From CrossFit to mixed martial arts and pole dancing to belly dancing, there are more ways to get and stay in shape available today than ever before. If fitness is a really important part of your life, you may have considered making a career of it, but starting a business requires more than muscle. Read on for tips on making your fitness hobby into a viable new business.
Plan for Success
While you certainly don’t have to have any certifications, or hire a team of certified instructors, getting certified is helpful in many ways. Consider a certification from one of the following institutions:
- American Council on Exercise
- American College of Sports Medicine
- National Strength and Conditioning Council
- Aerobics and Fitness Association of America
Beyond these, you and your employees will need CPR and first aid certifications that can easily be obtained in weekend training from the Red Cross. Not only will certification make it easier to get a business loan, but it can play an integral part in your marketing strategy small business. It’s also important to establish what size of business you are looking to run. You can certainly start as a personal fitness instructor in your garage gym, but you may be envisioning a management role at a storefront business. Starting off small even if you plan to move into management isn’t a bad plan since you will have a better idea of whether the industry is right for you and you’ll be building a client base that will follow you as your business venture expands.
Establishing what kind of fitness offerings you will have will also impact the size of business loans you need. If you need to retrofit your garage, build a simple dance studio or need a fully equipped gym, have a plan of your needs. Lenders want to know you have a fully-developed business plan in place.
Meet Your Legal Obligations
A fitness business has to meet all the government and legal requirements of any other business. It’s important to scout your location but to also make sure that it is zoned properly for the kind of business you are starting. Depending on your government requirements you may need to have an automated external defibrillator and a medical professional to write your emergency plan. More basics include a business license and federal employer identification number. If you aren’t comfortable with this side of the business it is vital that you work with a business attorney who can take care of any governmental hoops through which you must jump.
The fact is that gyms are places that are more likely to experience accidents and injury. It’s important that you are adequately covered for these liabilities. In addition to standard liability insurance, look into specialized gym insurance. If you have fitness classes or offer personal training services, instructors may be independent contractors and their actions may not be covered by your insurance. Besides making sure your employees and contractors are licensed and certified, make sure contractors have their own liability insurance.
Open Your Doors
Once you’ve got your business ready it’s time to throw open the doors and really lean into your marketing. Fitness is a multibillion-dollar industry, but the only way to succeed is to have a clear idea of your customer base and target them through digital marketing campaigns. Fitness is an area that lends itself exceedingly well to visual marketing so focus on Instagram and YouTube social media platforms to show transformations, provide educational tidbits and introduce your employees. Use the power of parasocial relationships to create trust with your viewers. Targeted search engine advertising and social media advertising are other ways to reach your target audience.
Starting a fitness business can be as simple as leasing an empty building with a dance floor or as difficult as funding a fully-equipped gym with the latest Pelotons and weight equipment. With the proper plan in place, you can make the gym in your head a real place to flex your business muscles.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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