So you REALLY want to build a successful health/fitness business? Great! Let’s start a dose of reality first.

The world we live in, especially here in the U.K., is stuck in a rut right now, and there’s not a lot of hope for growth. I know that sounds bleak… but I’m a certified optimist!

In the 30 years that I’ve been building businesses, I’ve survived two recessions, one GREAT recession and many more downturns. There have been so many bumps in the road over the past few decades, it can make just about anyone carsick.

Over that time, I’ve worked in vastly different industries, and have been close to bankruptcy twice. I’ve employed well over 100 people and let go of 20 or so.

As a health professional, I’ve coached thousands of clients and patients during my 20-year career in this industry. I have survived, even flourished in all of these difficult times which is why I’m such an optimist.

All of that experience has taught me three deep truths about business success. By success, I mean building a business that creates fantastic outcomes for both clients and business owners and generating predicable incomes in an unpredictable economy.

Understand and embrace the following three truths and they’ll provide you with enough space to enjoy your chosen profession without the headaches and soul-searching.

1. Be clear about whether you own a business or a job.

Seventy percent of ALL businesses fail within the first two years. In the fitness industry alone, a staggering 90 percent of newly qualified personal trainers will quit within 18-24 months.

There are many reasons why these failures happen, but if you want to avoid them, first, you must take the time to really think about what it means to own a business, not a job.

A business is a holistic entity. By that, I mean a true business is a well-oiled system of systems with each one supporting all of the others in that ecosystem. Most importantly, it doesn’t rely on you steering it toward blue waters and away from the rocks 24/7!

That is the definition of a business. Anything less is owning your own job, even if you employ others.

There’s nothing wrong with owning a job. But, in my experience, doing that is stressful and doesn’t create more freedom for you. You’re always stuck at the helm, knowing that if you aren’t there, you’ll end up smashed on the rocks, leaking water from everywhere.

Also, job owners find themselves in feast or famine mode.

Feast mode means more work than you can comfortably handle which feels exciting at first. However, it often leads to overconfidence, having too many customers to really help and, in the end, customer dissatisfaction, overworked, disgruntled staff members and whole lot of stress and anxiety for you, the Chief Job Owner!

Famine mode reveals itself in poor quality work created during feast mode which makes your business prospects dry up. Even if the dry spell lasts for a brief time, the bills still need paid. The famine mode is the final nail in the coffin for the 90 percent of the business that fail. The lack of cash flow just sinks the ship.

Owning a business, however, is entirely different.

In a business, all departments are planned well. Each member of the team knows exactly what his/her roles, goals and responsibilities are and knows how to achieve them.

Owning a business means you can delegate responsibilities when necessary to free yourself to work where your skills, expertise and passion are really needed. You should be confident that your team members will do their jobs at least as well as you do. Ideally, they should perform them a whole lot better.

That’s a huge difference, so be sure to figure out what have now — a business or a job — and what you want.

2. Create, don’t imitate.

Another big mistake people make is to copy what others are doing, rather than creating their own unique businesses.

I’m not saying you can’t learn from successful and (unsuccessful) businesses. I’m an avid, lifelong learner on all matters of business. But, think of it this way…

All of those personal trainer certifications in the industry (and all over the world) are basically factories, churning out people with the same exact skills and education. In other words, there’s very little to differentiate any one of them from another.

Moreover, the number of personal training providers has grown considerably over the last decade. All of them are competing in a cramped space, driving prices down to remain competitive. It’s a race to the bottom.

And, because personal trainers don’t have a lot of discretionary income, the level of education they can access is sharply reduced.

Newly qualified personal trainers are so full of hope and excitement to help people, but most of them are shocked to discover that they just don’t have the skills to help their clients (and the competition in their industry is brutal).

Choosing the path less traveled may be harder initially but, in the long-term, the payoffs are really worth it.

In 2024, the CHEK Institute will be working on CHEK Clinic regional licensing, which allows all CHEK Practitioners at  Level 3 and higher to own their own CHEK Clinic license.

CHEK Clinics are the best of both worlds. They cover all the major components of how to run a successful business, plus they rely on your own creative flare so you can make it your very own.

3. Provide a client-centered experience.

I’ve had one of Paul’s most popular sayings — If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing! — posted in my clinic assessment rooms for years.

Having worked with hundreds of clients, I know for a fact that no two people are the same. Their goals, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, dreams, habits, preferences… everyone is different.

If you don’t take a completely client-centered approach with each person you work with, there will come a point — and it’s likely to come very quickly — that you can’t help them.

As a CHEK Practitioner, I provide a unique service that enables me to work with those differences and create programs that are suited to the specific individual.

My clients see that in every session too. Beyond the obvious benefits they receive from my actual programs, my client-centered approach makes them feel cared for, listened to and treated with respect.

At the same time, my services are also scalable and repeatable with as many clients or team members as my facility can manage. And, I can do it all using the world’s best system of integrated health coaching.

Yes, I’m biased. But I am also hard to impress, and I’ve worked in the trenches for two decades, so I know it’s true.

I am lucky to have found the CHEK Institute at the time I did in my life. It gave me a system to work with that has been tried and tested for three decades with thousands of clients the world over.

And, it’s my life’s work.

Is it time for you to find your own life’s work?

If you’d like to talk to me about how the CHEK Institute can help you build a successful integrated health/fitness business — one that really embraces those three truths — I’m here for you.

Tap this link to schedule a call with me and let’s talk!

In good health,


Gavin Jennings