By Nino MAGADDINO
With increasing healthcare costs for businesses across the United States, the need for fitness and wellness professionals continues to grow. Fortunately, many businesses have decided to approve corporate fitness and wellness programs to lower healthcare premiums, reduce worksite absenteeism and increase company morale and productivity.
For the fitness professional, corporate fitness programs can be an excellent addition to your personal training business. It can enhance your current services with another revenue stream and increase your lead generation. But it takes planning, preparation, and determination to build a program.
I suggest starting with a business plan. It doesn’t have to be complex. Start with a mission, vision, company objectives, financial plan, types of services being offered (programs, lectures, challenges), and marketing strategy amongst other criteria. If these business planning foundations are new for you, reach out to your local SCORE office. They will take you step-by-step through a business plan, writing a contract and proposal, and a marketing strategy. Their services are free and the amount of knowledge you will receive will be tremendous and beneficial.
Once you have your plan then it’s time to start networking and finding leads. You can use networking resources such as LinkedIn to find HR directors or referrals from your current clients. Research companies who fit the target demographic you are able to support and serve. You can either call to set up an appointment or personally drop in and ask if you can speak to someone in the HR department. You are going to need excellent marketing materials to get your foot in the door! Be prepared and present your self professionally – you only have one chance to make a first impression. If you can get 15 minutes to talk with them about what you can offer that is fantastic, if not, leave them with marketing materials that highlight your services and schedule a time to follow up.
If you are able to secure an appointment, be prepared to speak to them about what your mission and vision are and how you can help to improve the overall health and wellness of their workforce. This sometimes means presenting to a board of directors or a group of top-level executives. Convey to them that fitness and wellness services for their employees can be valuable to the company’s bottom line, so keep revisiting that theme throughout your presentation.
Research current data, studies, and statistics supporting claims of what a corporate fitness program can do for an organization. Highlight the impact of how much an unhealthy, sedentary workforce can cost companies, for example, compared to the benefits (e.g., health behaviors, morale, productivity, employee retention, etc.) and ROI a corporate fitness program would bring to the company in the long run. Contact their insurance company as well to network and see what they offer as part of the company’s insurance package. They could be able to help support your proposal with complementary benefits they already offer to the company, making your services even more valuable.
Next, prepare a proposal based off of the information from your presentation. Include what the costs would be and different packages to choose from with “value add” options like newsletters, lunch and learns, and participating in health fairs. Be prepared for obstacles and always anticipate what the next question will be and how you can address it.
If they would like to move forward with your services, you will need a formal agreement or contract between the parties. (A SCORE mentor can help you with this as well since they usually have contract templates that they can provide for you.) You’ll also want to make sure your professional liability insurance covers your services and any additional insureds or requirements the company you are contracting with may need.
Now it’s time to execute your program. Employees are looking for fun and energetic fitness professionals to inspire them and take them away from the stress of work and everyday life. Keep in mind that many of the employees will likely be deconditioned. As a qualified fitness professional, you should be able to progress and regress activities as needed for various fitness and skill levels. Your programs should also be inclusive and nondiscriminatory for all demographics to participate.
Have fun and your energy will radiate equaling more referrals. Be sure to market yourself on social media sites (with consent) to local business events and local news editorials for more exposure.