Entrepreneurs in the TwoBrain Family spend December planning for the next year.
First, we review “Perfect Day”. Then we choose their goals for the year that will lead to Perfect Day: income goals, time goals, lifestyle goals, and–maybe most important–service goals.
We work on the owner first, and then the business, because the business should be a path to the owner’s perfect day. In other words, the business serves the owner…not the other way around.
When planning the business’ year, I often use the “rocks in a glass” analogy.
[You know the one: you put the big items–or “rocks”–in a glass. Then you fill the holes between the rocks with pebbles. Then you fill the holes between the pebbles with sand. Then you fill the tiny air pockets with water.]
In the business, the “rocks” are service landmarks. They usually occur every quarter or so, but some businesses divide their year into 3, 5 or 6 sections. For the sake of example, we’ll stick with four.
My service landmarks at Catalyst are the Intramural Open (beginning of March), the Catalyst Games (beginning of September), and The Gift (Christmas). Obviously, I need a fourth landmark, preferably in early summer. We have an incredible cycling community here; great swimming; and many people want to get out running after a long winter, so I’m going to tentatively create an early-June event we’ll call the Catalyst Duathlon. This is a placeholder; I might change the event later. But an endurance event is also a nice balance to the Gift in December, which is a combination of a weightlifting meet with a big charitable “give”.
My calendar, divided into quarters, becomes: Intramural Open – March 1 Duathlon – June 1 Games – September 1 Gift – December 25
(all are approximate dates).
Next, I’ll add the “pebbles” – the specialty programs to help my clients best prepare for each of the “rocks”.
What can I do to help my clients best prepare for the CrossFit Games Open? Well, they’ll need weightlifting groups. Maybe a competitive training cycle. So I’ll schedule two eight-week specialty courses (one for each) in the weeks between January 1 and the Open. How can I help them be ready for the duathlon? Couch to 5k groups are always popular, and I can partner with a local bike store to run a cycling program in the weeks after the Open and before this event. How about the Games? Competitive group, obstacle course group or weightlifting program.
Next comes the “sand” in the glass: individualized tweaks I can make for specific clients to tailor my program. This means regular goal reviews, so I set a goal for 30 per month. They’ll move in and out of Personal Training or our ID program and nutrition coaching as needed.
Finally, the ever-present, all-filling “water” in the glass: group training. This fills the gaps between everything else we do: the daily dose of constantly-varied functional movement delivered at high intensity. The general prescription that fills all voids.
Now, with my service calendar set, I can begin building my marketing and sales calendar.
“Marketing” is done to people who aren’t already using your service, or haven’t in the past.
“Sales” is the “Help First” process of guiding your current clients to the best possible service for their goals. It’s really coaching, not selling.
“Rocks” require 3 months of marketing and sales. “Pebbles” require two months of marketing and sales. “Sand” requires constant sales (Goal Reviews) and marketing. “Water” requires constant sales and marketing.
When I’m planning the year, I’ll also look for serendipitous overlap.
For example, the CrossFit Games in early August will really fire up my clients for novelty (cyclocross? obstacle courses? swimming? Awesome.) So I’ll plan little outings around each of these, and usually partner with another community group for cobranding.
On the other hand, we also need to identify the valleys or hurdles to achieving monthly business goals. For example, if you’re running a six-week challenge like New You, that won’t be tied to any specific event at the gym. BUT you might tie it to a revenue gap, like mid-August. In that case, consider these groups “pebbles” and follow the marketing guidelines above.
When decisions are made in advance, stress is reduced to a huge degree. Micro-managing at the last minute isn’t the same as effective planning. Walking through the broad strokes with your team means things are done on time, with focused intent. And that’s how you best serve your clients.