Editor's Note: So many fitness professionals have the same dream: your own fitness business. Yet, reaching these entrepreneurial goals are sometimes more difficult than you could have ever imagined. But with the help of franchises and licenses, many budding entrepreneurs are now avoiding the common pitfalls of the fledgling business. However, with each passing day, it seems more and more franchises pop up before your eyes. Finding the right one to fit your niche, expertise and market can be a daunting undertaking. To get you started on your entrepreneurial dreams, we offer you a beginning look at the options that are available to you.


Fitness Together

Fitness Together, created over 15 years ago by its founder, Rick Sikorski, offers franchisees a unique approach to fitness with its personalized fitness training for all men and women. In the privacy of individual suites, clients work with their own personal trainer to achieve mutually established fitness and health goals. Providing a systematic and professional approach to the fitness industry, Fitness Together assists its franchisees in becoming successful business owners. And though Fitness Together franchise owners are a diverse group, they all have three things in common: a desire to help other people, a passion for fitness and an entrepreneurial spirit.

            Various factors impact a business' ROI, such as the initial investment, the anticipated sales, fixed costs and the business' gross profit margin. In fact, the greatest challenge franchisees face regarding profitability is the variability of sales. The four most important factors influencing the sales of franchisees are the following items: the studio's marketing plan, the sales closing process, the attitude of staff and the location of the studio. However, as a result of providing training, marketing plans and site selection to its franchisees, the Fitness Together franchise greatly improves an entrepreneur's probability of success.

            When considering which franchise to invest in, one should consider the marketing support that the particular model offers. Fitness Together offers extensive marketing training at its Franchise University, where franchisees learn about their target markets, receive a detailed Marketing and Advertising Took Kit and are introduced to the franchise's direct mail vendors. www.fitnesstogether.com, 877.663.0880


VERT Fitness

A personal training model that offers high-end service products, VERT Fitness aims to offer its clients luxury in its exercise equipment and sophisticated training system. The VERT Fitness franchise caters to the amateur and professional athletes and adults between the ages of 30 and 60 who are looking to apply what they are doing in the gym into their hobbies and life activities. Utilizing a computer-driven line of equipment, VERT, franchisees can offer their clients to train for power and functionality rather than traditional weight training methodology. Due to its focus on function, rehabilitation, movement and athletics, most franchisees have a strong knowledge and understanding of exercise science, physical therapy or a related field, human functionality and performance enhancement. 

            As with any new business, franchisees face challenges in building their location, such as the start-up costs involved with getting into the right building or structure as well as allowing for a development period to generate a solid clientele and build relationships within the community. However, through the franchise option, there are ways to minimize these risks and defer costs. In fact, VERT Fitness franchisees often realize a significant ROI since its trainers, using VERT proprietary technology and equipment, can work with multiple clients while still charging a competitive personal training rate, as well as through the use of the VERT multi-functional exercise equipment that maximizes floor space and lowers overhead costs. www.vertinc.com, 310.828.0240


PTP (Personal Training Professionals)
The PTP Franchise model includes all segments of the population — men, women, kids and seniors — so through the design of individualized programs, be it weight loss, sports-specific training, rehabilitation from injury or general health and fitness, franchisees are able to draw from the largest possible pool of potential clients.
            Like any small business, beginning entrepreneurs face financial risks from day one. It is easy to advertise in the wrong places, pick a poor location or hire too many people before the demand exists. To avoid these potential business killers, it is essential to have a sound business model. Franchise groups, like PTP, have developed business models that are a proven success. Therefore, they know how best to get a business up and running. With a successful business model, franchisees can be assured that all the bases are covered, maximizing the return on investment.
            When researching the right franchise for yourself, it is important to make sure you are 
looking at its "market creditability." How long has it been in business? Has the company experienced growth? What is its reputation within the industry? Try to stay away from the "quick fix," "here today, gone tomorrow" type of franchise opportunities.www.PTPFranchise.com, 866.97.PTP4U

Velocity Sports Performance

In 2006, American households with children spent an estimated $4.1 billion on securing sports instruction and private coaching. Velocity Sports Performance services this niche by specializing in advanced sports performance training for athletes of all ages and skill levels, though primarily youth sport athletes (ages eight to 18).  Whether a professional athlete looking for a competitive edge, a collegiate athlete looking to improve his or her skills, a high school or young athlete looking for specialized basic skills training, Velocity Sports Performance Centers aim to service the athletic needs of athletes of all ages, genders and skill levels.
            As with any business, it is not enough to simply open the doors and wait for business to walk in. Velocity franchisees must demonstrate the competitive spirit they instill in the athletes they train by focusing on developing local sales and marketing efforts and driving traffic into the centers by establishing partnerships with local sports leagues, schools and through sustained outreach to local sports teams to build steady consumer traffic.
            Franchisees must understand the business potential relative to the industry, the competition, the market size and growth potential. Ask questions like: Is it a business that appeals to a broad base of consumers, or a narrow group? Is the category established, or will it require a lot of education on the part of the consumer to understand the value proposition? www.velocitysp.com, 972.839.9741

Boot Camp Challenge

Trainers opting to purchase licensed programs are given a target market immediately. Boot Camp Challenge was created for clients looking to shape up, change their bodies or just challenge their fitness level. Successful graduates of the boot camp have been on dialysis, been recovering from quadruple bypass surgery and have been iron man athletes in training. All Boot Camp Challenge trainers and owners need to have the skill and knowledge to modify and progress all exercises and workouts to accommodate all levels. Owners who purchase this license will find the greatest success if they have experience in leading groups in exercise, experience with personal training techniques and the desire and determination to work the business model. Licensees will find immediate ROI due to the minimum fee involved in this purchase.
            One of the greatest challenges faced by licensees' is securing locations. Due to the fact that the Boot Camp Challenge can be launched in corporations, schools, fire districts, churches and fitness facilities, deciding where and how to launch the program can be a learning curve.
            When selecting specialty and niche-marketing franchises and licenses, several factors should be considered: Does the "specialty" have staying power? Does the programming include fundamentals that will last through time? Will the purchaser feel confident "owning, teaching and marketing" the program? http://bootcamp-challenge.com, 636.734.8594
Get In Shape For Women
A small group fitness concept for women, Get In Shape For Women Franchise is a unique approach where one trainer trains up to four women at a time for only $15 per 60-minute work out. This fitness model is based on 30 minutes of strength training, 30 minutes of cardio, supportive nutrition and bi-weekly weight and body-fat tests to measure results.
            Get In Shape For Women franchisees have the ability to see a concrete ROI on their investment. In fact, one Get In Shape For Women studio currently for sale has 90 clients after only four months of operation. The studio cost $100,000 to open and, currently, has a net profit of $5,000 per month, with a price tag of $200,000.
            Franchisees face many challenges regarding profitability, perhaps the greatest one being their willingness to follow and learn all the systems a franchise offers. Franchise training and support is crucial. Most often, one week of franchise school is not enough, and in fact, Get In Shape For Women provides its franchisees two hours each week of ongoing training and "local" support from Master Franchisees who will live within the state. It is vital to ask questions about leadership, proven experience and support before buying a franchise. Some important factors to consider are the quality of the product the franchise is selling and the potential market it serves.
www.getinshapeforwomen, 781.444.1913