Business Bites Episode 141: Why Your Business Needs a Helicopter

Why Your Fitness Business Needs A Helicopter

Episode 141 on the Business Bites Podcast

Getting a bird’s eye view of your business is important when it comes to your business’ growth.

Jumping in a helicopter (metaphorically, of course!) allows you to view your business from different heights so you can laser focus at times and at others see the bigger picture. Justin Tamsett from the Fitness Business Podcast discusses why entrepreneurs need to allocate time each week to work on their businesses versus working in their businesses. 

The goal is to reduce friction. What may stop people from using your business? Or for example, stop listening to your podcast or consuming your content? What can you do to retain your customers?

Justin emphasizes that it is ok to not know all of the answers. It’s ok to ask for help. Help doesn’t have to come from people in the same industry. There is a lot to learn and a different perspective to gain from people outside of your industry. Only seeking help from the best in your industry can only make you as good as the best in your industry. Seeking help from the outside can help you grow even more.

A great takeaway from this episode is that the best ideas will not grow your business unless you take the action needed to implement them. 

I think entrepreneurs have a natural, “Let’s get something started” and the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that then finish it.

Justin Tamsett

Learn how to evaluate your business from different perspectives: 

  • Inconsistency can undermine your brand in the marketplace [10:59]
  • What is means to need a helicopter [14:04]
  • Why entrepreneurs become overwhelmed and how to combat that [19:29]
  • Where you can go to find answers when you need help [23:59]
  • Allocating time to work on your business will hep you take the actions needed to implement your ideas [37:51]
  • It’s ok to make mistakes but make sure you are learning from them [46:03]
  • Take the time to recognize your strengths and work on making these strengths even better [47:25]

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.

Read Episode Transcript

Rachel:
Today’s episode is something that I have never done before, which is kind of fun. I’ve been doing that in the last few weeks. I think pandemic and the stir craziness has led me to push the envelope. I’m not going to tell you in the intro what it is but as soon as you hear our guest you’ll know and see why this is something that I’ve never had on the podcast before. Just come on in, no spoilers this time. Just come on in and let’s listen.

Speaker 2:
Welcome to the Business Bites Podcast, the podcast for busy entrepreneurs. If you’re an online entrepreneur or seeking after brick and mortar success, this podcast brings you quick bites of content so you can learn and grow anywhere you are. Now here’s your host Rachel Brenke.

Rachel:
I get it. 2020 has not really been the best year for so many of us. In the world, economy, emotionally, and health-wise and otherwise. I still want y’all to be looking towards the future. As you’re going to hear through this episode, entrepreneurs are resilient. We got this. What I want to do is help y’all get setup for 2021.

Make sure that you’re going to join our real biz, real life, free seven day challenge that’s coming up. The wait list is available at Rachel Brenke dot com. Stick in your email. I promise I’m not going to spam you. It’s just so I can send you this content. I’m committing a lot of time for an entire week teaching and pouring into y’all and I want to make sure it’s those that really want it and are serious. Let’s do it and let’s start with the episode.

Hey, friends. Welcome to another week of the Business Bites Podcast. I am your host Rachel Brenke and I am joined with a friend from the fitness industry, JT, Justin, call him whatever you want, just be nice and don’t call him late for dinner. JT, welcome to the episode.

JT:
Thanks, Rachel. Be rest assured, I am never late for dinner.

Rachel:
I bet not. I have to ask off the bat, I already know the answer, but where’s the accent coming from? Well, I guess you don’t have an accent. It’s not an accent to you but it’s an accent to me sitting here in the US.

JT:
Yeah. No. I live in New York. It’s my New York accent. Can’t you tell?

Rachel:
Okay. All right. I got you.

JT:
Let me take off my accent and I’ll pretend I’m really from New York and we’ll get a coffee together.

Rachel:
Hey. That was pretty good. That’s like a New Yorker Aussie at the same time.

JT:
That’s right. It’s because down here in Australia the only TV shows we get are American. We all start to talk American but we still have a mum, we don’t have a mom. We still wear jumpers, not sweaters. Yeah. I am from Sydney, Australia.

Rachel:
Ah, Sydney. That’s where I was going. I was there a couple of years ago. Love it. Can’t wait to go back. Pandemic is putting a little creak in all the travel plans but I appreciate you taking the time on the opposite side of the world, a lot of things going on.

I want to dig in to know and let our listeners know before we really get to the topic of why your business needs a helicopter but tell me a little bit about you and how you got into entrepreneurship.

JT:
Well, interestingly enough, I am a fourth-generation entrepreneur.

Rachel:
Love it.

JT:
My great-great-great-grandfather was a market farmer. He passed that business onto his son and then his son passed that onto his son and then it stopped because my mom wasn’t a market gardener. She had become a real estate agent. Much to her upset is I became a gym owner. As much as she would love me to work in the real estate business, I certainly love the fitness industry way more.

