I know it might be sacrilegious to talk about *the holidays* before Halloween, let alone Thanksgiving, but I’m a planner AND a business coach, so planning for the holidays, and your success through them, is kinda my thing.
The simple truth is: unless you’re in retail or food + beverage, the holidays tend to be the slowest time of the year, and this year we’re adding the pandemic into the mix. This means:
Your client’s time is even more limited.
Your client’s spending + budget might be affected.
It gets darker earlier, and it’s way too cold and dark to get out of bed early in the morning.
Work obligations and end of year targets become all consuming, especially in a year that work targets have already been all over the place. .
Family starts visiting from out of town, or clients are heading out to see family….
You get my point. The cards are stacked against consistent workouts and healthy habits this time of the year, which as fitness business owners can affect your bottom line.
And since the holiday season will look different this year in light of everything going on in 2020, today I want to hit you with some online options to keep your business thriving and pandemic proof.
I’m breaking down my top tips to keep your clients booking sessions and classes, to keep those profit numbers high to close out 2020 strong, and to help you if you encounter those above objections.
1 - START PLANNING YOUR BUSINESS’ NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER CALENDAR TODAY.
I know being a business owner usually feels like a duck on the water - gliding smoothly over the surface with your feet paddling for dear life under the water. It’s *a lot* juggling teaching, programming, client inquiries, marketing, and admin work; it’s hard enough keeping your head above water, let alone doing anything more than just getting through the day. But if you’ve learned one thing from me, it’s how important forecasting and planning is to grow your business and also keep you sane.
I want you to pull up a calendar and schedule ALL of the following into November and December:
When do you need to run payroll and pay bills;
Team holiday party;
Member appreciation events;
Meetings you need to have with your accountant, lawyer or business coach to wrap up 2020 and plan for 2021;
Any workshops/events that you want to host or attend.
Literally everything goes on the calendar NOW so 1) you’re prepared to take on the unpredictable craziness of these next two months, and 2) so that the date/time is held.
PS - I’ve been planning for Q4 and the holidays since Labor Day and here’s the most important things you should be doing to close out 2020 strong in your business.
2 - BE EXTRA COMMUNICATIVE WITH YOUR CLIENTS
In the most casual, friendly and best way possible, keep in extra touch with your clients during these months so they don’t disappear. It’s really easy to justify not showing up for a morning class because you partied too hard at the virtual company happy hour the night before (sigh, I cannot believe that’s even real). But if your client has the kind of relationship with you where they don’t want to disappoint you or they promised they’d come - they’ll come.
So give those relationships a little extra TLC right now.
Encourage them to book their next class or session before leaving the studio or signing off your virtual session. Ask when you’re going to see them next, or even prompt, “see you next week, same time?”
Text or message them on social if they late cancel or you haven’t seen them during their regular classes/sessions.
Text or message to tell them how excited you are to see them at their next class/session.
Safely rally some of your closest clients for a small get together, based on what your city and state allows.
Which leads me to…
3 - GIVE YOUR CLIENTS EXTRA FUN REASONS TO SHOW UP
Whether it’s a holiday themed class, a toy-drive, a fun playlist or a brand partnership pop-up, make studio time in November and December extra fun and worthwhile. A few recommendations:
Set-Up a holiday challenge to see who can come to the most classes or achieve the most progress. These are always SO successful because 1) it keeps clients coming and 2) it helps them combat the dreaded holiday weight gain/lethargy.
Encourage clients to bring their friends or family for free (or discounted) to get new clients in the door and to keep the existing ones coming.
Designate certain classes as charity donation-based classes, or host a toy/food drive.
Partner with fun + popular brands for a free sampling, discount or giveaway. I am definitely going to rally for a morning class if I get a massage after or a box of a new product I’m excited about.
Use social media extra around this time of year, highlighting wins. Show people how you are making the most out of this pandemic and it’ll make them want to be in the fun too.
4 - PUT TOGETHER YOUR MARKETING + PRODUCT PLAN FOR 2021
I had to shift my mindset from “the holidays are slower, omg what do I do to keep myself sane and from spiraling?” to “the holidays are slower, so what can I do during this time to have fun, connect with clients, and set up the next few months for even more success?”! And the funny thing is - when you bring the ‘can do’ positive energy, clients are drawn to it, less likely to fall off during the holidays, and more likely to insist on getting extra time with you to ground themselves.
And while it’s not necessarily “holiday proofing” your business, I have my social, content and marketing calendars set for now into February. Yup, really. It assures that I’m always moving forward, I’m not letting the lows get me down, and that I’m giving ALL of my clients exciting, engaging and educational opportunities to look forward to in the new year and beyond.
How? I looked back at my 2020 goals and I’m fighting like hell to make the very best out of every day to take small steps forward those goals. But I’m being realistic about what probably won’t happen and what I can plan to instead push to January/Q1. I’m setting aggressive AF new goals for 2021, and planning how to roll them out, launch runways, cart opens, all of it.
If you can commit to just ONE methodology, I’d be extra focused on your clients and providing them a safe and happy place to go amidst the holiday (and life) chaos.
Happy Halloween and happy sweater weather.