Monday, November 28, 2016

How to Find and Secure the Right Locations

We now move into chapter 2 of How To Build Your Own Fitness Boot Camp. Specifically, we will talk about how to find and secure the right locations. If you missed the last post about Targeting Your Market and Finding Your Ideal Customers, you can read that here. You can also start from the beginning here.

This section covers the importance of your fitness business real estate. The chapter includes finding or creating good deals for workout space, indoor vs. outdoor strategies, the combination strategy, lease negotiation, how to market a location, how to partner or cross promote with the location, how to market within the location to an existing client base, how to market with the location in the community, and getting help with negotiating the deal.

Finding or creating good deals for workout space

Perhaps the biggest challenge at the outset of getting started is finding a location to do your training in. This little hurdle stops the majority dead in their tracks and prevents them from ever getting their dream off the ground.

The reason this is such a hurdle is that the perceived difficulty creates a barrier to entry that the potential fitness entrepreneur just can’t get over. We are raised in cultures where serious businesses have brick-and-mortar locations that cost thousands of dollars and have big, fancy signage to attract customers. 

As consumers, we are used to thinking that if we want to buy coffee, we go to a place that is like a deluxe cafĂ© with a drive-through and 7 employees on the corner of a busy intersection adjacent to other high-class and expensive businesses. Where could a ‘lowly’ trainer ever come up with the money or the experience to attract such a successful asset?

The first thing you need to do is completely abandon this mindset. This is the mindset of fear, and a limited view of business. Business is simply making someone’s life better. We do that by exchanging goods and services for money. It’s for a mutual benefit. 

So how do we do that? We do that as cheaply as we can. The customer doesn’t care. They want the benefits at a fair price. They want your awesome training and camp. The space is secondary, if not lower on the list.

Of course, there are practical considerations. First, the location has to be convenient enough for the client. The majority of people just won’t drive more than five miles from their home or work to get to your workouts. With this in mind, the first question to ask yourself is where are your clients? If you already have clients, this is easy. If not, you determine where they are likely to be and you look for locations in that area.

The next practical consideration is cost. If you are looking to rent or buy space, you are obviously going to rack up costs. The reality is that the more creative you are, the more money you save. Everything is negotiable and it all starts with doing a good canvassing of your location so you know all of your options. 

Plan on spending at least a week doing this, unless you already know exactly where you want to go. Even if you do, you will want to know of back up locations to use as a sort of contingency plan.

The easiest thing to do is do a Google Maps search on the area. You will want to make a list. From my experience the most useful types of locations to investigate are the following, in order of preference:

  1. Parks (for the outdoor option)
  2. Schools (public and private… more on this later)
  3. Indoor soccer and indoor turf sports facilities
  4. Gymnastics or cheer facilities
  5. Your garage
  6. Martial arts schools or studios
  7. Community centers or senior centers
  8. Grange halls
  9. Boys’ and girls’ clubs (depending on location this may or may not be viable)
  10. Churches
  11. Industrial warehouse spaces
  12. Unused rooms in commercial and retail spaces
  13. Gyms (last for a reason)
Next time, we are going to go into the specifics of these and why they are in this order, in a post I call Finding Or Creating Good Deals For Workout Space.

Check out a proven fitness boot camp business model for you to use right here.

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