I guess it was sort of ingrained in my DNA that I would end up being an entrepreneur. It’s funny. I often don’t consider myself an entrepreneur until someone asks me, “Do you work for yourself?” And then you say, “Yes. Well, then I guess I am kind of an entrepreneur.” In all reality, I have not worked for somebody directly with a job since I was like 19 years old when I used to hand our skates at an ice skating rink. Since then when I was 20 I became a personal trainer that worked for themself. Then I did have a two year stint working for somebody before opening up my own gym and owned a gym, well, a couple of gyms for 15 years. Then moved across to consulting.

Again, there might be some entrepreneurs listening today who did the same as me, they sold their business and when you’re unemployed what do you need to become? A consultant. It’s the only way we earn money and then we tell stories about what it was like owning a business and others can learn from the mistakes that we made or the successes that we had as business owners.

I think at the heart and the soul of everything I went to college and studied to be a phys ed teacher. I have always been a teacher of sorts and so combining teaching with entrepreneurism has led me to a consulting business, I guess is the best description.

Rachel:
I love that. You’re also owner of the Fitness Business Podcast, which I just had the awesome honor to be interviewed on this week so we’ll include that in the show notes for any fitness owners that are looking for that information but how did you get into the podcasting? Was it a logical addition? Another asset of a way to distribute content? Did you just always want to do radio/podcasting from the very beginning?

JT:
Well, again, that’s an interesting story. A magician should never tell the audience how he does his tricks.

Rachel:
We won’t tell anyone [crosstalk 00:06:15].

JT:
However, in order to build authenticity and trust with his audience, this magician shall tell how he does his tricks. We started the podcast five years ago … Actually, we started the podcast seven years ago where we were just interviewing people doing an audio and putting it out on a monthly basis with the sole aim of educating the industry in order to position my consulting business as a premium consulting business. I was using it for marketing.

We rebranded the podcast in 2015 to the Fitness Business Podcast. We moved from monthly interviews to weekly interviews because someone told me that that would create more stickiness to your podcast so we did that. Again, in the hope that it would lead to more business for Active Management, my consulting company. I’m very pleased to say that we’ve just hit 700,000 downloads. We haven’t missed a week’s show in five years. Active Management has not received one single client but the Fitness Business Podcast now has a bigger international brand than Active Management.

Rachel:
A little bit of not result you expected but a pretty incredible result nonetheless.

JT:
Yeah. It’s interesting because five years ago when podcasting was still fairly new … I mean, I think it’s fairly mainstream now. I would suggest it’s a really core component to lots of businesses and their positioning in the marketplace as experts using a podcast as a medium but five years ago it wasn’t like that at all. We were one of the first podcasts in the fitness industry and so we were not only educating people to listen to our show but we were teaching them to listen to our podcast. We literally had to do screenshots of how to download the podcast app on your phone so that you could listen while you’re on the move.

I think we’re ahead of our time in that sense in our industry. Certainly, not in other industries but in the fitness industry we were and that gave us a running headstart on our competitors as they popped up over the five years. It just did not lead to conversion to leads and inquiries for us.

I think I know the reason why and that is because as we are doing right now, podcasting is an audio medium and people might be listening while they’re driving, they might be listening while they’re on the treadmill, they could be listening while they’re on the train and to then take them from that medium and have them hit pause to go into another screen and then Google search your website, that’s a fairly clunky process. I start to believe now that advertising on podcasts is actually more a brand recognition strategy rather than a lead generation strategy if that makes sense.

Rachel:
No, definitely. I love that actually … I’m asking these questions too because we have a similar trajectory of timeline. When we got into doing consulting, et cetera, there wasn’t a lot of this free information available. Like you mentioned, podcasting was really in its infancy just a few years ago. For me, I just got into podcasting because I love to talk and meet awesome people but if it gives me the benefits of brand recognition and a little bit of authority I’m all for that.

For me, and I’ve talked about this on other episodes, choosing the way that you want to implement your business strategy, the podcast, like you said, is not a lead gen. It really is for the credibility building and to put content out there and to teach but it’s not a direct connect the dot from one thing to another. I feel like there’s a lot of people that can do podcasting and can do it very well but maybe for an educational type standpoint it’s more of a value add versus the main vehicle of what’s going to bring business.

JT:
It’s interesting you say that as well because it is a value add but it sure as hell shows what you’re like as a business when you run a podcast. The reason why I say that is there were some stats that came out last year that the average podcast lasts seven episodes or three months.

Rachel:
Wow.

JT:
Lots of people start podcasts and then lots of people finish them. The inconsistency of delivering a podcast could, in fact, undermine your brand position in the marketplace.

Rachel:
Actually, I’ll tell you, we, I believe, sought your Fitness Biz Podcast out for me to come on to talk about fitness legal stuff for my brand Fit Legally. That was one of the things that we ran into was there were so many podcasts that had really good descriptions, they had titles that were awesome, but then when I would look to see when the last episode was? Three years ago. I was like, “Are they even still in business anymore?” Guess what? I didn’t even bother to go Google them because in my mind, like what you just said here, is it shows you what type of business person they are. If they’re not going to take the steps to clean up their online presence, even if they’re in business elsewhere or at least put some sort of notice like, “We’re on hiatus”, which is fine, great, if you need to take time off, but it was just nothing. It just left their audience hanging off a cliff and that was it.

