Your gym business plan is your roadmap to success. It guides you on your journey, helps you to make better decisions, and attracts potential angel investors to your business. Creating a business plan is a process. It’s easy to think of your business plan as one single document that you build and then you’re done. But, your business plan evolves and changes with you; it’s not a static checklist.
Whether you’re starting a new small business or expanding an existing one, a business plan sets the foundation for success. As we all emerge out of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s especially important to evaluate your business plan to make sure you’re still on top of your game.
A great gym involves more than fitness equipment. Setting up a gym is a big task which is why you want to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed. All stages of your business plan are equally important and essential for the final steps. In this article, we try to understand the core elements of a gym business plan and how you can craft a business plan for your fitness business.
Skip ahead to:
- What is a gym business plan?
- Why do you need a fitness center business plan?
- 8 steps to create a great gym business plan
What is a gym business plan?
Before we dive into how to create your business plan, let’s start at the beginning. So, what is a gym business plan? Well, it’s a document that tells the reader who you are as a business and a realistic idea of where the business is heading. At a basic level, your business plan answers the following questions:
- How does your business work?
- How are you going to succeed?
- What steps do you need to take to succeed?
Research shows that entrepreneurs who write formal business plans are more likely to succeed. Business owners seeking external financial support are also more likely to commit their thoughts to a formal business plan. With a new business, it’s beneficial to pull your ideas into focus and put pen to paper.
Why do you need a fitness center business plan?
The main aim of your gym business plan is to create a blueprint for your business. For instance, if a potential investor were to read your business plan, they would understand how your gym will progress and succeed in the future. Your business plan also helps you to identify fresh opportunities and see gaps in your current business model or set up. Depending on where your business is, a business plan can be dual-purpose. Here’s why you need a business plan from day one.
Test your business idea
Starting a fitness business is by no means easy. So, you have an idea, and you think it could be a winner. But you can’t always go out and test that idea. A business plan allows you to feasibly test that idea without actually starting the business. Working through your idea and creating a business plan allows you to break down numbers, analyze the market and competitors, and save you a lot of time in the long run. In the early stages, it’s a good idea to work through your idea and create a business plan. The more knowledge you have about your business, industry, and potential customers, the better you can see if your business idea could be a success.
Attracts investors and secure funding
If you want to attract investors, you need a business plan. Most businesses need to secure funding and seek outside financial support. A thorough business plan helps you to obtain startup capital and funding for your new gym business. Even established businesses often need extra funding for expansion and business growth. Potential investors and finance companies will need concrete numbers with facts and figures to move forward with your business. Without a business plan, there is little to no chance of getting funding from investors, banks, or other external financial institutions.
Achieve short-term and long-term goals
It’s great to have both short-term and long-term goals in mind, but it’s important to go a step further. A good business plan will contain detailed strategies on how you intend to achieve these goals. It could involve your business model, equipment plans, hiring strategies, and marketing efforts. Think about everything that you need to do to achieve your goals. Most businesses tend to have overarching business goals that are supported by smaller goals. It’s crucial that your business plan maps out your strategies for achieving your goals. Because goals and strategies can shift, as your business evolves, you can update your business plan as necessary.
Make business planning manageable
A business plan is important for both new and established businesses. Firstly, a business plan gives you a higher chance of success. Budgeting, market analysis, and planning will set the foundation for a smoother beginning. When you have set out your goals and strategies to help you achieve them, you can implement what you need to progress. This whole process helps to make business planning more manageable and effective. A great business plan helps you to manage your business, monitor, and assess your progress over time.
Chris Cooper, a gym owner, author and the founder of the Two Brain Business offers expert insight into the proven formula for a successful fitness business. In an episode on The Fitness Founders Podcast, he talks about how gyms were forced to rethink their business models during the COVID-19 crisis and where fitness operators should spend their time and money to be successful.
