7 Steps To Open A Profitable Fitness Business In 60 Days
This article is going to give you a blueprint of how to open a fitness business from start to finish in 60 days. The process covers everything from the idea generation to the actual soft launch or grand opening of your fitness business.
My name is Brian Devlin, I am the author of Fitness Launch Formula and Co-founder of Fit Pro Evolution Inc. For those of you that don’t know me, I am a husband, author, father, entrepreneur, and fitness business startup coach. I’ve been in the industry for almost 20 years, and I’ve generated millions of dollars from fitness related services both offline in my facilities and online. I have put together a powerful training on what it really takes to open up your own brick-and-mortar fitness business.
So I promise not to disappoint you.
There’s going to be a lot of content in here, and I want you to read through to the end so you know exactly what steps to take.
If you’re reading this you may be at a position where you’re ready to launch a fitness business or at least you are thinking about it in the near future. If that’s the case I’ve got good news for you.
You can launch a fitness business and you can stop living paycheck to paycheck. You can stop trading dollars for hours, and you can stop wondering where your next dime is going to come from. Believe me, I’ve been there. So I know this.
Let’s take a deeper look at what it really takes to launch a successful fitness business from the ground up, so grab a pen and piece of paper and take some notes.
Let’s get down to business…
How do you launch a successful fitness business?
Well, if you want to launch a fitness business you have to have a starting point.
So you’re here. “I want to start a fitness business.” Your end goal should be to have a soft launch or grand opening.
Phase 1: The Foundation Of Your Fitness Business
The first step, it may seem mundane, but it’s actually the most important step, and it’s developing your company’s core DNA.
The core DNA is sort of like your identity and your company’s identity. It’s made up of five main components and some subcomponents of that, but really you need to understand who you are as a person before you can go any further. That may sound woo-woo, but it’s the truth. If you don’t know who you are, then you’re not going to know your core values and ultimately your business may be built around something that won’t align with your future self.
Next, you need to know exactly what message you want to share with the world.
So if you’re opening a fitness business you have to have a strong message such as, “I want to teach people how to reverse stubborn metabolism and live an energy-rich life,” or something of that nature.
You have to know whom you want to serve. You can’t serve everybody.
You can be a jack of all trades, but you’re not going to be a master of anything if you think broadly. So you have to have a specific audience that you really want to serve, and you’ve got to know how you’re going to serve them in a really powerful way. The thing that’s most important is knowing why you want to serve them. Once you understand your “why”, then you can serve them in a bigger and better way than your competitors. You can be that army of one if you have your core DNA wrapped up.
This is the deep foundational work. It sort of sets that GPS for your company and gives you waypoints that you can follow. All that’s left to do before you move onto the next phase is a couple of things:You’re going to define your war. What do you wish to eradicate?
You’re going to create your superhero identity.
You will determine how are you going to attract your ideal customer. (messaging)
You will validate that ideal niche through a special tool I’ve developed called the Green Light System, and we’ll cover more about that later on, but that is the core DNA.
Phase 2: The Numbers and Your Fitness Business
This is a really important part of opening a fitness business that a lot of fit pros don’t get or they quit when they get to this stage because it’s just too difficult, but in all reality, it’s really not difficult at all. So I’m going to break down for you the four phases of numbers that are most important.
1. Choose your model.
In order to know your numbers, you have to know what your model is.
- Are you going to be a private training studio?
- Are you going to be a group-training studio?
- Are you going to be a Cross Fit, a hybrid-training studio?
- Or are you going to be semi-private?
If you don’t know that, then you don’t have a really good starting place because will have problems leasing space, or acquiring financing.
So once you choose your model…and I do recommend starting with one model, you can always branch out into other offerings. You really want to focus on that one thing first. So choose your model.
