Are you passionate about a healthy lifestyle?
Do you find yourself drawn to books or documentaries about fitness?
Is researching and engaging in fitness something you truly enjoy?
Are you an active and fit person in your personal life and would love to share this joy with the rest of the world?
For many businesses, but for fitness especially, the first step to success is passion. If your answer to the above questions was yes, you’re probably ready for the next step in the entrepreneurial journey. Once you have passion, you’ll need the business acumen, technology, systems, and resources needed to build and sustain a fitness business. Passion along with the correct knowledge and expertise is a sure-shot recipe for success in any industry.
There was never a better time than now to start a fitness business. The Indian fitness industry is going through phenomenal growth year-on-year and does not look like it will slow down any time soon. It’s not only increasing in the number of companies, locations, and gym members but also diversifying in its presentation, formats, offerings, and online presence. Increased awareness about personal health and the doctors prescribing a regular dose of exercise in general has fuelled this growth beyond metro cities and also into the much-underserved women’s fitness market.
While your options are plenty, there’s a lot to consider before jumping into this hot market. Here are some important factors you’ll need to keep in mind when opening your own fitness business:
Where will you get the funds from? Personal, friends, family, bank loan – explore all options. Once you have secured the funding, what is your budget? You want to be as specific as possible for this part. The big things, like the cost of equipment and rent, are relatively easier to define but don’t forget the smaller expenses. Phone bills, stationary costs, etc. are all important, and you’ll be better off overestimating than under.
A gym is fast becoming a necessity in any neighbourhood. Finding a location should not be difficult. It should be easily accessible, preferably walking distance from your target catchment. Choose the size depending on whether you want to invest in a traditional gym or a boutique studio.
You can have all the money and technology in the world, but it will be no good if your team isn’t up to the task. You are spending time and money training your employees, and every time you lose one it’s going to feel like an investment gone bad. Be meticulous when picking your employees, because they will be the ones interacting with customers the most. Your team needs to be enthusiastic, reliable, and as perfect as can be.
Who should you be talking to? Networking isn’t only important for finding big investors, but also to build your gym’s client base. Remember that your business isn’t like others – fitness is important for everyone! So don’t hesitate in selling to your friends and family – translate your own passion into a sales pitch.
Apart from traditional media, invest in social media and manage a strong online presence for your business. It is not about having a Facebook page anymore – you can get most of your business online if you do it right. Make sure you post authentic content very consistently. Run ad campaigns from time to time to reach out to new prospects in your niche market.
One cannot imagine a business without technology in this age. Shop around for the best software systems for your business, whether it is POS system, CRM, or an accounting software support system.
Delegating is key!
How much responsibility are you going to take on? You’re going to be attached to your business, but you can’t do everything. This is also where your team is important – you need to have someone responsible for the mundane day-to-day tasks while you take care of the bigger picture.
In the process of running a fitness business, you’re going to actively and passively absorb a wealth of knowledge, such as fitness terminology, trends, contacts in different sectors, etc. Make sure to step back and evaluate what you can use to help your own business stay one step ahead of the competition. Attend seminars and events that will keep you informed about the new research and trends in the industry.
Business is never easy – there are going to be high and low points, and the aim is to eliminate the most obvious low ones. Ultimately, your business will depend on the passion and skills you bring to the table, so make sure you are prepared for what’s to come.
Manisha Ahlawat is Managing Director of Vivafit India.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)