You’ve got the energy, ideas, and passion for your sport. But what about some solid facts about how to open your own club? This June, we’re going to help you learn what it takes to start a gym. Each week, we will cover an important step to your successful new business launch and provide some common sense advice from established gym owners.
First, do you have a business plan?
Why do I need a business plan?
Too many small business owners open their first fitness center without creating a strong plan of action. A business plan is a written guideline of what it will take to not only start a gym, but to run a profitable healthy company.
Chris Giumarra of Rosamond Health and Fitness in California recommends keeping a detailed notebook of your plans and ideas for your new club. In his blog post “4 Mistakes I Wouldn’t Make Twice,” he describes his own extensive research conducted prior to opening his gym. Really knowing the industry keeps mistakes to a minimum.
What kind of information should a business plan cover?
According to the Small Business Administration, a traditional business plan includes:
Executive summary – Here’s an overview of what you want to accomplish with your new gym. The executive summary details your mission statement, product and services, leadership team, location, employees, and financial overview.
Company description – What do you want to achieve, what customers will you serve, and what are your competitive advantages? It’s a place to boast about your idea while defining your strengths as a company.
Market analysis – Remember that notebook? It’s here that your competitive research reveals just what you’re up against – trends, successes, and how your gym will do it better.
Service – Use this space to define your gym’s unique offerings and expected product/service lifecycles.
Marketing and sales – How will you attract, sell and retain customers? A marketing strategy is a dynamic animal and should adapt to your growth. However, here’s also where you itemize the numbers to create realistic financial projections.
Funding request – Business plans often are used to support loan requests. Provide a detailed description of how you will use the funds: equipment purchases, salaries, bills. And include strategic financial plans for paying off debt.
Appendix – Supporting material.
The Small Business Administration offers this useful business guide covering planning, launching, managing and growing your new company.
Why use a business plan to start a gym
Besides the obvious advantage of a strong argument to take to the bank, a business plan fulfills a second critical purpose. It makes you flesh out the what, when, and how of running a gym, before you sign a lease.
A business plan forces you to thoroughly answer fundamental questions such as:
- What kind of gym or boutique do I want to start?
- Who is my target market?
- Who else is offering this service in my community?
- What are my startup costs?
- How much will it cost me to run this gym monthly and yearly?
- How much will I need to charge each member?
- What are my other possible avenues for income through the facility?
- Where is my ideal location and how large a space should I secure?
- How long can I survive without paying myself?
In our next several blog posts, we’ll cover the fundamentals of choosing a location, insurance, controlling start-up costs, and marketing for a successful grand opening. Take a look at our recent Gym Owner’s podcast, “First Time Gym Owner” by host Anthony Pasquale, for an overview on some of the basic steps to starting a gym, and feel free to send us your comments and experiences as a new gym owner.
Insight is a leading gym management software company, providing club owners with a comprehensive, easy-to-use solution for managing customers and employees. We never use third-party software – preferring instead to write, design, and constantly improve our own product. That’s why Gym Insight is so simple to use — it’s software that’s all on the same team!