What I’ve Learned From Fitness and Wellness Clients

I’ve learned a lot from Radial’s clients–but not the fitness tips and diet advice you might expect.

From fitness businesses, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what level you’re at when you first start. If you persist at something, and keep at it day after day after day, if you don’t quit in a week or two — you WILL get better. It’s practically impossible not to, and that’s true whether you’re a couch-to-5K runner or an ultramarathoner.

It’s also true whether you’re a “business of one” just starting out or an established wellness business trying to get to the next level.

From our yoga and mind/body clients, I’ve learned the value of “sitting with something” – of “letting the mud settle” until my thoughts clear. In the business world, there’s often pressure to decide things – RIGHT NOW!  It’s important to know when that urgency is right – and when it’s better to just…sit.

From mixed martial arts, I’ve learned that many things are simple, but not easy–like the natural glute ham raise/Russian/Nordic hamstring curl that’s one of the tougher bodyweight exercises out there.

Wellness businesses work the same way. Hosting a online lead generation event like a webinar is simple – anyone with a web connection and a Powerpoint slide deck and an email list can do it. On the other hand, doing it well, so that you get great attendance and plenty of qualified leads, is anything but easy.

From our nutrition and healthy eating clients, I’ve learned that most days, it’s a pretty good idea to do what you SHOULD do. Eat food, mostly plants, not too much (h/t to Michael Pollan).

Same thing goes for wellness businesses in general: you need to attend to every aspect of your business, not just the parts that taste best to you. That means doing sales and marketing and keeping track of  your financials – as well as the fun stuff like working with clients and professional development activities.

From our diabetes and obesity program clients, I’ve learned that you can’t tell anything important just by looking at someone. You’re thinking that slow jogger needs to step up her pace – but you don’t realize that she’s recovered from a severe car accident. You assume someone heavy is inactive – not realizing that actually, she’s on a relay team and has diabetes.

You can’t tell anything just by looking at other wellness businesses or professionals either. You probably assume that they’re doing great, certainly better than you–and you may even be thinking that you better copy what they’re doing, because THEY must’ve cracked the code!

The truth is that you don’t know anything about their business objectives and their results from the outside. You can’t tell by looking. Their super-low prices may work for them, because they’ve streamlined their operations to minimize costs. Doesn’t mean super-low prices will work for your high-touch weight loss program, though.

Finally, what I’ve learned from employee wellness providers is that nothing good happens fast, like making healthy lifestyle changes – gradual changes are nearly always easier to sustain than overnight changes.

The business of wellness is like that too. One of our international clients just moved to the next step in a sales process that’s been going on for a couple of years–and 12-month+ sales cycles for employee wellness providers are the norm more often than the exception.

Tell me what you’ve learned from your wellness business! (Your email stays private, of course.)

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Leslie Nolen, Radial's president, is the nationally-known expert on the art and science of selling health and wellness.


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