JT:
Yeah. In this report, they call it podcasts going in the dark. They’re not actually dead. They’re not over. They’ve gone dark. I think that’s a really important point for everybody listening because as you would know, Rachel, lots of people are promoting doing podcasting but I think some people forget, again, as you know, how much time it takes to do a podcast and how the effort that is required to make it look and sound professional, which is a direct image of your brand as a consultant or as a supplier of products or services, it’s a reflection.

If you can’t do it then don’t promise to do it on a weekly basis. You might do one a month and that’s okay. Consistently deliver one a month. Same time, same day. That’s fine. But consistently do it.

Rachel:
This information can be translated to whether or not you’re going to do YouTube videos or you’re going to hold a Twitter chat or whatever platform it is that you’re trying to use to garner attention. Again, whatever the goal is. Is it lead gen? Brand recognition? Et cetera.

This is a really good segue here for us is why do our businesses need a helicopter? I mean, you dig into it, it’s about being strategic. As we’ve seen with just off the cuff talking about podcasts, there’s a lot of people that I personally feel end up going dark on their podcasts not so much it was an intentional going in the dark. Like I said, I feel like they would have pulled it from the Apple podcasts or put a notice or something. I think it’s a marker that not having a strategic plan for their business and they just get overwhelmed and give up.

Let’s talk about why your business needs a helicopter and what does that even mean?

JT:
Well, perhaps if we start with a simple analogy for how possibly many people watching today run their business. That’s when you go to a community fair and they have that game called Whack-A-Mole. For those that are listening who are unsure of Whack-A-Mole is, it’s an arcade game that has five or six holes and this little mole pops his head up and your goal is to use an artificial hammer to whack the mole on the head.

Rachel:
It sounds horrific when you describe it like that.

JT:
It sounds what, horrific?

Rachel:
Horrific.

JT:
Yeah. Look, I have to say, it is a fake mole. It is not a real animal. No animals were harmed in the making of this arcade game. The reality is the game starts with the mole popping its head up every couple of seconds, which makes it really easy to do. As the game progresses, the mole pops its head up more often and there become multiple moles until eventually you simply cannot keep up whacking the moles ahead.

For many of us in business, that’s our daily grind. We get in, we have our coffee, and we’re good and the first thing that happens is we solve a problem and then we solve another problem and then we solve another problem.

By the end of the day, we’re just racing from problem to problem to solve. The idea of the helicopter came about because how on Earth can you do any strategic thinking when you are continually putting out fires or whacking a mole in our business? The idea of the helicopter is for us to jump in and get out of the business and to look down on the business and be able to identify why we’ve got those problems that are popping up. Instead of continually solving what the problem is, let’s look at why there is a problem.

We can do that when we’re not down in the minutia of the business. The reason why I use the helicopter as the metaphor in this example is a couple of reasons but the number one is the agility of a helicopter. A helicopter can turn very quickly. If we’re in an airplane, the turning circle is huge. In that turning circle, by the time we turn around, we’ve probably missed what those problems are. An airplane can’t change it’s height. As a helicopter, if we want to get a better view of the entire process from the marketing to the acquisition to the retaining of clients to the servicing of clients, we can take our helicopter up much higher to get that really big aerial view or we can bring it down and we can focus, let’s just look at the acquisition process for our customers, but we still get that aerial view to be able to see how the customers going through our pipeline.

That’s why the helicopter is used as the metaphor simply to get the aerial view of our business because when we’re away from … What’s that saying? You know, when you’re in the trees you can’t see the forest. When you’re in the helicopter [crosstalk 00:17:50]. Yeah. Something like that. When we’re in that helicopter, we just get the complete picture as opposed to a segmented picture. I guess that’s the logic behind the metaphor.

Rachel:
I think it’s wonderful. One of the questions that I have with this, knowing that, by the way, many of our listeners are on a broad spectrum. Some of them may just be getting up into entrepreneurship, some may be a veteran who just feels like Whack-A-Mole but they get to this feeling of overwhelm and paralysis when they do get the helicopter up in the air and they’re looking around. They succumb to that and to fear versus …

I feel like sometimes when you’re busy, you’re popping your head up, putting out fires, you feel busy so you feel like you’re doing business. I always say busyness does not equal business. It feeds or … What’s the word I’m looking for? It helps to diminish anxiety, the feeling of fear so often times they keep their head down, they’re playing Whack-A-Mole and doing all these things but then they’re like, “Okay, I heard JT on Rachel’s podcast. I’m going to get a helicopter, I’m going to get up in the sky” but when they look at everything they get overwhelmed by the amount of things that they need to do or to focus on or to evaluate. What would you say to those that have made that step to get in the helicopter but then are freaking out?

