The Lean Canvas: The Fastest Way To Map Out Your Health And Fitness Business, Deconstruct Your Key Assumptions, And Outline Your Next Steps
Health and fitness pros often wonder if they have what it takes to start a business of their own + succeed in the industry. They worry if their services will resonate, if clients will buy what they’re selling, and if they’ll be able to put — and keep — food on the table. If that sounds like you, worry no more. With just 20 minutes, you can create a Lean Canvas that will show you what you need to succeed.
“I’m looking for 10 women…
… who want to master their eating habits, take charge of their life, and maximize their confidence over the next three months.
If this sounds like you, send me a DM to apply by Saturday at 12 pm.
Spots are limited and they will sell out.”
If you’re like many health + fitness pros, you’ve likely seen a social media ad like this, or perhaps you’ve even tried one yourself.
It’s the oldest trick in the book and it’s one of the most widely taught sales + marketing techniques in the industry.
It makes it sound like having a business is simple — that all you have to do is 1) decide who you want to sell to 2) outline the key benefits they’ll receive and 3) tell them what you offer with some urgency.
If starting a health + fitness business was really that easy, everyone would be doing it (and making a livable wage in the process).
Creating a sustainable business requires a bigger lens.
While you might get lucky and see BIG success on your first social post, make money, and keep making money, this happy ending isn’t the story for most.
Plus, making a sale and creating a business that lasts are two different things. Anyone can sell services to a client. Not everyone can keep clients around or make them happy enough to refer their friends.
Creating a sustainable business requires a deep understanding of:
- Your customers (who they are + the problems they’re really trying to solve),
- Your offering (how you plan on solving your clients top 3 problems),
- Your channels (and what you’ll do to reach more customers),
- Existing solutions + competitors (and how you’ll stand out from the crowd),
- Key metrics (and how you’ll know if you’re succeeding or not),
- Your cost structure (so you’ll know what you need to charge), and
- Your revenue streams (how you’ll bring in money and manage your cash flow).
Not making a sale is not the worst thing that could happen to you.
The worst thing that could happen to you is scaling up, or overselling, a product or a service with an unsustainable business model. One where:
- The costs outweigh the profits (and the more you sell, the more in debt you actually become),
- The work is out of line with your purpose (and the more you sell, the more time you lose doing what really matters to you), and
- You’re not working with the people you’re meant to work with (and the more you sell, the more you dislike how you’re spending your time).
Understand what you’re getting into (before you take the plunge).
To deeply understand your business and what key assumptions you’ll need to test to succeed, many folks recommend creating a business plan, or an in-depth document that describes the business, your products and services, how you earn (or will earn money), your financing and operations model, and more.
The great thing about business plans is that they help evaluate the feasibility of an idea before spending years working on an idea only to find out that it wasn’t going to work.
Business plans will help you:
- Clarify your ideas. Taking time to plan will help you understand the scope of your business, and get a sense of the time, money, and resources needed to get started.
- Make strategic decisions. By researching your customers (and your competitors) you’ll have more data to inform how you’ll move forward.
- Communicate what you do. Knowing the depths of your business will help you better articulate what you’re trying to accomplish to current (or future) clients, colleagues, or even investors (should you go that route).
- Establish partnerships. Knowing your vision and having a growth strategy is a prerequisite for asking others to work with you (and for knowing if there is a fit on both sides).
- Highlight your assumptions. As an entrepreneur, there are a lot of roles you need to take on, which also comes with a lot of unknowns. A business plan will help you get clear on your gaps + what you need help (or to level up your skills).
The bad thing about business plans is that they can take weeks or months to write, may require a significant investment (if you don’t have a business background and have to hire someone to help you), and are seldom read.
20-minutes can change your business + life.
After writing numerous business plans, I learned about the lean canvas 9 years ago when I was completing my MBA in entrepreneurship, and I’ve been using it ever since.
Rather than being 15 to 20 pages in length (like a typical business plan), the lean canvas is a 1-page business plan template that is faster to create and will be read by more people (including you).
It’s more agile in nature, so as the market adjusts, you can simply update your lean canvas and keep moving forward.
