Annual Planning: “I Don’t Have Time” Meets the Value Ladder

An abstract staircase and many gray-colored doors, with a man entering one glowing gold door.

I’ve created a simple 12-month plan for gym owners.

Each month in 2023 has one or two simple things you can do to measurably improve your business: bring-a-friend events, staff evaluations, in-house competitions and so on.

The plan is available in the Gym Owners United group on Facebook.

I know what some people will think: “I just don’t have time to do more work.”

I get it, so I’m going to help you find the time.

The Value Ladder

If you’re so buried in work that you can’t find time to grow your business, you clearly have a problem. The solution is to offload some tasks to free up your time. Here are the five steps to doing that.

Step 1. Write down every single role that’s on your plate: cleaner, programmer, personal trainer, group coach, etc. Rank them by “replacement cost.” For example, if you would have to pay a cleaner $15 an hour and a coach $20 an hour, list coach above cleaner.

Step 2. List all the tasks associated with each role. If you want to streamline this process, pick the role that’s at the very bottom of your list and just write out the tasks for that one. It’s usually “cleaner.”

Step 3. Write down how much time you spend in each role. Streamlined plan: Estimate the amount of time you spend in the role at the bottom of the list.

Step 4. Hire someone to fill the role at the bottom of your list. With replacement cost and time commitment documented, you already know your “price to offload.” For example: If you clean four hours per week and could hire a cleaner for $15 an hour, you’ll pay about $240 per month to offload the task. Stated a better way: You can buy back 16 hours of your time for $240.

Step 5. Use the time you reclaimed—16 hours, in this example—to generate more revenue than you need to pay for the person you hired. That’s how you grow your business.

So how do you generate new revenue in the time you freed up? Use the tactics listed on my monthly calendar for gym owners.

Example: If you had 16 open hours in a month, could you plan and host a simple bring-a-friend event involving a short, fun workout and a few snacks afterward? Of course you could. At that event, you’d grow your mailing list at the very least, but it’s highly likely that you’d actually book some free consultations or sell memberships on the spot. If your average revenue per member is $200, two sales from the event would tack on $400 of new revenue. That would more than cover the $240 cost of the cleaner, and you’d have a growing business on your hands.

As you might guess, you can use the value ladder on all the other roles in your business, too. But if you’re drowning in work now, start small. Get rid of one task, then circle back later to buy back more time.

The key: Use free time to grow the business. You must have a plan to do that or you might fritter the hours away.

If you don’t have a plan in mind, use mine: Head to the Gym Owners United group on Facebook and comment on my Dec. 28, 2022, post. I’ll send you our annual plan. Use it with my compliments to generate more revenue throughout 2023.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.