Armed with your certification, an ideal location, sufficient equipment and a list of potential clients, you might think you’re on your way to owning and operating a successful Pilates business.
But think again. Businesses that expect to survive in an increasingly competitive market typically begin with a business plan.
As an expert in the fitness industry, your comfort zone resides in the world of mats, exercise bands and machines—you may cringe at the thought of forms, financials and filing taxes. Fear not; help is close by.
Business plan advice
If you type “writing a business plan” into a search engine, you’ll access approximately 141 billion websites. A good starting point is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which has been helping individuals plan, launch and grow small businesses since 1953. For more than 60 years, the SBA has trained, educated, offered technical assistance, and provided aid in securing business financing to millions of small businesses.
The SBA can assist with every step in the business plan writing process, from determining your business structure and educating you on zoning laws and regulations to obtaining permits and developing a budget. Additionally, if you prefer face-to-face help, the SBA has established 10 regional offices around the U.S. where experts can guide you and answer your questions.
Find a mentor
A subdivision of the SBA, SCORE offices offer pro bono help to budding entrepreneurs. Volunteer mentors and counselors with a range of business expertise walk you through the process of launching a business.
Other online resources
While the SBA pops up first on the list, there are many other options. For instance, Entrepreneur Magazine also offers a good overview of the process, breaking the business plan down into its various parts, advising on length and asking pertinent questions to guide you in the right direction.
At Bplans you can access more than 500 sample business plans and download ready-made templates. If you need a bit more help, the site offers a free course on how to write a business plan. Additionally, there are plenty of articles that explain the process.
Insure Fitness Group offers informative blogs on group fitness instruction, and personal training.
In addition to sites and companies that offer general information about business plans, Fitness Texter features a business and marketing plan template specific to the yoga and Pilates markets. This template provides questions within each section that take you step-by-step through the process, resulting in a detailed, well thought-out plan. While this template addresses questions integral to a business plan, it also solicits your thoughts on other important matters, such as employee policies, class structure, target audience and marketing budget.
Take the time to make a plan
Writing a business plan might sound like a daunting and tedious task, but in the growing competitive fitness industry, you need every advantage you can get to succeed. With all the resources, both online and in-person, you have access to experts who can make the job manageable. Having a business plan might give you the edge you need.