Here’s what a blank lean canvas looks like:
Having a perfect plan is a myth.
While planning is important, the goal isn’t to create a bombproof plan that you’ll stick with no matter what.
In fact, most successful companies have significantly altered their trajectory along the way. For example, while Netflix is now known for online streaming, it started out as a service that delivered DVDs to your mailbox. And Play-Doh, the childhood arts and crafts compound, was originally made in the 1930s to clean coal soot from the walls.
The more you engage with your business and your customers, there are high odds that what you end up doing will be different than what you expected too. In fact, if you stick to your guns as the global economy and market demand changes, you might go out of business.
Just like clients can still make progress with consistent implementation of an imperfect plan, the key to making progress in your business isn’t necessarily starting with the perfect plan, but finding a plan that works before you run out of resources.
And the way you do that is not through scribbling in your notebook or on a whiteboard to figure out your perfect plan, but through empirical testing — by interacting with your customers, stress testing your ideas, and refining your plan.
Time is your scarcest resource, so place constraints around the amount of time you spend on your lean canvas so you don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis.
20 minutes is enough for the first pass. The goal isn’t perfection. It’s to get a high-level overview of your thinking so you can start running experiments in the real world.
How To Create Your Own Lean Canvas.
Download your FREE Lean Canvas for Health & Fitness Pros by heading to this link:
Identify your customer segments, or the types of people you’d like to sell your products + services to.
Split your broad customer segments into smaller ones. This is important as specific target audiences will have specific needs, and depending on how big those differences are, they may require an entirely different business model.
For example, if you want to work with women you might consider:
- Executives, who have a hard time fitting diet + exercise into their busy schedules;
- New moms, who have a difficulties adjusting to their new roles + taking time for themselves;
- Women who have older children, who are struggling to find themselves, and their health, after so many years of devoting their lives to their kids.
As you can see, the type of women you work with may dictate deeper problems that they’re looking to solve, how you frame your services, what channels you might use to reach them, and more. (We’ll dive deeper into this later).
The goal is to not go too broad (where you run the risk of not addressing your clients’ specific issues), while also not going too narrow (where you run the risk of limiting the size of your addressable market).
Pick your strongest customer segment.
This might be the group that you:
- Most want to service,
- Know the most about, or
- Have the strongest channel to reach.
In the above example, you might choose to target new moms first, as you recently became a mom yourself and deeply understand the struggles they’re going through (and have the necessary knowledge + skills to help).
Again, the rest of your canvas will be dictated by your customer segment. So, it’s important to get clear on this piece as it sets the foundation for the rest of your business model.
To level up your lean canvas, it’s important to distinguish between customers (the people who pay you) and users (the people that use your products and services). This will help you determine who you need to target, appeal to, and sell to.
Sometimes, your customer and users are the same person (for example, a new mom may buy a personal training package from you), and other times, they’re different (for example, a mom might buy a coaching package for her daughter).
Other times, you attract users and try to convert them into customers. This is common in companies who offer lower-tiered products and services for free, in hopes to collect a higher fee later on (e.g. software companies). In the health and fitness industry, this could include trainers who give away free bootcamps now and then as a way (hopefully) convert participants into one-on-one training clients.
For marketplaces, you often have two or more parties that create value and it would behoove you to make a separate lean canvas for each. An example of such a business would be Airbnb where you have to attract 1) homeowners who want to rent their places and 2) folks who are looking for a place to rent. Or, the app Train Heroic that helps strength coaches deliver training programs to their clients, while also having the option for clients to buy training programs from the coaches. The way you attract the former might be quite different from how you attract the latter.
Get even more specific and outline your early adopters. These are the people who need your services the most.
Early success will be determined by how well you know and serve your early adopters.
In the words of the world-renowned marketer, Seth Godin, you often have to,
“Find ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you… Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three).”
For example, Facebook didn’t start with everyone. It started with students on the Harvard Campus.
For you, maybe your early adopters are new moms who have had a baby in the last 6 months and are struggling with their sense of self. They enjoy their career and are trying to adapt to their new role.
The fact that they have recently gone through a massive life transition will likely leave them feeling unsettled and more open for help.