JT:
Yeah. I understand potentially how they’re thinking but I think the overwhelm-ness, if that’s even such a word or it is now.

Rachel:
It is now.

JT:
I think that overwhelm-ness actually comes from having a to-do list every day and everything on that to-do list is what I would call agenda one items, operational-based things. The reality is our brain is not wired to multi-task. What I mean by that is if we are in a mode of working where it’s all operational and, believe me … You’re probably exactly the same. Our to-do list grows and grows and grows every day of things that you need to do.

Everything on that to-do list has to then link back to a strategic direction of the business. When you have the discipline to get in that helicopter, you’re looking at the business from a strategic perspective. When you think strategy and you think development that takes you into agenda two of business development.

I just feel that when you get your head in that space of strategy, it takes you out of that feeling of overwhelm-ness because you’re not thinking about all these to-do action items. You’re thinking about how those action items are going to lead to a better strategy for the business.

I think that becomes a really important factor and it requires incredible discipline because it’s very easy to flip into that operation mode … In fact, it’s a lot easier to think operationally for many entrepreneurs than it is strategically. Would you agree with that?

Rachel:
Yeah. My question with that would be do you think that all entrepreneurs are just naturally inclined to think that way specifically or do you think that’s something ingrained depending on the entrepreneur?

Let me give you an example. When I first started out on this there wasn’t a lot of online help. You didn’t have really blogs. The blogs that existed were like personal. They really weren’t telling you how to run a business. You couldn’t learn about business strategy in all of this. There really weren’t a lot of terms that I could look at and go, “Okay, that method that I’m doing, that’s what that’s called” or to learn to do that method.

Now that I’ve been in this almost two decades I look back and realize there’s a lot of things that I just had a natural inclination to do as an entrepreneur and now I’m like, “Oh, okay. That’s what it’s called” but at the time I wasn’t taught that. I guess going back to what you just asked. I just wonder if entrepreneurs have a natural inclination one way or the other.

JT:
I think entrepreneurs have a natural, “Let’s get something started” and the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that then finish it.

Rachel:
Love it.

JT:
I’m guilty at different stages of projects that we launch and I get it to 80% and then expect momentum to continue that last 20%. I can’t tell you how many projects have been like that. Even the podcast to a certain degree was that. Now I have to get in a helicopter with my team and we get in the helicopter once a week, for the podcast once a month, we look down on the podcast, every aspect of it, and we have a theme for each meeting and we focus on what that looks like.

Our goal is always, when we’re in the helicopter, for the podcast, for example, is to reduce friction. We’re trying to reduce things that could come up that might stop somebody listening to the podcast or finding the podcast or whatever the case may be and that becomes our focus for that helicopter flight and we’re up there looking at and trying to work out a new strategy for us to then roll out. Then we come down and we get into the operations and we go, “Okay. Operationally, this is what we need to do.”

I do admit. It can be overwhelming when you’re up there because sometimes the reality is we don’t know the answers.

Rachel:
We pretend we do.

JT:
Yeah.

Rachel:
At least to our employees sometimes.

JT:
I think Rachel that’s a really important point that we need to make to everybody listening today. That is it’s okay not to know the answer to every single question about your own business. If we think about it, Roger Federer or Tiger Woods or the best quarterbacks or the best hitters or the best basketball players, they all have coaches. Some of the best entrepreneurs, the most successful business people on the planet have a coach that they can then say, “Hey, could you help me with this?” It’s okay to ask for help if you’re trying to do something strategically so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

I can tell you that the way that I get in the helicopter, I identify a weakness in our business that we want to fix, if I don’t have that skillset I’ll go looking for someone to help me. At 51 years of age, I gave up trying to think I can do everything. It just wastes too much time. If I can spend $500 and get someone to help me iron out and crinkle in my business as an entrepreneur, that’s the best $500 I’ll ever spend.

Rachel:
For sure. One of the things that you just said that I enjoyed was, I’m going to paraphrase, but entrepreneurs they start things, right? Thinking back, as you’re talking about this, of how many projects myself that I started, one of the great benefits that I didn’t really realize until now when we’re having this conversation but one of the great benefits to having a team that I’m delegating stuff to, that I’m having to explain stuff to, and I say having in a good way. Like I’m going to have to explain what are the goals? What are we pursuing? This is the structure. This is what I’m envisioning.

What I really like about having a team too that almost forces me to put my feet to the fire to figure out all these specifics is that it takes me from dreamer to doer. It takes me from that just starter to finisher because in the process of explaining, getting up high, looking around, having an idea and explaining it to the team, can reveal to me … Whether you do it with a coach, this is my own experience with having my own team that I manage is that it can reveal to me that maybe that fire and excitement that I had inside just wasn’t really that well thought out. The feeling was there. Maybe it was a viable idea. But once I really started explaining it is where we really identified true viability and success, potential success.

JT:
Yeah. I think one of the challenges for many entrepreneurs is that they probably don’t think they have a team. They might have a VA. They might have a PA. That might be the extent of their team because they really could be a solopreneur as opposed to a business entrepreneur.

