Have you ever consider presenting yourself to a fitness venture capitalist as an investment?
If you do, the investor will want to know about your “personal fitness business plan.” Have you ever even heard of one? Now that you have, this is the time to get it together and invest in yourself.
Every business plan follows a fairly traditional format: Here is the problem; here is our solution; here is how our team will accomplish it; this is the competition; here’s why this is a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have”; this is the amount of money it will take to get there; and here’s why there is a fantastic return to the investor.
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You are your own best investment. So, why not lay out a personal business fitness plan and execute it?
Begin by taking stock of who you are and where you are, both in your fitness program and athletic career.
Fitness can be defined as your ability in the following 10 areas:
1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance
Is your score a fantasy of your fitness or is it an objective assessment?
Now is the time to do an audit. A great trainer and/or physical therapist can lay out a series of tests and measures. At our clinic, we quantify these areas in a program called StoneFit, in which we identify your weaknesses and design programs to address them.
Next, what are your specific goals? How long will it take to get there, and what is your schedule for doing so?
If you are muscularly weak, but lean, there is a range of options to solve that problem. If you are overweight and cardiovascularly deconditioned — and find yourself out of breath after even small efforts — there are other specific pathways to follow. Honestly defining your problems is the first step to crafting the successful business plan of “You, Inc.”
Once the problems you are trying to solve is defined: The investor wants to know why an investment in you is likely to succeed.
Do you exercise every day? Are you willing to adjust your life to do so? Do you have a fitness schedule? Are you part of a team that relies on you? Do you have a coach for your skills and for your training regimen? Do you treat yourself as a top athlete would? Do you optimize your diet, tuning it to your output needs and muscle building goals?
Act as if you were taking over a company and the company’s fitness performance was critical. How, in that light, would you assess You, Inc. and what would you require in the business plan to meet those fitness goals?
A plan likely to succeed will demonstrate an honest assessment of the business’ performance today, the critical goals to achieve and the team most likely to encourage and enforce the new business plan. Drafting a new and exciting plan takes enthusiasm. The passion of the founder infects everyone around them with the mission, bringing a single-minded commitment to the goal.
The obstacles to achieving this goal often take the form of other obligations of life: time with family, work responsibilities, friendships, the need for sleep and so on. Here, the best business models are those that turn those forces into allies. Exercising with your family and friends, creating work environments that partner with gyms (and have work exercise betting pools rather than fantasy teams) and strictly shutting off the lights early in the evening and waking at sunrise are common models of fitness success. There are, of course, a wide variety of other models, too.
Lastly, we can’t overlook the funding requirements. Once enough time is invested, the other resources available are limited only by one’s creativity. At the low-cost end, simple exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, planks, box steps, squats and running, combined with the unlimited free coaching resources on the web, are universally available. But it is those people who combine varied fitness programs with personal coaching, nutrition optimization, goal setting and quantification of accomplishments who are most likely to achieve success and maintain it for a lifetime.
You, Inc. is not a flash in the pan. It’s not the hot company of the moment or a high flyer. You, Inc. is a sure bet to produce fantastic returns, but only if the commitment is passionate. Got a better investment?
Dr. Kevin R. Stone is an orthopedic surgeon at The Stone Clinic and chairman of the Stone Research Foundation in San Francisco.