Remember: people usually buy products + services for deeper, emotional reasons, not logical ones.
Now that you know who your ideal target audience is, give your lean canvas a title that encapsulates your idea and speaks to your core customers.
In our experience, a good title will help frame your thoughts, and bring the type of “energy” you want to the rest of your lean canvas (and your business).
For example, maybe your title for your business for new moms reads something like:
Mom Boss Training, Inc.
Get active, eat better, and enhance your confidence in 90 days (or it’s free).
List your clients’ top 1-3 problems that they’re looking to solve.
While it might be tempting to simply list external problems, like weight loss, increased strength, or more energy, it’s important to dig beneath the surface.
In order to increase client interest, engagement, and impact, you must tune into their internal and philosophical problems too.
For example, while new moms might come to you to “help them lose the baby weight”, internally they might feel a lack of confidence or a sense of shame that they just can’t “handle” being a new mom.
Or, perhaps, there’s a bigger, philosophical problem they’re dealing with: every woman ought to have the chance to be a mom without losing themselves.
To find out your client’s deeper problems, we recommend two techniques:
1) The 5 Whys Exercise, and
2) Jobs To Be Done
The 5 Whys Exercise
The 5 Whys Technique was created by Sakichi Toyota, the Japanese industrialist, inventor, and founder of Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1930s.
It was created as a way to dig deeper into problems and drill down to their root cause in order to make decisions around what’s actually happening, rather than what someone thinks is happening.
You can use this exercise with your current or prospective clients to discover their deeper motivation for hiring you.
The idea is to ask your clients a question like:
Why did you decide to seek out my services?
They might answer:
Because I recently became a new mom and I’d like to drop my baby weight.
Then you ask “why” to that answer. Like this:
Why is dropping the baby weight important to you?
They might say:
Because I want to feel like myself again.
Then, you ask, “why” again, like this:
But why does feeling like yourself matter?
And then they answer:
Well, because I miss the way it was. I miss having energy and time to do the things I love.
Then you ask “why” one more time, like this:
And why does having energy and time mean so much to you?
Then they answer:
Because I’m afraid that I might lose myself. I loved my career and my life before becoming a mom and I’ve seen too many women panic when their kids go away to college because they gave up everything for their children and they forgot who they are. I don’t want to wake up in 18 years and wonder where “I” went.
By the time you’ve gotten to your final answer, you should have a pretty good idea of some of your clients core values and motivators. And creating your programs around these types of problems will help turn your customers from clients to raving fans.
Jobs To Be Done
Another useful technique is using the Jobs To Be Done technique popularized by Clayton Christensen. The basic premise here is that clients hire your product or service to get a job done.
This is likely something that they’ve already tried to unsuccessfully solve for. Once you understand what clients really want from you, you are in a much better position to create products and services that your clients actually want (and you have a clearer idea of who your real competitors are).
Jobs To Be Done helps you assume less, ask strategic questions, and listen deeply to figure out the real reasons people buy what they do, when they do.
It also helps you map people’s decision-making timelines.
And the forces that push and pull them into making decisions.
A full description of Jobs To Be Done goes beyond the scope of this article. However, you can check out this 3 part series to learn more.
- How To Know What Clients Want, Part 1
- How To Know What Clients Want, Part 2
- How To Know What Clients Want, Part 3
For now, simply write down 1-3 problems that you’re helping your clients solve. While you may not dive into the 5 Why or Jobs To Be Done exercises with your clients now, you can keep them in mind as you test your assumptions later.
Outline existing alternatives.
Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of what problems you’re actually trying to help your clients solve, it’s now time to dive into your clients’ current reality and explore what solutions they’re using today.
Knowing what your clients are currently using will help inform who your competitors are, who you might partner with, what you can do to stand out from the crowd, and your pricing structure (more on this later).
Similar to the problems that you’re trying to solve, these solutions might be unexpected.
To continue on with our new mom example, if your clients’ deepest problems are around self-confidence and setting boundaries, existing solutions may extend outside of the exercise and nutrition industry, and include things like support groups and counselling.
Also, doing nothing, or avoiding the problem, is also a potential solution.
