A gym business plan is a crucial component of running a successful fitness facility. A gym owner who wants to attract outside investors, or is just looking to boost business, should know how to write a business plan for a gym. A good business plan can serve as a guide to growth and sustainability for up to several years. As we emerge from the unique financial crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s an especially good time to update your plan, or create a new one capable of adapting to unpredictable conditions.
Why a Business Plan Is Important
A good business plan is like a road map to success. Without it, you’re likely to get sidetracked and lose sight of your goals, or make decisions that may be out of sync with your ultimate business objectives. Rather than operating your business blindly, changing direction based on whim, having a solid business plan helps you stay focused.
For example, Karen’s main goal may be to build a gym for women to get in shape and forge relationships with each other. But when cash flow is short, she may be tempted to change her policies. For example, if a group of men who work in a neighboring building ask to join so they can play basketball during their lunch hour, Karen may consider changing her females-only policy. With a clear business plan in place that maps out how she can focus on women and build a profitable gym, Karen will be more likely to continue pursuing her business goal and refer the men to another gym a few blocks away.
Whether you’ve never had a business plan or yours is outdated or incomplete, consider these three important reasons to take the time to write — or revise — one now.
- Outside financing — If you’re looking for a gym and fitness center business loan to support the growth of your business, a strong business plan is a requirement. No smart investor or lender will pour money into a venture without a clear picture of how that money will be used. A good business plan maps out exactly how the funds will be used and what the projected results will be.
- Change in direction — When you launched your business, you may have assumed it would attract serious weightlifters interested in your high-end equipment. But now a significant percentage of your membership includes mothers with young children, and you’ve realized you may need to broaden your services to accommodate their needs as well. The coronavirus pandemic may have prompted you to offer fitness classes online, which some members hope you’ll continue. A new or revised business plan will take into account the ways your business goals and needs have evolved and plot out new paths to build greater success.
- Detailed strategies — Even if you have goals in mind for your business and general ideas for reaching them, that’s not the same has having your strategies in writing. A good gym business plan will include detailed plans for marketing, obtaining equipment, hiring new staff and other strategies to help you reach your goals.
How to Write a Business Plan for a Gym
Writing a business plan for a gym doesn’t have to be difficult. Your business plan will include a lot of information that’s already in your head, but getting it on paper will let you share your plans with others (such as investors) and refer back to your strategies and goals for guidance throughout the year.
Your gym business plan should include the following sections:
Since this is a summary of everything else that’s in the plan, wait and write it last, but place it at the front of your completed business plan. It should summarize everything you hope to accomplish with your business in the coming year. It should also include your mission statement and a brief description of your gym’s product and service offerings.
This is a more detailed description of your gym, the clientele it serves (or the clients you hope to serve), and how your gym stands out from the competition. This is also a good place to include your goals for your gym.
To write this section, you’ll need to carefully examine your local market and your gym’s potential to fit into that market successfully. It’s a good idea to include some hard data and statistics to show where the market has been and where it’s expected to go.
For instance, Sanjay is considering reopening his gym in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. In updating his business plan, he’ll likely need to analyze business volume before the crisis versus his expected volume going forward. He should also incorporate figures from the online classes he offered during the shutdown. If real estate prices in his area have dropped as a result of the pandemic, he may be able to benefit from lower rent or move his gym to a spot closer to his target customers’ workplaces or neighborhoods. All of that information is important for Sanjay to include in his market analysis, along with the average income of the residents he hopes to serve, the percentage who own their homes and the average number of people per household.
This section is important because it requires a business owner to take time to investigate their competition. You should list direct and indirect competitors, their strengths and weaknesses and how your gym measures up against them.
Products and Services
In this section, include a detailed breakdown of what you offer your customers. That might cover membership options, group classes, available exercise equipment and personal training opportunities. You might also include child care options, special training opportunities for community teams or groups and guest options.
Discuss the needs that your products or services fill for your target audience. Also, use this section to detail any plans to add or change products and services, including the projected cost and payoff for those changes.
This section details everything you’re doing — and everything you plan to do — to get your product and services in front of your target audience. That may include social media campaigns, membership drives, sponsorship of local events or nonprofits, advertising, partnerships and other marketing strategies. Include the projected costs for your marketing efforts to help you plan, and consider including which staff members are responsible for each piece of the marketing strategy.
Here, include your financials for the most recent year, as well as your projected revenue for the coming year or several years. Those projected revenues should be based on the solid market research you’ve done.
Once you’ve spent some time developing a detailed gym business plan, you’ll be ready to meet your business goals, whether you’re requesting funding or simply pushing ahead to greater success.