If you’ve been working as a personal trainer for a reasonable amount of time then chances are you’ve got a decent customer base and have established a solid reputation for yourself and the services you provide.
It seems inevitable that the transition will take place between standalone or freelance personal training and opening your own personal training studio as the next step in growing your business.
So how does one successfully bridge the gap between PT and Fitness Studio or gym? It’s not impossible, for sure, and below we share 4 critical pieces of advice that can get you through the transition (largely) unscathed.
1. Write A Business Plan – Or Map One!
Far from being purely for those seeking third-party investments, creating a solid business plan will force you to map out your target audience, start-up costs, pricing model, forecasted cash flow, known competition, insurance, and so on. But don’t panic, if writing long documents is not your thing, check out lean canvas for a simple one-page template.
2. Get. A. Budget.
So far you have more or less been functioning as a single unit and no doubt you will have gotten away with little or no budget. Right? Now that you are making the transition into a larger business unit things will need to change and you need to get (more) serious about budgeting and finances in general.
From premises and payment processing to insurance, marketing, and utilities, it is important to develop a clear understanding of the types of expenses you are likely to face when opening your Fitness Studio. Why? So that you understand the extent to which these may hinder growth in the early stages. This will also be a great way to understand and improve cash flow.
As always there are lots of great apps that can help you with this. In keeping with our if-it’s-not-in-the-cloud-it’s-not-on theme, you could look at a product like Xero, which is really a great and affordable option for new small businesses.
3. Act Like A Business
Do not try to run your business from a spreadsheet. Or the back of a napkin. Get reliable, systems that track your members, revenue and classes. Think ahead (use that business plan) and choose simple fitness software that has the capacity to grow with you from your opening day to 12 – 24 months down the track so you are not left in the position of having to change providers at critical growth phases. Good gym software can cover most of these areas and more.
And make sure it is ONLINE rather than desktop based. This makes your information so easy to access and will become invaluable as you work between home and studio, or (if things go well) between studios!
4. Sorry, You’re Not Good At Everything!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all down to you. You are good at loads of things, but there are areas where you will not be so good. Make sure you speak to professionals in the field before pulling the trigger on your new Fitness Studio.
For example, speak to an accountant, business attorney, or both; they will be able to help you set up the necessary legal paperwork as well as steering clear of any legal pitfalls.
Also, speaking to individuals who have excelled in your field will also enable you to pick their brains, so to speak, and take from their experiences, including any mistakes they may have made along the way and how you can avoid doing the same.
Now, Make it rain.
Practicing preparedness, being disciplined with your money management, using great systems and remaining humble enough to ask others for help and advice will go a long way to ensuring success in the early days of your Fitness Studio