Starting a Fitness Center

With more and more Americans jumping on to the fitness bandwagon, starting a fitness center seems like an attractive business option. Whether you are a professional trainer who has worked in the industry and now wants to branch out on own or an entrepreneur looking to invest in a profitable business proposition, running a fitness center can be both enjoyable as well as monetarily fruitful.

Starting a fitness center requires sharp business acumen and substantial working capital. While business acumen is something that is more in-born than acquired, you can definitely get some pointers from people who have prior experience in business management before you decide to go it alone.

As far as capital is concerned, you need to be able to present a strong case to the bank you are approaching for a commercial loan if you don’t have the reserves to put in your business. A sound business plan will be required to convince the banks that you are eligible and deserve a loan to start up your fitness business.

The first step towards starting a fitness center is choosing a suitable location. This will impact the commercial success of your business. You need to do a careful analysis of competing fitness facilities in the neighborhood and try to offer services that are unique to attract customers. Your fitness center should also be conveniently located, so your clients are able access it easily.

An important part of fitness center planning is choosing your main customer-base. Your facility should offer services that are congruent with your target audience. For example, full time professionals usually workout before or after their work-day. If you want to attract professionals into your facility, then you may want to extend your operating hours so they are able to fit workout session at the gym in their already busy schedule.

The fitness products you choose will also depend on the demographic profile of your fitness center’s clientele. Women and baby boomers generally like cardio workouts, so you may want to equip your gym with more cardio equipment like treadmills, elliptical trainers, exercise bikes etc. if most of your customers are females and aging adults.

In fact, if you are planning on starting a fitness center, targeting baby boomers may not be a bad idea considering the growing awareness about the benefits of fitness and exercise in controlling health conditions like cholesterol and hypertension as well as maintaining a sense of well-being amongst this segment of population.

The next big step is to work on your fitness center design. The design of your fitness center should encompass safety issues, space limitations, equipment layout, architectural features, as well as aesthetic elements that make your fitness studio a class apart from the rest.

Once the facility is ready for operation, you should announce your opening in style. Flyers, radio spots, newspaper classifieds, etc. should be part of your advertising campaign. However, to draw customers to your fitness studio you need to go one step ahead and offer attractive promotional packages to them. Freebies, discounts, special packages will not just help you attract customers, but also win their loyalty.

In the end, however, the success of your venture will boil down to the quality, range, and uniqueness of the services you provide to your patrons.

According to a survey on fitness trends in 2010 conducted by the American Council on Exercise, a non-profit organization committed to promoting health and wellbeing in the country, exergaming (fitness-based video games) and specialty exercise and fusion type classes will continue to be popular amongst fitness enthusiasts looking for non-conventional workout programs. If you want to stay ahead in the race, you may want to include these non-traditional fitness programs in your offerings.

Starting a fitness center can be fun and a learning experience for the owner. But remember the competition is cut-throat and only the “fittest” (pun unintended) will survive in the end!

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