Rachel:
Right.

JT:
I think this is where, again, flying a helicopter is a great metaphor because who do you take up in that helicopter with you? For you and for me, we can take up our team members. We can take up a marketing person or an HR person or our sales manager or our product development person. We can take them with us. For a solopreneur, they’re like, “Who am I going to fly with?” I really think your helicopter needs to be filled with people that can help your business.

Don’t be afraid, again, reaching out for help. You don’t have to pay for coaches. You could simply reach out to people that you already know who might be a financial whiz or a legal whiz … Probably all your friends that are listening are going, “Right. I’m going to get Rachel to get in my helicopter. She’s my legal whiz.”

We can tap people that we know on the shoulder who have areas of expertise and have them jump in our helicopter once every three months, which might be a two hour breakfast where your job is to do exactly what you just explained and it’s to pitch your idea or pitch how you deliver a service and say, “Now from your perspective as a marketing person or your perspective as a logistics expert, tell me how I can do this better.”

Rachel:
I’ll take that a step further. I think you could even get people in your helicopter that may not be legal or financial whiz. Maybe they’re also another entrepreneur, solopreneur or otherwise, also trying to do this. For myself, I have tried to very intentionally surround myself with like individuals. Not necessarily to say we’re like minded. We definitely have heated discussions over politics and other things like that but we all have a goal in growing our businesses.

I have a girlfriend that will travel, when it’s not pandemic, to speaking events together and we spend the road trip there hashing out our ideas. It’ll be like an hour of Rachel time and then it’s an hour of Christine time. We play Devil’s Advocate with one another.

I think my encouragement here is who you’re going to get in your helicopter doesn’t necessarily have to be someone that you’re paying. You could look for a quid pro quo but I really … Maybe JT, you’ll disagree with me on this. We don’t really want mom or mum in the helicopter because she’s just going to tell you what you want to hear.

JT:
100%. We need people that are going to ask us the questions that are going to challenge us. The questions that no one else is game enough to ask, that’s who we need in the helicopter. [crosstalk 00:29:59]. We’re going to leave mom on the ground and we’re going to go up with some serious people who have areas of expertise, have a degree of caring for you and your business as well so there is that relationship I think that’s advantageous.

I agree, Rachel, they don’t have to come from your industry category. In fact, more often than not, if they come from outside your industry category, that is, in fact, going to help you get even better. If I can tell a really quick story around British Airways, they wanted to refine their maintenance of their airplanes, best description I can think of, and so what they decided to do is to look at best practices.

They could have gone to an Australian airline like Qantas who is the only airline on the planet that has not had a serious accident. They’ve never had a plane crash and anyone die from a plane crash. They could have gone to Qantas and said, “Okay, what’s your best practices for maintaining your airplanes?”

Instead they went to a Formula One pit crew because they wanted to see how a Formula One pit crew worked as a team and worked efficiently to be able to get a Formula One car in and out of the pits in seconds while still maintaining the highest level of safety.

The reason I tell that story often to entrepreneurs is if you keep looking at your own category, you only get as good as your own category. The idea of taking experts from outside your category in your helicopter that have a real strength or expertise in a specific area will help strengthen your business because you’re looking at best business practices, strategically, from other industries. Otherwise, you’re just going to get as good as everybody else in your own industry.

Rachel:
That’s incredible the way that you phrase that. I’ve always agreed with this idea. You can’t be confined to your industry but the fact that you can only be as good as your industry … I’m looking at many of the listeners, a lot of them are creative types just because by way of some of my other brands so we have photographers, graphic designers, some in the wedding industry, and I feel like many of y’all, and I’m saying this with love, don’t want to look outside of the photography industry for help. You only want to look to those there because you feel a connection, you know they’ve gone through the same things as you, and I think there is a place for that but JT is absolutely right.

Some of the best marketing books or just business strategy books that I’ve read and learned from have had zero to do with running a law firm, zero to do with being in the fitness industry or photography industry. But I’ve been taking those pieces and identified and brought it into the industry and actually I feel like I’ve been able to spearhead some change and be the front runner in offering X, Y, and Z or impacting minds and the way the business is run in the specific industry because I was willing to look outside of it. That’s not to say you shouldn’t also learn from your own industry but JT is it the same way with fitness? Do you see that too that so many want to look to other fitness owners or are they pretty okay with looking outside the industry?

JT:
No. I would suggest the majority of fitness owners look at other fitness businesses and then try to … How would you say it?

Rachel:
Emulate?

JT:
Rip off their ideas.

Rachel:
I was saying it in a much nicer way but yes.

JT:
I remember hearing this at a presentation from a futurist a few years ago and he said in the 1980s and 1990s every single business had an R&D department and that was a research and development department. In the 2000s and now into the 2020s, most of us, probably even worse now, we still have an R&D department. It’s just rip off and duplicate.

Rachel:
Yeah. Yeah.

