How Do I Know What to Work on in My Business?

One of the most common challenges we face as training gym owners is deciding what to work on next. After all, we have constraints of time, energy, and money. 

And being a business owner can make you feel like you’re snorting crushed up crazy pills, so it can be hard to think clearly sometimes.

Having a clear set of weekly or month metrics can help. All businesses need some kind of dashboard. These can quickly illuminate areas that are lagging and need more attention.

But you also have to consider the big picture.

Specifically, you have to “begin with the end in mind” and get clear on your vision for your dream business. Dashboards will tell you where you are, but they won’t help you decide where you want to go.

That can only be answered with questions like:

  • What kind of business do you want?
  • What kind of impact do you want to make on your community?
  • What do you want your team and clients to be saying about their experience?
  • What kind of work do you want to be doing?
  • What kind of work do you NOT want to be doing?
  • Who do you want to be working with?
  • What kind of revenue do you want to make?
  • What services are you offering?
  • What are you legendary for?

And these questions are beyond the scope of a KPI analysis. They require you to step outside of the day to day and get clear on what kind of future you’re creating.

Here are a few best practices for creating a compelling vision for your business:

1) Get physically outside your business. 

For most people, this kind of visioning work is best done somewhere besides your training gym. Since you’re looking to think big and imagine a compelling future, you don’t want to accidentally anchor yourself to the present. 

I personally like to do this work in environments that inspire me, whether it be on vacation or a beautiful NYC hotel lobby. You may find you do your best dreaming while in nature. The key point is to break your daily patterns.

2) Create clarity on your personal goals. 

Your business is not your life. But your business needs to work with your life. So it only makes sense to build your business vision AFTER getting clear on what you want for your personal life.

For a done-for-you, 60 minute personal visioning process, go HERE.

3) Write out a vision for your dream business on a specific date in the future. 

There are a few different processes you can use for this. Cameron Herrold’s Vivid Vision and Zingerman’s ZingTrain Visioning Process are both worth exploring.

Although the exact time interval varies based on the process you use, you want it to be far enough away that you can dream big. I’ve always enjoyed Zingerman’s 10ish year approach, but can see an argument for the slightly more accessible 3 year timeline.

Whatever timeline you choose, you’re looking to create a detailed 2-5 page document that outlines every aspect of your future business. Be sure to include quantifiable targets (revenue, profit margin, number of clients and employees, etc.) AND qualitative targets (what do your clients and employees say about your business, how have you impacted your industry, how does it feel when you’re in your training gym, etc.)

4) Use your vision to create your one year, quarterly, and weekly goals.

And now we arrive at the answer to this email’s question: once you have your vision, work backwards to identify what you need to focus on NOW. Here’s how…

First off, share your vision document with any other key stakeholders. Depending on the size of your training gym, this may only be one or two other key employees. But as soon as there are other team members with a meaningful role in bringing this vision to life, they need to be looped in. After all, no one can read your mind!

Then, review your document once every three months before your quarterly planning session. 

(And if you’re not already doing a quarterly planning session — like we facilitate in the Unicorn Society — that’s something to add immediately.)

This clearly articulated vision will be used to create your one year goals. For instance, if you know you want to achieve X revenue in X year’s time, this can inform where you want to be on that journey one year from now. 

And in turn, these one year goals shape your focus for the next quarter. For this part of the process, it can be valuable to braindump alllll the things you could potentially focus on in the next three months. Then methodically organize them with this question:

“Which of these goals, if achieved, will have the greatest positive impact on my business and move me closer to my dream business?”

By filtering your present challenges and opportunities through the lens of your long term vision, you’ll be well situated to decide exactly what to focus on next with pigheaded discipline. And just as importantly, it will help you identify all the things you’re NOT going to focus on for the next few months.

A final crucial point: “Plans never work, but planning always does.”

While a compelling vision is a powerful tool, that’s not because you’ll (usually) create the exact vision. The value is in steering the ship and identifying where to focus next.

Always loving even when you’re naughty,

PS Have you checked out the Business for Unicorns podcast lately?

Lots of actionable takeaways for your training gym from some of the best in the biz. Scroll through our most recent episodes HERE.