by Michael Keeler

The Ultimate Brand Blueprint: How Design Your Brand to Attract Your Ideal Customer


One of the biggest mistakes fitness businesses make (particularly small ones) is that they don’t spend enough time designing and strengthening their brand. Before we get started, humor me for a minute. Do a quick Google image search for “fitness” in your area. What do you see?

[Really do it. I’m secretly watching you through your computer camera.]

When I search for “fitness in NYC” Google shows me a giant sea of boring, generic fitness images. I see ridiculously sculpted models looking super “hard core,” images of empty fitness facilities with endless rows of bikes and treadmills, and obvious stock images of models training their already fit model trainees. I gotta admit, it kinda ticks me off. As a consumer, where would I even begin to make sense of this homogenous cluster-f*ck of sameness? It’s easy to see how consumers find it daunting to choose the right place for their fitness journey — and why so many give up before even starting. I’m talking about the tens of millions of Americans who don’t have a gym membership, many of whom desperately need our help. I think we should make it easier for them, don’t you?

I’m not naive enough to think that this article will completely solve that dilemma, but I am absolutely positive that companies who have a strong and compelling brand identity will stand out from the crowd and attract their ideal clients.

The best brands give consumers an immediate and accurate view of who they are and what they do. Ideally your brand identity is an authentic reflection of your business’s values, personality, and approach to fitness. Consumers who share your values and admire your approach will be your most qualified prospects — but you don’t stand a chance of attracting those clients if your brand identity is crap.

You and your team deserve a business with a stellar brand identity. And your future clients, who really need you to help improve their lives, need you to have a brand that speaks to them. The strategies I’ll share below will help you create a new brand or overhaul your existing brand to start attracting and helping more of your ideal clients, growing your business, and making more money.

Still don’t give a shit about branding? Here’s another 200 words in an attempt to convince you.

Acclaimed graphic designer Paul Rand once said “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” A well designed brand speaks for your business when you aren’t paying attention or when you aren’t present to speak for yourself. When a possible lead is strolling through Facebook and sees a photo you posted, that’s a reflection of your brand. When you have a staff member who gets asked about where they work at a party, that’s a reflection of your brand. When someone sitting next to you on a plane compliments you on the t-shirt you’re wearing because it has a unicorn on it (and it’s a piece of merchandise from your business because your company is insane and chose a unicorn as its mascot), that is a reflection of your brand. (<— That one happens to me all the time!)

Seth Godin put it like this: “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” Every interaction a consumer has with your company’s iconography, graphics, people, technology, physical spaces, merchandise and marketing inform that customer’s opinion of your business. Every choice you make about your brand is an opportunity to bring that customer closer to you or push them farther away.

Here is a simple and effective blueprint to create or reinvent your business brand identity to start attracting your ideal clients. Let’s dive in!


Lead with a strong first impression.

Often the first impression customers have of your business comes from the holy trinity of your company’s name, logo and tagline. These three items introduce your company to the world in a single glance and can make a powerful impact. Choosing your company’s name is a very personal decision, but there are some basic DOs and DON’Ts that everyone should consider.

When picking your company’s name…


  • Keep it simple. Your name should be easy to spell, pronounce and remember.
  • Reflect your values. Make sure your name speaks to the kind of clients you want to attract by reflecting the ideals of your brand and culture.
  • Consider your domain name. Check to make sure your name (or some memorable version of your name) is available.


  • Be a copycat. Sounding like a another company is just silly. It can lend to confusion and if that other company fails you could be dragged down with them.
  • Use puns or trendy words. You want your brand to be timeless, so stick to words that will stand the test of time. “Bernie Sanders Fitness” probably won’t mean much in 5 years. #SorryBernie
  • Be too specific. Avoid the temptation to include your services in your business name. “John’s Personal Training Club” is cool until John decides to start doing group training instead of one-on-one training.

Logos are tough. They require a designer with a true understanding or your business and a keen sense of your ideal customer. Maybe someday I’ll write a whole article on logo design, but for now let’s take a look at a few recent logo redesigns to examine the trends in visual branding.                      

What do these three logo redesigns have in common? All three of these huge brands (probably) spend tens of thousands of dollars on consultants to make their logos SUPER DUPER SIMPLE. They got rid of curvy fonts and complicated graphics, opting for streamlined two-color designs that are modern and bold. This trend has been happening for the last ten years. As businesses have become more and more digital, company logos have had to become more scalable and easier to consume on tiny screens.

A few MUSTS when creating a new logo: One font that is easily legible, simple graphics without any shadows, gradient or layering, and no more than 3 colors. If you hit those targets, you’ll be well on your way to powerful, impactful logo.