JT:
Again, that just makes us as good as someone else in our industry. What I like about having some sort of business coach, and you just used a great example, Rachel, thank you, is that you read business books from outside your industries and then you translated that information into something relevant for your industry.

My job is to spend every single day looking outside the fitness industry for best business practices and then translate that practice that works so well for Nordstrom or works so well for a Telco or a ticketing agency or Amazon, what are they doing well? My job is to translate that into something relevant to the fitness industry for my fitness industry clients to go, “I can do that. I never thought of that but I can do that.” That’s my job. My job is the translation. Their job is then the action.

Rachel:
The action. Yeah. That’s what I was going to say is I think there’s some … You get excited when you go to these conferences. Again, not during a pandemic. You learn these new things. I actually have seen when I have been teaching and speaking and I inject these quote unquote, you can’t see me, I’m putting the air quotes up but these novel new ideas but they’re not really novel or new. Just no one in that space of what I’m teaching to has also been teaching this.

I see the energy and the receptive change in the audience because it’s something new. It’s not something they’ve heard that’s just repackaged over and over. The second part of that is it’s not just the translating and hearing it but it’s the action part. That’s what I really want to dig into now before we wrap up on this because the whole helicopter idea, I’m sold, I love it, but when you’re looking up there, how do you choose where to start? We talked about getting over the paralysis but how do you identify, “All right. I see five different things below me”, how do you as the spearhead, the head of your company, maybe you’re a solopreneur but how do you choose which to strategically begin with? Which issue or project. Whatever it is that you’re viewing from the helicopter.

JT:
Yeah. I often say to people when I’m speaking at events and conferences is that ideas don’t change the world. Actions change the world. It doesn’t matter how many ideas you come up with in your helicopter. If you’re not going to have the discipline to then implement those ideas, there will be no change to the business. That often happens. We land our helicopter, we get back into the business, and, again, I’m sure there are people listening today, Rachel, that have been to a conference, walked out of a conference with a bunch of ideas, got back into their business, and then get lost in the minutia of the operations of the business and never implement or might implement one of the ideas.

I think I always like to recommend to people that they allocate time at least once a week, ideally, more times, where they work on the business and not in the business because they have to work on implementing those ideas and if you’re just purely working in the business, those ideas will never get implemented.

Let me give you an example of basically how my day works almost five days a week for me. I would like to say five but, again, my weakness is discipline so I would say at least three. Every day, I wake up, I go to the gym and I workout. I come home and the first two hours after my workout is spent working on the business and trying to think creatively. The workout increases the oxygen to my brain. It increases the endorphins that are going to my body so I feel good. I feel awesome. I feel on top of the world. Then that enables me then to sit down with whatever I’m trying to work on and think creatively.

You really can’t implement any ideas into actions generally at two o’clock or three o’clock in the afternoon because for many people that’s their downtime, that’s when they’re reaching for the coffee or the chocolate or the candy to give them that sugar boost to get them through to five o’clock at the end of the day. That’s not the time to be trying to do creative things in your business. That’s the time to be doing your operations, your meetings, your admin things. Now, that’s not with everybody. Some people are more awake in the afternoons, I get that, but for me that’s how I operate.

I just have in my diary pretty much eight o’clock in the morning until 10 o’clock, at least three days a week it’s in my diary saying creative time and I’m really specific … The night before I think, okay, tomorrow I’m going to be working on the next three months of the podcast, tomorrow I’m going to be working on how I want to get more downloads of the podcast, tomorrow I’m going to be working on how to build a lead magnet to increase number of people that subscribe to my email newsletter.

I’ll go to bed thinking about that, wake up, while I’m working out it’s already running through my head, this is my theme for my working on the business two hour segment of my day is so it’s already in my subconscious, come home, have breakfast and then rip into the creative idea.

Rachel:
I am a huge proponent of scheduling but a lesson I learned even this far into business in the last few weeks is I had tried to take the approach of I always fit in my workout first as well, getting the kids out the door to school or virtual learning, wherever we’re at during the pandemic, but I was trying to be a little bit more flexible with my time so I could continue to have accessibility, to me, or I could do whatever struck me at the moment, but it’s interesting. I was finding that reviewing of analytics, right?

We hear about test, test, test, check your numbers, make sure that people are consuming the content. If they’re not consuming, is the messaging wrong or are you just putting out a message they don’t want to consume, whatever it is. This is common sense. This is stuff I’ve talked about on the podcast before but this last week I was sitting down and I ended up having to carve out an entire day because it had been so long since I had been working on this. If I had been a little bit, to use your word, disciplined, a little bit more strategic and intentional and put it on my calendar, it’s on my calendar now, to be part of my admin days at the beginning of the month to go through this.

Before I was like, “Oh, I’ll just check it as we put new content out” but what happens? You get busy and you don’t check it and then how many months have gone by? Yeah. You know, you want to have a lead time to check analytics sometimes but not nine to 12 months. I’ve lost how much of steam or information in that time? I saw dropoff.

