Are you looking to start your own fitness business? Or maybe you’ve already created your LLC? To continue with the planning and growing stages of your business, you’re going to need to create a fitness business plan. By creating a business plan, it gives you the framework of how you plan to grow and scale your business. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day activities of running your business, and if you don’t sit down and compose your business plan early in your startup, you might completely forget to put one together. The outline below will explain the key parts to putting your plan together. It should be noted that just because something is (or is not) in your business plan, doesn't mean things are set in stone. You can fine tune, edit, revise, and change your business plan at any given point. The key is to start building on your plan so you have some guidance as to the direction you want to take your fitness business, not only in the early stages but long term as well.
In this section the main focus should be on what exactly your fitness business does. Are you a gym? Are you a personal trainer or nutritionist? Explain exactly what you do and what your business aims to provide as well as an overview of your financial projections for the future. Where are you located? How many locations do you have? How large is your location(s)?
You don’t need to go in depth with your financial projections, as there is a section of the fitness business plan later on that you will use to go into more detail. Also, as odd as it may be, even though the executive summary is positioned at the beginning of your business plan, it will most likely be the last thing you write. The executive summary will pull pieces of everything that is covered in this plan into one concise summary as an overview.
Products and Services
How exactly do you plan to produce revenue? Do you sell a product, or do you provide your customers and clients with a service? Explain in detail in this section.
If you are a gym that provides monthly memberships, personal training, nutrition consulting, and sells supplements, you should explain it here. You want to describe what each of these pieces of your business are in detail. Are there supplements you intend to sell that are manufactured as a private label for your brand or will you be a retailer for various existing brands that you do not own? Maybe you want to start small and build as your business grows? You don’t need to start your business with all of these products and services up front. However, if you plan to implement them in the future, you still want to include them in this section and explain how you intend to introduce them to your existing business and at what stage.
Market and Competitor Analysis
The market analysis is an extremely important piece of your fitness business plan. This is where you explain who your client or customer is, along with your target demographic. Explain who you intend to market your business to and all of their behaviors. Why would they want to buy from you or do business with you? You want to do research on your specific market and get as much information as possible to understand the space you are getting into. Don’t simply start a business on a whim and pray that things work out. Very few businesses survive with that strategy. Explain why this market and target demographic needs your business. Do you provide a service that is untapped? Do you have a product that you intend to sell that can help solve a problem in your target demographic? Explain in detail exactly why your business is needed.
Try and narrow down who your customer is. Generalizing, while opening up your demographic, isn’t the best plan of attack when starting a business. Try to find a niche in the market where your business can excel and flourish. How is your business different from every other business out there in the space? If you are a gym, they are a dime a dozen these days and popping up all over the place. How is your gym different from every other gym within a ten mile radius?
Go out and do some market research. Find out who your competitors are, whether it’s a gym, supplement store, or personal training studio. Or utilize the internet and Google businesses similar to yours in the area. How many are there? How close are they to your location? What services, products and amenities do they provide and how do they compare to what you intend to have? How big is the space? Is it oversaturated or is there room for you to come in and steal share? Is the space and industry you intend to be in growing, or is it slowly dying? These are all factors you need to investigate.
Marketing Strategy and Implementation
Marketing is an essential piece of the survival of your business. How do you intend to find and engage your clients and customers? Without them, you have no business. Therefore, it’s extremely important to have a game plan for how you intend to spend money on marketing and advertising. There are primarily two ways to market your business. You can look to spend money through online campaigns, or you can focus on offline strategies, which may offer a more personal form of marketing.
With online campaigns, you can use blogs, your website, social media, and influencers. Explain which avenues you intend to use and how you will implement then. How will you track your return on the investment you make? There is a cost associated with online marketing and if you are spending money with little or no return, you will find yourself without money very quickly. If you aren’t sure how to market online, you may want to hire an agency. In this section of your business plan, explain which way you intend to take your online marketing and how much you are looking to invest.
If you choose to advertise offline, you can utilize flyers, posters, media, referral cards, speaking engagements and events, as well as local networking events. You might even be able to work with some local businesses to co-promote both of your businesses where you advertise for them at your business and they do the same for you at theirs. Explain in detail how you intend to advertise locally as well as the costs involved in doing so. It is wise to work with businesses whom it would mutually benefit. For instance, if you own a fitness center and you’re looking to co-promote with another business, a flower shop wouldn’t necessarily be the best choice for your business to work with. A supplement or nutrition store would be a much better choice (assuming you aren’t selling supplements at your location).
Whichever direction you decide to take your marketing and advertising strategy, explain how you intend to implement it. Not all of the above avenues cost money. You might want to start with something that costs little (if anything), and evolve your marketing strategy from there. Marketing efforts are constantly changing as the market changes, so while you put your strategy down on paper, be prepared to change it, possibly frequently, based on the success or failure of your efforts.
Operations and Logistics
This section is only needed if you intend to sell products. Here you want to explain how you will be purchasing the products such as supplements or apparel (assuming you are a reseller), as well as delivering and distributing the products. Are you using a fulfillment company to drop ship, or will you keep products in your own warehouse and ship them out yourself? If you are handling the shipping, what carrier do you plan on using? What are their rates and delivery times across your demographic? It is important to explain how you will be managing and overseeing your inventory. You should also explain how you are sourcing your materials and where they come from.
Cost and Pricing Strategy
Based on your demographics and business model, why are you selling your products and what profit margins are you working with? Keeping your margin in mind, how long will it take before you start turning profits with the business? How many units must you sell or how many services must be rendered? How did you come up with the price of your product or service? How does this price compare to your competition? What strategy did you use when deciding on your pricing? Are you keeping your prices low and hoping to move a lot of volume or are you on the higher end of the spectrum and catering to a more affluent customer or client? Does this plan fit with your local community? For instance, it might not make sense to have a high priced service or product in an area that does not have a lot of money.
I’d say they left the best for last, but unfortunately this is going to be the hardest piece of your fitness business plan. When you are first starting your business, you’re going to feel like you have no idea what the future holds. And when it comes to finances, you may not even know where to begin with projections. While it may feel like you are simply pulling numbers out of thin air, try your best to be realistic with your numbers.
Year one, don’t expect to earn a million dollars. Think realistically about how many customers or clients you might work with or sell to in a given months’ time. From there, calculate an estimate of what things will look like for year one. Then, assume you’re going to see growth, and plan out the next three, five, and ten years based on a realistic growth percentage. Take into consideration your costs and expenses as well as what your profits would be. Just do your best here, it’s not going to be exact, so don’t stress over it.
This section is a lot easier if you’ve already been selling prior to completing your fitness business plan. If your business is already established and you have sales numbers, use those when computing your financial forecasts.
Matt Weik is the Founder/Owner of Weik Fitness, LLC and is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. He’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. His work has been featured in over 85 fitness magazines and over 1,500 websites. You can contact Matt via www.weikfitness.com or on his social channels found on his website.