Nike has its swoosh, Amazon has the smile, and Apple proudly states “Think Different”. What do all these brands have in common? They’re memorable, they’re clean, and they differentiate the company in a single phrase or intelligently designed logo. Building a personal training business is no different – the same rules and basic branding rules apply. However, it is intimidating to start a new business and build a reputation when you don’t know where the starting point is – it’s akin to navigating an unknown road without a map or compass.

Building a brand for you and your business requires strategy and critical thinking. You already possess these skills or, at the very least, have a basic foundation. Let’s relate this to clients. Do you only provide your clients with rudimentary and basic exercise programs? No. Do you plan, implement, and evaluate the programs and your clients’ progress? Yes. All this to say, building a brand is similar to the process you follow to craft and execute safe and effective programs for your clients.


Market Research

Congratulations! You successfully passed your certification exam and can now claim to be a Certified Personal Trainer. Hmmm. Now, what? It’s time to conduct market research. Market research removes the “blinders” and helps an individual decide what his or her unique selling points will be. Market research involves asking some of these questions:

  • How do I want to be perceived? What benefits do I wish to communicate to my clients?
  • Who is my audience?
  • What already exists? How can my services complement (versus duplicate) those existing businesses? These questions are especially important in smaller geographical areas due to the risk of saturating the market.
  • What is unique about my business/training services? What factors set me apart? Marketing refers to these factors as USP’s (unique selling points) that will form the foundation and central theme of your services. For example, will you focus on youth fitness, special populations, coaching, or strength and conditioning, etc.?
  • What are my competitors’ rates? You don’t want to price yourself out of the market!

Check out the Small Business Administration website: to learn more and to find local assistance for starting your business. This resource will have information about how to structure your business (there are many options), business plan, registering your business, opening a bank account, permits, insurance, legalities, etc. These services are often free and/or offer grants! A great benefit for those just starting out.

marketing plan

Create a Professional Bio

Once you have some of those initial questions answered and an idea of how you want to market your services, try designing a professional bio. A bio differs from a business card in that it contains more information and is designed to be a communication tool for your services and your business. Ask yourself these questions when drafting your own bio:

  • What reaction am I looking for from potential clients when they see my bio?
  • What call to action do I want a potential client to take after seeing my bio?
  • What overall impact do I want my bio to make?
  • Have I included information about my credentials, my interests, and contact information?
  • Did I include a photo?

One of the most important elements of a well-written bio is that it speaks directly to the niche or target market you wish to harness.

Evaluate Next Steps

 One tremendously effective way to evaluate the next steps you need to take is by using a SWOT Analysis. This strategically allows you to examine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as they relate to the business you wish to build.

  • Think of these as “internal” resources. Your credentials, education, experience, and general talents.
  • These are resources you need or skills you either don’t have or are in need of improvement.
  • These are external to you and relate positive environmental factors you can capitalize upon. For example, happenings in the community, trends, businesses you could form partnerships with, etc.
  • Think about negative external factors you will need to manage while building your business. Possible market saturation, lack of studio space, socioeconomic status of your area, etc.

These tips are not an exhaustive list of the “to-do’s” for building a business, designing an effective marketing plan, or implementing customer service strategies. These tips, however, are intended to help you take some initial steps to create a “wow” factor to make all your business efforts successful ones.

What other tips do you have for establishing your personal training practice? Share your thoughts on our Facebook Page!

If you’re an NFPT trainer, join the Facebook Community Group to become involved with your peers today.

Other Resources

National Federation Independent Businesses

Marketing Your Small Business for Dummies

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Erin Nitschke

Dr. Erin Nitschke, NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist, and Pn1 is a health and human performance college professor, fitness blogger, mother, and passionate fitness professional. She has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry and college instruction. Erin believes in the power of a holistic approach to healthy living. She loves encouraging her clients and students to develop body harmony by teaching focused skill development and lifestyle balance. Erin is also the Director of Educational Partnerships & Programs for the NFPT. Erin is an editorial author for ACE, IDEA, The Sheridan Press, and the Casper Star Tribune. Visit her personal blog at