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Get Your Finances in Shape with a Fitness Business

Want to be part of a $50 million industry? Consider a fitness franchise. It is aimed at a continually growing market poised for more expansion. (No pun intended!) Fitness has grown beyond being a craze into a big business that appeals to an increasingly overweight population eager to find ways to shed extra pounds and get in shape.

Fitness franchises, just like people, come in all shapes and sizes, catering to different tastes and customer requirements. For instance, there are fitness centers just for women (Inches-A-Weight, Rejuvenate Health and Fitness), fitness gyms for both men and women (Athletic Republic).

Beyond this, there are also numerous alternatives targeted at specific consumers. Some rely on specialized exercise techniques (LA Boxing), while others focus on diet (Diet Center, Physicians Weight Loss and Inches-A-Weigh).

There are fitness centers for children (Gymboree, My Gym, and those with a “spa” approach (Suddenly Slender) with no exercise or diet requirements.

All these options present a down side too. Just like the food and fashion industries, the fitness business breeds a lot of fads, and though a trend may be hot for a time, it can fade away fast like last winter’s vacation tan. You don’t want to ride a wave that’s about to crest and crash. Be sure the fitness franchiser has a solid business plan, effective marketing strategies, and long-range view toward expanding its operations, customer base and offerings.

Buying a fitness franchise, as with starting up any business, requires exacting due diligence and research in reviewing the potential market, investment required, expected time-to-break-even, license fees, equipment needed and location. That last factor is especially important. If your fitness business is located in some out-of-the-way site or a down-at-heel part of town, it won’t attract much of a clientele; but next to a big office park or condo complex, it will have a ready-made user base.

Another important aspect to consider about a fitness franchise, is how much control you have or lack about what you can offer at your facility. For instance, are you allowed to sell other products, like clothing, energy drinks, books and CDs, not supplied by the franchiser? Is there flexibility to incorporate other offerings, like individual coaching or nutritional counseling, that are not part of the franchiser’s master plan? These supplemental revenues could make or break your business, so be sure you fully understand any restrictions in this regard. Everything should be spelled out in the Universal Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC). And be sure you get it in writing, not just a ‘say so’ from the franchiser. If there is no flexibility, do you have the discipline to adhere to the franchiser’s established system and literally “go by the book” – in this case, the Operations Manual.

Next is the money. Just how much can you invest and how long can you sustain operations before making a profit? Investment levels for fitness franchises can range from modest investments to substantial monies for premium brands. This is where your due diligence and research, along with consultation with an accountant, play a critical role. Know your financial limitations, determine the earnings and profit potential, and understand what you have to do to make it successful. If you are starting a fitness franchise from scratch, you may have to devote long hours, seven days a week. Do you have the necessary stamina? On the other hand, if you are buying an existing facility, with established customers and reputation, you may be able to run it more as a turnkey operation.

There is a fitness franchise opportunity for just about every kind of entrepreneur. It’s a business you can be proud of because you are helping people become healthier and live happier. It is an excellent choice for those passionate about good health, and could help you stay in shape too even when busy managing your business. And with the industry’s huge market and profit potential, a fitness franchise could be just the right move for building and improving your financial well-being.

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