I’m being vulnerable here because this is something I really thought that I had it all together and schedule this and schedule that and I guess I’m just sharing so that if you’ve been in business for a while and you’re like, “Oh, I’m not doing anything that JT’s saying”, guess what? We all fall off of it. It’s easy to become complacent or think that the wheels are all turning and just remember, we still have to tap those wheels sometimes to keep them going.

JT:
I think one of the most important things that we’ve learned in 2020, Rachel, I’m not sure how you would say it in America but in Australia we describe it as the shit’s hit the fan.

Rachel:
I was going to say shit show so yeah.

JT:
When that happens, that’s life. That’s business, that’s entrepreneurism. The most successful entrepreneurs … I’m the same as you, by the way. The shit hits the fan and I forget to do stuff and I get frustrated because the business isn’t moving forward and then I stop and recount and I go, “Oh, jeez. I haven’t been working on the business. I’ve just been working in the damn business” and that’s what we’ve been doing for many of us through the pandemic. We’ve been working in the business to generate enough cash so that we can pay our mortgage, even eat, put food on the plate at dinner time.

That overwhelm-ness and that level of frustration raises its ugly head when we don’t have that discipline to work on the business. Just getting in that helicopter once a week or once a month or once a quarter to look down on the business and say, “How the hell can I make this thing work more efficiently and more effectively?” That’s what my goal is when I get in that helicopter is to identify where those friction points are and then come down and get rid of them.

Rachel:
It can also show you what are your best IPAs, not your beer but your income producing activities because I think it is important as the head, whether you’re solo or with a team, if we … Our fingers have to touch income producing activities. Many of us are the face of our brands, we’re the talent, we’re the expertise and if you’re stuck in doing things that don’t need to have your fingers you’re not going to be doing things that are income producing, which what does that do? Well, then you don’t have income, you can’t pay yourself, you can’t pay your bills, you can’t pay your team and so forth.

That’s another one for me. Like taking the analytics example. If I don’t stop because this is what I’ve discovered in the last few weeks, I realize there’s some content that y’all are consuming that I really thought wouldn’t have gone over that well. Well, guess what? Had I been on top of it with analytics months ago, I’d have been able to do subsequent content. I would have been able to maybe create that into a product or a service that could have resulted in income producing activity for me.

Yeah. You can see how by not having the identification from the helicopter then the discipline to act and making sure that you keep this ball rolling, you can definitely fall off. I think the most important thing and, JT, I think you’ll agree with this is it’s easy for us to sit here and say, “This is what you need to do.” Well, we both have shared with y’all listening that we’re not perfect. We have to keep reminding ourselves. I think the most important thing is give yourself grace. You’re not going to go up in the helicopter the first time and be able to target all the things you need to do, figure it out, and it’s all going to be amazing. It’s always a work in progress.

JT:
I couldn’t agree more. I used to say when I had a team in my gym, I used to say, we learn from every mistake. Now if you make the same mistake twice that’s pretty dumb and if you make the same mistake three times just send in your uniform.

If we don’t try things then we can’t learn from them. What do they say? It took Edison 100 attempts to get the light bulb. He could have given up after the first one.

Rachel:
We’d be all in the dark. Literally.

JT:
Literally. Yeah. We’re all going to have mistakes. We’re never always going to be super successful and that’s okay. Again, like you said, Rachel, and I’m sure there are ideas on the cutting room floor of your office that you thought, “This is the thing that’s going to change my business” and three months later it’s like, “Shit. What was I thinking? What a waste of time that was.” Yeah. That’s just life. Again, we’ve got to learn from that.

One of the things that I always recommend in a helicopter is when you’re in your helicopter and you’re first starting off these flights to work on your business is on one of the early flights is to do a really honest spot analysis of the business. That’s where you can really identify the true strengths of your business and the weaknesses and the opportunities obviously but often when we focus on the strengths that does give us the internal strength to then look at our weaknesses rather than always looking at our weaknesses.

I think often in business as entrepreneurs, we’re always thinking, “How can we do better? How can we make more money? How can we be more efficient? How can we reduce our expenses?” Rather than sometimes sitting back and going, “That is actually a really good idea. That’s been working really well and I’m really proud of what we’ve done there.”

For me, that’s just as important as working out how to get better is to sit back as an entrepreneur and actually spend a couple of minutes patting ourself on the back for what could be a phenomenal widget that you’ve invented or process that you’re doing in your business.

Rachel:
I’m going to take that step further. I’m going to take that process when I interface with my team because I’m very much like they send me something, I review it, and I have found … I notice this even with my kids. I’m learning in parenting too. But that I’m very analytical. Not that I’m trying to be judgmental but as an entrepreneur, I work quickly, I relatively know what I want, and so I identify the things that I don’t want.

Let’s say they send me the website page for a new course or something. I’m like, “No, no, no. This, this, and this” and I don’t take the time to stop and do what you just said, building up the confidence of their strengths and what they did right first but I love how you spun it into doing it for ourselves as well. I want to do that for myself and also impart that upon my team. I’m always trying. I share a lot on my podcast that one of my biggest weaknesses is management. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that with me because that … I know it sounds weird but that has revolutionized how I want to approach and build up my team.

