Photography by Porter Loves.
Hiring an employee is a major milestone for any small business owner that can also feel intimidating. It takes time to find the right employee to bring into the fold; and, once they are a part of the business, business owners feel the extra weight of responsibility. When Donald Robinson, owner of Global Human Performance, made his first hire in 2020 after restructuring his business, he wanted advice about how to best manage his relationship with his new assistant coach so that she could be most successful.
“My peers and facilitator, LaToya Johson-Rainey, gave me advice about how to start off on the right foot and leverage the gain of having another person in my business. Now I’m able to focus on my cash flow and have my assistant coach help with member-facing aspects,” says Donald.
Donald joined his Entrepreneurs Forever (eforever) peer group of small business owners in the Bloom program in September of 2020. Created by Community Forge, the Bloom program “offers 30 small businesses with a variety of resources and supports to help them execute their growth plans over a 10 month period,” including access to an entrepreneur peer group. In working with community-based organizations to address the needs of local small businesses, eforever partnered with Community Forge and Catapult Greater Pittsburgh and created a peer group specifically for Bloom participants.
Global Human Performance (GHP) is a gym and coaching center that helps athletes improve all aspects of their performance—including physical, mental, and emotional. In a diverse community of serious athletes, families, and active folks who just want to improve how their bodies move, GHP members root for each other’s success and move forward together. Donald builds the supportive GHP community through communication channels, events, and GHP’s newsletters. He also conducts success strategy calls with prospective members. Before he joined his Entrepreneurs Forever peer group, Donald conducted free consultations to discuss prospects’ goals and challenges and create personalized success plans. His peer group facilitator, LaToya Johnson-Rainey, encouraged Donald to charge prospective clients for the consultation.
“Charging for the success strategy calls was a big mental hurdle for me because I thought, Well, I don’t have enough people scheduling calls now. Why would they pay? And LaToya said, No. They will pay if you tell them to pay. That was a very big breakthrough because it pushes people to be more serious when they schedule a call. And now that money is paid to my assistant coach when she conducts the consultation. So this was a big financial change that has been very useful,” says Donald.
Once members commit to an in-person or online membership, Donald and his assistant coach, Khyla, incorporate strength and speed training, nutrition planning, injury management, and mindset check-ins into their coaching. With this holistic approach, athletes do more than just train in their specific sport; they build strength, nourish their minds, and fine-tune techniques to reach their performance goals. For young runners and athletes in the Youth Performance program, Donald creates a high-level training environment that challenges them and sets them up for success. And, as a year-round training resource, Donald offers personalized training agendas during their sports’ off-season. In the Adult Recreation program, members learn how to manage and heal injuries so that they can enjoy their favorite sports and activities (a large population of the Adult Recreation members run races and play ultimate frisbee, flag football, basketball, volleyball, and more). For members who do not have a specific athletic goal, the Fit 4 Life program offers support for improving general fitness through nutrition, mindset, and accountability.
“For our athletes and active adults, physical activity is an essential part of them. So supporting them in improving how their bodies operate—whether that’s from a running, strength, or injury management perspective—enhances how they feel about their life,” says Donald.
With greater staff capacity, GHP is now developing more robust mindset coaching. Donald is working to implement systems and automations in order to scale Global Human Performance. As he continues to grow his business and gain knowledge through experience, the Entrepreneurs Forever program enables him to give support to fellow entrepreneurs in his peer group.
“In our Deep Dives, someone will share what they are working on or a challenge that they are facing. We all have to go around and ask a series of questions that help guide the business owner to look at their challenge with a different perspective. It’s a safe space to share, and it’s a really useful tool,” says Donald.
Donald’s mission to improve athletes’ performances and lives is a global effort and has taken him abroad to Kenya and Rwanda several times. From 2016 to 2018, Donald traveled to train sports coaches on his holistic approach and innovative techniques to improve their players’ speed, strength, and endurance. After Donald’s training sessions, coaches reported that their players not only ran faster, but experienced a decrease in injuries because of their newly-adopted warm-up techniques.
In 2018, GHP opened its gym in Community Forge, a community center that promotes professional development, financial well-being, and entrepreneurial growth in Wilkinsburg and the Greater Pittsburgh community. As his business continued to grow in the following year, Donald was unable to travel abroad and leave his evolving business. Then, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Donald steered his business in the virtual direction by creating online programs that deliver straight to members’ phones and computers. The online Fit 4 Life program offers weekly, live Zoom workouts or the option to download the Train Heroic app and workout from home at any time. Runners and athletes with specific performance goals can also continue their coaching remotely.
As Donald was redesigning his coaching programs in 2020, he took a deeper look at GHP’s identity, his target clients, and how to market to them. In the monthly, two-hour discussions with his entrepreneur peers, Donald was able to solidify and better organize the changes in GHP’s programming.
“We had conversations about how I revamped my offerings, and I was able to draw better boundaries about the programming. Sharing and reflecting on those changes with my peers solidified the three-tier membership of our in-person strength training, our trackside program, and our running program. I was also able to bundle and tier the online offerings and get feedback from my peers and facilitator.”
As of the summer of 2021, Global Human Performance continues to offer remote coaching and socially-distanced, in-person training sessions. Free recordings of GHP’s coaching sessions are also available on GHP on Demand. For more information about quality training, listen to GHP’s Training Well Done podcast. Donald also shares exercises for eliminating running pain in his eBook.