You Don’t Need a Marketing Plan…



That’s right… I came right out and said it!


Wanna know why?


Because, the truth is, 90% of small businesses, especially fitness businesses, simply don’t commit to creating a business or marketing plan. Period.  


And, even if they had the time to write one, they’re not really sure what goes in it.  Can you relate to this?


Thousands of business owners can.


And, just so you know… it’s not just independent trainers, health coaches  and small studios.  I work with some big clubs that don’t have marketing plans, either.




Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a huge advocate of strategic planning… especially when it comes to marketing.  It was my career for 20 years.


But, let’s deal with reality. 


So, if you’re like most businesses and don’t have a marketing plan, lets discuss what you CAN do and get your business off to a rockin’ start!


You should at least have the tools of the “Bare Bones Marketer.”  They include these 3 things:



That’s it.


#1  Start Here….


Whether you are IBM, Ford or Walmart…. you must have a REVENUE GOAL.  That is the starting point.  Do you want to make 10% more than last year?  How about 20%…? 


Whatever the number is, commit to it. 


Recite it.


Break it down by months, weeks, days or even square footage.  


Massage that number til it is imprinted on your brain. 

  • Live it. 
  • Eat it.
  • Breathe it.
  • Dream about it! 


That’s what successful entrepreneurs do.

#2  Go Broad Brush with a Calendar


Next, it’s time to break out the CALENDAR.  You should plan out at least four major promotions for the year.


Go “Broad Brush” at first.  You can get into the details later.   For now, just mark down some dates that might make sense for your members, staff and services. 


The promotions can be whenever or whatever you want.  Obviously, if you are a boutique studio your promos are going to be different than a big box club.  And, your timing may coincide with other external events.


Here’s a list of potential months of the year that are best for weight-management.

  • January is a no-brainer.
  • March/April for the upcoming bathing suit season
  • Labor Day – Back to School
  • October – Holiday Prep


It DOES NOT MATTER what the event is or when you decide to have it.  WHAT MATTERS… is that you lock down a date.  That you get it down on paper


Commit to it. 


Embrace it. 


Communicate it to staff or others in a position to help  — and perhaps hold you accountable!


#3 Create a “Punch List”


The term “Punch List” has several different meanings.  But it this case, it simply means tasks… or tactics.  And, as you get them completed, you “punch” them off your list. 


I always create punch lists on spread sheets.  But it can be done in a notebook.  Or, a whiteboard.  Just get it written down!  It’s such a great feeling to cross-off or punch-out the completed tasks. 


There’s nothing like a daily dose of accomplishment!


Listen at the end of the day, the Punch List is the most important tool.  It’s the Take Action Tool.  I make it visual and hang my spreadsheets on my office wall.


Here’s a PUNCH LIST shared with me from one of our customers.


Sherry Lindquist runs a co-ed studio (5,000 sq. ft).  This is her actual summary “Punch List” for a promotion she completed last year around this same time. Each one of her bullets has a group of sub-bullets… but you get the idea.  It’s pretty simple.


Oct. – Nov.
Promo Name:  Healthy Holiday Countdown (HHC)
Start Date:  Oct. 1 – Nov 30  (8-weeks/classroom sessions)
Description:  Group format Weight-Management Classes 1X per week (60 min.) plus group and/or private PT sessions
Price: $299 plus additional group or private training
Projected: 35-50 participants ($10,000 – 15,000); plus additional training ($13-18,000); 5-10 new referrals


Punch List:

  • Develop Calendar Countdown Icon for all marketing materials
  • Create “Benefits List” : Why you should sign-up NOW!
  • Create Early-Bird sign-up before Nov 30. Save $30
  • Flyers to post in studio  8.5X11″ (B&W on yellow paper, laminate @ Staples or Office Depot qty. 20)
  • Avery stickers on all equipment “Join the Healthy Holiday Countdown!”
  • Email announcement to database
  • Promote on Homepage of website, include form for sign-up.
  • Telephone hold message to promote Health Holiday Countdown
  • Order Journals with HHC logo
  • Set-Up Onboard 101 
  • Download Quizzes and Posters from Private Label Fitness
  • Order Staff T-Shirts with HHC Logo
  • Conduct pre-course body comp
  • Press Release to Media re: HHC and Free Body-Fat Analysis
  • Flyer handouts at all stations
  • Create (5) 24 x 36″ Calendar posters to mark off countdown


Sherry did not share with me the actual results.  But, judging by the size of her orders from us, I can assure you the promotion was successful. Plus, this is just one promotion.  She maps out the entire year and then, just delegates and “punches out” the tasks. (Her staff calls her the “Task Master!”)


So, if you are like 90% of all small businesses, who do not create annual marketing plans, then, at least become a “Bare Bones Marketer” by committing to:



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