How to Start a Fitness Business: 6 Essential Steps for Beginners

How to Start a Fitness Business 6 Essential Steps for Beginners

Breaking into the fitness industry can be very rewarding if you do it right.

If you want to set up a business with high-profit potential, fitness is a terrific industry to be in. The fitness industry is continually expanding, with innovative business models, instructional techniques and trends appearing on a regular basis. While the pandemic has brought forth many obstacles to the fitness business, many gyms and fitness centers are working hard to keep the business running by going online and providing virtual fitness classes. This online shift is not only vital to economic growth, but it is also expanding chances for fitness buffs all over the world. Valued at US$5 billion in 2019, the worldwide online fitness market is expected to hit US$30 billion by 2026. 

The expanding market makes starting a fitness business a great idea; after all, many people are aiming to get that well-toned body and will do anything to achieve it. However, it is not an easy task. Here, we will walk you through the process of starting a fitness business by following some easy steps.

1. Choose a niche for your fitness business

There are different types of fitness businesses available. You can become a personal trainer, teach yoga or Zumba or run your own gym. Tapping into a unique niche allows you to focus on becoming the best in a specific sector of the fitness business. Most instructors might enter the field expecting to cover all forms of training and striving to master it all. However, in such a highly competitive market, starting with concentrating all of your efforts on one area will help sharpen your edge from the get-go. This is an essential step to clearly deliver your unique value proposition (UVP) to your clients, thereby setting yourself apart from your competitors.

Some niches that you can explore in the fitness industry include corrective exercise, bootcamp specialists, body transformations, fat reduction experts and so forth. You can also opt for gym franchising options to explore. Popular franchises include Crunch Fitness, Planet Fitness and Pure Barre—you may even open a Crossfit box.

2. Research, research and research

Before you enter the market, do your homework on almost everything that would have an influence on your company. 

  • Identify all potential competitors by area and specialization. Studying your competitors can assist you in learning how to develop unique selling points (USPs) that will persuade clients to select you over them.
  • Know your target market’s training habits: when they exercise, what they prefer to train on and how much time they devote to exercising. For example, if you simply want to start a powerlifting training center, you might want to target bodybuilders. Therefore, understand your target market really well.
  • Evaluate the price range that individuals in the vicinity can pay. For example, if you operate in a posh location where gym memberships are costly, you can charge extra. If you run your gym in a less affluent suburb, the rent will be cheaper, but you’ll have to charge less from your clients. 
  • Deciding where you want to operate your fitness business will define the tone for the rest of your company. The location will decide your competitors, the pricing of your offerings and the hours that your firm will be open. If you plan to operate in the suburbs, your firm would be active before and after work, or maybe around late mornings (say around 9:30 am) for stay-at-home moms and fathers. And if you work out in the city, you may face a rush hour during the lunch break for those who want to work out during their interval.

3. Drafting your business plan

Once you’ve performed steps one and two, it’s time to write a business plan and kick-start your business. You should think about the following points:

  • A name and logo for your company.
  • Investment/funding. Having a fitness business up and running requires a while, and you’ll need a considerable amount of money in the bank. If you need funds for your startup, you have several options, including an SBA loan, a business line of credit or a bank loan. Apart from these, another wonderful alternative is gym equipment financing.
  • Obtain the required permissions, insurance and employer identification number (EIN). Certain business licenses and permissions are necessary to run a gym or fitness venture. You can consult the town, city or county clerk’s office to ensure that you are following all the regulations provided by your regulatory bodies when launching a fitness company.
  • Define the business structure—what type of business entity (e.g. sole proprietorship, partnership and limited liability company) will be? Choosing the right kind of business entity is important to structuring your startup and determining taxation matters.

Even though the part of setting up your startup may be a hassle, it’s indeed essential for the success of your business. Ensure everything is in order prior to sailing; otherwise, you’ll find it difficult to keep your head above the water if things get chaotic.

4. Market your brand

It’s time to think about how you’ll get your brand out there in the market. And for this, you must set aside some time to focus on marketing. There are a number of marketing tools or strategies that you can opt for. Print and direct marketing may be costly and unproductive because it is difficult to target the right audience/clients. However, reaching out to target consumers through social media is comparatively cheaper and simpler. As a company, your goal would be to increase your client base. Promoting your brand on social media can highlight client experiences and assist the firm in standing out from the crowd.  

With social networks, like Instagram and Facebook, you should reach out to your target demographic by publishing content on a regular basis. For instance, you may write about fitness advice and tactics, provide updates with before-and-after-workout photos or collaborate with other fitness products and services. 

5. Maintain the cash book

The fun part of the fitness business is training the customers. The not-so-fun part might be keeping a neat record of your financial documents in order to get ahead. Make sure you’re keeping track of your financial flow. You can take the help of various bookkeeping software tools that are easily accessible these days. Further, hiring a good accountant is crucial since they will assist you in keeping tabs on your revenue and expenditure, maintaining legal compliance and providing tangible financial information to different involving parties (e.g. investors, management and the government) when required. 

6. Track your performance

You have invested your time and effort into your business; now see if this is worthwhile. Analyzing and tracking the performance of your fitness business can give you clear insight into your business—what’s working and what isn’t. Learn about your new and returning customers, for instance, by analyzing their average class attendance, total sessions booked and no-shows. Once you’ve received the report, take the time to keep exploring new ideas and sessions to keep your clients engaged.

If you’re just getting started, having a blueprint will save you from a lot of frustration and head-scratching. It takes time and effort to start a fitness business. However, if you succeed, you will be a part of a thriving industry that lets individuals lead their lives to the fullest.

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Header image courtesy of Freepik

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