Opening a gym is an exciting opportunity to be your own boss and work in an industry you’re passionate about, but the business venture should not be taken lightly. Opening a gym can be extremely rewarding, both personally and financially, if you’re willing to put in the hard work to succeed and surround yourself with a strong team.
Here is a basic overview of some things to consider as you pursue your goal of opening a gym:
Complete a Self-Assessment
In beginning a new business venture, self-awareness is fundamental for success. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Should you really even be doing this in the first place?
A self-assessment is not meant to convince you not to pursue your dream of opening a gym, rather better prepare you for potential obstacles you may face. Our ownership quiz – “Are You A Born Business Owner?” – is a great place to start.
Identify Your Niche
What is going to make your gym stand out from the thousands of $10/month gyms that seem to pop up overnight? What can you offer that these corporate chains cannot? Consider specialty classes, exercise equipment, unique training space, staff certifications and more. Your staff can offer more than personal training sessions. Consider becoming a Parisi certified facility. Maybe your gym can team up with a local physical therapy business.
Create a Business Plan
This may seem obvious, and some may even see it as trivial or negligible, but a solid business plan backed by industry research is not a step you should miss on your path to opening a gym. A simple Google search of “business plan templates” will return thousands of results with the format you should follow in writing your own business plan. You may think you already have a solid understanding of your market and financial plan, but putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) might reveal some shocking gaps in critical information.
Whether or not you need to present your business plan to investors or partners, you should take the process seriously and always have others that you trust review and offer feedback on your plan.
Find and Secure a Location
Once you’ve identified your differentiating factor and established your business plan, it’s time to hit the pavement. First, get clear on how many clients you want to be able to serve in your facility. Knowing how much space you will need will help you find a location that best suits your requirements.Initially, a good location is key to getting clients to your gym. Many gym owners believe that location is worth paying more money upfront so that your business gets seen.
Staff and Equipment
Who’s going to join your team? Your speciality and business goals will dictate the size and experience of your team. Many new entrepreneurs might be eager to hire their friends when opening a gym, but you want to ensure you are enlisting a quality team of professionals.
You’ll also want to build a list of equipment needed. If budget is tight, be sure to prioritize as you can always add more down the road. What business connections do you have that might help in this area?
The pieces are starting to come together. Now it’s time to build the puzzle. The timeline to your grand opening will be dependent on a number of factors – financing, permits, facility build out, staffing, equipment availability. These are only one aspect to your timeline.
The other aspect of your timeline should include business goals (which should have already been established in your business plan) and how each action brings you closer to reaching these goals. Creating a connection between your activities and your business goals will help you prioritize when the time comes, and it will. Not everything will go as planned, especially during your pre-launch phase, so it’s so important to have a strong pre-launch support plan.
Tell the world who you are and what you have to offer. There are a number of avenues you can go down in regards to marketing, both digital and traditional. You want to make sure you’re getting your facility in front of the right audience, using the right medium at the right time. In today’s industry, it’s almost mandatory to establish your business on all social media channels and at least have a basic website. You want to be sure your business is being listed on local directories on Google and Yelp.
Once these basics are covered, you’ll want to explore traditional means of advertising. Get out in your community and spread the word! Making personal connections with local people and business owners will go a lot further than relying on paid ads to magically land in front of the right people. Find a good balance of digital marketing, traditional marketing and word of mouth that fits both your budget and your business goals.
Consider Your Day to Day
What will your average day look like after you open? What hours of operation can you commit to? Consider the quality technology you need to manage your clients and scheduling, profits and payroll, etc. What about additional roles and responsibilities, such as cleaning and front desk operations? These day-to-day details may not have been considered previously, but could cause some major hiccups.
It’s a Process
Clearly, opening a gym is a process that could take anywhere from six months to a year or longer. If this timeline, or any of the items above, caused you concern, you may want to take a step back and reevaluate your goal of opening a gym. If this challenge excites you, great! We’ve helped more than 100 facilities find great success in opening a gym with a Parisi Speed School license and we hope the same for you.
If a Parisi license opportunity is of interest to you, download our FREE Guide to Parisi Ownership.