We checked in with three Mountain BizWorks clients who run fitness businesses to learn about their business resolutions for the coming year.
Katharine WinshipBlack Mountain Pilates
The 2013 business plan for Black Mountain Pilates is designed much like a fitness workout plan. With their busy lives, clients succeed by keeping records of their exercise and nutrition. Like a client with a large goal, my focus this year is designing an attainable plan so that the daily events that support it can be checked off with ease.
Ultimately, it is the small things that I do for the business plan, on a daily basis, that will make a huge difference over the course of the year. I’m aiming for reducing expenses without compromising quality (which sometimes means saying “no” to discount requests), and helping people fall in love with the movement (showing them how to overcome the inertia and excuses that keep them from exercising).
One of the challenges I’m working with right now: Understanding how clients like to get their communication from me, especially given all of the social-media options. My business is on Facebook, but some people don’t want to be involved in Facebook. So in 2013, I’ll expand into Twitter and possibly other social-media networks. I’ll also produce print brochures and use handwritten notes to stay in touch with students, clients and prospects.
Keith WimsettO3 Health and Fitness
In the coming year, we’re launching some new options for our customers to respond to their needs. Since it can be a stretch for some folks to pay for a personal trainer, we’re launching a new Small Group Personal Training option that’s more affordable. We will also be expanding our community-outreach program through our Corporate Wellness system, where we can reach entire companies and their employees in an effort to make everyone healthier.
On an internal level, we’re improving our systems. We’re looking at the successes we’ve had and putting it down on paper as a customer-service manual. This way, any new trainer can immediately adopt our system. We’re also catching up with social media. We’ve chosen to focus on Facebook because we know it’s a way to take advantage of word-of-mouth referrals. We even had social-media expert Sarah Benoit come do some classes for our staff and trainers.
The biggest learning experience from the past year was opening our second location, which was made possible with a loan from Mountain BizWorks. After the struggle to open, I just sat back and went, “Phew!” But I did that for a bit too long and realized that I always need to be moving forward – I can never just sit back and think everything will take care of itself. Now that we’ve got all the kinks worked out at the new place, we can focus on growth in 2013.
Brooke TylerClasique Acupuncture & Pilates Studio
My focus last year was to build a team, and I am honored and grateful to say that I now work with four talented and highly skilled Pilates instructors, acupuncturists and massage therapists. This team needs room to thrive, so we just expanded our space in our Lexington Station location. The expansion was a big step, but I realized that staying the same was a greater risk than changing. It also might have something to do with this brutal work ethic I have. (Thanks, Dad!)
My goal for the coming year is to be an excellent Team Captain. This means I need to remain clear, passionate and fresh in my vision for the business, and then share this vision while encouraging every team member to shine in her own light. I must simultaneously hold on and let go, by steering the ship with a loose grip on the wheel. Instead of a “one woman show,” I’m returning to my basketball roots and am thrilled to be part of a team once again.
What’s your 2013 business resolution? Share with us on Twitter (@MtnBizWorks) or Facebook (facebook.com/mountainbizworks).
— Mountain BizWorks supports small businesses in Western North Carolina through lending, consulting and training. For more information, visit mountainbizworks.org.
Anna Raddatz is development and communications coordinator at Mountain BizWorks.