8 ways a business plan can benefit your health club start-up

 In Opening a health club

As I wrote about in my last blog, you have your killer concept for starting a health club, but it takes more than just a great idea to know if the concept can be a successful business. This is where it is essential to get your ideas out of your head and onto paper by developing a business plan.

So, why do you need a business plan? Well, let’s start with what a business plan is.

In the simplest of terms, a business plan is a roadmap to take you from idea to profitable business. It outlines the goals of the business and the turn-by-turn directions to achieve them.

While many see business plans as a way to achieve financing from banks or venture capital companies—and they are—even if you are ready to start your health club up on your own, there are plenty of great reasons for having a solidly researched and written business plan in hand.

A well-done business plan is key to starting and funding a health club.

1. Know your business

Just the process of seeing the information about your business — not to mention the vast amounts of information gathered when doing market research for writing the plan — can help business dreamers think more about where their business is going.

2. Become an expert in your market

You may know how to get someone in shape or know how to run the day-to-day operations of a fitness club. Alternatively, maybe you’re brand new to the industry and running a business in a different industry. However, regardless, gathering or reading the research dug up about your market or having an expert conduct a market feasibility study will force a new business owner to look at the health club industry in a new way and to understand how your concept will fit in the market.

3. Get organized

Today’s helter-skelter business environment can drag you off course quickly and hurt revenues and future growth. Creating a plan for your health club that looks at expenses, forecasts revenues, and more can help a gym remain committed to its long-term goals.

4. Number-crunching

Your killer health club concept may sound great when talking about it. It may even look great on paper. However, in the end all business comes down to simple math. Creating a business plan or at the very least a financial model can save a lot of time and stress by running the numbers and making sure your gym provides a return on your (and perhaps others’) investment.

5. Work the kinks out

You may think your plan for a health club is perfect for your market. But, any good idea is made better by challenging it. While looking through the research and getting the business plan down on paper you should constantly be  questioning each part of the business and ensuring that the final plan is the best plan for your long-term success.

6. Benchmark your business

By setting short and long-term goals in a business plan, you’ll be able to see where your health club exceeded expectations. Perhaps even more importantly it can show you where your gym fell short and allow you to change direction in that area. However, whether the concept is good or bad, having something in writing will allow you to measure your performance in an honest way.

7. Get on the same page

Most people don’t go into business alone. In fact, having partners may help a health club launch faster and keep initial payroll costs down. Even if you don’t have partners, most likely you will not go it alone, even if your “partners” are friends and family. A business plan makes sure that everyone is “rowing” in the same direction and keeps the business moving forward from the start.

8. Raising funds

I saved the most obvious for last because it is still where a business plan can be a powerful tool.  If you need to raise capital for your business —whether from a bank, VC firm or even friends and family — a business plan can help bring your vision to life in a way that can help loosen the purse strings. In fact, an October 2007 study by Babson College found that start-ups with a well-designed business plan brought in two times as much capital as those without one.

A good business plan takes some time, extensive research, financial acumen and accomplished writing to tell a compelling story and take your health club from concept to market. It will also be updated, reworked as your business grows over the years. However, in the end, having a solid business plan will provide you with the foundation you need to start and drive your business into the future.

Learn more about how Atwood Consulting can help you Create a Winning Business Plan or to schedule a consultation today

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