For each of the 1 to 3 problems you listed on your lean canvas, outline a specific solution, such as a feature in your product or service, that will help solve the problem.
For example, if you discovered that most of your clients are struggling with establishing boundaries, rather than viewing counsellors and communication experts as competition, you might view them as collaborators who could come in and teach sessions on these topics once a month to a group of your clients.
Note: The solution is usually the piece that health & fitness pros are obsessed about. Because it’s fun to create things, and it’s fun to think of ways to serve those people that you want to help.
But your solution isn’t usually what’s riskiest on the canvas, and it is often the only piece of the canvas that is frequently talked about within the industry.
We hope the image of the entire lean canvas helps show you that your solution is simply one piece of the larger puzzle.
Outline your unique value proposition, or the key benefits you offer your clients and what makes you different from others. This is one of the hardest things to get right and it’s one of the most critical components.
If you’re new to the industry, one of your initial challenges is getting noticed at all. To stand out, you’re going to have to have something compelling to offer.
Your unique value proposition takes place at the intersection between the key problem you’re solving and the ultimate outcome that your client is going to experience through working with you.
Grab your copy of the value proposition diagram by downloading your FREE Lean Canvas for Health & Fitness Pros here.
For example, for a client who wants to lose weight, the final output isn’t about a number on the scale. It is usually about having the confidence to do the things they love with the people they love.
Avoid empty marketing promises and make sure you’re specific.
Here’s a framework that can help:
End result your client wants + specific time period they can expect results + solution to potential objections
What this might look like:
1. Get active, eat better, and enhance your confidence in 90 days (or it’s free).
2. Increase your strength, maximize your energy, and take charge of your life in 30 minutes/day (or less).
3. Reclaim your body, master your mind, and step into your potential in just six months (without giving up the foods you love).
Like anything on your canvas, it’s a guess, or a hypothesis that you’ll have to test and refine later.
Create your high-concept pitch.
If it takes you a long time to explain what you do, you’ll lose people’s attention very quickly. One way to get around this is to craft a high concept pitch, or an analogy, that quickly describes what you do.
This one-line pitch originated in Hollywood, where movie producers commonly craft brief sound bites to quickly explain their vision. For example, the movie “Aliens” was pitched as “Jaws from space.”
However, high-concept pitches can be used for virtually any business. For example, when YouTube was getting started, it was often referred to as “Flickr for videos.”
High-concept pitches allow others to understand what you do, very quickly. And, if your customers become fans, it’s an easy way to help spread what you do via word of mouth.
When making your high-concept pitch, make sure to keep it brief and to relate your offering to something people readily know and understand.
For example, imagine you were marketing to executive women who recently had a baby. You might say something like, “It’s like executive training for moms who want to champion their lives, their health, and their families.”
Define your revenue streams. How you price your offer will determine how your product is viewed and what type of customers you will attract. Separating your pricing from your product is nearly impossible.
To understand what we mean, let’s look at a simple example.
Let’s say you walk into a gas station to buy a bottle of water on a road trip and you see two bottles in front of you: one priced at $1 USD and another for $4 USD. Even though both bottles contain the same ingredient (good old H2O), the price has the ability to develop the perceived value, or what the product is, in your mind.
For example, you might see the $1 USD bottle as something to simply quench your thirst, while the $4 USD bottle might be viewed as something that can make you smarter (e.g. SmartWater) or, perhaps, more sophisticated (e.g. Perrier).
Similarly, the price can dictate your customers — a person who would rather choose a $4 USD bottle of water is likely quite different from someone who would choose a $1 USD bottle of water.
When pricing your health & fitness products and services, it’s important to do so in three ways:
1) Compare against existing alternatives.
When valuing your offerings, clients will naturally compare the price to existing options. Do your market research and see what your competitors are charging. This will give you an idea of what is deemed reasonable in your customer’s eyes.
Keep in mind that these alternatives are based around the job that your clients are hiring your products and services to do. And those jobs may be serviced by other companies that lie outside of traditional health and fitness offerings like personal training or nutrition coaching.
So, it’s important to really do your research to find out why your clients are really hiring you and what the real alternatives are.