2. Create your program ladders.
Your program ladders are how you ascend your customer to higher levels of intimacy with you and your brand. Bring your customers in on entry level programs, but ascend them into your core programs and then up the ladder to your higher tier, more intimate programs which are going to be more expensive and provide more benefit to them. If you don’t have your program ladders created the right way, you’re going to have a hard time making that happen.
3. Forecast all those vital statistics and numbers.
We cover all of these in Fitness Launch Formula, but you need to get your numbers dialed in. Once you have those statistics calculated you can set your optimal pricing. When you know your numbers, then you know your optimal pricing. Believe it or not, there is optimal pricing, meaning the price point that will yield you the highest return on your effort and give you the best margins.
There’s an algorithm that we teach in the Fitness Launch Formula that allows you to do that very easily.
4. Map out those main sales funnels.
Remember, you don’t have to have a lot of them. You can have just one. My studio in Charleston, South Carolina did $1.5 million in sales for four years straight using only one sales funnel. So don’t believe the hype when you think you have to have all these funnels in place. You really only need one really good main conversion process, and the rest can be gravy. So if the numbers don’t match up you do not have a viable business model.
Now you’re ready to move onto the third step of the launch formula with confidence.
Phase 3: The Groundwork For Your Fitness Business
The groundwork phase is where most people quit. It’s actually where 90% of all fit pros that try to start a fitness business quit because it’s hard.
Now, here’s the cool part.
When you know how to get through the groundwork and you know that 90% quit there, then it’s a lot easier to actually put in the work and go through it because after the groundwork phase the rest is actually quite easy and fun.
Building your business is really fun, and then on top of that figuring out the marketing systems and launching the business if you have a blueprint is really simple.
Here are the 9 aspects of the groundwork phase that you can expect:
Creating your business entity: It can be a pain in the butt all in itself depending on where you live. Some states make it nearly impossible to create an entity, and others you can just file the paperwork. You’ll need to create your business entity as an LLC, an S corp, a corporation, a coop, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship.
Acquire financing: You’ve got the numbers, they all match up, you’ve tested the niche, passed the Green Light System, and you’ve created your entity, now you want to acquire financing.
There are all kinds of ways you can get financing. You can finance it yourself, and there many ways to get loans from the SBA to private investors, but it’s actually not as hard as you think to get financing even if you have bad credit, and we cover a lot of ways to get financing in detail in Fitness Launch Formula.
Conduct your site selection process: You’re going to look at different spaces and find which one resonates with you the most, where your model will work, and a space you can afford. I would use a real estate agent for this, but there are some parameters that we recommend you to follow using the Fitness Launch Formula.
If you decide to invest in Fitness Launch Formula it will really help with this process I’ve used this system to develop seven facilities, including chiropractic offices, big training centers, and small training centers. It’s actually a pretty effective and effortless system.
Go to the town code & zoning office: Once you know that we want to lease a space, and you have made contact with the landlord, stop right there with the landlord and go to the Code Office. Because if it doesn’t pass Code it’s not going to be a business.
Is your building is zoned for fitness. Your building may be zoned for mercantile use, which means that you’re going to have to get the zoning changed over to fitness. Some states are different than others. Some provinces and countries are different than others, but zoning exists pretty much everywhere. So you have to visit the code office and make sure that you can actually open up a business in this area. When you introduce yourself to the code officer, make sure that in the office you are very, very, very polite and when you speak to the code officer, treat them like they are your best friend. This is powerful advice. Make sure that you do that with the code officer. It will serve you for years to come.
Negotiate your lease: There are many tricks, tips, and tactics for doing so to get your lease down to the minimum payment and with the best options.
The building inspection: This process is done with the code office and your local zoning office. Get all your permits that you need, fire, construction, plumbing and everything else that you need to move forward with the next phase
Design your facility layout: I have a really cool, free tool that you can use to do that, and you’ll have a chance to get the training on this as well for the facility design. It’s really awesome, and it makes it really simple so you can take that design to the code office and show them that design and go through. A lot of times you can avoid paying architectural rendering fees, which is really helpful when you’re trying to build out a facility.
