It’s time for a wake-up call.
Educational reformist, Charles J Sykes, once wrote: “Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t.”
And anyone who is under the misconception that competition to survive has somehow grown out of fashion need only to visit the high street or read the news. Businesses are closing, people are being made redundant, homes are getting repossessed; this is the reality of life in the UK (and much of the world) in 2012.
If you’re currently not in paid work, you’re probably all too aware of how competitive life is right now. You may have lost your job as your employer cuts their bottom line to survive, or you may be one of many candidates battling for a limited supply of work. If you are one of the ‘lucky’ ones to be in work, chances are working conditions have deteriorated as you all pull together to survive the downturn; if your company fails, you fail.
Choose to Evolve
Most of us learned about evolution in school. This is the process whereby animal species change to adapt to changing conditions. It’s a harsh process, often referred to as ‘survival of the fittest’. Individual animals that didn’t have a warm enough coat, or were too short or slow or conspicuous simply died, leaving their more well-equipped peers free to reproduce and spread the desired characteristics.
Evolution in business is similar, but unlike other animals, humans have more of an ability to assess changing conditions and alter their own behaviour to ensure survival. Rather than keep your nose to the grindstone and keep on doing what you’ve always done (and getting the same results), what can you do to adapt to these tough times?
The more aspects of life you have control over, the more easily you can make positive changes. In the dance fitness industry that will ultimately mean self-employment. That does not mean everyone should immediately hand in their resignations – when survival is at stake, you need to know the difference between courage and recklessness!
Unless your hand is forced, the best strategy is to build up your dance fitness career alongside your current job, until you are in the position to make a smooth transition. That way, you will be able to test various strategies and build up experience and a following before starting out on your own two feet.
Analyse, Adapt, Assess
To position yourself to take advantage of current conditions, you first need to know what those conditions are. Take a look at what classes are on offer in your area and what prices and offers are available. Are they being marketed effectively? If not, how can you do better?
Talk to people; find out about their fitness goals and how they are (or are not) achieving them. What dance moves do they like, what music do they listen to and which MTV stars do they idolise? Go to a class or two to see how your competitors operate and identify any areas of improvement that you could capitalise on.
After this initial assessment, do a thorough audit of your own business (or if you’re yet to get started, draw up a battle plan). Work on your weaknesses and don’t be afraid to change what’s not working. Embrace new technologies to demonstrate your relevance (e.g. add QR codes to your marketing materials to reach out to Smartphone users).
Just as in the natural world, evolution never stops. After making your initial changes, make sure you measure your success. Are more people joining? Are you making more money per person? Are you retaining more members? Use anonymous feedback forms to identify any issues among members.
Then go back to the beginning and assess all over again.
Success FOR Yourself, not BY Yourself
One of the biggest reasons that over 75% of fitness professionals are failing to reach their earning potential is an inefficient use of time. When you are in business for yourself, everything you do in pursuit of your business takes up valuable time, including:
· Designing flyers
· Writing letters
· Creating new routines
· Compiling music
And when you’re talking about creating quality HD promotional videos, and producing your own music, these activities are simply not feasible for most DIY dance fitness instructors.
Fortunately, Street Fit members have a lot of these survival essentials done for them, leaving them free to concentrate on building their teaching and dancing skills.
Your Killer Asset: You!
Always remember that evolution only happens because of individual differences. Nobody can do things in quite the same way as you and, in the end, this will be the key to building a loyal following that will enable you not merely to survive – but to thrive!