The Start-Up
By Justin Price, MA

So You Want Your Own PFT Business?
Don’t let your plan fail because you’ve failed to plan. My personal training career progressed in the way most personal trainers’ careers do: 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.

For example, I discovered that the brain (at least mine) tends to recall only select information; with that in mind, be sure 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.

cussed in more detail later in the plan. This next section allows you to sell yourself as someone capable of starting a new 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. 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. Service Features. Highlight the unique services that your business will provide. Also explain how they will benefit your customers. Customer Sensitivities. Be specific about the relationship between your business and your customers. What will your clients expect from your services? How will your reputation affect your customers’ perceptions? How important will the location of your business be to your customers? How will your sales method affect your customers? Competitors. Who are they? What can they offer to draw customers away from your business?
Business Strategy Market Research History and Position to Date

Step Two: Form a Plan

The first steps I took to set up my business were 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 the scores of San Diego gyms, studios and fitness professionals 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 about their clientele, programs and training fees. I also went to conferences such as IDEA’s to meet fitness professionals from around the U.S. and abroad. This helped me identify trends in the industry and determine which ones 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. I combed magazines, other periodicals and the Internet to research topics and educate myself further on my local market. By soliciting the advice of fitness colleagues, I learned some useful things.

Step One: Assess the Market

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. This first section of your business plan summarizes your proposed business and grabs 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 you currently serve. You can obtain detailed information about your 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. The Executive Summary should be succinct and limited to the first page (approximately 500 words) of your plan. The issues that it addresses are disJ u n e 2 0 0 4 I D E A Tr a i n e r S u c c e s s

Executive Summary

This section consists of three subsections. Pricing. Discuss how you plan to price your services and why. Advertising and Promotion. Address how you plan to generate consistent business. Location. Inform the reader what is

desirable about where you plan to put your business. For example, a hightraffic area may offer excellent visibility from the main street, or a less visible space may have good parking and access to freeways.

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