There are tons of things to focus on as a small business owner. This is particularly true when you first start your business: you’ve got to spread yourself thinly and give attention to everything from marketing your events to cleaning your floors.
You have no choice but to prioritize your tasks—there’s simply not enough time in the day (or money in the bank) to do everything straight away.
This prioritization is a wonderful thing. It teaches you how to identify what really matters, a lesson that will seep into other parts of your life and make you more efficient in all you do.
The first few things on your list should be those that have a positive effect on many things in your business. In the world of habits, these are known as “keystone habits” (coined by Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit). Duhigg says that keystone habits are those that spark “chain reactions that help other good habits take hold.”
For your business, you can use this concept and create keystone priorities. These would be priorities that have a positive impact on not just one facet of your business, but on many.
For example, a keystone priority might be keeping a clean facility. A clean gym isn’t just about sanitation and cleanliness: it shows your members that you care about their experience. A clean gym is a nod to customer service. Your members (or visitors) might even leave you a positive review on how clean your facility is, improving your online presence and increasing SEO for your site. This chain reaction is potent, and it’s why it’s important to identify your own keystone priorities for your gym business.
Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the keystone priorities that should top your list is employee experience. When you focus on employee experience, everything in your business is positively affected. Your business has the potential to thrive in a big way if you’ve got a staff that’s engaged and excited to do their job.
If you don’t focus on employee experience, the opposite is true: your business has the potential to suffer in a big way.
Engaged employees are more fun to be around (better work environment). Engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty (better customer service). Engaged employees are less likely to quit (better employee retention). And engaged employees are more likely to be role models for the business and adhere to the gym’s vision (better branding).
Perhaps the first task in shifting your focus towards employee experience is to create and send out a pulse survey.
A pulse survey is a fast (just a handful of good questions) and frequent (done at least once a month) survey given to your gym staff. The objective is to get “the pulse” of your small business and make sure you don’t have any major blindspots.
We used suggestions from Jacob Morgan’s The Employee Experience Advantage (link in bio) to create a pulse survey of our own, one that could be used by most gym owners:
Gym Pulse Survey
1- I show up to work every day with the intention of helping others succeed.
2- I receive meaningful recognition for doing good work.
3- I feel comfortable giving opinions and feedback to (insert gym owner and/or manager’s name here).
4- I can see a clear progression in my role as a coach and I know how to advance in both pay and responsibility.
5- I have flexibility and autonomy at (insert gym name here).
This pulse survey, done regularly, (1) shows your coaches/staff that you care about their experience, and (2) gives you the necessary insight to measure your employees’ engagement. Start with the pulse survey. Send it out every month for six months to all of your staff members—even if you only have one other coach on staff besides you.
Like Thanos’ simple finger snap, this unassuming pulse survey packs the potency to significantly affect the health of your business.