Last but not least is your tagline. You can also call this your branding statement or slogan. It should speak directly to your customer’s aspirations and inspire them with your unique perspective.  Some stellar examples…

  • Think differently.  – Apple
  • Just do it.  – Nike
  • Where’s the beef?  – Wendy’s (<— Personal favorite)
  • Good to the last drop.  – Maxwell House
  • Ridiculous Humans. Serious Fitness.  – Mark Fisher Fitness (<— Okay, also a favorite)

With a short phrase, these companies tell you what they’re all about — revealing insight into their worldview, services or products. You read those taglines and either think “hell yeah!” or “who cares?!” Most people have an immediate reactions to taglines that either draw them in or push them away.

Design your tagline to draw in your ideal customers by speaking to them about what is truly unique about your business.


Create standards for how your brand looks and sounds.

If you’re like most fitness business owners, I know you’re a one-man (or woman) band doing a little bit of everything, every day. You probably post all of your social media yourself, spend some money on advertising when there is extra money each month, and your company’s voice is your voice. And that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that when you’re just getting started. The challenge is that is not very sustainable. At some point you’ll want to ask for help with all of those things and you won’t know where to start.

This is where you start — you create a branding style guide. Most small business owners I talk to have heard of a brand style guide but put it somewhere on their To Do list labeled “Stuff I’ll Do Someday…Maybe.” Well, let’s make that someday today my friends.

A branding style guide is a short(ish) document that outlines all of the standards for how your business looks, sounds and feels. It ensures that everyone who is responsible for representing your brand is singing from the same song book. Style guides can be as specific or all-encompassing as you’d like. At the very least, your style guide should create a consistent visual vocabulary and guidelines for your brand’s voice.

I’ll make it easy for you. Just answer these 10 questions and BOOM you’ll have a style guide!

1. What are the guidelines for how your logo should appear? On a white background? Surrounded by empty space? Is there a black and white option

2. What colors are most associated with your brand? Are they your logo colors? Complimentary colors? What about textures?

3. What images or icons are most associated with your brand? Example: MFF puts a unicorn on every gosh-darn thing we make!

4. What fonts and font sizes do you use for what purposes? What fonts do you use on your website? Your business cards? Your emails?

5. What basic grammar rules do you want to adopt? How do you use bolds and italics? Do you give a crap about the oxford comma?

6. What terminology do you use that is specific to your company? Define each. Example: At MFF we call our clients Ninjas and it’s always capitalized.

7. What do you call your products and services and how do you describe them? Example: At MFF our intro session is called a Health & Hotness Strategy Session, which can be abbreviated to Strategy Session when needed. Everyone on the team can describe what it is and its unique value to potential Ninjas.

8. What quality of photos and videos is acceptable? Are shaky hand-made iPhone videos okay? What about blurry pictures?

9. What is the writing style of your company’s voice? Writing style can include point of view, tone, word choice, and more. Example: MFF’s tone is friendly, casual, quirky and sometimes crass.

10. Who is responsible for enforcing the standards in this Style Guide and keep it up-to-date? This question speaks for itself. While many people might contribute to executing your brand, it is essential to have one personal responsible for enforcing and updating the standards in the Style Guide.

See, that’s not so hard right?! I bet that if you set your alarm for one hour you can bang out the answers to these questions and have a badass outline to your very own branding style guide. Having clarity on these key brand elements will allow others to help you create content that is on brand, and scale your business by establishing a consistent brand image. Both of those benefits lead to attracting more of your ideal clients and making more money.


Integrate your brand into every facet of your business.

So far, I’ve focused primarily on visual branding, and I’m not done driving that home yet. But, it is also important to recognize that your brand is not exclusively a visual experience. Your brand should be fully integrated into all aspects of your business from the way your physical environment looks to how your staff interact with clients, and more.

One of the greatest compliments we get from Ninjas at MFF is when we create something new (a new product or service) and they respond by saying “that is so MFF.” They can feel right away that what we’ve created is an obvious reflection of our brand and culture. From time to time, we also get the opposite from Ninjas “that’s not very MFF.” They also know when we are out of alignment with the best version of ourselves and will call out that brand misstep right away!

How great is that? When your brand is strong enough that clients will tell you when you’re heading in the right or wrong direction. You might not always agree, but in my experience most of the time your clients are right. It’s your choice to make adjustments based on their feedback or bring them along with you in a new direction.

Here are a few areas where your brand should be a palpable presence in how your business looks and feels, and some examples of how we do this at MFF.

Marketing & Advertising. This is a no-brainer. If you want to attract your ideal clients, the messages you create to attract them should be reflective of your brand. Below is a paid Facebook ad that uses the word “bunghole,” perhaps in a way MFF could only do. Haha.

