Starting a fitness business can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Not only is it a way for an owner to make a living pursuing their passion; it has a positive impact on everyone it encounters. However, it takes more than passion for fitness to be successful. It takes an understanding of operating a business. Here are five simple but important tips to help get you started.
1. Seek experienced counsel
Taking advice from professionals who have been in your shoes will save you time, money and frustration. Some of this you need to pay for, such as attorneys, CPAs, and consultants; and often this is money well spent. There are also smart ways of obtaining free counsel. Check your local Small Business Association (SBA) chapter and you can often find classes or SBA-sponsored coaches who will give you advice for free. Speaking to people in your network is also a great way to get help. Other business owners from places like your church, neighborhood, alumni associations, local Chamber of Commerce, etc. can be great resources.
2. Learn how to delegate
This is a lesson you will learn the hard way eventually, so short circuit that by learning how to delegate from the beginning. If you are unable to work through your team, your success will be severely limited. Spend time learning how to manage and how to lead people.
3. Hire slow, fire fast
Take your time hiring new team members. Payroll is often one of the biggest line items on your budget, so it’s important to be careful. Take your time and be thorough about interviewing candidates and preparing expectations and job descriptions. By the same token, if you think someone you’ve hired is not a good fit, make a change. It’s good to invest in growing people and it takes time, but when it’s time to make decisions that are best for your business, don’t drag it out.
4. Set guiding principles for your business
Creating a positive culture for your staff, clients and members requires guiding principles. If you establish principles by which you guide your decisions, as opposed to harsh rules, you give people the freedom to make their own decisions within these principles. It keeps your vision intact but allows people the freedom to perform within certain parameters.
5. Plan the work, work the plan
Owning a business is a whirlwind. You absolutely have to get out in front of the chaos, or it will consume you. Plan out, at minimum, three months ahead of time. Plan your budget, your marketing activities, your retention activities, events, and anything else that you can. Once you have the plan, get to work. Assess the results and repeat the process.