2) Determine your cost of doing business and work backwards.
Add up all of your business expenses (more on this later), determine how many customers you’d like to work with, and divide the former by the latter. This will help you see how much you’d have to charge each client to cover your costs.
As we mentioned earlier, your biggest fear shouldn’t be not making any sales. It should be selling something in high-volumes that is unsustainable and causes you to hustle without creating any long term value (or, even worse, causing you debt).
Getting an honest view of your costs early on will see if your business is worth pursuing in the first place.
3) Test what the market will bear.
While the first two methods will give you a great starting point, seeing how your clients react to your pricing in the real world will determine what you can actually charge.
For example, if you charge $199 USD/month and no one is buying your products and services, you may want to try lowering your prices slightly to see if you’re able to earn more clients.
If, on the other hand, you’re charging $199 USD/month, you’re closing 100% of your leads, and you’re struggling with capacity, you may want to increase your prices so you can take on fewer clients while earning more money.
Keep your pricing simple (for now) and frame it around your early adopters.
Outline your channels, or how you’ll connect with, and deliver value to, your customers.
Your path to clients is one of the riskier pieces on your lean canvas. You might be able to outline a problem worth solving, build out a solution, and even get a small number of customers to derive value from it. But if you can’t get your product in front of enough customers, none of that matters.
Channels aren’t something you should defer to later. They are something you should start thinking about (and testing) from day one.
Later on, you’ll be able to test which channels are working best, which are most cost-efficient, and which ones are worth pursuing (and letting go of).
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to find channels to your customers:
- Where do my customers hangout?
For example, if your target market is executive women who are new moms, then LinkedIn might be a good option. If, however, your target market is non-working moms, then LinkedIn may not make sense, but a Facebook support group for new moms might.
- Do direct or indirect channels make more sense?
Is your best bet selling your products and services through your own website, gym, or email channels, or does it make more sense to sell your services through partner channels? While the former may have higher margins, they can be more costly to operate and it can take a long time to broaden your reach. As a result, it might be worth considering establishing partnerships or referral networks to grow your business faster. For example, if you want to work with new moms, you might partner with a gym franchise who has a large client base but lacks pre- and postnatal knowledge. If they come across a client who could benefit from your services, they could refer the client your way for a percentage of the proceeds.
- If you have clients, where do most of my clients come from and how might I double down on that?
If you’re like many health and fitness professionals, a lot of your initial clients will result from talking to people you know in the way you’d normally talk to them (face-to-face, email, phone, etc.) about what you do. And, overtime, if you do good work, your next wave of clients will come from referrals from happy customers.
The good news is that you don’t need to have scalable channels from day one. It’s okay to have some outbound channels to jumpstart learning, such as:
- A list of close contacts (friends, family, colleagues, etc.)
- Introductions from others you know
- An email list generated from a teaser page
- Loyal fans from reading your blogs
- Social media followers from Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
- Cold calling (or emailing)
- Sponsoring group events
If you want a lifestyle business, rather than a large business, you might be able to never extend beyond the above methods.
That said, if you do want a larger business, identifying where scalable channels might come from in the future, as they typically take time to build, is wise. You might consider channels like:
- Content marketing
- Hiring a sales force
- Generating referrals
- SEO optimization
Define your key metrics.
Key metrics are how you’ll measure success. Like blood pressure and resting heart rate are a couple of indicators of a person’s health, key metrics are numbers that will tell you the health of your business.
Having a business is chaotic, but at the end of the day, there are only a few numbers that matter. And, while there are many things you could track, for now, we encourage you to identify two key metrics:
- Key action or the primary activity you would use to measure your value proposition. For example, for Twitter, someone posting a tweet would be a key metric.For a health and fitness business, a key action might be referring a friend or a family member to your services. After all, if someone sends someone they love your way, chances are very high that you helped them achieve the goals that mattered to them.
- Success metric or how you will know if you’ve been successful. What would you need to achieve to make this business worthwhile? If it’s a revenue goal, what is it and how many clients will you need to acquire to make it a reality? The success metric you choose can be more personal. For example, it might be a way of measuring what impact you have on the world.
