Often when starting a boot camp business people begin with the attitude that it is going to be easy. A boot camp business can be easy with the right amount of foresight and planning. There are a few things that are essential ingredients for a successful boot camp business.
Create a Boot Camp Business Plan
A business plan contains five elements that are all vital to understanding where you see your new boot camp business over the course of the next year. This simple planning phase can make you aware of the things that you have, things you lack, necessities and wants. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your current business and establishing where you want to go will give you a great set of boundaries to work with.
- Business concept: should be easy, a boot camp! Who is the target, how will you market it, how will the boot camp help others?
- Financial features: sales, profits, cash flow, overhead
- Financial requirements: money needed to start and to expand. Where is the money coming from and how will more get there?
- Current business position: Where is your fitness boot camp currently, who is involved?
- Major achievements: What are the goals of your fitness boot camp?
Once the important financial and planning aspects of starting a boot camp business have been outlined in your business plan you are ready to begin thinking about the systems that you need in place.
Billing, renewal and retention systems are all vital to establishing and maintaining a client base. The worst position to be in is having a full class roster that only half of the students are current in their billing. Billing systems may include automatic debits, payment up front for a certain length of time or pay per class. Deciding how you want to run your billing and implementing a system is vital. One of the easiest billing systems is a bi-annual billing for quarterly billing.
Once you have an established customer how do you renew their contract? Do you approach them, do they get a letter? Who is in control of the renewals? These are all elements that will become the ingredients for your renewal system. Letting contracts expire and not renewing them is one way to lose customers. When starting a boot camp business you don’t want to plan for losing customers. Creating a renewal system from the time you have your first client ensures that you will have more clients for greater lengths of time. Some common tools for this may be billing calendars and auto reminder systems.
The final system that should be in place is a retention system. How does your boot camp handle retention? An advanced student is going to get sick of only beginning level classes. Will you offer special classes for those students who have been with you the longest or a special discount to retain loyal customers? Developing this system and having a plan in place to deal with unsatisfied or bored clients will give you a competitive advantage.
Standardizing common procedures so that every client can expect the same experience is essential to providing great customer service. What are some procedures to consider when starting a boot camp business?
- Contract terms
While some of these may be similar in terms to the systems the difference is that this is how it is handled rather than the technology used to handle it. Your customers need to know what to expect and what you will do in a given situation. One important factor in developing these operating procedures and policies is determining whether you will have your clients sign copies of these procedures or if you will simply post them. Having signed records from clients can provide a useful record when dealing with any disputes about procedure along with informing them about the procedure. Once you have determined which procedures will become policy to be signed by clients you can begin drafting copies to ensure that all elements are covered.
The primary operations of a boot camp are the classes. When starting a boot camp business, discovering how to get classes moving at a good pace is a part of the learning process. Being able to start and finish your classes at the same time every week is important. Have operation schedules in place prior to starting. These will probably be taken care of by most of the procedures and policies that you have established. For example not allowing people to be late or to attend a class unless they are paid in full are ways to ensure that the classes start and end on time. Ensuring that clients know when and where to take care of administrative issues is also important to keeping classes on time.
Some behind the scenes operational things that need to be taken care of away from the eyes of clients include cleaning and maintenance activities. This is especially true if you are starting a fitness boot camp business indoors. Scheduling operations like cleaning and maintenance when classes are not scheduled is important to the functioning of both the class and those operational elements of the business. Imagine trying to conduct a class in a dirty room, or trying to change a lighting fixture when there are 20 people exercising in the room. Either task would suffer. Scheduling these elements of business operations away from peak traffic times is vital to a professional environment.
There are many elements to consider when starting a fitness boot camp business. Most of these will be discovered when creating your business plan, planning your procedures, implementing any technical systems and when establishing operational guidelines for your business. As long as you stay on your roadmap to an expanding business you will be successful. Not sticking with the business plan or failing to adapt a procedure to new circumstances can spell disaster for someone starting a boot camp business. However good planning and the willingness to change as the needs of your business change will create a booming business.