In the past 20 years, fitness centers have not only proven to be popular and very much in demand by fitness conscious consumers, but they have also been proven to be very profitable as a business opportunity. People are constantly on the lookout for a convenient and economical way to work out and stay in shape.
Many people find they need the motivation to work out, but can’t afford the high cost of a gym membership. That is why taking fitness classes is such a popular way for people to get in their work out.
If you are a great fitness instructor, and wish you could work for yourself, you can start your own fitness business from home.
How to Get into the Fitness Business
Your first step in starting a home based fitness business is to get the proper certification to teach fitness classes. It would be beneficial if you are qualified to teach a variety of fitness classes so that your fitness business can offer classes ranging from beginner yoga to intense cardio boxing.
You will then want to set up a fitness studio in your home that will allow you to teach fitness classes. A room that will allow you to teach classes of 20 to 30 people will allow you to take in profits from each class you teach. Make sure your fitness studio is spacious, with good ventilation, a mirrored wall and cushiony non-skid flooring.
You may need to stock up on some equipment if you intend to teach specialized fitness classes. You will need a supply of step benches if you plan to offer step aerobics classes.
You need to be a talented, motivated and skilled fitness instructor in order to run a successful home based fitness business. Skill in many types of fitness work outs will allow you to offer a variety of fitness classes in your fitness business and will make it easy for a person at any level of fitness to sign up for a class that is perfect for them.
Marketing skills will allow you to prepare a strong marketing strategy that will get the word out about your terrific fitness business, using effective advertising such as colorful pamphlets, catchy flyers and newspaper ads.
You need to have experience teaching fitness classes in order to run a successful fitness business. If you need more experience teaching in front of a group of people, then offer free classes to family and friends before you open your doors for business.
You need to ensure that a part of your home is dedicated and properly furnished to serve as setting for your fitness business. You also need to allocate budget for basic fitness equipment such as mats, a few weights, towels, and others.
Starting the Business
Opening a fitness center requires careful planning and research, and the following are aspects of the business that should be considered:
Where will the fitness center be located, how much square footage will be required, what are the leasehold improvements going to cost, is there good visibility, access, and parking, and is the business located in an area comprised mainly of the target market customers?
b. Operating format
Will the fitness center cater to all people, or will the focus of the business target one specific group of people? Will the fitness center be full service, meaning optional aerobic classes and one-on-one personal training for clients?
Is there access to trained fitness instructors and staff in the community where the fitness center is being established, and if so what are the wage and benefit demands, as well as expectancy of staff in terms of career opportunities?
How will the fitness center be marketed? Will it be by way of membership drive or a drop-in rate established? What enticements or services will be used as a marketing tool to draw members from competitors’ fitness clubs or facilities?
How much local competition is there in the fitness industry, and is the competition in the form of a chain fitness center, community-operated fitness center, or independently-operated fitness centers? How much does the competition charge? Is there the possibility of a price war? Can the proposed business gain enough clients to be profitable? What is the effect on the business from potential future competitors?
There are many aspects to carefully consider prior to starting a fitness center. However, with careful research and proper planning a fitness center can be a fabulous business to start, operate, and own, not to mention that it also has the potential to be very profitable.
Seven Tips for Starting a Fitness Center
Fitness is your passion, and you’re tired of working for someone else. The idea of striking out on your own and opening your own studio is getting harder to ignore. Before you convince your clients to follow you to the new space, here are eight things you need to know to become as financially fit as possible:
1. Pinpoint Your Audience. Like in any business, you need to figure out to whom you want to cater. Will it be parents who need to work around their children’s school and sports schedules? Will it be professionals who will work out before and after their jobs? Will you be a studio focused on one discipline or several? Your audience will influence where you set up shop.
2. Location Rules. One of your biggest expenses is rent. So choose wisely.
3. Keep a Tight Ship. For most fitness companies, the next biggest overhead cost is staff. You want to attract the best teachers. That in turn brings in the most loyal — and best-paying — clients. But paying employee benefits can take a huge chunk of your profit.
4. To Lease or to Buy? The cost and maintenance of equipment is the third-largest overhead cost you’ll have. Deciding whether to buy or lease equipment depends on your budget and your goals.
5. Get Protection. Because injuries may happen, experts advise that you sign up for insurance. Make sure the policy covers the studio space and, if you have staff, the instructors. If your teachers are contractors, they must have their own policies.
6. How to Grow. A studio can only hold so much equipment and juggle so many classes. And you can only teach for a certain number of hours before being physically burned out. So how can you keep the momentum going? You can invest in another space, add a retail space and sell clothes, or develop DVDs and write books. Another option is to franchise.
7. Know the Bottom Line. Starting your own fitness studio is not a cheap endeavor. If you dream of being the state-of-the-art, go-to studio for your market, expect to shell out millions. But if you’re creative, you can save as much. How creative? When looking for a space, consider a mixed-use building and then barter with the landlord: You’ll teach the tenants for free or at a discount for no or low rent.
Get sample business plan at www.entrepreneur.com/businessplan/a-z/
sources: entrepreneur.com, atouchofbusiness.com, mainstreet.com, photo from www.freedigitalphotos.net