The market size of the fitness industry has increased in the last year, reaching $37 billion in revenue. People are now aware of the importance of fitness, the impact it has on preventing various illnesses and keeping the body in good shape. The love for a healthy lifestyle has got many people working in this industry as personal trainers, exercise therapists, group fitness instructors, and others.
So if you have been working in the business long enough to know every detail about it, then you are probably thinking of starting something on your own. The idea of opening a fitness center sounds exciting and fun but in reality, it takes responsibility and knowledge. For your future business to succeed, let’s take a look at a couple of things you should cover.
Is it the right path for you?
Think thoroughly about why you want to open a fitness center. Is it a long-awaited plan or a trend you want to hop on? If you are unsure, make a list of reasons why you should pursue this dream. Don’t make any rash decisions since this is a big goal and it will take time before seeing any return on investment.
Let’s assume you have been in the fitness industry for a long time and you want to see yourself doing more than you are now. Take into account different job positions and opportunities before opening a gym on your own. Every job in the industry will positively contribute to your future business. Experience is good for your professional growth – you are more confident but also more cautious with what your next move will be.
Find your niche
Do one thing and focus on it. A gym with basic equipment with no special offers just doesn’t cut it anymore. Fitness enthusiasts and those who want to be are looking for something unique and innovative, a space that will drive them to exercise and visit regularly.
Besides a gym space, give your members something specific, such as CrossFit, kickboxing, or spin classes. Certainly, you can do several things at the same time but it is better to start small and work your way up. If you are passionate about this, you are probably thinking of making a small community, to gather people with the same goal who will encourage each other. You can do this by firstly realizing what makes you do better. Working in the niche you love, you will want to do more and share that interest with other people.
Make a business plan
No one can help you if you don’t have a plan written down. Any financial support requires a solid plan from the very beginning. Requesting a loan to start your business is not simple and bankers expect a detailed and well-organized plan from you. Also, don’t take a big bite immediately. “Go big or go home” is not the best advice in this case unless you are willing to take the risk. It is advisable to grow your business slowly rather than losing everything.
Besides finance, you need a plan regarding maintenance, bookkeeping, administration, marketing, and others. All of these make a successful business. You will most likely do everything by yourself before hiring staff, so having a daily to-do list can help you keep track of every aspect of your new business.
Choosing the right location depends on what you want to offer to your future members. Perhaps you need one floor or multiple floors of different sizes. Also, many activities require outdoor space. Your niche defines what to look for.
Certainly, you will try to find a busy neighborhood so you get more customers. On the other hand, busy locations are more expensive to rent or buy and are more difficult when it comes to parking and rush hour. All in all, your facility is where your target market is. Survey the area you want and then see if it fits your target customers. Consider the age, gender, and income of each household before deciding. Compare several different locations and see which neighborhood meets your niche and ideal membership fee.
Find accredited staff
To have a successful business, you need to have the right people beside you. Those who continuously invest in their career are a good choice for potential employees. You are responsible for the safety and health of your customers so choose your staff wisely.
A personal trainer has to be certified by one of several training programs such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and others. Also, in cases of injuries or other medical emergencies, gym staff has to be prepared. CPR and First Aid training can be attended online with a legitimate certification accepted nationwide. These life-saving skills will make your customers feel much safer and your fitness center will be known for taking care of its members.
This step is a must if you want people to hear about your place. If you can’t afford a marketing specialist from the start, you can do it yourself. Promote your business on social media, write blog posts and actively interact with your potential customers. Make a marketing calendar so you have every post planned. Be active regularly and keep your target group engaged. If you have a tight budget for marketing, your gym members can be your loyal brand ambassadors. Get them involved by posting their workout routines or their testimonials.
Starting a fitness business is not simple, and it takes more sacrifice than people expect. You have to work long hours even before opening. There are many challenges along the way, but it is worth it when you realize you have created a place where people feel they are a part of a healthy and happy community.