The interest in health and fitness amongst the general population has never been higher than it is now, and that growth looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. With the increased interest comes more opportunities to make your living from the fitness business, and the need for quality trainers, coaches, physios, and experts from other fitness related professions is rising in tandem with growth in the sector.
Like any other industry, the fitness business has its big names that dominate the market, but there’s still room for the smaller entrepreneurs if they have the right kind of business model. You’ll find plenty of advice and useful resources online to help you with the requirements for setting up a business, such as developing your business plan, budgeting, creating a marketing strategy, overheads, pricing, staffing; all the aspects of running a business that applies universally.
All this material is very useful, invaluable in fact for business newbies, but there’s another aspect to your enterprise, and that’s the specialist knowledge of your sector and the particular considerations and challenges it presents. This is a key aspect in ensuring the success of your business because unless you have the attributes a specialist business needs to attract and retain clients, you stand little chance of gaining a foothold in the industry.
In most cases, what you’ll be selling is yourself and your staff – or rather your combined talents and expertise in providing services that help people reach their fitness goals. If people are going to be spending money on any kind of service, they need to be as sure as they reasonably can be that they’re going to get their money’s worth, which means checking that you can deliver what you promise.
If you’re considering fitness based options as a new career, you’ll need to find out as much as you can about the industry and the roles within it. For example, you can find out how to become a Personal Trainer here, where it will show you the qualifications you can take and tell you more about working in that sphere. You may wish to follow a career path into fitness because you’ve discovered a passion for it through your own personal experiences, which is helpful because having an intense interest and love for your work is vital if you want to run a profitable enterprise; but researching the health and fitness business is also of vital importance.
Clients will expect two things from your business:
The first is that you have the qualifications to prove you know your subject and that you’ve been approved by a body that oversees the industry and makes sure you’re adhering to the standards they’ve set. You and your staff should hold valid qualifications from an approved provider that can be confirmed should your clients wish to double check.
You may have plenty of experience and feel that that should be enough, but for certain professions and in different countries, you’ll find that qualifications and/or certification are required before you set yourself up in business or take up employment. It also reassures prospective clients because they can see evidence that you’ve been through the training and achieved a recognized standard in your discipline.
If you don’t have the qualifications to back up your experience or you need them to practice in your chosen field and location, there are plenty of accessible courses available covering many different fitness-related roles.
Along with your professional qualifications, experience is important for prospective clients. They won’t worry so much about it if you’re working at a gym or for someone else, but if it’s your own business, they’ll expect you to have a verifiable history that demonstrates your experience in personal training and to be able to produce testimonials from previous or current clients.
Most fitness professionals start their careers by working for someone else, gaining the experience as they work until they have enough to head out on their own. If you haven’t gained enough in shear years worked, maybe you can demonstrate your expertise in another way, perhaps by advertising the fact you trained the winner of a regional sporting event, or you work for a local sports team. If you can’t come up with any evidence of your abilities, you may need to build up more; or consider employing someone who does have the draw that you lack.
The facilities you offer will also matter to your clients. If you’re aiming for the higher end of the market where you visit clients in their homes and use their personal gyms, then you won’t necessarily need to invest in your own expensive equipment.
On the other hand, if you want to achieve good results for people who don’t have their own gym facilities at home, you need to be able to use high-quality equipment that provides maximum benefit for your clients.
Whether you invest in a full suite of exercise equipment or just an office, your workplace needs to inspire confidence and trust in visitors, who will make a judgment about you that includes factors such as how good your coffee is and how clean and comfortable the surroundings are.
You also need to be the kind of person who your clients feel comfortable with, someone they see in a positive light and who they trust. You’ll be seeing them at their worst, dressed in the most unflattering clothes and dripping with sweat, with a face the color of a cooked lobster. They need to feel relaxed about your presence and not worry about how they look.
All that means having great interpersonal skills and being able to communicate and build relationships with all sorts of different people. You might be able to get away with being morose and condescending if you’re a world-famous trainer to the stars, but in the real world, the way you interact with people will be highly influential on your ability to attract and retain clients.
Working in the fitness business can be so rewarding, and you can make a big difference in people’s lives. If you feel the call to turn your talents into a business venture, you’ll have an exciting and fulfilling career ahead of you as long as you take the right approach.