You’ve decided to start your own fitness business. Like most in the industry you probably found yourself here after developing a strong passionate relationship with fitness. Now it’s time to go one step farther and turn your passion into a money making machine.
But before you start you’re going to need a game plan for success. The truth is, starting a fitness business is not as simple renting a space, putting up a sign, and hoping that clients come in your door. In today’s competitive marketplace you’ll need some guidance and a solid plan to find success in the fitness industry.
And there’s no better place to start then here. Former fitness facility owner and entrepreneur, Pete Higgins is here to help guide you through the essential steps of building and developing a fitness business that will be successful for years to come. To get you started, here is a list of the most important considerations to work out before starting your fitness business.
Decide on a fitness niche
One of the most crucial decisions you will make with your fitness is deciding on a niche and separating yourself from the rest of your competitors. Start with what you know. Think about what fitness activities you love the most and build your business around those activities. Generally speaking if you do what you love, you will put more energy and enthusiasm into your work. Try to stay clear of what may seem “the most profitable” fitness niche and do what you love. If you put your heart into it, you can be wildly successful in almost any niche.
Consider fitness franchising opportunities
After the huge boom we’ve seen in the fitness industry over the past 10-15 years there has been an influx of some great franchise opportunities. If your chosen niche fits well within a franchise opportunity you may want to consider going down the path of franchise. These businesses already have a proven successful structure and will require little extra energy on your part, outside of following a business model provided by the franchise. On the contrary, if you’d like to explore a new fitness niche or one that doesn’t fit well with a franchising opportunity, then you’ll want to start your own business. Be warned, while starting your own fitness business has the potential to become more far more profitable (because of the absence of franchise fees) it also presents more risks.
Build a fitness center business plan
If you want to start your own business in the fitness industry, a business plan is your best friend. Not only will a business plan create structure and organization, it will also outline goals for you to shoot for so you can measure your success in the future. The following points should all be covered in your business plan.
Design a gym marketing plan
Believe it or not, your name can make a big difference in the success of your business. Consider choosing a name that tells a story about your business and the services you provide. Before your business is well established and known in your community, an irrelevant business name will only confuse potential customers. In addition to choosing a name, consider having a professional logo made as well, logos are a sign that a business is well established and will create a sense of trust with your potential customers. This would also be a great time to make a marketing plan. If you can’t find customers to use your services then your business will simply never grow.
Secure fitness funding
Let’s face it, starting a business is going to cost money so having you finances in order is the name of the game. In terms of finding money to start your fitness business there are lots of options available. You may have your own seed money, or you may consider getting funding from others. If you need help funding your business you may consider securing a business loan, finding an investment partner, or choosing an option with lower startup fees (such as a franchise).
Complete legal requirements
Starting any business comes with its fair share of risks but careful planning can mitigate all of these. To start, you should consider incorporating your business to avoid potential financial or legal damage to yourself in the case something goes wrong. Also, since this is the fitness industry we are talking about, there is a potential that your clients or employees may get hurt in your facility, so it’s a good idea to invest in a high quality insurance plan. Finally, when April rolls around you will be thanking yourself for hiring a bookkeeper because you can be sure Uncle Sam wants his piece of the action too.
Choose a location for your fitness facility
Did I say location? Yes, all other things equal, location may be the most influential factor in the success of a fitness business. Think about it, most people buy gym memberships and struggle to ever make it to the gym. Why? Usually it’s because going to the gym is inconvenient. So if you want more membership you will have to make it convenient for your members. So consider gym locations in high traffic areas with multiple entrances and high visibility. Simply choosing the right location can easily double your clientele.
Purchase fitness equipment
Unless you plan on opening a yoga or dance studio your customers will probably expect your facility to be outfitted with some fitness equipment. In terms of acquiring equipment you can buy (new or used) or you can lease your equipment. The important thing here is to only acquire state of the art equipment. Nobody want to go to a fitness facility with old, outdated, or poorly maintained equipment. So be sure to get high quality state of the art equipment, keep it clean, and make any repairs when necessary.
Hire an experienced staff
While you are the business owner, your customers will likely spend far more time interacting with your staff. Thus it’s essential to hire a knowledgeable and friendly staff to provide your customers with a pleasurable fitness experience. When hiring your staff keep in mind the tasks that need to be accomplished in your fitness facility and create a hierarchy of staff that can manage those tasks efficiently.
Find a mentor
Ok so now you have a taste of what it takes to build a successful fitness business. But, as you can probably tell by now the devil is in the details. And what’s listed above is only scratching the surface of what you’ll need to know to create and maintain a successful fitness business. So now you have a choice to make; you can either wing it and hope for the best, or you can drastically improve your chances of success by working with a fitness business mentor. Search as you may, you simply won’t find a mentor with more industry specific experience and education than Pete Higgins. When working with Pete you’ll be receiving expert advice and coaching that will accelerate you from where you are now, to the day you open your doors to the public in no time and with far less headaches. Give yourself the upper hand, learn from a mentor with over 25 years of success in the fitness industry, and guarantee your own success!