Staffing & Ninja Experience. Every experience created between your clients and your staff contributes to your brand identity. Every story that gets told about your business adds to your overall brand reputation.

One of the ways the MFF Team enforces our brand to create a memorable Ninja experience is through theme days. Here some pics from our pirate theme day in July 2016! Sad you missed it, aren’t you?

A Brief Sidebar: When talking about integrating your brand into the actions of your staff and the experience of your clients I often find myself thinking, “Isn’t this what we call culture?” I’ll admit, sometimes I have a hard time unpacking the difference between brand and culture. They overlap so much that many people will say they are one in the same. Culture feeds brand and brands create the culture. It’s a very “chicken or the egg” dilemma. For me, culture is the broad set of ideals and actions that that illustrate the way we do things at our business — a set of principles that inspire us to do the things that most reflect our collective values. Brand is the list of rules and standards that attempt to keep that culture in check — a roadmap for maintaining a culture strong. The two are in an intimate dance with one another — which is probably fodder for another article some day (stay tuned!).


The Environment. The physical space in which your business exists is a HUUUGE (read like Donald Trump) aspect of creating your fitness brand. How the space looks, feels, smells, functions, and sounds, all contributes to a client’s memory of your brand. If you are lucky enough to get a prospect into your space, this is where you get to show them your brand in action. It goes without saying that fitness facilities must be operating-room-level-clean. That’s non-negotiable. Beyond that your space must reflect what’s most important to your brand.

At MFF, we aim for our space to look like a preschooler was on acid when he designed the place. (Disclaimer: preschoolers shouldn’t take acid until they are adults.) Here are a few pics of our Snatched is Six Weeks space that illustrate our ridiculous aesthetic.      

Merchandise. This can be some great icing on your branding cake. Certainly not every fitness studio can afford to produce as much merchandise as we do MFF, and I’m not suggesting that you should. I will say however that a thoughtfully-designed t-shirt or hat can be an incredibly powerful tool for spreading awareness of your brand to faraway lands.

Our most popular item to date has been the hoodie pictured below. We even made a version for babies! It seems to capture our brand in a way that few others items have. We’ve sold hundreds and hundreds over the past few years and shipped them all around the globe. How cool is it that someone in Australia is wearing the logo of a small fitness studio in NYC? That’s the power of a strong brand.     

Never sacrifice authenticity.

I’ll keep this short. Your clients can smell bullsh*t ten miles away. They know when you’re not being authentic, or trying to bamboozle them. They know when you’re not at your best and they’ll remember it for much longer that they remember all the good stuff you do.

Jeff Bezos says “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Damn that’s good. And it’s so stinkin’ true. The reputation of your business is created by customers over the course of countless impressions you make — online and in person, intended and unintended.

When done well, your brand should feel effortless and organic. Famous Graphic Designer Joe Sparano said, “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” When you’ve created a clear reflection of your brand, it becomes essential. It just feels right.

Your job as a business owner or leader is to design your brand to be a strong and consistent representation of your business at its best. Only then will you attract and keep your ideal customers, grow you business and make more money.

What are you waiting for? Go get started!

I’m here to help. Comment below with your greatest brand successes and challenges. What have you done that has strengthened or weakened your brand?


Speaker Images_Michael 

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Read the Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the Business Phen Unicorns podcast, and today I’m super stoked to be back here again with Ben Pickard. Hello. Hello, friend. Thanks for having me. I’m so glad you’re now a regular on this podcast because I just love picking your brain and we get to work together on a regular basis, maybe more than I work with anyone else on the business Unicorn scene.

You and I get to work together, so when I get to share what we’ve been thinking about on this podcast, it feels we’re really pulling back the curtain to show behind the scenes of how we think about our work at Business pH unicorns. So anyway, thanks for being here, my friend. Before we dive into today’s topic, which is gonna be about how to use a business coach, which I’m really excited for, I wanna do a quick little, just shout out a little mini commercial because we are now in, we started enrollment for Unicorn Society.

And if you’re listening to this, when this podcast was released, we’re in the middle of our early bird enrollment for Unicorn Society, which means we have a few spots left. We have a spew few spots open to join our unicorn society. And Ben, do you wanna tell him a little bit about how early bird enrollment works?

Yeah, a hundred [00:01:00] percent. So early bird enrollment for Unicorn Society will launch on May 29th, and typically we only open enrollment twice a year, once at the end of the year for a January start, and once in the middle of the year for a July start. Because we don’t wanna, honestly, we wanna focus on serving our members, not be constantly selling.

So early Bird, you get a bit of a savings. And some perks. And then early bird will close on Sunday, June 12th, which is also my birthday. For my birthday. Join you to Unicorn Society. Oh, what a gift. What a gift. And then registration officially ends on Sunday, June 19th. Got it. So if you wanna save some money, and we’re talking about like saving literally hundreds of dollars, sign up before the end of the enroll period.

