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Brian Featured in the Business Courier

Ask the CEO - Business Courier of Cincinnati with Brian Calkins
From The November 21, 2008 Issue

QUESTION: What’s the best advice you ever received, and whom did it come from?
Answer: Take action in spite of your fears. Although I’ve heard this many times, Ron Rosselot, a friend and client, shared this in a way that really made an impact.

Q: What kind of work environment do you try to create?
A: We strive to maintain a high-energy, positive and fun workplace. It’s critically important that our staff feels positive, upbeat and excited when working with clients who share our work environment.

Q: How do you approach your job differently than at the beginning of your career?
A: Early in my personal-training career I was primarily a technician, and business growth was based solely upon my ability to service clients. In those early days, I did everything from training clients to cleaning bathrooms. As I realized the limitations to my growth, I steadily transitioned into managerial and leadership roles. Today … I try to delegate everything that is not directly tied to growth.

Q: What’s the toughest decision you have ever had to make as the CEO?
A: The most difficult decision also has been the most rewarding. It has been to grow HealthStyle Fitness through hiring, training and managing trainers. I quickly admit, it was tough because I was thoroughly unprepared to be a leader and was forced to learn quickly on the job.

Q: What might someone from outside your industry be surprised to know?
A: Running a personal fitness-training business is not as glamorous as it may seem. We are a service-based business, and our staff work long and sometimes difficult hours to be available for our clients. I start my day at 2 a.m. Clients arrive as early as 5 a.m., and some don’t leave until 9 p.m. … An absolute love for fitness and people is a must to succeed in this industry.

Q: What’s the best advice you could give a new boss?
A: Create and operate a business based upon systems that cover everything from marketing, sales, human resources, management and leadership to working with clients. Without well-crafted systems, you and your business will be lost in chaos.

Q: What’s the best book you have ever read?
A: It’s a challenge to choose a single book. I would say the self-help book “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, has made a measurable impact on my ability to grow both professionally and personally.