In episode 12, Jack dives deeper into a big point that was touched on in his interview with Pete Thew of Yoga Movement.
There is one simple thing that you can start doing today that will have a big and positive impact on your business and life. It’s free and simple, but very few people do it.
In today’s podcast:
- The common trait successful people share
- Why successful people are willing to share what they’ve learned
- Why fitness industry leaders want to help others
- The importance of actively seeking out feedback
- Examples of soliciting feedback
- Feedback and mentorship etiquette
- How a friend benefitted greatly from being genuinely open to feedback
- Where there is a place for paid mentorship
CONTACT / CONSULTANCY ENQUIRIES
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CRAIG BALLANTYNE https://www.craigballantyne.com/
BEDROS KEULLIAN https://bedroskeuilian.com/
Welcome back to the Fitness Business Podcast and thanks for tuning in.
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Now today I want to go deeper into a topic I touched on very briefly with Pete Thew from Yoga Movement in our interview, which will be featured next week.
I believe this simple thing you can start doing is possibly the single biggest action that you can take for your business. It is a principle, a value, that will help you accelerate your progress not just in business but in life, too.
This advice is not specific to the fitness industry – whatever business you have or even if you just want to get better at anything, this will apply to you.
When I was talking with Pete we reflected on the fact that pretty much every successful person is very happy to share their knowledge and to help people who are starting the same journey that they have been through.
Often, this is because most successful people have had mentors to help get them to that next stage, and by helping others they feel like they’re passing the torch or repaying the kindness that has been shown to them.
Starting a business can be very tough, with dramatic ups and downs. Entrepreneurship, starting a business, whatever you want to call it, is often romanticized or seen through rose-tinted glasses but there are difficult, dark times and if things don’t go well it can – to put it bluntly – be really tough on the soul.
Because successful people know what it takes and the size of the stakes, I think there is generally a real desire to help others in business who are a few steps behind make the right decisions and do things well.
I think there are other motivations for helping others too – it can be quite interesting and fun helping others with their business and a mentor can also learn from the process by helping you dissect your problems and find solutions. Both parties can also make a strong connection, increase their network and it’s not unusual for investment or business partnerships to come from these conversations.
Over the last few years I’ve met a number of fitness industry leaders across Asia and I can say without doubt that a common trait and theme is wanting the quality of the fitness industry to be raised across the region, as everyone benefits from that – fitness business owners, consumers.. ultimately the health of the region improves If we have a thriving, innovative and collaborative industry. If this is something that’s important to you, then of course you’ll be happy to help others.
This is evident in the people I’ve interviewed so far on the podcast – all knowledgeable, experienced and happy to share their insights without holding back at all.
So I touched on this important point with Pete but I wanted to delve a little deeper today as I think there’s a huge untapped resource of people who are willing to help, but very few actually seek it out.
So my single biggest thing you can start doing for your business: actively seek advice and help from those who are one or more steps ahead of you or are simply more knowledgeable in an area that you need help with.
That’s it – seek help, seek feedback, from people that know more.
It’s so simple but so effective and I really am amazed by how rare this is.
Let me give some practical examples:
If you don’t know much about marketing then reach out to a friend who is more experienced in marketing – ask them what you should be focusing on, if your website looks good or to review the copy you’ve done for a newsletter or social media post
If you don’t know much about HR, ask a friend who is more experienced in this area – what should be included in a contract, how to give someone an official warning that’s legal, what can be done from a template, what needs to be written up by a lawyer.
If you don’t know much about construction, ask a friend who’s worked with a construction company in your country before – what are the pitfalls, price guidelines and so on.
If you don’t know if a press release is good, ask a friend who’s a journalist or who works in PR to go through it.
I know these things sound simple, but so few people do it.
I think Marketing and branding is the biggest area where I see businesses doing some crazy stuff. I often think, surely they have a friend who works in marketing or knows a little bit about it who they can ask.
If not, often you can reach out to a mutual friend or even just reach out to someone cold, you never know, they may be happy to help…
So the single biggest thing your can start doing for your business – seek feedback in any area where you think others can help you improve. It’s not complex, but it’s very effective.
there are, however, some rules of etiquette that should be followed:
No. 1 – Reach out in a respectful manner and always show appreciation of their time and efforts. No one is obligated to give you help so if they do, show them you’re thankful. If you go for coffee or lunch, cover the bill as a goodwill gesture. In your initial contact, be very clear and precise about what you’d like to ask them. If you’re not sure, get complete clarity about what you’d like from a meeting before contacting them.
