Small Business 101: 5 Tips for Starting a Gym
Exercise and fitness are your passion.
You love to do it, and you love motivating others to do it too. That’s why your heart’s set on starting a gym. You’ve got the passion—but now it’s time to figure out how to put it to work.
Here are five important tips for how to start a gym in your town.
1. Get Trained and Accredited
This is an important step to take before you actually open a gym.
Your customers want to know that you’re the real deal when it comes to fitness. After all, that’s why they’re choosing to use your gym.
So make sure you’ve undergone the necessary training and credentialing before you take the leap of actually opening a gym. Good credentialing agencies in the fitness field include:
- the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- the National Academy of Sports Medicine
- the American Council on Exercise
2. Find the Best Location
Next, you need to determine the size and location of your gym startup. Decide how big you want your gym to be, how many clients you intend to cater to, and use this information to select the space you’ll need to occupy.
Then, decide on the best location for your business. This is crucial for generating customer traffic.
Are you in a downtown location? Is there enough parking for your customers? Are you front and center on a main street, or tucked away in the back of some industrial district?
Go where your intended customers are. The fitness set is usually young and trendy, so find other businesses that cater to this demographic and see if you can find the right space for your gym.
3. Staffing and Equipment
People go to gyms to use exercise equipment and learn from fitness trainers. So if you intend to start a fitness center, staffing it with quality personnel, and stocking it with good equipment, are major priorities.
Make sure you ascertain the training and credentials of any staff you choose to hire. Consider hiring on a temporary basis, contingent on the new trainer’s performance.
After all, your staff is a reflection of you, and inadequate trainers might drive away existing or potential customers.
As for equipment, you’ll need to decide what kind of machines you want in your establishment, and whether to buy or lease. This decision depends on your long-term goals, but leasing gives you the option to test out new equipment, and see what works for your business.
This one practically goes without saying. Before you can start a business, it’s important to figure out your finances.
A good bill of financial health will help you get financed, and having some extra money saved up for at least 1-2 years’ worth of expenses is always a good idea.
This is the final step. Don’t overlook your marketing strategy—getting the word out about your new gym is crucial to building a customer base.
Invest in printing flyers, advertisements, and posters, and distribute them in places where your target customers hang out. Develop an online and social media presence, and put in the time and energy to promote your new gym.
Guest passes, free trial memberships, and hosting fitness events are other good ways to attract business. And get creative—put together some swag, such as t-shirts and iron on patches with your company’s logo, to generate interest.
Starting a Gym is Easy If You Follow These Tips
If you want to know how to open a gym, these five tips will help get you started. Of course, you’re still going to have to put in more legwork than a full session on a NordicTrack if you want your business to succeed.
Nobody said starting a gym was easy. But if you follow these tips, you could be the owner of the next big gym in your city.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more business information and advice, check out our biz section for everything you need to know.