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A Passion And An Idea Is Not Enough ‒Is Your Business Fit To Thrive?

Written by: Yves Preissler, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Research has revealed that 81% of health and fitness businesses fail in their first year so what are the secrets behind a commercially viable project? In this feature, Yves Preissler from YP Business Consulting explains why a passion for fitness will only get you so far and the value of engaging in extensive market research.

Turning a Passion into Profit

Building a successful business in the fitness industry is much like building strength at the gym – it takes time and a lot of hard work.

In an increasingly saturated industry, a passion for fitness is simply not enough. You have to be just as excited about the business side of things as you are about health and wellness. Starting a business in this industry is so much more than the latest machinery, trendy branding, and being able to work out when you want. Instead, it features figures, intense planning and organization, and the capacity for things to derail and go off plan.

Creating a commercially viable project is dependent on having a solid business plan in place that is informed by extensive market research, networking, and creative ideas. In addition to providing a thorough overview of the market and enabling better business decisions, this information can also bring benefits from a branding perspective as it offers an opportunity to identify what you want your business to be and the type of customer you want to target.

Before you commit to a project, it’s essential to know whether it is financially and practically feasible ‒ and this can be ascertained by creating a detailed feasibility study that involves engaging with competitive set research.

If you’re considering establishing your gym, read on to discover the key questions that should guide your market research.

What Do I Want My Gym to Look like?

Before building a gym brand, there are a few key topics on which to base your competitive set research around. This includes brand, pricing, fit-out, equipment, team members, owners, tech, social media following, marketing, and location.

Having access to this broad range of information allows you to see what things do or don’t work when promoting and running a gym so that you can make informed choices about what you want your gym brand to be, and what you need to do to turn this vision into a reality. A good place to start is by checking out the competition. This will show you how they are positioning themselves in the market and the methods they are implementing to achieve this.

For example, what social media marketing techniques are they employing? What aspect of their business distinguishes their brand? How are their core customers interacting with the business?

These questions will prompt you to think about what it is you need to proceed and what it takes to build an established and strong business.

Who is My Customer?

A business is nothing without a client or customer base ‒ and this is especially true for gym businesses.

It’s essential to identify who your customer is, as this dictates the aesthetics, set-up, branding, and type of gym you are running. Exercise is not what it used to be ‒ it has evolved significantly over the past few decades and generic gyms that aim to appeal to the masses are rarely as successful as those with a specific target audience. People who are passionate about health and fitness tend to have a preferred method of exercise and will choose gyms on how well they accommodate this.

From HIIT and intensive cardio to pilates, yoga, boxing, and beyond ‒ there’s a huge range of exercise types out there, each with a certain type of customer. Those who are obsessed with free weights, for example, are unlikely to engage into a gym that just has cardio machines. Similarly, the type of customer who is more invested in the wellness side of exercise may prefer a gym with a focus on pilates, yoga and recovery classes.

This is where research is so valuable ‒ by identifying and researching the type of customer that you want to target, you can then secure the necessary equipment, spaces, and classes that appeal to them. It’s also worth researching gym trends more broadly by looking into what is currently fashionable and what might be in the future ‒ as well as recognizing those trends that are just that, fleeting fads. This will help you make more careful investments and increase the likelihood of your project being a long-term success.

Where Are They Exercising?

Location is an important consideration in all businesses. After all, what use is a state-of-the-art gym if no one can access it?

Before opening a gym, it’s vital to undertake a catchment analysis to identify whether it is viable and worthwhile to open a new gym outlet in a particular location. This will reveal the demographic of the local catchment, how far they are prepared to travel to exercise, and what range, prices and promotions might help to drive footfall and increase membership rates.

Can I Afford it? Will I Make a Profit?

Ultimately, running a successful business all comes down to money.

A business can’t be sustained on passion alone, so while it’s easy to get swept up in the idea of opening a gym out of a love of fitness - it simply isn’t practical. Being passionate about creating a healthier, more active society is an admirable endeavour but means nothing if your gym is failing and you’re in a financial crisis.

It’s really important to balance the figures and establish whether you can afford it. This means creating a detailed 3-5 year financial plan to determine total capital investment requirements and a breakeven point, and most importantly ‒ return on the investment time frame.

What Makes a Winning Team?

An enthusiastic, skilled and qualified team is at the heart of any successful business.

This highlights the importance of researching recruitment and independent contractor opportunities to build a winning team to operate the facility and deliver the service. From the architects, interior designers and constructors required to design and construct a building, to the core employees of trainers and admin team involved in the day-to-day running of a gym ‒ it’s crucial to get your team right, and putting in the hours of research will really pay off.

The Value of Consultancy

Starting and running a gym can feel very daunting ‒ especially for entrepreneurs who have limited background experience or are new to the business world.

This is where the advice and knowledge of an experienced professional can be beneficial, and consultancy can be a great investment. Much like how a personal trainer can elevate a client's gym experience and optimize their results working out, the right consultant can improve the chances of your project being a success. The combination of hours of research undertaken independently with bespoke advice from a consultant can lay the firm foundations for a profitable business and make the experience of running a gym a much more enjoyable one.

About YP Business Consulting

YP is a privately owned business consultancy company with its Head Quarter in the State of Kuwait; operating globally ‒ with a focus on the Middle East, East Africa & Asia. The company is primarily providing full solutions for fitness, leisure, sport, and spa projects.

Its services include, but are not limited to: turnkey solutions, fitness & sports concept development & execution, architectural & interior design, feasibility & strategic planning, market analysis/ research, fitness equipment/procurement planning, management coaching, recruitment services, digital services and industry networking events.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Yves Preissler, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Yves Preissler is the founder of YP Business Consulting. Yves is leading a team of professionals bringing a wealth of global expertise in providing fitness turn key solutions for commercial, residential, hotel and large scale home gyms. The YP team guides investors, developers and business owners through all the stages required in a successful project: Market / competitive studies, feasibility analysis, detailed financials, location sourcing, concept design, design/ project development, project management, recruitment, sales, marketing and operations.



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