And even if you’re not sure if you wanna join Unicorn Society, then just fill out the damn application, follow the link down below, fill it out, and then we’ll have a conversation. And frankly, you’ll probably have a conversation with Ben as your first tip to decide whether it’s a good fit, so you don’t have to have major mind up.

When you apply, applying does not mean we take your credit card and you’re in [00:02:00] applying means you have a conversation with us to see if you’re a good fit for us and we’re a good fit for you. It’s like a first date, and you’ve heard us, I’m sure on this podcast if you listened to any of them at all.

You’ve heard us talk at length about what Unicorn Society is, but Ben, just in a nutshell, who is Unicorn Society ideal for you? Unicorn society is ideal for training gym owners. Who offer a mixture of one-on-one small group or team slash large group training. Ideally, you’ve got a, a couple of team members in place.

You’ve got a handful of clients, radius, semi established business, and that doesn’t mean you have to be making 80 grand a month semi established. This means like it’s not your first rodeo and you’re looking to grow your business, not just I want 10,000 more leads, but you’re looking for like, how do I improve my leadership?

How do I get. Operationally efficient. How do I standardize client experience across the board? How do you like plug all the little holes that often end up on our to-do list but don’t become a huge project? So we’re really good at helping. And I say this cause I’ve done a ton of interviews now and I was a member of helping people who are like already established, have their feet under them, [00:03:00] but are really now trying to make the leap to, let’s make this a real business, so to speak.

A grown up, yeah, a grown up business. And that means like someone other than you is gonna answer. Member phone calls and emails, but you wanna have the same beautiful standard of customer service. And there’s a lot going on with, yeah, beyond just how do we grow revenue? It’s how do you get the pieces in place so that you can grow revenue more easily.

Yeah, said my friend. We’ll leave it there. So friends, click the link down below on the show notes. Visit and click the link to learn more about Unicorn Society. Apply. Have a conversation with Ben. See if it’s a good fit for you, and if not, we might have other ways we can help you. So just be in touch.

This leads us to today’s topic, which is funny. We actually planned this topic before we were going to talk about Unigram site enrollment, but it dovetails beautifully with today’s topic. So today we want to talk a little bit about. How to use a business coach, like how to actually get value from working with a coach.

Cause a lot of you out there have never worked with a coach before, and many of you out there offer fitness coaching and sometimes nutrition coaching. But [00:04:00] working with a business coach is a little different. And so I wanted to talk about what we’ve learned in terms of the clients we work with that really get a lot out of our services.

So maybe let’s just start with this. Who do you think. Business coaching is ideal for Ben, and actually it’s not that different, the question we just asked, but just maybe talking a little bit bigger picture, not just about unicorn society, but generally speaking, working with a business coach, who do you think should consider finding a business coach?

Yeah, it’s a great question. I’m heavily biased that I want to go so far as to say, like almost everybody knowing that yeah, business coaching is an extremely broad spectrum. That is an unregulated profession. So instead of my super coppo answer, I do think it’s really a good fit for people who are like open to having their ideas challenged, know they wanna get to some sort of destination, even if they haven’t perfectly clarified that, but aren’t really sure of how to get there.

And possibly even if they believe that they can get there as I like, yeah, true coaching as we, [00:05:00] me and you have to discuss, but maybe not for everybody. Like we’re not just, it’s not just saying do this and this. It’s not like on the consulting end of the spectrum, so to speak. It’s helping people get clear on their goals, helping identify obstacles and helping commit to consistent action and stay accountable.

So, Even if again, cop out answer, even if you don’t have a crystal clear goal, a really good business coach, case in Point U, that’s why I was a member of her so long. Helps you actually clarify the goals. What do you really want and how can you get there? Because there’s the obvious stuff of business coach can help give you better referral strategies or help you get more testimonials or help you get more leads and those are kinda like checkbox items to a certain degree.

But like really good coaching is getting not just one layer deeper, but I think I’ve actually worded your skills to people like you just cut right through everything I say and get right to the heart of the matter and be like, it sounds like you’re struggling with this and it’s holy shit. I didn’t even realize I was struggling this, I was operating on the assumption that once I get X, then I’ll have Y.

What I’m really looking for is, is this business a ref [00:06:00] accurate reflection of my amazing vision I have for my community? Yeah. I wanna go back and repeat something you shared, but I think is a great paradigm for our listeners to think about, which is, you mentioned fifth three things that great coaches do, and this is not just unicorn, sorry.

