They could just be the missing piece!
As a fitness professional, investor or entrepreneur you have invested in a new business venture to open your own fitness facility. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! You have an adventure ahead of you that you will never forget. Fitness is an exciting and hugely rewarding industry to be part of and to be a business leader in our industry can not be beaten.
For many, this investment is no pocket change and so whilst the end product is exciting when fully operational and paying back its investment, getting there can be filled with many ups and downs. What I want to try and do with this article is ensure you have the relevant skills, resources and support to deliver your project on time, on budget and with the maximum success.
So what should you consider:
1) Are you going alone or have you bought a Franchise model.
There are benefits to both models and I have covered this in previous articles (Is buying a Fitness franchise right for me?). What is important to understand is what level of support do you have access too?
As an independent club you will rely on your own knowledge as well as that of colleagues you have connected with over the years. As a Franchise you will get support from the Franchisor. Be mindful that this support may not be as much as you require and some are better than others at providing on the ground support.
I have worked with many Franchised clubs over the years as they still believed that having access to a third party with their interest and not the franchise business interest at the forefront was important.
2) What are your own skills?
Its rare to find a fitness business owner or in fact any business owner who is a professional at all the elements of business they need to run a profitable business from the start on their own. Just for consideration these include:
- Business planning, modelling, funding and finance
- Target setting, pricing decisions, yield management
- Project management
- Club design, equipment decisions and supplier management
- Sales and Marketing
- Fitness service delivery
- Client Journeys and customer service planning and delivery
- Staff recruitment
- How well do you know the industry, your competitors, and how you fit in
It is not a weakness to not be an expert in every field. The strength is being able to identify what are your skills and ensuring you have access to someone with the skill sets that you need. If this is through the staff you hire, people you know or hiring a specialist for the short term, its important you know where to look.
3) The workload is always greater than you initially expect.
Building a club as well as setting up and selling a new business can be a full time job for not one person but for a whole team. Its important not to underestimate the effort that is required to get a new fitness club of the ground.
Unwise investment or lack of investment in a strong team or support network can have a massive impact on your success
4) Your pre-sale is the first and only time your club will be brand new
If there is one stage of business you don't want to take a risk on and that’s your pre-sale. You get one chance to be brand new. You get one chance to set the tone and your initial impression on the community your about to serve. Making mistakes at this early stage can be the death nail to a new club.
That may sound dramatic but having a successful presale not only makes you feel great about your project and gives you a busy, bustling club but it also has massive implications on the clubs financial position
A club opening on 200 members with an average yield of £50 would provide you with £10,000 in monthly revenues. If you missed your target by 50 you would lose £2,500 per month until you reached your target. However, it is not just the 50 members you have to find but also the next months budget too. So chances are it could take 2-3 months to claw back the deficit. For every month you are short you are losing money against your revenue forecast.
Not only does this shortfall impact your monthly subscriptions but it will also impact your secondary revenue such as personal training, retail items as well as the possibility of referrals and thus easier membership sales.
A club that opens short of members also runs the risk of not being able to create an inviting atmosphere that again impacts your ability to sell more memberships and again impacts your financials.
On the flip side, a club that opens ahead of target is clearly more likely to be in a better financial position both short and long term. With an average membership length of say 12 months, being 50 members ahead of target is not only £2,500 but in fact potentially £30,000 better off in year one just on membership revenues. add the additional secondary revenues, referrals, personal training and that figure could be far higher.
Being a new club in the community only lasts for so long. After a while you will become the brand that you have created, whatever this. By being the new, exciting, shiny club is great to attract new clients and so its at this stage you need to maximise this affect.
5) Its important you enjoy the process
I won't lie to you. Presale is hard work, long hours, plenty of stressful evenings but they are always FUN.
It will be up to you to create that fun for you and your teams but ultimately that’s what will keep you going through the hard work, the days spent handing out flyers, making hundreds of telephone calls. Your project should be exciting so if its not then why are you doing it.
Even as an owner/investor the project are fun and I have not met and owner yet who has not got more involved than they planned.
So Why Hire Someone to Help?
1) First of all the cost of having support is never as expensive as you may first think. For instance Black Raccoon has packages from remote support from just £349/month to a full service pre-sale package for £3999.
2) A consultant has the experience to advise on or will know an expert who can advise on all the points in point 2 above. Any good consultant will harness your skills and add value to the areas you need additional support.
3) A consultant is often and expert in Pre-sale. they will have seen what has worked elsewhere, what pitfalls to avoid and how to set up your club for success. By avoiding mistakes that others have made you to achieve success without the same level of pain.
4) The support will reduce the pressure on you as a business owner and allow you to enjoy the process
5) You will have a sounding board throughout the process allowing you to think big whilst still maintaining focus on what your original goals and vision was.
Having worked with a range of clubs from franchise business to independent clubs and company owned businesses I have really seen the value that a consultant can offer. Don't see them as a cost, but instead as a resource to achieving success. If you would hire a builder to build your club, why not hire a professional to help ensure you business is also create on solid foundations