There can be many arguments and discussions over what are the best training methods and models out there.  One thing that cannot be argued is that our clients have evolved.  No longer do we live in an age that every client we meet with is only interested in training to get jacked, swol, shredded, or toned.  The luxury of designing a simple bodybuilding style workout that addresses the aesthetic goals of our clients with no focus on function is gone.  Who walks in our doors to hire us has changed; young, old, male, female, business people, parents, weekend warriors, fit, obese, new comer, veteran.  Why they seek our help as also changed; less pain, better performance, ability to perform daily tasks better, improve quality of life, recover from injury, prevent injury, conquer new physical competitions and challenges.

Every industry at some point goes through an evolution, what separates those who continue to thrive, and those that declare chapter 11 is their ability to evolve their business to match the new and growing needs of their audience.  A perfect example of evolving to meet changing needs in an industry is the story of Tractor Supply Co.

Alpena county is a rual area in northeast Michigan and due to the vast natural resources there are many fully functional “hobby farms”.  My father in law has one such farm, I use the term hobby loosely because he has 30 head of cattle, 2 horses, a dozen pigs and plants, grows and harvests his own hay; all on top of a full time job.  To perform all the tasks at the farm requires a variety of special equipment and products, John like many in our area turns to Tractor Supply to meet their retail needs.  I had never heard of this company until I moved to Northeast Michigan and met my then soon to be extended family, they are a very large and successful national chain that serves the needs of people like my father in law.  They are the leaders in the field and have been in business since 1938 but I soon found out that life had not always been so good for this retail giant.

Originally started as a mail order business by 1939 the company opened its 1st retail store to serve the full time American farmer.  They built a business on meeting the needs of commercial, high yield farmers across the country until rough times hit.  As farming became more and more industrialized they quickly began losing customers because their target audience was going out of business. Family farmers could not compete with massive large scale agriculture and were forced to make their living elsewhere.  This once thriving company found themselves on the path to closing their doors until they took a closer look at what was happening in their industry.  “hobby farming” was steadily increasing in popularity, people raising animals or working smaller 40-80 acre plots of land was increasing and there was no one in the retail market set up to serve this growing population.

Farm and Fleet changed the company to Tractor Supply and adopted a new business plan to serve the needs of the hobby farmer.  They moved stores from major agricultural areas into rural towns and communities, offered smaller scale equipment, feed and supplies, began offering clothing and other necessities to create a one stop shop for today’s hobby farmer.  Their growth has been tremendous and to this date stand as the leaders in their industry with their closest competitors far in the distance.

As time and industry evolve we are always presented with 2 choices; do nothing, keep doing what has worked in the past, hope this is just a fad; or, evolve and discover new opportunities to grow and develop your business in ways never thought possible.

My friends we are in a time of evolution; what is your choice?

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About caseystutzman

Casey Stutzman is an AFAA certified trainer and has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 2004. Since 2006 he has acted as the Head Trainer at the Bay Athletic Club in Alpena Michigan. Casey’s love of athletics and competition drove him in to the fitness industry. He uses his experience as a division 1 college football player, amateur bodybuilding competitor, strongman competitor to help others reach their goals in all areas of fitness. Casey spends his time at Bay Athletic Club teaching Boot Camps, small group training sessions, training clients and working with participants in Bay Athletic Club’s Corporate Fit Challenge program. He also develops strength and conditioning programs and does performance training for a number of local athletic organizations and high school teams. As an Ignite Performance Master trainer and Master Instructor for TRX Casey travels North America to educate and connect with fitness professionals to help them offer more to their clients and athletes. Time outside of fitness is occupied with reading, travel, indoor rock climbing, snow sports and being an active outdoorsman. He enjoys spending free time with his wife Mary Beth, his daughter Vesper, son Indiana and Turkish the family dog.

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