How to Set Big Business Goals (Plus, Insights on How I Will Hit 1,000 Sessions a Month!)

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I just recently set a major goal of hitting 1,000 personal training sessions per month. You may want to do bootcamps, small groups, etc. To me it’s all the same. It’s about setting a goal that is a little out of reach and then designing a plan to make it a reality. I have a very specific way of doing this, and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t need to create elaborate business plans or waste time getting started. I can’t wait to pass along everything I learn and what I’m doing to achieve my goals of 1,000 sessions per month!

Although this year wasn’t the exact right time for me to set a goal of achieving 1,000 sessions per month I decided to go for it anyway. I have 3 months of total travel away from my studio, a book to finish, and a dozen other projects that need my attention.

However, it’s been a goal of mine for quite some time now.

I just feel that hitting 1,000 sessions per month would be a monumental achievement for me to aim for. I’d be able to reach more people, help more CPTs on my team make more money, and continue to build my brand in my community.

Again, like all of my goals this is truly a win-win-win.

Currently my studio does around 700 sessions per month, so 1,000 sessions a month if a significant increase. We will literally need to add about 33% more completed sessions to our goal.

So if I were to just look at this goal from that aspect I would quickly get overwhelmed…

Instead, this is how my thought process works:


(Welcome to the inner depths of my mind… watch your step ; )

1. The first thing I do is figure out specifically what my goal is and the set my goal in stone.

In this case it is to complete 1,000 sessions per month on a monthly basis – not a one-time achievement. There’s a big difference and the difference is in creating a sustainable program from the beginning.

2. The 2nd thing I do is create a time line.

Without a time line there’s not much point in setting a definitive goal. Hard-set dates help you achieve amazing feats in far less time. My goal is to hit 1,000 sessions per month in 1 year. (March 25th, 2012 to be exact)

3. The next thing I do is to look at what my role will be in this effort and what I can outsource.

For example, I no longer have any hours left in my day. Therefore, when I take on new projects I must either get rid of something I’m doing now or outsource one of the two. I simply can’t do both…

In this new design I have decided to hire a part-time fitness manager who will be running the studio and completing studio related tasks for about 60-90 minutes per day. (Nothing in my studio takes longer than that to complete with all the S3 Smart Studio Systems we have in place). This now frees up another 30-60 minutes a day for me to work on marketing to get new clients.

Also, the new fitness manager will be doing all the new hire training for new CPTs on our team.

(I will have a new post dedicated to how I hired this new fitness manager, what I pay them, what tasks they complete, etc. Look for it in a few weeks under “Business Systems”)

By now I have already outsourced all my web design, graphic design, filing, etc.

4. I calculate how many more CPTs I will need on my team to complete the 300 sessions per month that we need to reach our goal (I use the word “our” a lot since this is truly a team effort – I cant do it alone…)

I realize that my average CPT completes about 130-140 sessions per month.

As a result I will use 120 sessions as a more conservative number when calculating how many CPTs I will need to hire for our team.

In this case 3 additional CPTs will be needed in order for us to add 300 sessions per month. Plus, I like my CPTs to be full-time and not share sessions with other gyms, etc., which is why I plan for them to be full-time.

(Remember, if you have a bunch of CPTs all doing 10 sessions a week for you they’re not going to be very loyal and they will jump at the next best opportunity to go work for a competitor who will give them more sessions. This is why I always hire one CPT at a time and make it my job to build up their clientele for them – after they sign a “non-compete” of course)

5. Recognize that I need to get out of my own way.

After carefully examining the studio schedule and what times everyone was currently training at, I realized I was training a total of 2 nights and only 4 sessions total after 1:30pm.

This one realization is going to make me another few thousand dollars a MONTH in profit by removing myself from training in the evenings and having someone else come in to train from 2-8pm every night.

Basically, I was taking up 30+ hours of training times by only completing 4 sessions from 1:30pm on!

Let me just recap that. I now get to take the evenings off, while having someone else train 30+ sessions per week and I make more money!

Of course, it was not easy letting go 2 of my long-time clients that I’ve been working with for 5+ years, but I know they will be in good hands with the new CPT and I offered to write their programs for the next 3 months as the new CPT on my team gets used to working with them.