8 steps to create a great gym business plan
Developing a business plan is an organized process where you go through specific steps to achieve a final result. To start, think about where you are now and where you want to be. This will help you get into the right mindset when writing your business plan. There will be many times when you will refer to your business plan to help you make a decision. So, the more information you have, the better. You will need to dig deep into your business idea, future finances, competitors, and fitness industry to help you collate the information together. By following these eight steps, you can begin to cover all the different aspects of your health club and start building a great gym business plan template.
1. Executive summary
The executive summary is always at the top of the business plan. It should be an attention-grabbing business pitch that’s short and concise, yet interesting. You will continue to flesh out the points from your executive summary throughout the document. But this first section should be very clear and engaging. Although the executive summary is the first document in the business plan, it can be easier to write it at the end. Keep in mind what it should include so that you answer your own questions as you write your business plan. The executive summary should explain:
- Who – who you are and what you offer
- Why – what you hope to accomplish
- How – how you are going to get there
2. Company overview
The company overview is a more detailed description of your business. You go beyond talking about who you are and delve into the type of clientele you plan on serving, how your business stands out from the competition, and the goals of your business. Because gym business models can differ, now is a good time to explain how you will run your business in more detail. Your executive summary states your mission statement and explains your thoughts at a high level. As you go through your business plan, you have the opportunity to expand and build on your thinking to showcase your business. Your company overview can include:
- Expand on the purpose of your business
- Business model and structure
- Products and services you offer
- Target market research
- Founding story
- Legal structure
3. Industry analysis
The industry or market analysis is where you investigate the local market. Think about your niche, current trends in the market, and how your business aligns with market demand. You’re looking to evaluate the fit of your business in today’s market. Try to include some facts and statistics about your industry and the future of the market. For example, a gym looking to obtain funding for expansion into online fitness would include trends and statistics on the rapid acceleration of digital fitness and where the market is headed in the future.
4. Customer analysis
Within the gym industry, there are various niches and audience segments. Even within one business, you can have multiple target audience personas. The customer base you choose to target will have a big impact on your business, the types of services you offer, and how you market yourself. Start by breaking your target customers down by the following:
- Demographics – age, gender, income level, occupation, location, and education, etc.
- Psychographics – needs, interests, opinions, beliefs, and values, etc.
5. Competitor analysis
A competitor analysis investigates businesses that are direct competitors to you. These are the gyms that offer a similar service in your niche. Although you can mention indirect competitors, this section is mainly for a detailed analysis of your direct competitors. Depending on your business type, you could have both in-person competitors as well as digital-only competitors. Although it may be impossible to find out everything about a competitor, you can usually get a clear idea from your research. Break down each of your competitors into the following:
- Services and products they offer
- Target audience
- Pricing and business model
- Strengths and weaknesses
6. Marketing strategy
The marketing section of your business plan is the place to explain everything you plan to do to get your services in front of your target audience. Include your strategy, projected startup costs, and consider who will be handling the marketing efforts of the business. Your marketing strategy can include:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Referral program
7. Management team
Ideally, you and your team members have fitness experience within your niche. This section is a great place to highlight the skills, experience, and expertise of your management team. By doing this, it helps to show how specific team members will help you to achieve success. Lay out key members of your team. This doesn’t need to be limited to your fitness experts, but other experts who will guide your business like marketing and sales managers, customer service, and maintenance personnel. How you structure your business and the type of compensation and benefits you offer will help you to attract and retain high-quality talent over time.
8. Financial plan
Depending on where you are with your business, your financial plan can include current financials for the most recent year and future projections. Your projected revenue should be based on facts and solid research with supporting numbers. The financial plan can include a five-year projection with detailed breakdowns of monthly and annual earnings. Think about your income, cash flow, costs, and outgoings. Your finances are the backbone of your business, so it’s important to be as thorough as possible.
Starting a business is hard and comes with its own set of challenges. A good business plan gives you a point of reference to help you navigate your business. Whether you’re looking to expand your gym or start from scratch, a business plan covers all aspects of your gym so that you have every opportunity to succeed. While you may face some unforeseen issues, a business plan helps you to identify potential problems as much as possible. Your business plan isn’t a static document set in stone, instead, it can serve as a guide to growth and your future success through changing times.