This is, we’re talking about coaching as a whole and the great three things that great coaches do is help people identify what they want. Whether that’s goals, a vision, a clear vision of what you want, help them identify and overcome obstacles. Notice what’s getting in the way and get it out of the fucking way as soon as possible.

And number three is to commit to consistent action. So ideally when, if you’re thinking about getting a coach, that you are someone who you think would benefit from ha being more clear about where I’m heading. Having a thought partner to help identify and overcome obstacles more quickly and hopefully more efficiently.

And I want someone to hold me accountable to taking consistent action. So number one thing we hear when working with clients at all is that they mainly want a coach to help hold them accountable because as the owner of your own business, You’re not accountable to anyone. You got no boss. You got no one to report to.

And as coaches, we’re not your boss, but we get to be a [00:07:00] really powerful mirror to you to say, Hey, this is what you said mattered. This is what you said you’re gonna do about that thing that mattered. So did it happen? And if not, we’re not here to judge you. We’re to help you get curious about your own behavior, your own mindset, your own habits, right?

And get curious about how they might change if you’re not getting the outcomes you want from the way you’re working. So I just wanted to re highlight that. Those three things you shared I think are so, I. Critical, Ben, and let’s dive into a little bit. So once someone decides to work with a coach, how do you see people really extracting value from that experience?

Certainly, we’ve already listed a few, but just going a little bit further, maybe give some examples of ways that you extracted value from coaching, or you’ve seen people extract value from our coaching. So yeah, dive in a little deeper. Yeah. I think the first one that comes to mind is what you said about being a thought partner.

Because owning your own business is lonely. Yeah. It’s definitely not all that it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong. I love that I’m self-employed and there’s all sorts of perks with that. But it also comes with [00:08:00] some things that could easily be perceived as cons, and one of those cons is you don’t have someone in your office building who’s like your co-manager or whoever, corporate works where you can just be like, Hey, can I run this by you for a second?

Because you can’t always run everything by your team. And sometimes even with their best interests, even with their, even if they’re trying to give you their best interest on it, like sometimes they just don’t have all the right information for it to be valuable feedback. Sometimes the thing you wanna run by them has to do with it.

Yeah. It’s about them. Exactly. My trainers have tons of ideas on lots of things, and many of them are great and many of them are not. And oftentimes it’s when it’s like outside of their lane, then it gets a little bit. Blurry and it’s less their hearts for that, but someone at peer, at your level who you can have those deep conversations with to be like, I’m really struggling with X.

Can we talk about it? Like those are some of the best coaching calls I’ve had is when they come in with, I’m struggling with this thing and I’m open to discussion about it. And having that thought part and be like, as you said, I heard you say [00:09:00] it, you’re interested in X, but it looks like you’re doing Y.

How do we help you navigate that? And even if nothing else, just having that person to. Like sometimes all it is reinforcing that does sound like a good idea. What’s the next step? But in that case, you’re still taking something that could have been you mulling it over for three weeks before doing something on it and be like, cool, I’m gonna make sure that’s done tomorrow.

Like you just gained three weeks of progress time and that happens multiple times a year. So anyways, first one is a valuable thought partner because it’s lonely as fuck at the top, so to speak. Yeah. The second piece I’ve found really valuable for having a coach is, And this is like how to use a coach, but it’s not a great use of coaching time to be like, can you tell me about x?

Especially at Business for Unicorns when we have so many done for you resources and videos and courses already created, but using a coach in a way where you’ve absorbed information from one or a couple different places and you need to like it’s jumbled and give you through [00:10:00] it all in a bucket and it’s just a cluster fuck and you want to bring it to the meeting and be like, Hey, I’ve got this bucket of stuff I think is useful, but can we help get it organized?

Yeah. Synthesize, organize. Yeah, exactly. For some reason I have image in my head about a kid’s beach bucket full of like different toys and we need to get them in some sort of order for the benefit of the sandcastle. Not sure. Yeah, I think the thing you mentioned before, I think was a great example of the kind of thing that people bring is, I think you mentioned a few minutes ago, or maybe I just made up in my head, was referral structure, referral and strategy that I would love for, the best way to use a coach, and this is true for example, for us, is that someone comes to say, here are the last three referral programs I had.

Here’s one I just saw on the Facebook Live. You all did, or from our retreat, I got that idea, and then here’s two others I read about. How do I take all this information and decide which one do I do next? Perfect example of how to use a coach as a thought partner and to help streamline like your synthesizing of information.

We’re not there to reverse, which I think you said is not. The way to do is come to a coaching call and be like, tell me about [00:11:00] referrals. Help me understand referrals. That’s not the best way to use their time with a coach. Come with some ideas, and if you really have never done a referral program before, maybe you can start a call like that.

