Sunday, May 12, 2013

Integrity and the importance of a clear conscience

Following on from my post about Business Planning For Independent Personal Trainers earlier this week, a little talk about integrity in business. Now... it's no secret that there's a lot of scumbags and scam artists out there in any field of business and especially in weight loss. There's certainly money to be made through having no integrity, dubious ethics and misleading marketing practices, but I'm pretty sure you're not interested in learning how to do any of that. I'd like to think most people in the PT business are genuine and actually want to help people though, and apart from having to compete with and avoid being screwed by the dishonest business people, there are a few other points that might be an issue as well.

What I mean by integrity is equal parts doing the right thing by yourself and doing the right thing by other people. We're in the business of helping people, but that doesn't mean we do so to our own detriment. This means we charge a fair rate, we pay a reasonable fee for use of the facilities, and we do the right thing by cleaning up after ourselves and so forth.

If you are dealing with people (gym owners) who also have integrity, this will be enough to foster a mutually beneficial arrangement. By marketing yourself, you are also marketing the gym. When you sign a new client, the gym also gets a new member. Maybe the client also buys a set of gloves, supplements, water before training and a protein shake after training. You are contributing to the success of the facility, and in return you have the opportunity to use the facilities to become successful in your own business.

This is a fair arrangement and provided you are doing the right thing in terms of paying your fees on time, cleaning up after yourself and so on, most ethical business owners will be only too happy to have you on board. The good ones will leave you to run your business as you see fit, and the really good ones will assist you in becoming more successful, perhaps by promoting and recommending you to potential new clients, or by actively mentoring you either in your approach to training or business development skills.

These opportunities are somewhat rare though, so as I said in the previous entry if you are lucky enough to find one treat it like gold. It is an invaluable asset. The opposite and more common people you may find yourself dealing with are the more self centred, short sighted type... who are happy for you to be there and to be making money, but only if they are making more money from you being there than you are making yourself.

These sort of people are good at painting things into a light where you being successful is unfair and something you should feel guilty about, as if you are being greedy in wanting to make enough money to pay your own bills or something, even while making a fair contribution to their business as well. Avoid these types if you can, but if you find that you're dealing with one the value of integrity is that you already know that you are making a fair contribution, doing the right thing, and are entitled to make a fair profit for your efforts. Therefore, you have no reason to give in to unfair demands due to doubting your own intentions or value.

I'll tell you some stories about a gym owner like this that I had to endure some other time.