JT:
There was the Chinese table tennis player who won the LA Olympics for table tennis. He could not hit … His backhand was probably as good as your backhand in table tennis, Rachel. Everybody that he played against knew that he had a really weak backhand.

What they said to the coach in the interview after was, “How did you coach this player to win the gold medal when everybody knows he has a weak backhand?” He said, “We just made sure that he had the strongest forehand of everybody that he plays.” They just kept working on the strength to make the strength even better than everybody else.

Often when we do a SWAT analysis or we’re trying to work out how do we improve the efficiencies of our businesses, we focus on the weaknesses rather than going, “How could we make our strengths even better?”

Rachel:
I don’t think we could have ended this podcast on any better of encouraging notes. I mean, that, for me, I’m sitting here jotting notes, not just for the show notes page that I’ll put up when this goes live but I just started writing my own strengths. What are things that I can look at that I am really good at? Also so I can get rid of my weaknesses and have someone else manage but for the confidence building, for the potential success. It’s getting up in that helicopter.

Man, JT, this has been phenomenal. Whether or not they are fitness business or just business in general, this is a wonderful way … The analogy of the helicopter is fantastic. I mean, I can just visually see myself flying in one. I love being in the air. All that kind of stuff.

Do you have anything that you want to impart on the audience before we go? Maybe where they can find you and other resources that you have.

JT:
I do have to confess that when I delivered this presentation to a bunch of fitness business owners, I did have two of them come up to me afterwards and say, “I really understand what you spoke about, JT. That was awesome. I loved it but I don’t actually have enough money to buy a helicopter” so I just need everybody to understand the helicopter is a metaphor. You haven’t got to go out and buy one. You haven’t got to go out and hire one.

It literally is a metaphor for what we are trying to do to work on our business. I want to encourage everybody to have that discipline to schedule it in your diary to just … Even if it’s just once a week for two hours once a week, focus on how can we make our business better? Making our strengths stronger or improving on those weaknesses.

If we do that then you will be far more successful in 2021 than you were in 2020 or 2019 or 2018. You’re moving forward. I always like to quote the very famous Italian philosopher. His name was Rocky Balboa.

Rachel:
I knew it. I knew it.

JT:
It’s not how hard you get hit. It’s how hard you get back up and keep walking forward.

Rachel:
Yup.

JT:
We’ve all copped hits this year. No more than entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are the most resilient human beings on the planet because we do get hit and we get kicked in the guts but we get back up and we fight on. Despite everything that’s happened this year and potentially even next year, there is still opportunity for us to be running our businesses and our team will look towards us, our customers will look towards us and our community will look towards us. Our resilience is the thing that’s going to keep the business moving forward. I wish everybody the best of luck and to power on.

Rachel:
I love it. Well, thank you, JT, so much for this. Before you all click off the podcast, I have a different ending for this week. I am going to ask as part of this whole analytics and reviewing of what y’all want, if you could please head over to the podcast app that you’re using, leave a review, let me know what some of your favorite episodes are or what you would like to see. If you have constructive feedback, remember, 2020 is making me soft, I might cry a little but I do want to hear really how can I serve you? What can I do to help you with your business? Like JT said, entrepreneurs are resilient and I want to help with that. Please head over there.

Thank you again for joining me this week on the Business Bites Podcast and I will talk to y’all next week.

Speaker 2:
Thanks for joining Rachel on this episode of the Business Bites. For show notes, a list of recommended tools, or referenced episodes you can find them at Business Bites Podcast dot com. Until next time.

Justin Tamsett headshot

Meet Justin

Justin has been in the fitness industry since 1988 as a personal trainer, sales person, club manager and multi-club owner. He was an inaugural inductee into the Fitness Australia Roll of Honour in 2011 and Australian Fitness Network Presenter of the Year in 2008. He has delivered 384 presentations in 22 countries to over 220,300 people. He facilities REX Roundtables in the US, Australia and New Zealand for gym owners & PT business owners. His company Active Management is a world renowned business coaching company with an incredible International Facebook community of over 2900 gyms owners, managers and staff. He is also the owner of the Fitness Business Podcast and in 2019 launched the Australian Fitness & Recreation Industry Technolgoy Summit. And finally, he has a weekly Facebook live show called #JTInTheRaw that has been viewed over 180,000 times! He does all this to reduce the health care costs across the globe by getting more people moving more often!

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

As a mom, team USA athlete and cancer-survivor, I want a real life while I have a real business.  This is why my resources don’t promote hustle-culture, rather tough-love and no-holds-barred tips to achieving both.  In addition to this website, I have a top-ranked business podcast, been featured in places like Forbes and work 1:1 with so many of you.

Enough about me though. I am proud of you for pursuing entrepreneurship. It is rewarding and amazing.  Keep at it!

Now enrolling: RealBiz Accelerator[GET INFO]
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