But if every call is about, tell me everything you know about this topic. The knowledge is not the best way to, to use a coaching call. You can Google us, listen to the podcast, read our blogs, go to Mark’s YouTube, take one of our courses, especially if you work with us. There’s so much done for you stuff, and that’s the way most coaches work these days.

Yeah. The knowledge is free. It’s the processing of that information and right sizing it for you, then that’s what a coach can do best. So I just wanted to like Yes. End your answer. So keep on. Yeah. That’s not the antithesis of how we’ve been taught in school. Like you wait for the teacher to give the lesson.

So the method of content delivery is a human telling it at you. And coaching is best served for like the. Area where the two area, the two circles of the Venn diagram, I overlap. And then figuring out how you can roll out that initiative in a way that fits [00:12:00] your business and your values. So a hundred percent.

Yeah. So I said having a a thought partner, super valuable. Having someone to synthesize information for you. And the third one, where we’re gonna get a little more deep here is putting it on just having the emotional support. I can’t say enough how valuable it is to have somebody who you know is just like in your corner.

And I’m not texting when I was a client. It’s not like I was texting you every day or something, but it was really n nice to know if I really am struggling with something that like somebody’s got my back. Because it often feels the government doesn’t really have your back as long as you pay your taxes.

They don’t really give us your tax money and shut the fuck up is basically the message that I hear. Again, you can bring some stuff. And you’re, and for the context, you’re even in Canada and think that, so in the US it’s even worse. You’re even more on your fucking own. Sorry, keep going. Yeah, that’s a good point.

But like I said, you can sometimes bring some stuff to your team, but I don’t know. There’s a boundary there, I think, with a lot of things. [00:13:00] But you can sometimes bring things to a spouse or a parent. I know I’ve talked to a few, be a few members who they’re a family member is basically like, they’re like, CFO or FI or financial officer.

But even then, yeah, I know if I bring work stuff to my wife or she brings it to me, like we’ve both got a lot of biases for each other’s behavior. So it’s not like I’ve even trained myself to some, I don’t do it as much recently, but if she brings me something, I’ll sometimes pause the conversation, be like, Are you looking at for advice or do you just need to feel hurt?

And more often than not, it’s actually the latter. Mm-hmm. So you still got emotional support in other areas. But I know I started my business when I was 24 and I’ve been self-employed since I left school. And like, and we have a son who’s now 11. I’m 33. So the reason the li, the reason this has been so beneficial for me, and I’m imagining there’s other people out there with similar, yet different.

Past of life that this will resonate with is I’m three years into a business learning everything I can, trying to scrape things together to make it work in like the [00:14:00] scrappiest fucking business ever, as many gyms are. And then the friends are in life situations where, yeah, I’m not sure, like my job, I think I’m gonna quit, but I might go on vacation.

And it’s like that peer network, at least when I started out, wasn’t to the same degree. Yeah. Like there was misalignment there and it wasn’t for better or for work. They just can’t relate. Yeah, they just can’t relate. If you have a corporate job, you work for someone else. It’s hard to relate to someone who works for themselves that, and we wake up at early as hell in the morning, so it’s like, I don’t really want to go drinking, which is when most good conver like you, it was hard to go your way.

So this is my roundabout way of bringing it to like having that emotional support from someone who you know has your best interest in mind. Whether you like the thing that just came outta their mouth or not. I know it’s. Best interest in mind and but can also see the whole picture from an unbiased point of view.

There’s like true coaching, as you’ve told me many times. There is no agenda. Obviously we want the person to get to their goals, but how we get there is not set in stone by any stretch. So having that person who’s got your back and you can bring them pretty much whatever, knowing that [00:15:00] even though to a.

An observer. These might feel like completely different buckets. Like we know that work and life don’t completely separate. Yeah. We’re not two separate people. No. Yeah. Unless we’re in the Apple TV show severance. And then you are two separate people. Have you watched severance show? No. I really like, I like Apple people.

Well, we’ll go on a tangent. I wanna start a new pod, a new podcast about severance. So listeners, if you. Haven’t watched the episode, the TV show Severance on Apple tv. Go watch it. It’s wild. It’s about this topic. Okay, so yeah, I’m gonna add one more thing to your list cause I, I think that’s a fantastic list, right?

Like emotional support, thought partnership, et cetera. Those are, I think, all fantastic reasons to, people can benefit from coaching or ways people can benefit from coaching. The other thing that I think is really important, I’ve come to this after having. Been a business coach for many years is I think the best kind of business coaching offers you, dear listeners, both coaching, which Ben described here as a non-agenda, open-ended question, motivational interview [00:16:00] approach to helping you explore yourself.

