LO7 of Unit 6 – Understanding business acumen

Understanding business acumen

Learning outcomes
By the end of this section, you will be able to:

7.1 Outline of how to financially plan

7.2 Describe an organisation’s product offer

7.3 Outline how to develop a digital plan

7.4 Explain the importance of social media and digital profiles

7.5 Explain how to set up and manage a social media/digital profile

Factors to consider when financially planning as part of being a self-employed Instructor/Trainer

If you are a freelance trainer or thinking of starting your own business, financial planning is vital. A financial plan is an overview of your business’s financial situation and its projection for growth. The following is the basic information needed when planning your finances to be a self-employed Instructor/Trainer.

Estimate the costs – The first step is to way up what it costs to start your own business—for example, registering a business name, website and domain names costs, taxes and business and liability insurance, equipment needs, travel costs. Also, include an expense plan detailing current or regular expenses such as travel, rent, venue, utility costs and future expenses such as equipment needs. Having an idea of future expenses can help with growth goals.

Cash flow projection – A cash flow projection is a plan that shows how much money you expect your business to receive and pay out over a set period. It involves expected sales and associated costs. A cash flow forecast also helps identify spending when you may need to curb spending because of another month’s anticipated cash needs. There are three components to a cash flow projection:

1: Sales

2: Profit and loss

3: Cashflow

Perform a break-even analysis – Break-even analysis considers how much you need to sell (Training sessions) versus your costs, such as rent, to break even. It involves determining the contribution margin of what you are selling. The contribution margin is the cost of the training session, less any associated costs. Here’s a simple example; the client pays £40 per training session. Your rent or contribution to the club or venue is £15. Your contribution margin is £40 – £15=£25.

Using this simple method means determining how high sales or weekly scheduled sessions need to break even.

Income statements and balance sheets. A balance sheet is a financial statement that reports on what you owe and own. A balance sheet adds up the assets in your business such as equipment, venue and vehicle etc., then subtracts any debt such as loans and finance agreements. The result is your net worth.

The structure and functions of blood vessels

Unique selling points

To stand out from the rest of the fitness community or in your gym, consider an area of fitness you wish to be known or what your unique selling point will be(USP). A USP is the one thing that makes you better than the competition. What will make you stand out? By narrowing your focus, you can widen your appeal—for example, body transformations, strength and conditioning or corrective exercise. Whatever you decide, focus on its continued development, increasing your knowledge and skills, becoming the authority.

It’s no good to say you are unique or provide a high-quality service if you can’t differentiate around some aspect your target audience cares about.

Steps to Developing Your USP:

1: Define your target audience – Who are your customers, and what are the pain points that your product or service solves?

2: Know your industry – Who are your competitors? What are other competitors doing well?

3: Describe what makes you, your product unique in the marketplace – What does your product or service do better than your competitors?

4: List the benefits of your product or service – How does your product or service solve your chosen audience’s problems?

5: Offer proof: Can you back up what you are saying?

6: Simplify your message: Create a clear statement defining your service or product.

People buy people, so understand what will set you apart from other trainers. You cannot be everything to everyone, just as a sports coach doesn’t coach every sport.

Health clubs and gyms must apply the same approach with a unique product offering. It allows multiple gyms to occupy the same areas or locations and stay in business.

Examples of club USPs:

  • PureGym’s offers low-cost, flexible memberships and 24 hour opening times. https://www.puregym.com
  • Boutique outfits usually focus on an area of expertise. For example, Rathbone Boxing Club is steeped in the heritage of the sport of boxing. The club aims to deliver the spirit of the traditional, spit-and-sawdust boxing gym – but with a boutique, comfort is added. https://rathboneboxingclub.com
  • David Lloyd offers state-of-the-art gyms, heated indoor and outdoor pools, top-class racquets facilities, well-equipped group exercise studios and luxurious spas. The group wants its members to have a place to meet with friends, enjoy a bite to eat, work, relax, and socialise.

Secondary spend

Secondary spend is defined as any additional revenue generated within a fitness club that stems from additional services. Secondary spending is essential for clubs to generate additional revenue, build brand awareness, reputation, and create a positive member experience and retention.

A modern fitness facility is a place for members to get involved with the brand, fitness community, and health and wellness aspects such as nutrition products, exercise technology, and clothing. For example, David Lloyds has developed concept groups and exercise classes such as Blaze. Participants can see their working heart rates and experience different fitness modalities, such as strength and martial arts. Regular attendees can purchase heart rate belts and boxing mitts to improve their class experience. Other secondary spending services include personal training, sports coaching and swimming lessons. These services help to reinforce the club’s brand as the centre for the whole family wellness experience.

7.3 – 7.5
How to develop and set up a digital plan

If people don’t know about your service, they can’t become your clients. So, it doesn’t matter if you are a personal trainer, running a bespoke gym or own a national health club chain; you need a digital marketing plan to get your message heard. A digital marketing plan states how you intend to raise your profile, reach potential customers, retain existing customers, and boost sales. The plan communicates the benefits of your service or product in a way that resonates with clients. Therefore, the plan should focus on the marketing methods that help engage your target audience.


