Pulling together your business plan is a critical first step. Here are three things to think about and do before anything else:
Type of facility (niche or traditional)
Are you interested in offering a traditional gym or a niche fitness facility? Will your facility be one about the latest fitness classes? A place to focus on shredding? Or, is there something for everyone?
What makes you so special?
Why should people choose your space as their fitness facility? Competitive pricing? Specialist classes and staff? A focus on bulking and prepping? If you aren’t clear about this, potential customers won’t be either.
Demographics – what demographic group matches your offering and which suburbs do they live in?
Size up competition – already 12 gyms in your chosen suburb? Find out what’s already on offer.
It’s not enough to have u-beaut calisthenics and high tech treadmills. Your customers want to feel something when they enter your facility. You want them pumped to smash their PBs, not desperate to get it over with ASAP for Netflix and a bevvy.
Meet Marco, he’s just moved into the area to be close to his first career role after graduating. He’s looking for a fitness facility to join.
Fitness Facility A: Bare white walls, grubby change rooms and radio station adverts blaring so loudly over the speakers it’s hard to hear anything.
Fitness Facility B: On-trend green walls, framed posters, clean amenities, trainers on hand to demonstrate form and a motivational playlist.
Which one is Marco likely to go with?
So, what goes into your brand? Think about the experience you want your customers to have and make deliberate choices about:
What do people see when they first walk in?
Is it easy to navigate and well sign-posted?
Plenty of room to stretch, spot, cool down?
Choice of paint colour, lockers, flooring, shelving and merchandise.
Make sure they work in cohesion connect to your brand.
Blank walls? BORING!
Some well-placed imagery creates interest and can motivate your customers to push themselves that bit further.
Choose the colour, font and imagery that match your brand.
Get them frothing to smash each set and demolish every incline.
They should reflect your customer demographic – not just the type of classes but when and how often you run them.
Choosing the location is exciting, but it’s easy to be led astray and go with your heart over your head. Once you know your purchase or rental budget, you also need to make decisions about the following:
If your facility will rely on lots of strength equipment, you’ll need a large space. However, if you’re mostly focused on fitness classes (HIIT followed by EIM anyone?) – you’re likely looking for a smaller space with multiple rooms.
Hipster industrial space or high-tech inner-city oasis? Your brand and unique offering should drive the location you land on.
Is the location easy to get to? Close to public transport? Plenty of on-site or nearby parking? It’s hard to drag yourself over a kilometre to your car after a session of super sets.
Industrial vs commercial space
Industrial spaces are generally bigger, cheaper and offer on-site parking. However, they see less foot traffic and might be hard to access by public transport. Commercial spaces are highly visible, see lots of foot traffic and are generally close to public transport. As a downside, they tend to be smaller and more expensive.
Often underestimated, new facility owners find they haven’t budgeted money or space-wise for all the equipment, storage and products they need. Make a list and budget against the following equipment and products (and were they will be stored):
How many zones does your space need? What is the flow of your floor plan? Are the zones safe and accessible? Here are some typical zones you’ll need to think about:
So there it is – lots to think about once you’ve decided to start your own fitness facility. Taking the time to think about your plan, brand and potential space will set you up for many years of success.
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