No. 2 – this is the one people often find the hardest, genuinely listen to everything they have to say. Soak it in, consider it and really think it through. Even if it doesn’t sound right for your business, rather than dismiss it, really think it through or ask questions to delve deeper.
No.3 – another one that people find hard. Be completely and absolutely open to all feedback, regardless of how critical it may be. Let’s say for example you want someone to look through your website – if it’s dated, or you did it yourself on Wix, there’s probably a lot wrong with it. Don’t be upset if they start taking apart all of your work. Listen intently, make notes about everything and be damn grateful that you’re getting honest feedback. If the person helping can sense that you’re getting a little upset or emotional they will likely not offer any more incredible valuable and candid feedback. This would be a tragedy, don’t let it happen. In fact, I would recommend the opposite – if you feel their feedback is being watered down then dig deeper with more questions until you get the hard truth. If what you’re doing sucks, you need to hear about it or your business is doomed – I cannot stress that enough.
On the other hand, If you want validation or to be told that your business and everything you’re doing is great, ask your mum or some well-meaning friends that don’t know anything about it – they will be happy to tell you that what you’re doing is great, not to give up on your dreams and to carry on investing time and money into it.
No. 4 – Lastly, try and find a way to give something back to the person helping later down the line, if the opportunity arises. Most mentors will simply ask that you help someone else down the line if it’s needed, and so the cycle of positivity and goodwill continues.
A friend of mine recently started a business and gave me a free sample of his product. He asked to meet up for coffee and for my feedback. Now I know my friend is very open to feedback and willing to act on it, so I didn’t hold back. Of course, everything I said was constructive with solutions and suggestions. All the way through he was writing things down and asking more questions about things to clarify or dig deeper. During the next week I saw him acting on some of the suggestions I’d made and we now meet up every few weeks. I’m happy to help a friend out and he’s gaining from my experience. I don’t know or even care if he’s acting on all my suggestions, but I know he’s listening and he’s genuinely open to them so I’m happy to give him my thoughts. If he reflects on something and decides it’s not right for him, then that’s all good.
On the other side, I met someone recently who specializes in helping people write and publish books. This is an area I know nothing about, so I was asking him everything I could possibly think of about how this is done, what the process is, how you can hit bestselling charts. He was enjoying sharing his knowledge and expertise and quite liked it that someone cared about what he did, and I got to benefit from his experience. It was a great conversation and we’ve kept in touch – so we’ve both got a new connection. If in the future he needs help in an area that I’m ahead of him in, I’ll be happy to help of course.
I’m constantly seeking out people to help me in areas I don’t know much about and when people reach out to me in the right way and I can offer something, I do so – in fact, helping other business owners and raising the standards of the industry was one of the big motivations for starting this podcast.
Now perhaps you don’t know anyone who specializes in an area you need to know more about. If it’s something like marketing or branding I find that hard to believe, you must know someone who can offer a more experienced lens to view your efforts. But if you don’t, then paid mentorships should be considered – they could help you accelerate your growth and learning and get you more time and more structured learning and help with your mentor. Simply put, you can be a bit more demanding of their expertise and time as you’re paying for it and they will be more invested in your success.
If you go down this route, really do your research on your mentor and know that they’re the person to help you and your business.
I offer mentorship and consultancy for fitness business owners so please reach out if you think I can add value to your business. I would also highly recommend the mentorship programs of Bedros Keuillian and Craig Ballantine – they offer a lot of great resources for free that I’ve learned a lot from as well as mentorship programs. You can find a link to their services in the shownotes.
I’d like to summarize today’s podcast in one sentence:
To add untold value to your business and life, actively seek out feedback with a truly open mind from those who are a step or more ahead of you in that area.
Thank you for listening to the FBA podcast – our downloads and listeners are going up with each episode and it’s been a pleasure connecting with those who’ve reached out.
You can find us on fitnessbusinessasia – one word – on Instagram or LinkedIn, which goes to my account, Jack Thomas.
Don’t forget to download our next episode with Pete Thew from Yoga Movement in Singapore, where we talk about branding, amongst other things.. until then, have a great week and I’ll catch you next time…