Determine your cost structure.
If you don’t have a clear idea of the cost of doing business, you might hustle for hours, weeks, months, or even years without making enough money to live.
So, the next thing that should keep you up at night is how you’ll create enough runway to ensure your business continues to operate, even through the challenging times, to keep you and your family fed.
While there are many numbers you’ll want to calculate, we recommend starting with your:
1. Fixed costs
Fixed costs are costs that stay stable no matter how many clients you work with. They don’t change, whether you increase your decrease the amount of client packages you sell.
Some examples of fixed costs might include:
- Salaries (more on this below)
- Rental lease or mortgage payments (should you have a physical space)
- Marketing (if you set an annual budget)
- Property taxes
- Gym equipment
- Office supplies
- Interest expense (if you’ve borrowed money)
- Annual subscriptions (website, training software, etc.)
- Professional fees (legal, accounting)
A special note about your salary: While it might be tempting to pay yourself a lot out of the gates, we recommend sticking with a reasonable number that will get your needs met (to start). Similarly, you might be tempted to not include your salary in your business costs at the beginning, however, this is an equally terrible mistake.
Even if you can’t pay yourself a fair wage (yet), it’s important to include a salary in your costs so you can see if you have the potential to build a sustainable business (or not).
To take emotion out of the picture, we recommend doing some research and looking up comparable wages in the market of someone doing your job. This is especially crucial if you plan on selling your company one day or moving out of your role. The potential buyer isn’t going to care about how much you think you’re worth, they are going to care about how much it will cost to replace you.
While you might be tempted to take a larger salary as soon as you scale, we recommend taking more of a consistent salary (and setting some extra funds aside) so you have some runway in case the market changes or your health/ability to work changes.
As an example, let’s say you run an online coaching business that includes guest speakers. Your fixed annual costs might include:
Salaries of core team members = $110,000
Professional fees (legal + accounting) = $3,500
Design + Marketing = $3000
Guest speakers = $2,400
Training Software = $1,500
Office Supplies = $500
Social Media Scheduling Software = $360
Bookkeeping Software = $360
Website Hosting = $300
Total Fixed Costs = $121,920
2. Variable costs
Unlike fixed costs, variable costs change in proportion to how much you sell. So, if you sell more products and services, these costs go up; if you sell less, they go down.
Examples of variable costs include things like:
- Raw materials and packaging
- Transaction fees
- Direct labor
- Marketing costs (if you hand out samples, give free trials (that still cost you your time) etc.)
Following the online coaching business above, perhaps your only variable costs include transaction fees which equal 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Assuming you sold a 3-month high-end coaching package for $735, your total variable costs would equal $21.62 USD (($735 x 2.9%) + $0.30 = $21.62 USD).
3. Break-even point
Calculating your break-even point will help you figure out how many clients you need to serve, or how many products you need to sell, to cover all of your expenses.
You can also use your break-even point as a quick litmus test to see what the actual impact of changing your pricing strategy can have on your profit margins.
Here’s how to calculate your break-even point:
Break-even = Fixed Costs/(Price/Unit – Variable Costs)
Following the example above, and assuming you sell a high-end 3 month training package for executive women at $735 USD, the break-even point for the online training business would be:
Break-even = $121,920/($735-$21.62)
= 171 training packages
*Note: For break-even, we like to round up to the nearest whole number because you can’t typically sell a portion of a product or training package. And, if you were to round down, you wouldn’t meet your target.
4. The number of customers you’ll need to meet your success metric.
Lastly, figure out how many customers you’d have to serve to meet your success metric.
If, for example, you and your team decided that you’d like to grow a business that generated $200,000 USD/year in revenue and you sold 3-month training packages for $735, you’d have to serve 273 clients to reach your goal ($200,000/$735) = 272.1 = 273))*
*Similar to break-even, we like to round up here as it’s nearly impossible to sell 0.1 of a training package, or to serve 0.1 of a person.
Getting an honest inventory of your costs will help ensure that you have a problem worth solving. If your idea won’t fund your lifestyle, and you require money to live, discovering this early will free you up to pursue something else.
