Here is my candidate for most important advice: Learn about the BUSINESS SIDE of fitness with as much enthusiasm as you studied to learn anatomy and exercise science.
Before making any financial commitments, it is important to get as much advice on running a business as possible. Many states have official agencies which will help with small business to make sure that you have met all the required business paperwork. Make a business plan and have a knowledgeable person look at it. Do not let your desire over-write your better sense.
If you plan to get into business with others, make sure they have their share of the financial responsibility. Managing a studio often involves managing people. It is important to ask yourself whether you have all the people management skills necessary. It is very easy to pat somebody on the back for a job well done. It is a lot more difficult to find the right words if things did not go as you expected.
Once you create a business plan and assess your ability to run a business and manage people, your next important step is to analyze your marketing and network abilities. Signage, business cards, fliers, brochures, and advertising in newspapers/magazines are just the basics tools to marketing/networking your business in today’s world of commerce. There are many questions you will want to ask yourself and answer before you proceed. Some of them may be: Who is my target market? What “brand” of studio am I creating? What is a successful and cost effective way to communicate my message and reach my pre-determined audience? Will I network with out professionals? If yes, how will I network. If no, why not? Do I have personal contacts that could be a source of referrals? Your answers need to be examined as you consider the idea of opening and running a successful studio.
Best advice I can provide: Get help from other business professionals for some of the business aspects of running your own studio like an attorney, bookkeeper, and CPA. Never “guess” whether you are doing something right when it comes to licensing, taxes, or business expenses and if you don’t know how to do something or can’t find an answer to a question about how to run your business, find someone who does. The money you spend seeking out this help will pay off ten-fold. And the help you get will allow you to do what you love – train clients.