My wife will also be happy to hear I’ll be home earlier now on Monday and Wednesday nights, which were my later evenings…

6. Next up I now recognized that you can only squeeze something so tight before it breaks and I can see that my studio is totally tapped out when it comes to additional training openings.

So now what we’re going to do is focus solely on in-home and corporate training sessions going forward (after we fill up the new CPT who is working 2-8pm).

My new fitness manager’s job is to find the in-home CPTs, train them, and look for new accounts/clients.  Of course, first I will show him the ropes and train him and then he will take it from there…

He is motivated to do this because he understands the small nominal pay he is getting to complete the studio tasks is miniscule compared to the bonus he will receive on all new sessions that are completed over 700. (More on how I set up his commission based pay later)

Our goal is to complete 200 out of studio sessions per month, which should take us to our 1,000 session mark. This equates to about 25 new clients training 2x a week. (50 sessions per week x 4 weeks = 200 sessions more per month)

We will of course add a 10% buffer for clients who are away or traveling and can’t make their session that week. So for easy math we’ll assume we need 30 “out of studio” clients to train in their homes, condo gyms, or office building.

Do you see how the math doesn’t have to be complicated?

I spent way too long back in the day learning complex business plans about using complex algorhythms and ridiculous metrics only to realize you can’t plan that precisely until you actually get moving.

Do yourself a favor and take more action while worrying less about whether you get your numbers spot on the first time around.

7. I understand I will need to recalibrate as I go along.

I may need to hire more part-time CPTs if the full-time ones aren’t able to handle all the clients I give them at peak times… I really don’t know. I’m not afraid to say that because I’d be lying if I said I precisely predict tell the future… I wish I could, but that is a skill I do not possess yet ; )

However, what I can tell you is that I will be making educated guesses based on the previous track records I have from my 14 years of experience. And, this is exactly what I want you to do. Follow my lead and use my systems and then make your own best judgment as to what the best plan is for your business.

8. I refuse to be too rigid.
This is another reason why I don’t draw up insanely strict business plans. If you use too great of tunnel vision then you’ll miss out on opportunities that present themselves along the way.

What if I land a big corporate account and they want bootcamps 2x a day Monday – Friday. If that happens I will need to restructure my plan to accommodate a CPT to make themselves available for 10 hours a week.

9. No matter what I will not lose track of what’s most important.

I’ll be honest I love making money and when I hit 1,000 sessions a month I’ll be doing over a million dollars a year out of a small 500 ft fitness floor. I think that’s pretty cool and it doesn’t even take into account all the online training, ebooks, published books, and products I offer.

However, as most of you know I don’t sit there on a daily basis and check my bank account. Instead, what I do is I focus on helping trainers build their careers up from nothing to making $80,000-$100,000 a year working at my fitness business. And, I focus all my energy on creating amazing client programs and an atmosphere that breeds health and fitness.

Personally, I’ve just found that when I focus on the money I never get the results I’m looking for, but when I focus on providing a service to my CPTs and my fitness clients I get phenomenal results.

As Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything you want in life as long as you help enough other people get what they want.”

That’s pretty much sums up how I run all of my businesses and life…

Basically, on one hand you want to help everyone you can achieve success and on the other you’re also focused on creating your own dream life.

I’d say I’m about 95% there.

I now have my ideal schedule working from 7:15/8am – 1:30pm Monday through Friday with the weekends off (do you remember when I said I would get here in a previous post!) and I get to write and do research for the 2nd half of my day.

Training clients, helping my trainers, writing articles/books, and studying/researching – That’s what I love to do!

It’s an amazing feeling as I write this to think that I was once picking up weights and cleaning equipment for $8.00/hour until 9:30pm every night…
but that’s what got me to where I am today.

It’s a journey and I’m happy to share my success tips with you along the way (and I hope you share yours with me and all the other Smart Studio Systems members).

I’ll continue to update you as I progress towards my big goal and I’ll also dedicate an entire post to how will be pulling out all the stops when it comes to marketing hard this year to reach our goals of helping more people in our community on our way to 1,000 sessions a month!

(Please feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comment section below. I’m here to help!)


Comment on this Content

  • Robert Selders

    Stephen, this is good stuff! Thanks for sharing with and showing us what’s possible with the right plan and persistence!

  • Also, feel free to share some of your favorite goal setting techniques that have worked for you in the past!