1. SWOT Analysis: A framework used to evaluate a company’s competitive position and to develop strategic planning.
2. Financial plan: An estimate of income and expenditure for a set period.
2. Target audience: A particular group at which a product is aimed.
3. Marketing plan: A plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service

Example components of a digital marketing plan

1: Social media – Social media is embedded in the fabric of our lives’ and an absolute must-have feature in a digital marketing plan. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and YouTube provide you with free and paid opportunities to reach and interact with potential clients.



Social media increases your visibility among potential clients, letting you reach a broad audience and what’s more, networking accounts are free to create.

2: Advertising – Types of ads include images, text, pop-ups, banners, and video. Retargeting is a method of advertising requiring an anonymous browser cookie that tracks new visitors to your website. It works by following the visitor’s journey to other sites. You may have noticed that ads for previous sites visited appear selling their products or services. This approach’s significant benefit is your advertising effort focuses on people who have already shown interest in your product or service.


3: Content marketing – a type of marketing that involves creating and sharing online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. For example, an excellent strategy is to offer ways to resolve the potential client’s problems like losing unwanted body weight. Posting high-quality content establishes you as the authority in your field of expertise and is an excellent strategy to build trust and regular engagement.


4: Email marketing – Involves sending promotional and sales messages for product and services via email in the form of newsletters. It can be an excellent method of sending personalised messages to segmented parts of your subscribers. Platforms such as Mailchimp allow you to manage your mailing lists, create custom email templates, and nurture and automate your entire marketing campaigns.


5: Virtual events – Webinars or live virtual events allow you to interact with potential and existing clients. Virtual events can be an effective way to present relevant content — such as a service demonstration, education, or to promote upcoming activities and events. Webinars and events engage directly with your audience, allowing you to build trust and strengthen existing relationships by demonstrating deep subject matter expertise.


6: Video marketing – An excellent visual engagement method such as relaying information/education, explaining or showing testimonials’ how to’ videos. YouTube and Vimeo are the most commonly used platforms for sharing videos. 

Social media

How is a digital plan structured?

The following structure is based on the SMART Insights digital plan framework (a publishing and online learning platform to help their people plan, manage and optimise their marketing). They offer a checklist of digital marketing activities structured around the Smart Insights RACE planning framework. The framework includes areas they feel are associated with digital marketing success and have produced a simple template to follow. The RACE Framework consists of these four steps or online marketing activities to increase leads and sales across the customer life cycle.

  • Reach: Grow your audience online by building awareness of your products and services
  • Act: Encourage interactions with your audience on your website and social media networking sites to generate leads and persuade site visitors or prospects to take the next step.
  • Convert: Increase online and offline sales through optimisation.
  • Engage: Developing a long-term relationship with clients to build loyalty as a repeat business

RACE template image

Using social media to best effect – Social media is critical in raising your personal and business profile, letting your existing and potential clients know about your products, offers and services. However, it can become overwhelming where you focus your efforts, so getting the most effective use of social media platforms involves managing the content and leveraging your time. Methods of using social media to best effect:

Use scheduling tools – Effective social media participation involves the consistency of effort. Sporadic interaction and engagement mean your followers will lose interest and move on elsewhere. As a new trainer employing a dedicated social media expert may be beyond your current budget. The answer is to use a social media scheduling tool to automate social media on your accounts. Two popular tools include:

  • Hootsuite
  • Social pilot www.socialpilot.co

Social media scheduling tools usually come with a whole host of features such as publishing/scheduling, analytics, moderation, and team collaboration.

Benefits of scheduling tools include:

1: Time saver – Block out time in your calendar to schedule your posts.

2: Extended reach – It’s easy to schedule posts when you are not available.

3: Multiple platform management – Tools such as Hootsuite allow you an all in one location to manage multiple platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

4: Consistent presence – Scheduling allows you to stick to regular and consistent timeslots to take posts live.

Hootsuite Dashboard

Engage commenters as quickly as possible – Social media engagement is the measurement of comments, likes, and shares. To encourage your target audience to engage with your content, you must monitor or have someone dedicated who is ready to react to user comments at a moment’s notice. Answering questions immediately encourages others to engage and comment. People soon lose interest very quickly if there’s no engagement and can dent your business.

Use analytics – Social media is a powerful tool to reach your audience and grow your business. An essential aspect of using social media is understanding whether your efforts impact, communicate, and reach your audience. You need to measure your success by gathering data from social media websites and analysing them using social media analytics, which is used to measure campaigns and interactions. Metrics include:

  • Click-through rate
  • Audience growth
  • Content engagement
  • Customer service
  • Demographics

The aim is to use the data collected and analysed to ensure your social media strategy meets your marketing needs.

Use surveys, videos, articles and images – Surveys, GIFs, articles, videos, and images have been shown to engage followers and stand out from the information crowd. Therefore, It is worth investing time in developing a content strategy. The content must be of high quality and design. The primary question to ask yourself is what messages your followers want to see and how they will identify with your company or brand. Another factor to consider is what content will get them to click on your post or make a comment. By posting high-quality content, you can become an authority in your subject area to your followers. High-quality content does not need to cost the Earth. All you need is good lighting, a smartphone, and a tripod.