Functional Training Zones

The Top 4 Ways to Grow Your Fitness Business

by Elizabeth Kristof & Lee Vallely

Most boutique studio owners start their businesses because they are skilled practitioners, passionate about their work and the impact it makes on their clients. This is why we founded RedBird Fitness LLC, so we know what that moment of entrepreneurial inspiration feels like.

Unfortunately, while the dedication may be unwavering, the skills that lead to the founding of a business are not the same as those that sustain quality growth. Too often in this industry we become slaves to our businesses – leading at best to burn out and at worst to serious injury. As studio owners, we often find that we grow our business at the expense of ourselves, and that as our company gets larger, the quality that was originally there dulls.

How do you build a business that works for you rather than a job where you work? And, how do you not just scale up, but scale QUALITY? Build the right systems. Scaling quality requires replicable, measurable systems, founded in the key success factors that differentiate your business.



First, understand whom you serve. Begin by profiling yourself. Like attracts like. Many of your clients will reflect your own interests and desired results. Then, back up your intuitive understanding with data. Run reports on the ages, location, income and attendance records of your clients. Finally, survey your clients. Make sure to ask the right questions: What brought you to this studio? Why do you stay? Compile this information to create a precise profile of your ideal client.



After understanding who your client is – it’s vital to understand the need you fill for them. All systems created must produce replicable results that serve their unique needs.

A useful exercise in identifying your client’s pain point is “A Day In The Life.” Map out what your archetype client’s day looks like from the moment she wakes up until her head hits the pillow. Look for what she needs from you during that day.

Use your client’s pain point to identify your core competencies. For example, at RedBird, our client is a woman, between 30 to 60, who is an expert in her field, a leader in her community. She is BUSY – and she is looking for results from a method that is efficient, led by people whose expertise matches her own. She’s easily frustrated with mediocrity and she wants a community that supports and inspires her.

From this understanding of the RedBird women, we extrapolated that our three most important core competencies are effective programming, intelligent, professional teachers, and a supportive community. These key success factors have to be present in any system we create to ensure the outcomes we want, for the client we serve.



The key to building systems that scale quality is to ensure they promote your defined core competencies.

Whether developing our online platform, creating new classes, or designing new sales tools – we constantly check that these systems are created around our programs, people, and community.

If we can confidently say that a system has the three key success factors in place, we know that it will produce a consistent, quality RedBird experience.



Every part of your organization must utilize systems if it is to run without your constant involvement, and to create successful systems you need perspective. Business development does not happen when you’re down in the thick of it; you must look from a high level at what you naturally do well and deconstruct it into steps someone else can follow to produce the same results.

For example, when we began our business, we were passionate about our method and skilled at teaching -- it wasn’t hard to build a clientele. To grow, however, we needed to  a system that allowed clients to have the same experience with one of our teachers, and it needed to end in the same result – buy-in to our method.

To do this we created a new client assessment protocol that breaks down not only the movements, but also the talking points we use to lead the client to the appropriate package and close the sale. Now, we don’t jump into the trenches to work with every new client. Our team has a clearly outlined set of replicable steps to produce a consistent outcome. 

We now have many systems in place – from this client on-boarding, to sales funnels, to our teacher training program, but none of them would exist had we not stepped back and gotten strategic. Make a commitment to carve out time each week to work on, not just in, your business.



About the Authors

Elisabeth Kristof and Lee Vallely are owners of RedBird Fitness LLC and content contributors for the Association of Fitness Studios.  RedBird is a movement education method based on 35-years-experience in the industry and includes a premier fitness studio in downtown Austin, a national Pilates teacher training program and an online platform
RedBird’s distinct, science-based methodology emphasizes precision movement, proper alignment and a deep mind-body connection. Women and men who immerse themselves in the RedBird method grow progressively leaner, stronger, more agile – and even more courageous – as their commitment deepens. To learn more about our programs, visit