*Just a quick note on costs: like anything in life, it’s often this even over that. So, while you might want to only work for four hours a week, make hundreds of thousands of dollars, and have time to do the things you love with the people you love, usually something has to give. When thinking about the type of business you want to lead, we recommend considering your workview, or the role work plays in your life, and using those success criteria to determine what you’d like to prioritize.
This 2-minute Workview Assessment will help you:
a) understand how you view your work, and the role it plays in your life;
b) establish your own success metrics, and use them to guide your daily decisions; and
c) outline the key steps to take so you can live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
Click here for the Change Maker Academy Workview Assessment:
Outline your unfair advantage or barriers for entry
Whether you’re looking for investment or looking to describe why you’re the best person to help your clients reach their health and fitness goals, your unfair advantage will give you the language (and strategy) you need to stand out from the crowd.
While many people think they have to be first to market to gain an advantage, this isn’t always the case. As proof, companies like Facebook and Toyota weren’t the first companies in their chosen industry; they were fast followers who learned from the companies before them to deliver high-quality offerings.
Similarly, in the health and fitness industry, it doesn’t necessarily matter that there are other professionals in the field. In fact, there are very low odds that you’re going to be the first one to offer a service like yours.
Plus, with lifestyle diseases and obesity at all-time highs — and more people wanting in on the coaching opportunity they present — the health and fitness industry is far from saturated.
That being said, it is still important to consider things that set you apart that can’t be easily copied or bought. After all, you can’t use your unfair advantage until you can name it.
Some examples of unfair advantages include:
- Insider information
- Personal authority
- Dream team
- Bulletproof reputation
- Existing pool of raving fans/customers
- The “right” celebrity endorsements
- Large network effects
- Engaged community
- Organic search (SEO) ranking
- Core values
If you’re struggling to see what your special sauce is, we recommend gathering feedback from others to see what your unique abilities are.
Or the things that:
- You are, or have the potential to be, world-class at.
- You really enjoy doing.
- You can make a big difference with, if you use them.
To find out how to uncover yours, check out this article: How To Uncover Your Unique Abilities And Use Them To Serve Your Purpose.
You might not have an unfair advantage that applies to you today, or feels powerful enough. That’s okay to start out with and it’s to be expected if you’re early on in your career.
Seeing this gap on your lean canvas will show you that this is something you need to fill over time and it can inspire innovative growth and thinking.
Plus, when you start to test your products and services in the real world, your unfair advantage might be revealed over time.
An example of a “finalized” Lean Canvas
Following our theme of new moms, here’s an example of a Lean Canvas:
While all the boxes are filled out, it isn’t “done.” You can do all the secondary research in the world and that will still not guarantee your success.
Rather than view your Lean Canvas as something you’ve completed, we recommend that you view it as a constant working draft. Something that you review, test, and update over time.
What to do next
After you’ve sketched out your plan, the next steps are to:
- Identify the riskiest parts of your plan, and
- Systematically test your plan.
For example, if your whole business model hinges on your ability to sell your products and services, go out and try it.
If you can’t do this, you will be better off 1) Partnering with someone who can (which will drive up your business costs) 2) Upskilling so you can sell, or 3) Trying something else (like working for a health and fitness business) where your role doesn’t have to be sales.
Want to learn more? Dive deeper?
It will help take the above — and put it into practice — so you can can gain a deeper understanding of your:
- Customers (who they are + the problems they’re really trying to solve),
- Offering (how you can solve your clients top 3 problems),
- Channels (and what you’ll do to reach more customers),
- Existing solutions + competitors (so you can know how to stand out from the crowd),
- Key metrics (and how you’ll know if you’re succeeding or not),
- Cost structure (so you’ll know what you need to charge), and
- Revenue streams (and how you’ll bring in money + manage your cash flow).
And we’ll show you how to test your assumptions, in the real world, so you can make data-driven decisions and confidently build your way forward.
Lean Canvas for Health & Fitness Pros.Download this step-by-step guide to building a successful business, totally free.
90% of businesses fail. The Lean Canvas For Health & Fitness Pros will help you beat the odds by showing you exactly how to map out your assumptions, test them in the real world, and confidently build your way forward.