Startup Diaries: The Importance of Scheduling

Art Cardenas owns The Fit Pit, a fully equipped professional boxing gym in Austin, Texas. The gym, which opened in January 2011, is still growing and now has plans for expansion. 

Today I was speaking with a colleague about how much my clientele has grown over the last year, especially in terms of clients who contract with me to do personal training. My colleague, nicknamed Shooter, is also a small business owner in the photography industry. I have known her for several years and even before I opened up my gym I would often ask her opinion on different plans that I had. Never one to mince words, my colleague would always give me honestly blunt responses. I believe that every small business owner needs a friend, like Shooter, to bounce ideas off of.

During our conversation, we spoke about the importance of keeping an updated schedule and calendar. Afterward, I went back to my office to review my schedule for the remainder of the week. The gym has become so busy -- especially with clients doing personal training -- that keeping an updated calendar is of the utmost importance. I can truthfully state that during the early months of the gym's existence, I was lackadaisical about this. And even though business was much slower back then, I would sometimes double-book clients. That was not a good practice, to say the least, and I know that it prevented a few of my clients from returning.

Now, my daily office opening protocols start with checking my schedule. My business day ends by checking my schedule as well. In fact, my schedule on my business computer remains open all day long as clients contact me to schedule personal training sessions.

Why has it been important for me as a small business owner to maintain an updated and consistent schedule?

1. It has allowed me to better plan not only my day, but also my week and my entire month. Being able to visually see my free times (when I am not doing a personal training session) has given me an opportunity to work on other important business tasks such as bookkeeping, website upkeep, and gym maintenance.

2. It has prevented me from physically overworking myself. I have come to learn that physical rest is very important -- especially if one is involved in the fitness industry.

3. It has alleviated the problem of double-booking, making my business more customer service oriented.

Lesson learned: Keeping an updated and consistent schedule is a good business practice and one that I wish I would have embraced from the onset of starting my business. 

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