Compile your master purchase lists.
Compile your labor list: Your purchase list and your labor list are all you need. That’s very important when we move into the next phase.
Find that skilled labor: Remember, The Groundwork is the most difficult phase of the formula. This is where everyone quits because it’s hard work, but if you know that this is the quitting zone, and navigating this will put you in the 10%, then you should feel motivated and confident to keep moving forward because the rest of the journey is downhill.
Phase 4: The Build Out Of Your Fitness Business
This is the fun phase. This is where you get your hands dirty and become really invested in your project. You’re going to sign that lease, you’re going to start ordering equipment. So let’s move into exactly what you’re going to be doing.
First of all, you have to have a complete design of your facility ready to go, meaning you have to know what your facility is going to look like inside.
Get all laid out: The traffic patterns, where the equipment goes, standing room, storage, etc.
You can do this using this really cool tool I have or you can just sketch it out on paper, take it to an architect, or whatever, but have that design ready.
Next, you’re going to order flooring because it’s the longest lead time and it has to go down first, and a lot of people don’t get this.
They think you can order flooring and have it in two weeks. Depending on where you are, and what kind of flooring you get you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. If you use rolled rubber flooring, that stuff has to come on a big truck with a lift gate and the lead times can be six to eight weeks at times, especially if you’re out in a rural area. So make sure that flooring gets ordered first.
I’ll show you a really cool way to calculate that flooring in Fitness Launch Formula.
If you are paying on a lease while waiting for flooring, you have committed business suicide.
Order your large equipment next because most large equipment, if it’s “selectorized” or plate loaded, even the rigs and the pull-up rigs, the Cross Fit rigs from Rogue, all that stuff has a lead time that’s longer than the small equipment like bands, BOSUS, and easier to ship items. So order large equipment first.
Establish your phone service, as well as your company number. I recommend using a phone answering service, and I do give recommendations in my book for that, but you can also just use your own phone, but make sure that you have a phone number established for your company because you’re going to need it for your promotional materials.
Design and approve your signage through the landlord and through the code office: That phone number may or may not be on that signage, but it will definitely be on your promotional materials which come next.
Create your social media profiles, your fan page, and your coming soon page:. All these items require your phone number on it, especially your fan page.
Design and order your promotional materials:. Now you have your phone number on that. Compile the final master purchase lists outside of the large equipment and flooring. Then create
Compile the final master purchase lists: Excluding large equipment and flooring.
Create your coming soon page: Link this to your email system.
Order all that printed material: The lead time on printed material can be up to two weeks especially if you’re doing plastic gift cards. Make sure you get that printed material ordered as soon as everything above is completed.
The build out phase is much more involved: I go into great detail covering everything that you need to think about in my book, and you probably have a lot of questions floating around your head right now, and it’s totally okay.
Phase 5: Tweaking and Polishing Your Fitness Business
This is where we get our business ready to go. So we’re putting the polish on it.
First of all, you’re going to have to set up your onboarding system.
This is what I call your CRM. We are developing a system for this right now that’s going to be available in the near future, called onboard me™. But in the meantime, you can use another CRM if you’d like to, but you need some sort of onboarding system, whether it’s a simple email auto responder or something more advanced that has automation involved.
Your customers need to have a clear path. So your onboarding system needs to have a plan and process behind it, but also an email delivery and text message delivery system to automate communication.
Order your small equipment: I recommend ordering your small equipment on Amazon it’s great, rather than some of the more popular companies that tend to charge a little more money for basically the same thing. For my last two facilities, I used Amazon. Sometimes the lead time is as little as two days if you have the Prime account, and it’s been really helpful, but I give a lot of tips on ordering small equipment in my book.
