I’m Certified. Now What?
The First Steps To Starting A Personal Training Business
A conundrum all newly certified fit pros find themselves in at some point – myself, once-upon-a-time, included. The moment you receive your “Congratulations! You passed!” notification after sitting for a national exam is equal parts exciting and petrifying. Mostly, because you are now asking yourself the tough question – now what? A legitimate sense of fear and panic momentarily overrides the excitement and pride. Now you have to do something with your newly certified status. But what?
First step – take a deep breath. Starting a business and making a name for yourself in the fitness industry should thrill andterrify you. That’s normal. Use the trepidations you’re experiencing to take the initial steps.
Ask yourself – “what don’t I know already?” If you successfully passed your exam, it’s clear you know your content. It’s likely the business aspect that gives you pause and conjures up feelings of inadequacy.
The 5 Keys
Here are 5 key steps to take to organize your business plan of attack.
- Outline your business concept.
- Identify your intended customer base (active older adults, high school athletes, stay at home parents, executives, etc.). Who do you wish to serve?
- Conduct market research and evaluate competitors.
- Calculate start-up costs and research potential funding sources.
- Construct your official business plan.
The Why’s of the 5 Keys
You need a conceptual plan for a business before moving forward. Think of the business concept as the scaffolding or framework for your business.
The Target Population
Different populations and age groups will require different marketing and recruitment efforts. Identifying the type of population your business will serve will help you streamline the marketing efforts you make. Check out this article here for a more in-depth understanding of this.
Know the Competition
Knowing your competition helps to level the playing field, so-to-speak. It’s best practice to enter the market with a working knowledge of who is doing what and how well they are delivering their product to consumers. What gaps do you notice? Where do you see yourself fitting in to the existing market? How do you plan to advance the market with innovation and creativity? You have to know what the market can bear before unveiling your grand plan.
Perhaps the most daunting aspect of a business start-up – finding and securing the capital. Invest time in researching available spaces (if a store front is necessary) along with equipment costs, marketing and web design expenses, legal fees and business registration costs, maintenance fees, taxes, and your salary. Yes, remember to pay yourself.
To make things easier I’ve attached a personal finance budget planner, which includes business overheads and cash flow forecasting. “Click here to download”.
The Business Plan
Planning a business and completing a business plan are different acts. Planning to start a business is the conceptual phase. In contrast, a business plan is a strategic exercise that gives structure to your ideas and thoughtful direction to your future goals. A comprehensive business plan will help you secure funding and interest from necessary investors (if required). The presence of a business plan allows the business owner to establish and manage the business with a cohesive vision and intentional goals.
An added bonus – nothing looks more professional to investors or consumers than when an entrepreneur can present a thoughtful written plan of his or her intended business venture. This plan serves as a contract and accountability measure for yourself and any business partners you may invite to join you on the journey.
Take Your Time and Utilise Resources
Getting certified is a significant accomplishment. It’s ok to take some time to contemplate the next steps. Fortunately, you don’t have to “go it alone” when trying to address some of these tougher conceptual questions.
Depending on your geographic location, resources such as the U.S. Small Business Association and Australian Government Business are available to provide guidance (and helpful templates) along the business start-up journey. The resources are free and all designed to help you pave a path toward a fruitful business.
Dr. Erin Nitschke
NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise
Specialist, and Pn1 is a health and human performance college professor, fitness blogger,
mother, and passionate fitness professional. She has over 15 years of experience in the fitness
industry and college instruction. Erin believes in the power of a holistic approach to healthy
living. She loves encouraging her clients and students to develop body harmony by teaching
focused skill development and lifestyle balance. Erin is also the Director of Educational
Partnerships & Programs for the NFPT. Erin is an editorial author for ACE, IDEA, NFPT, The
Sheridan Press, and the Casper Star Tribune.
Visit her blog at: belivestaywell.com
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