Setting up a new personal training studio is one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a personal trainer. But not everything is absolutely wonderful in the world of business, especially at the beginning.
You can find loads of sources and statistics about how many small start-up businesses don't make it to their 2nd year of operation.
But after a little diggong, we found that FitSmallBusiness.com has compared three of the most prominent US statistics and found that none of them are actually conclusive. Their methodology lacks either concise definition of failure, examination of all type of businesses or all type of funding.
This is not to say that starting up your new fitness venture is like a walk in the park. It's quite the opposite and you will need to be keen to learn all there is about running a business, be committed, work hard and persevere to make it past the initial phase and start making profit. You can probably forget about holidays or even days off for a while.
To help you prepare what's ahead of you, we’ve listed 10 challenges you will experience in the early stages and how to tackle them.
1. Lack of Finances
Money matters in the world of business and the very first stepping stone that personal trainers face is lack of finances. It could be that you have some money but need more or that you have no money at all.
2. No Knowledge About Your Target Market
If your fitness center specializes in water aerobics for the elderly, you’ll be expected to know more about your ideal clients – senior citizens above the age of 60.
If, however, you do not know about the health problems, physical limitations, exercise & diet requirements, safety requirements and so on of the elderly, you won’t be able to do justice to your customers.
Solution: Before you decide what type of fitness facility you'd like to open, do a thorough research about the beneficiaries and end customers. Learn about their health, fitness level, preferences, and also your statutory requirements and obligations towards them. Once you understand the target market better, you can expand your business idea.
Resource: Buyer Persona Template
3. Inaccurate Planning
The ability to anticipate the changes to come is the hallmark of an successful fitness business owner. Inaccurate planning or a lack of it can result in a host of problems for you and your personal training studio. It’s important that you cover all the bases before you start implementing any plan you have. Otherwise, you could rake-up expenses and generate ill will towards yourself.
Solution: Consider all aspects of your fitness business – marketing, equipment procurement, recruitment, facility management and compliance – before you put your plan into action.
Resource: Personal Trainer Business Plan
4. Not Finding the Right Talent
At the start of your venture, you may not need another coach or trainer straight away, but that depends on what type of business model you are planning to follow and how quickly you want to grow.
When it comes to that, remember, the cost of hiring the wrong employee is much greater than the cost of not hiring an employee at all. The wrong personal trainer can affect the attitude of your existing team and can create a lasting, negative impression on your clients.
5. Incorrect Budgeting
As a novice businessman/woman, you may not be aware of all the expenses that are associated with the marketing and operations of a new business. This could lead to your under or over budgeting your expenses. When this happens, you won’t have a realistic picture of your financial requirements and may not procure the right amount of money. You may also mismanage the usage of our finances.
Solution: Do in-depth research about the costs associated with starting up your own fitness facility. This should include everything in relation to starting a business (accounting, set-up fees, etc.), procurement of equipment, leasing or buying the property, utility bills, online and marketing costs, etc.
This will give you an understanding of the expenses you may have to pay-up before the business brings in any revenue. You can also ask another fitness center owners how they started.
Resource: Money & Finance Course
6. Not Finding the Right Suppliers
Exercise equipment, suitable flooring, insulation and accessories are a must for any fitness facility. To get the right equipment for the right value, you’ll need to find the best suppliers. In most cases, inexperienced personal trainers who haven't opened a new studio before aren’t aware of the things they need to look for and the questions they need to ask when choosing suppliers, resulting in making the wrong choice.
Solution: Speak to multiple vendors, ask for quotes and check online for brand and supplier reviews before you finalize. Also, have a discussion with other fitness center owners to understand how to make the best decision.
Resource: PT Business & Marketing Academy Facebook Group
7. Failure to Pivot
Pivoting is something a business must do to meet the demands of a changing market. Most new personal trainer studio owners don’t have the courage to think outside the box and it's no surprise when there's so much on the line. This conservative approach to business may be your downfall, especially if you aren’t fast enough to meet changing market requirements.
Solution: It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let this stop you from trying something new. Start small by making incremental changes and then expand your new operations.
Does that advice remind you of something? That's how we coach clients to take their next step towards their desired fitness goals. Same principle, different environment.
Resource: Business Mindset Course
8. Poor Time and Resource Management
Time and resource management (money, material, manpower) is a challenge for any new business, especially because you won’t know what to do and how to do it initially.
It's just too easy to get carried away with activities and tasks you enjoy doing leaving no time for the dreaded number crunching, managing people and ensuring your business has its essential blood supply in form new revenue.
Solution: Don’t worry. There is a learning curve for every fitness facility. Just keep going and soon you’ll become better at managing time and resources. You can also read articles/books, listen to podcasts or watch webinars to help with your time management.
Resource: Fitness Business Management
9. Not Seeking the Help of a Mentor
If you know you are quick to learn new skills, consume masses amount of knowledge and are willing to invest your time to do so, go ahead. Be prepared for the trial error period and that progress will likely be slower than you expect it.
On the other hand, if you lack the knowledge and experience to invest in starting up your new fitness studio, it might be worth finding a business mentor with an amazing track record to help you speed up that process and multiply your projected revenue. Investors will also like to see that you are seeking help from experts.
Remember, not all mentors are paid for. Some of the best mentors are people you just watch and learn from, from the sidelines. You don't always have to spend you hard earned cash.
10. Problems with Partners
Are your partners and co-founders not on the same wavelength as you? Do you find yourself fighting with them every day? Problems with competition and partners are quite common and if unresolved, they can lead to the breaking-up of the business.
Solution: Finding synergy takes time. But, by being open and receptive to each other, you and your team can find a great way to work together.
Another way of prevent problems with partners is not to have them. If you need skills in your business, hire them instead. Only consider partnering up with someone if you are sure you want to be in business with them on the long term.
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