by Justin Price, MA
You can't start your own personal training business until you know what you want and how you're going to get it.
My career progressed as do most personal trainers' paths: I first worked for a gym, then worked as an independent contractor and then was in charge of a high-end personal training studio in London. However, I wanted more. I always wanted to own my own facility but knew that would take a while. With a lot of persistence and hard work, I fulfilled my dream. I learned much in setting up my personal training business and have written this first article in a two-part series to share my knowledge and experiences. If you've thought about starting your own personal training business, read on. Step One: Assess the Market The first step that I took to set up my own business was to make as many contacts as I could and ask lots of questions. Six months before leaving England for San Diego, I sent introduction letters to as many gyms, studios and fitness professionals in San Diego as I could find on the Internet, and, after arriving in San Diego, I met with those who had replied. I later arranged more meetings with gym managers, educators, presenters, studio owners and athletic coaches to enhance my understanding of the local market. I visited each of their facilities and asked questions such as who their clientele was, what sorts of programs they offered and still wanted to offer, which programs were most popular and how much they charged. I also went to conferences such as IDEA's to meet fitness professionals from other cities both in the U.S. and around the world. This helped me discover the latest trends in the industry to determine what San Diego lacked. I even stayed after seminars to talk with presenters to pick their brains and network; networking is a great way to gain an understanding of the market. To educate myself further on the San Diego fitness market, I combed magazines, other periodicals and the Internet. By soliciting the advice of fitness colleagues, I learned some useful things. For example, I discovered that the brain (at least mine) tends to recall only select information; with that in mind, you may want to write ideas down as you gather them. I also learned not to take criticism of my ideas personally; keep in mind that opening your own facility is not only an enriching journey but also a continual learning process. Step Two: Form a Plan The next step in setting up your training business is to form a working business plan. This takes time, but the benefits that you gain from doing it are invaluable. In addition to shaping your course of action, a sound business plan will help you obtain a lease for a commercial building and approach potential investors. Having a name for your business at this point not only gives you a feeling of identity but also helps you mold your ideas into a tangible commodity. Furthermore, once you have a name, you can register it with the county clerk in your city. Executive Summary This first section of your business plan summarizes your proposed business and should grab your reader's attention. It is a brief outline of your proposed company, its current status, the products and services that you intend to provide and the market to whom you intend to provide them. The Executive Summary should also discuss briefly your current position and market. Use this section as a platform both to illustrate how you plan to expand or improve your current services and to emphasize the growth potential of the market that you currently serve. You can obtain detailed information about your
JUNE | 2003
IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER
Tips for Location Hunting
Once you have the capital, you can look for the right building. However, don't just consider the areas that appeal to you. Here are a couple of important tips for deciding where to set up shop. Consult Your Current Clients. Ask them what about the location of your business is important to them. I considered leasing a building in a great part of town, but it would have been a parking nightmare for my clients. I changed my mind about it after my clients told me that ample parking was one of the most important things for them. Use a Real Estate Professional. I made the mistake of trying to negotiate a lease directly with the owner of a commercial property; we talked on the phone for 9 hours over 3 days yet couldn't come to an arrangement. After that, I found a good broker. Among other things, a real estate broker and her company's lawyers can help negotiate the lease terms. You can find a broker or real estate agent on your own, or your clients may be able to recommend one.
business. It is divided into four subsections. Introduction to the Business. Describe the events that led to your wanting to open your own facility, your unique qualities and the unique qualities of your proposed business. Mission Statement. State the goals that your proposed facility hopes to achieve. Management Team. Introduce the individuals who will help run your business and list their qualities. Products and Services. Describe in detail the products and services that your business will provide. Market Research This section of your business plan also has four subsections. Customers. Discuss your potential customers in detail. Where do they come from? What are the trends of this demographic? Most importantly, who will refer business to you? Include some references that can appear as appendices to your business plan to support the business referrals that you mention.
target market in your proposed geographic area by looking up local government census results for "Current Demographics and Economic Estimates"; this report contains information about changes in economic factors that can help you and others such as potential investors decide whether or not your target market and proposed business are worth the effort. Resources
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