How To Start a Fitness Business

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If you want to start a business with enormous potential, fitness is a great choice. Fitness is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing sectors and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Joe Wicks is a great example of this. He went from starting a business that struggled to attract 15 customers to founding The Body Coach and being a TV presenter and author. He led people away from depressing fad diets and made excellent use of social media to build his fitness and nutrition empire. From being a broke personal trainer, he’s now reportedly worth some £14.5 million.

However, setting up a fitness business from scratch takes hard work, determination and resourcefulness and even if you have an unlimited supply of these, you’ll face many hurdles. This blog takes a look at things you’ll need to think about before you take the plunge.

Step 1 – Create a Plan

The first thing you need to establish is what exactly you want to do. Are you looking to work with gym owners to start teaching classes? Maybe you want to open your own facility or take your personal training to the next level? Whatever you choose, you need to have a clear vision.

In particular, you need to put together a business plan. Your business plan is a document that sets out exactly what your fitness business is, what it does, and where it’s heading. It’s a roadmap for you to continuously refer to and update as you go along and it will also provide lenders, investors or potential partners with key information that they will require.

So how do you create a business plan?

Do your research. Think about specific niches in your area and do an analysis of the market. What sort of clients are you hoping to attract and what would your local reach be? It’s important to assess the competition in your area and understand what they offer. Decide on your USP – your unique selling point – that would make you stand out from the rest.

Write a mission statement. This will encapsulate the philosophy of your business and the decisions you make will flow from it.

Work out your finances. Make a list of all the costs involved in setting up and running your business venture. It’s important to get these numbers right because any potential investor will scrutinise them. Depending on the startup costs, it could be that you are able to raise the funds yourself. This would give you total control over your business. Or, you may need to raise finance from an investor or co-founder, in which case you wouldn’t shoulder all of the financial responsibility on your own, but you would lose some control since your investors would play a part in the direction of the business. An accountant could be a very helpful resource here. They would be able to ensure that your business plan is perfectly presented to give to a bank or potential investor to maximise your chances of getting what you want from them.

State your goals. Figure out where you want to be month by month and also what you plan for the first 3 years of your business. Your financial plans and projections will demonstrate how you will achieve these goals. They are forecasts of your income, expenses, and balance sheet. They form an important guide for you and they show bankers and investors what you plan to do with your money, how you intend to grow and how you will repay loans.

Step 2 – Get Advice from Specialists

There’s a wealth of material to tap into from people with a business career you admire. They can be great sources of inspiration and information. Many fitness experts and gym owners are very open and willing to share insights into their successes and failures through blogs, videos, TED talks and social media posts.

It could be well worth taking advice from an accountant or financial advisor when you’re just starting out and have a lot of different things to get to grips with. For example, they can advise you on what business entity (or structure) you should choose. There are 4 main types of business structures in the UK: sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership and limited company. If you’re looking for some liability protection, a limited liability partnership or limited liability company could be the best choice for you. An accountant can advise you and help you choose the right option. They can offer you help and support with things such as opening bank accounts, business plans, raising finance, registering for VAT and payroll and tax matters. Some will offer a free consultation so you can get an understanding of what you need to know.

And don’t forget about your insurance! Running a fitness business has its own set of risks. A specialist fitness insurance policy that provides the correct cover for your needs is essential to safeguard your future. It’s a low-cost safety net that will protect you and your business from any costly claims made against you.

Step 3 – Check out free resources

No matter what stage your business is at, there are resources available to offer support and information. Check to see if there’s a local Chamber of Commerce in your area. These exist to share knowledge, expertise and opportunities to support local businesses and often have grants as well as legal and HR advice. Although you will usually need to pay for a membership to get all the benefits, many will be happy to have a conversation with you.

The UK Government provides guidance on starting up a new venture and details of government run schemes. And HMRC offers a mine of tax information. Don’t forget about these handy sources of facts when you can’t find the answer you’re looking for.

Also, reach out to friends, colleagues and contacts. You might be surprised what the people around you actually know! From experts they trust, to things they wish they had known when they started out on their own careers, there’s a potential stash of accumulated advice and tips here that’s left untapped by many aspiring entrepreneurs.

If you’re passionate about fitness and want to start a business of your own, you’re in a great position to capitalise on this booming industry. Plus, you have the added satisfaction that you will really be able to help people through your work and to change their lives for the better.


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