Why You Need to Revisit Your Fitness Studio Business Plan
By Cindi Booth
Even the best business plans have an expiration date.
Why? Because you created it at a specific point in time, and the world around you doesn’t stop moving. You grow, you change. Your competitive landscape evolves. Your target market expands, just as you do.
From time to time, it’s important to consider all these changes. Are they opportunities for your business—or threats?
That doesn’t mean you need to throw that well-crafted plan out and start from scratch, though. Let’s take a closer look at what deserves your attention when updating your gym or fitness studio business plan.
Here’s how to write a business plan for a fitness studio or gym.
If “revisit your business plan” means “finally write one,” you can rewind a bit with our guide to creating a business plan for your fitness studio. We cover the building blocks of a business plan. That includes the Executive Summary, Marketing, and Sales, all the way through to projecting your earnings and advocating for funding.
Not your first rodeo? It’s still important to ask yourself the right questions, whether it’s your second plan or your twentieth. Download our business plan template for fitness business owners to put you in the right mindset.
Why is it important to revisit your business plan?
For one thing, it’s what savvy business owners do.
A few more specifics, though:
You can re-imagine the future. Sometimes business goals withstand the test of time. Sometimes your staff, market changes, or any of a thousand variables beyond your control render them irrelevant.
The surest sign it’s time to create a new plan is when the old one was built on a goal that is no longer attainable, or you’ve already attained it.
You can use your actuals to get a clearer picture. Imagine you’re taking a photo of a moving subject. Your camera uses what’s directly in front of it to create an image—but the subject keeps going.
Budgets and revenue projections work the same way. You use all the available information to craft your best guess—and then reality proceeds. Once it does, use what you learned to realign your financials.
By the way, if you’d like to pursue funding, this part is non-negotiable. Every potential investor needs to understand the potential ROI, and that starts with profit and loss statements, diligent tracking of your income and expenses, and a clear understanding of your cash flow.
You can re-examine your target market for new opportunities. People don’t work out today the way they did five or ten years ago. (Did anybody see the American Ninja Warrior phenomenon coming, for example?) And it’s a safe bet that the landscape will look a lot different ten years from now, too. It’s so important to pluck yourself out of the day-to-day, see what’s just over the horizon, and think about what makes sense to incorporate into your business. If you’re interested in learning more about the latest trends in fitness, download our Fitness in America report.
You can keep an eye on the competition. If new competitors emerge, pay attention to how they market themselves. Snoop on their website, figure out their message—and then think about whether that calls into question the unique value you bring to your clients. Don’t forget your existing competitors, either! Look into any new offerings or rebranding efforts and see what you learn.
How often should you revisit your business plan?
There are two answers, really: some smaller things deserve a monthly review, and it’s time to go deeper at the one-year mark.
Every month, make sure you’re tracking…
Your actual revenue and results versus what you’d projected. Use the reports in your fitness software to keep track of your performance. If you’re more or less on track from your predictions, great! If you notice a downward trend, though, address it sooner than later.
Any changes in your industry, the competition, or your staff. This goes hand-in-hand with the last point: If you’re paying attention to what’s happening here, it will give you clues to what’s happening with your revenue. (Not to mention paths to improve it.)
At the top of the year:
Restart the same process we just guided you through. No shortcuts!
Set goals, and then break them down into incremental objectives you can achieve monthly/quarterly. Take some time to reflect on goals you’ve set in the past, too: How ambitious are you? Are you prone to shooting for the stars? Do you blow past your year-end goal halfway through Q2? Think about re-calibrating accordingly.
Ultimately, it’s just like you tell your clients, right? Building (and rebuilding) a business plan for your fitness studio or gym is all about knowing where you’re heading—and once you get there, it’s time to dream big all over again. If you need extra support along the way, working with a consultant is a great way to make sure you’re on the right track.