There’s never been a better time to be in the health and wellness industry. More now than ever before, fitness is mainstream. Whether it’s caused by the rise in wearable fitness trackers, the outlandish cost of health care or a growing concern over the obesity epidemic getting fit is on everyone’s mind.
But you already know this, and it’s probably got something to do with why you want to open a new fitness business. You want to share your passion for exercise and being healthy with others, and this is the perfect time to do it.
To help you get started, here’s a high-level overview of the things you’ll need to do to get your fitness business up and running. As you undertake these steps, be sure to refer to our vast resource library. In it, you’ll find eBooks and guides to walk you through just about every process and decision you’ll have to make.
Do Your Market Research
To start, you’ll need to conduct some market research. You likely already know what sort of fitness business you want to have, whether it’s a yoga studio, a martial arts school, an affiliate gym or a boutique fitness studio. That’s perfect. Now it’s time to take a hard look at the market in your area to ensure there will be enough interest to support your business. If you find there’s not, then consider the immediate neighboring areas. This initial research is critical because it will help you assess the viability of your dream.
Work on Your Business Plan
As you’re conducting your research, start working on your business plan. This plan is a working document that builds your foundation for making sound business decisions. Writing a business plan will force you to think about your business strategically, which will help you think through potential issues before they come up. Your business plan will also help you if you need to seek funding, enter into a partnership agreement or lease or buy commercial property for your business. Check out our gym business plan template to get started.
We sometimes hear people ask how you can open a gym without any money saved. To do that, you have to research and understand your many financing options. If you need a business loan, you should compare rates and lenders. Small business grants are another way to get the money you need, as are business-specific credit cards. But if you have a little money saved, scaling your business slowly is an alternative option. We know many successful fitness business owners who started small and grew their business by reinvesting profits over time.
Find Your New Location
After doing your market research, you decided on a general geographic area. Now that you know how you’ll fund your business, you’ll need to start looking for your new space in your chosen area. Consider working with a commercial real estate agent to find the best possible location. Commercial agents will help you consider critical factors like traffic and accessibility, crime in the area and neighborhood demographics. Real estate agents will also connect you to contractors to help with any physical changes you want to make to your building.
Get Your Business License, Permits & Insurance
You’ll also need to get your business license, applicable permits and insurance. Follow this guide to find out which licenses and permits you’ll need for your specific state and area.
Buy Your Equipment
As you prepare to move into your new fitness business, it will be time to buy your equipment. You should also talk to vendors about any retail items you plan to sell.
Ready to take the leap and become a fitness business owner? Download our FREE Fitness Business Plan Template today!
Set Up Your Website
After you have your physical location, you must establish your website. A website is critical for being found online. Without a website, you will have to depend on drive-by traffic or word of mouth marketing to get new members, and that won’t be enough.
Your website will be the foundation of all your online marketing efforts, so it needs to be to be well optimized, mobile ready, secure and lead generating. Too often fitness business owners try to save money with a cheaply built website, and it costs them business. Don’t make that mistake. Know what your website needs and get it.
Once you have your marketing foundation- your website – you’ll be able to start connecting with prospects through digital marketing tactics. These tactics include Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing and your local listings. We have plenty of resources to help you get started with your marketing, so be sure to check them out.
Get Your Member Management Software
Before you get your first new member, you should get your member management software. This software will help you run and grow your business. Without it, you will be doing all the day to day things manually, from using an Excel sheet to record members and payments, to emailing each and every lead back. Believe us, this sort of manual work is exhausting and unsustainable, and it will keep you too busy to spend time with your members or work on growing your business. We’ve heard it time and time again, gym owners who do things manually lose money and fail to grow their business.
Open Your Business
Finally, after all that hard work, you’ll be ready to open your business. We know this will be a fun and rewarding time, and you’ll be able to start changing peoples’ lives. What could be better than that? Check out our grand opening tips to help you manage this big day.
There’s never been a better time to be in the health and wellness industry. People are excited about making fitness a regular part of their lives. As you start doing your market research, writing your business plan and securing your funding, be sure to talk to one of our fitness business experts about how we can help you launch and grow your business. Opening a gym or fitness studio can be profitable if you have the right systems in place.