Get curious about your choices. Get curious about your mindset, get curious about your habits, get curious about what’s working and not working for you. There’s a pure coaching element that I think business coaching has to offer. Then I think also really good business coaching also offers some mentorship and consulting.

I think business coaching has to do all three, and for me, mentorship is working with people who’ve also done what you’ve done. Let’s actually have some subject matter expertise and experience running the kind of business that you’ve run. And so that’s one piece of it. And that way, as a business coach, I can not only help you explore what’s working and not working for you, but can I also, I can also say, here are three ways that I’ve tried to attack this problem and three ways I’ve seen other people try to attack these problem.

Let’s work through all these different options and find out what’s best for you. I’m bringing some mentorship. To the conversation as well. And the third piece, consulting is exactly what it sounds like is someone who’s actually has enough expertise, they can help you diagnose problems and actually offer some solutions.

[00:17:00] Right? And sometimes I offer solutions that are not things that we’ve done at Mark Fisher Fitness that are not things that I’ve seen other. Unicorn society members do. They’re things I just thought of because I’m an expert in some areas and I have a brain that works and is thinking about these things a lot, right?

And that’s just straight up consulting. I’m gonna bring all the data I have and experience I have to the table and help you diagnose a problem in your business and offer some solutions. And I think all three are really important for business coaching. These days. I don’t think it’s enough and back. I think if you would’ve asked me this six or eight years ago, I would’ve probably said that the first bucket was enough.

That just offering pure coaching is enough, and I think it can be depending on the kind of person you’re working with, et cetera. I can talk a lot about that, but I think for most of you, dear listeners who own gyms, the kind of thing, the kind of value you want to extract from a business coach is someone who can offer you all three, who can offer you those big picture questions and those motivational interview open-ended questions.

Someone who can offer you [00:18:00] examples from their experience and some mentorship. Yeah, someone who’s maybe 10, 15, 20 steps ahead of where you are in your business and someone who has some real subject matter expertise and can be a real consultant in helping you solve problems, gain knowledge, et cetera. So yeah, I would say I.

I guess what I’m suggesting there is that you will get more value from a business coach if they are well-rounded in all three of those areas. Does that, is that tracking? Yeah. I’m just gonna reinforce that if you didn’t clarify it, because on the pure consulting end, it can be like, Hey, we’re not converting enough of our members from a low Bay area offer to a membership.

What do we need to do? A consultant can go in, review what they’ve got and be like, this is good, this is, fuck. Just do that. And on the other end of the spectrum, a coach can be like, What makes you wanna approve your conversion? There can, obviously, that’s a bad question, but there can be some good open-ended questions.

Yeah. But the marriage is beautiful because then you can have someone who has the industry expertise to be like, yep, this is the step that’s missing it. It needs to be changed. But then they can factor in the other stuff around like, how does this fit into [00:19:00] your time? How does this fit into your capacity?

Because I’ve seen some coaching programs out there where it’s like, you just need to do A, B, and c. And so, but if you have a kid at home and you’re coaching 30 hours a week on the floor and you’ve also got a laundry list of other to-dos, it isn’t so much the question of like, everybody knows they need to try to convert people.

There isn’t a magic script for this. The obstacle is often a capacity or a limiting belief or a mindset thing, which is where that coach being able to shift gears until, let’s talk about the big picture here for a minute, is so much more valuable. We’re not just a dictionary of answers. It’s how does like life and business fit together in a way that.

At the end of the week, hopefully your bank account is bigger, but you’re also more fulfilled and not burnt out. Yeah. Yeah, I think it really well said. Cause there’s some plenty of times where, you know, both of my work with business coaches and then me in my own work as a business coach, like it’s very clear that the topic just requires some expertise.

Who has some knowledge. If someone comes into a call and I’m stressed about finances and I pay all of my coaches, 80% of the revenue they generate per hour. I don’t need to [00:20:00] ask you any open-ended fucking questions. I don’t need to explore. I don’t, I just, we need, I need to tell you that is wrong. We need to.

Fix that. This is a, this is a bad choice that was made. And we can, I can acknowledge and validate all the reasons why you may be made that choice, right? But ultimately I don’t need to explore. Whereas if someone comes to me and says, they’re just feeling really burned out, they have too many plates spinning and they don’t feel good about the.

Father that they’re showing up as in their life, then I need to have a real coaching conversation. That’s a real chance for me to switch gears and dive into what’s working and not working in this person’s life. And that’s a whole different skillset. So I, I think those are two very extreme examples of very different conversations, and I think the, you can get more value from a business coach.

If they’re able to put on those different hats, and as we both suggested, a lot of business coaching out there only offers one. And again, this is not a commercial for us. Of course, we think all of you should work with us. That’s not a hidden agenda here. But at the end of the day, if it’s not us, we wanna make sure that you’re finding people out there to work with that can put on these different hats for you.