Set up your scheduling system: I recommend a certain scheduling system and certain payment processing systems, which can be very important depending on your model. You may or may not want to do recurring billing, and you may want to have classes, and certain scheduling systems will be good for this, and certain scheduling systems and payment processing systems will not be good for this.
Write your employee manual: You need this to train your employees on all your systems and develop your standard operating procedure. I cannot stress this enough. Do not open your business without an employee manual and standard operating procedure.
Designing our direct response marketing website: You have your coming soon page up, but now it’s time to actually design your direct response marketing website. you can use all sorts of resources for this, and I recommend a ton in my book, but you need to know something about direct response marketing or at least have a service available to you that does that, and I actually go into detail on this in my book.
Locate, interview, and hire employees: Once you have those employees, you need to be able to pay them. So you need to set up your commercial banking accounts and your merchant accounts, and especially if you’re going to carry a product, such as supplements, things like that.
A lot of this may seem overwhelming right now but believe it or not, these actions are just a bunch of Lincoln Logs that need to be placed on top of each other. Do it once and you have a business.
As long as you think about building your dream business like you would a Lincoln Log house, you won’t get so overwhelmed and have anxiety associated with all the steps. it makes it so much easier, and I show you exactly how, step by step, from A to Z, every day it’s broken down into everything you do in a day all throughout the book so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Using a proven formula makes building your business so much easier. I show you step by step every action you need to take every day to completion in my book, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Acquire liability insurance: We have recommended providers for this based on my experience and the experience of my coaching clients.
Draw up your legal documents and contracts: Do not open a fitness business without legal documents and contracts, and do not copy and paste them off the Internet. Please.
So that’s tweaking and polishing. Once we’re done tweaking and polishing, you should go though to go through a 50-point checklist that I don’t cover here, but once we do this we’re ready to actually open the doors.
There are a few more things you need to do before this phase. We cover each of the 10 actions just mentioned above in extreme detail in my book, including the checklists, execution plans, process maps, and workflows, but I also cover the problems that you may encounter and the ways I’ve solved them in the past. So at this point, you are only steps away from opening your doors.
Phase 6: Dry Run Training For Your Fitness Business
This is the coolest part. What you’re going to do is find test subjects, and you’re going to bring them through different processes in your business.
Maybe it’s the customer onboarding process, maybe it’s the actual workouts, and maybe it is the lead generation process.
Either way, you’re going to bring them through the processes of your business and they will audit your performance. You’re going to get feedback.
Thet feedback is going to determine whether or not you pivot and change course because you may have encountered some big problem that you can’t fix with your current model. It happens, and that’s okay.
Plenty of times I’ve pivoted before I’ve opened the doors, and it’s really not that hard when you know what to do. If you don’t have to pivot and you get great feedback, then you can go to your soft launch.
Think about it like this, once you pivot, (and it might just be a very small pivot), you can just move right into your soft launch. So again it’s just a pivot. No big deal!
Phase 7: Your Fitness Business Soft Launch
It’s time to open the doors to your facility to the public. The first thing we’re going to do is take a small market segment through the entire process, from lead generation, nurturing, and conversion all the way to your low-barrier-to-entry offer, your core offer, and then up the chain.
You can do this by targeting a market segment.
Capture your chosen segment via offline and online methods, compel them to enter into a relationship with you by introducing awareness to a problem that they have and then being the go-to person for that specific solution.
Continue to convert them into that low-barrier-to-entry offer, and then delivering that service with a bang.
Then what you’re going to do is you’re obviously going to get feedback, “This is awesome,” or, “I didn’t really like this experience.”
Take that feedback and combine it with your sales data (your leads, your consults, and your sales), and the conversion rate between (leads to consults) and (consults to sales). Then just make some adjustments.
Once you make those adjustments, you’re ready to launch your business and you’re ready to go big with the grand opening.
That’s it. That is how easy it is to open a fitness business.
(If you’d like a step by step checklist and a free video detailing everything I covered in this post just click here). It’s 100% free.