As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Every aspiring business owner knows that the first step in setting up a successful business venture is a sound business plan. The business plan lays down the foundation for the company, from the mission statement to the financial projections. It is essentially the blue print for what the hope for success is built upon. When it comes to our own personal fitness however, most of us plan to fail because there was never a real “plan” to put in motion and follow.
Adopting the concept of a business plan to your own personal exercise program is not a radical idea. In fact, a Wharton School grad turned fitness trainer applied his keen business sense to the realm of fitness. In his #1 New York Times best-selling book, The Business Plan for the Body, Jim Karas takes a satirical, yet very fundamental approach to helping the reader understand that taking care of the body is very much like running a Fortune 500 company. It begins with a plan and that plan is what guides you to success. Fall off the plan and you will most certainly struggle. Even with a business plan in place, some companies still struggle and eventually fold. So how do you keep a business plan for the body that works and does not lead to foreclosure? Take proactive steps now and develop a plan to stay ahead of the competition.
It is estimated that 75 percent of U.S. companies offer some kind of health promotion program, yet 129 million people in today’s workforce are labeled as obese. If health and fitness were our business, we would be operating in the red! With the rising cost of health care, you as an individual or as an employer should be concerned. The problem can easily be turned around by getting yourself and your employees to buy into the concept of health and fitness, much like the aspiring entrepreneur who must convince investors to buy into a vision of success. Here’s a look at some of the benefits exercise can bring to you and your organization:
- Increased productivity at work
- Decreased days missed from work
- Decreased anxiety and stress levels
- Improved attention and concentration
- Improved team morale and self esteem
- Overall decreased health care fees
As a business owner, you need to ask yourself, “Would my company benefit from increased work productivity, decreased days lost from work, lower levels of stress and improved morale?” Absolutely! The challenge is where to begin. Much liking asking the bank for a small business loan, getting people to buy into the notion of fitness is not always very easy. After all, it involves an investment of time, money, energy, and most of all it requires change. Everyone knows they have to do it, but the statistics have something else to say. The return on the investment however, is worth its weight in gold. So let’s take a look at how can you develop a successful business plan for your body and your employees?
- Create a mission statement. What type of business (fitness/wellness) are you going to create? Are you looking for a temporary quick fix (doomed venture) or are you working on a lifestyle change (imminent success)? It is vital that your intentions are clearly stated so that when the going gets tough, quick reference can be made to this to keep you on the straight and arrow.
- Develop a business plan. How are you going to go about your business? Are you going to join a health club? Work with a personal trainer? Is this a sole proprietorship (alone) or a corporation (group effort)? Research has repeatedly shown that working with others is a guaranteed path to success and growth.
- Scout the competition. What are those who you deem as successful doing? What kinds of incentives/ benefits are being offered to their employees?
- Go public with your business (IPO). Let everyone know your intentions and how investing in a health / fitness mindset is time and money well spent. The more people who are aware of your venture, the greater the return on your investment. In addition, the more people that are aware of your venture, the less likely the chance of falling off the wagon.
- Identify the Management Team. Who’s the ring leader? Who or whom will make sure that this venture develops, grows, and endures? It is important that the right people are selected for this role. Otherwise, the ship goes down and you with it.
- The financials. What is feasible, realistic, and attainable? Crunch the numbers (money, time, etc.) and make it work for you. If the success of your business (fitness / wellness) is important enough to you, nothing should stand in your path. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Just like starting a new business, there is a level of uncertainty and nervousness with starting an exercise program. Thoughts of “I’ve done this before” and “Exercise just isn’t my thing” always seem to creep up. But if you continue to be a bystander and watch the train go by, then all you can do is dream about success.
Featured in June 2004 Issue of 422 Business Advisor