That I would say [00:21:00] run away from the programs that tell you they have some secret formula to success. If you just follow their formula, everything in your life will be fantastic. Bullshit. I also want you to avoid the ones that are also gonna just be like, we get together every month and, and drum circle and write poetry about our business problems should also run from that as well.

I think the reality is you need, I think business coaching should be a mix of those things. I love a drum circle, I love poetry, but it doesn’t solve all of our problems. It solve a few. Yeah. Yeah. And even just to, yeah, you made it sound like those were two opposite questions, which there are, but even on the, Hey, you’re paying your coaches 80% of gross revenue or per session rate.

There’s probably a PDF out there that is, yeah, just fire everybody and pay them 33% or 40%. And coaching can then dance that line between, here’s the problem that needs to be solved, but here’s how we actually roll that in out in a way where your coaches don’t all fucking quit and it takes you three months to get new ones.

And there’s an impact of that. And yeah, the, we can’t stress enough. It’s the marriage of all the, it’s being [00:22:00] able to walk the whole spectrum. That is a strength. It’s not a is better than B, it’s, they’re all useful at different stages. Yeah. Yeah. So I think that’s it. I think people can get more. I think our whole hypothesis here, this podcast episode is people, you can get the most value from a coach when they have a big toolbox, right?

And a proven track record of helping people using more than one. Tool and the tools we think matter are straight up coaching, consulting, and some mentorship. A combination of those things that are really valuable. Maybe let’s just wrap it up with what are the kinds of results you’ve seen people get working with a business coach?

Maybe just thinking about yourself, certainly some of our insider members or just anyone else working with a business coach out even outside of us. What are the kinds of results you’ve seen people get who’ve been able to work with a business coach successfully? Yeah, the most obvious one. Is revenue cuz I haven’t yet to meet a gym owner who doesn’t want to increase the revenue.

Like we just had a testimonial recently from one of our members who through working with us, no, did he get through Covid [00:23:00] relatively unscathed. He also tripled his gross revenue. So that’s a monster win. So yeah, there’s the obvious answers of, yeah, we will help you make more money. And we have tons of case studies and testimonials of how, going back to the emotional support piece, I, I don’t wanna name names on the podcast, but.

Like a laundry list of members who, it’s like that thought partner and that support partner. Really huge. Even if all I did was validate their ideas, which is not how every coaching call goes, but sometimes it is. Having that person where it’s, yes, we’ve, I’ve got these systems in place and we held you accountable to doing that thing.

I feel more confident in my ideas. I improve my team meeting structure. We’re. Not running around like chickens with their head cut off. I don’t think anyone’s actually verbatim said that to me, but that’s my interpretation of how they were operating before. Yeah, and there’s something to be said for not just, Hey, yeah, you’ve got more money, but it’s also, yeah, you’ve got more freedom and you’re more organized and expectations are clear.

Like when A happens than we do B, than we do C. And having that in place would a gym owner can then go on vacation. Or another [00:24:00] person can do consultations or someone handled sessions while you were away. The list goes on of all the benefits for that, but it really is coming around like freeing up time, which is not just your time as the owner, because we work with your entire team.

We treat your business as the client, not you as the client. The whole team is, oh, that’s so much better. That works easier. There’s a better structure for everything goes. Yeah. Said. Yeah, I think that’s it. I don’t think I have much to add is that I think the main benefits I’ve gotten from working with business coaches, I’ve seen people get is that we are able to identify our challenges more quickly, build systems.

To help our business run more efficiently, more effectively, with a less effort over time. And because of all that, I’m more clear and strategic about how I spend my time. That is a thing I’ve seen over and over again, and that all of that has a ripple effect into my personal life and my family, to the team members I work with.

So having those systems in place that make expectations clear, makes everyone more efficient with their time. And because of that, We can have more life outside of work, [00:25:00] which is why we work to begin with for many of us. And I think that’s great. I think let’s leave it there, my friend. Again, this dovetail beautifully with enrollment for Unicorn society, even though we weren’t planning this.

So again, if you wanna work more with us and you’re a gym owner who wants a business coach? We can do all the things we talked about here and more. And so go learn more about unicorn sided. Click the link below, fill out the application, have a conversation with Ben, and let’s see if we’re a right fit for each other.

And if this podcast was valuable, leave us a five star review everywhere you listen and let us know what you want us to talk about next. Ben’s gonna be a regular on the podcast now, so email him ben business Email me mike lip Let us know what guests you want us to have, what topics you want to cover, and we’re excited to.

We’re excited to serve. Yeah, so let us serve you. Awesome. Thanks for a great conversation. Thank you, Ben. I’ll see you on the next one.



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