Tips for Investing in the Thriving Business of Fitness

tmi_image.jpgThe fitness industry is an exciting one to consider as an entrepreneur or budding business owner. In the US alone, the health and fitness industry is worth $30 billion, and has grown by 3 to 4% annually for the last ten years. While some view the industry as just a fad, the stats show that it is reaching a level of maturation, with its longevity already proven.

Luckily, those seriously considering investing in the world of fitness don’t need to start their own business from scratch or start from the bottom as a trainer or assistant coach. There are a whole host of fitness businesses in the US, such as the F45 Training franchise, suitable as investment opportunities. Remember, as with any industry, the fitness industry comes with its own unique set of features and opportunities.

Franchising is a smart route to take, as all systems, processes and support are set up and ready for you, and there are particular tips to keep in mind when investing in the thriving business of fitness.

Know the franchise requirementsstory_image_tmi_1.jpg

Going into any business without a clear idea of its requirements of you as the franchisee is never a good idea. Whether it’s reaching out to the franchise directly or speaking to existing franchisees, understand what skills and financial assets you would need in order to make your application as successful as possible. Generally, franchisors will look at your past experience as a manager or team leader, as well as personal finances in the form of your credit score.

Aside from the necessary requirements to apply in the first place, you need to consider what is required in the form of startup investment capital and if you are able to foot that bill. Fitness franchises are as varied as the members who frequent them, and you should consider one that not only aligns with your own fitness goals but also that you can afford to buy into. Additionally, consider what forms part of the investment--does it include training, marketing assets or a free location?

Review location

Depending on the franchise, you could be offered certain set locations or given the choice to find one yourself. In the case of the former, it’s wise to review them and assess their pros and cons before jumping in. In the case of the latter, you may be required to choose a location that fits certain criteria, such as distance from other locations, square meterage of the studio space, amount of parking space, or proximity to ideal target market.

Another decision to make is whether you will purchase or rent your location. This will depend on your immediate as well as long-term financial situation, and requires some thought. If you decide to purchase the studio, you need to have the available funds and be happy to stay put for a number of years. If you have less money available immediately, renting could be a wise decision for the foreseeable future.

Focus on training

Will the franchise offer training for you, as well as your employees? Whether or not you have experience in managing a business and its staff, every franchise has a different business model and customer service offering, and you will need to learn the basics to get up and running. Find out before you sign on the dotted line whether the franchisor is focused on training and willing to offer it upfront. If not, consider the fact that you will need to provide this to your staff at your own cost.

The same goes for ongoing training and support. Not all franchises will provide anything other than the initial training in the business model. If effective marketing, sound bookkeeping and efficient customer service are priorities for you--as they should be for any successful business owner--then training in all these business-related facets is a must.

Understand the contract

In the excitement of purchasing a franchise, it can be easy to miss the fineprint or read an important line too quickly and miss its meaning. Once you’re in the process of reading your contract or formal agreement, take the time to ask any questions about lines or sections that are not as clear to you as they could be. It’s easier than you might think to miss critical requirements or rules that you won’t be able to address once you’ve signed on the dotted line.

You can even consider hiring a lawyer to go over the contract with you. Don’t be afraid to sound uncertain; owning a business may be your strong suit, but don’t expect all the legalities to be, too. The contract will outline all important facts and guidelines related to how you own and run the franchise, and you don’t want to step into unknown territory or be reactive to a situation rather than proactive. The contract not only protects the franchise’s rights, but yours, too.

The fitness industry is no longer just a trend followed by a select group of people, but rather a movement that the masses have bought into, and for good reason. With health and wellness being important to a growing number of consumers, more and more are turning fitness into a lifestyle and not just a side hobby. Today, roughly 20% of all Americans have some sort of fitness club membership, so it’s clearly an industry worth taking a look at.

If you’re keen to turn your membership into your career, it’s important to know what would be required of you and what you should understand before taking the big step. Remember these basic yet important tips when it’s time to seriously consider the fitness franchises available to you. From the legalities to the everyday management, do your homework into the fitness franchise as a worthwhile investment.

Janice Garman is a senior content specialist at TMI, writing for clients in a range of industries, business types and specialties.