they perceive the $5 cup of coffee to be more valuable that’s why.

If you follow this formula and tweak, 1, 2, or all 3 of the variables that impact perceived value in your business… then you can charge more too.

Most importantly, charge what you’re worth and what you deserve.

Believe in yourself, serve others, and allow yourself to be compensated in fair return.


“No explanation needed.”

Several years ago I sent out a fax to all our NPE Coaching Program clients with that headline.

And come to find out the message I shared resonated with many, many folks who pinned the fax to their wall.
What I’m saying here is get organized.

Stop running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

You can’t be successful when you’re all over the place.

Take responsibility (see success principle #1) for all you do… including taking care of yourself and creating the environment and surrounding yourself with the people & systems that will support your journey.


“It’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you keep.”

A lot of folks come to us with businesses that have fundamental problems in the math of how they make money.

They want to solve this problem with marketing.

They incorrectly think “I just need more clients” and want to talk about a marketing plan, or grand opening strategy for a new facility, or something along those lines.

One of the things we try to tell them (to our frustration when the message falls on deaf ears) is that good marketing can NOT solve bad economics.

If your business isn’t profitable, then more unprofitable clients aren’t going to solve anything.

They’re going to make things worse!

Businesses are ONLY sustainable when they are profitable.

And finding profitability is all about understanding the money math in your business and your margins.

I’ve seen businesses grossing $1 million that were running at break even keeping the owner up late at night sweating a massive payroll, high expenses, and juggling cash flow to stay alive.

And I’ve seen folks with no overhead, running a boot camp in the park with some oranges cones and a few jump ropes taking home $100k.

Whatever your business model, and your structure (we have folks crushing it with every business model in this industry you could imagine), know that the most important thing must you do is learn and understand profitability.

That may sound like common sense, but I’ll tell you “common sense just ain’t common anymore.”



I can’t tell you how many clients struggle (sometimes unnecessarily, sometimes justifiably) because they simply have no awareness of where they are with targets in their business.

Frankly, they don’t even know their targets.

Or their key metrics.

Things like the number of leads being generated each month, the cost per lead, the margin on labor, their cash forecast, and more.

We train our clients on 17 “Must Know” metrics you should always have a handle on as a business owner.

If you’re going to own a business, knowing these numbers… at all times… is YOUR responsibility (see success principle #1).

Nobody will do it for you.


“Don’t get lost in activity, hold yourself accountable to results.”

Several years ago we held a group consulting day with about 6 clients from around the country in attendance.

It was time for one client to present, and he talked for over 30 minutes on all the “things” he was doing to market his business.

I was beginning to wonder where all this was going, so I paused him and asked one question.

“How many new leads have you generated in the last month?”

The answer was 4.

The point I wanted to make (that he answered for himself and everyone else in the room all at the same time) was that focusing on doing lots of “stuff” will always mislead you.

Of course you should follow a strategy and process to achieve a goal.

But you MUST commit yourself to results, not just lots of activity.

Process will distract you from the thing that matters most in the end, which is the results you produce.

Stay committed to what matters. Results.


These principles have been battle tested and proven over the many years and thousands of clients we’ve worked with in over 96 countries.

As I said in the intro, ANYTIME you feel lost or stuck in your business, follow THESE principles and you will breakthrough and succeed.

And if you haven’t done so already, be sure download the image above and set it as your desktop background OR click here to download a PDF file so you can print it and post it on your wall.

Or be a superstar overachiever and do both!

I won’t promise you it’s going to be easy, but I can promise you that you are not a unique snowflake, your business isn’t different, and if you’re willing to take personal responsibility for where you are, how you got there, and taking steps to grow… then we know how to guide you through all the rest.

P.S. One more Important thing to note: When reviewing this list of principles, start from the top down. #1 is always #1. And if you don’t have THAT in place, you can’t build on it to correctly have #2, #3, etc.

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