Are you a coach who wants to take control of your own future and start your own cheer or gymnastics gym?
Congratulations! But there are many things to consider before you even start thinking about opening your own gym.
The key is to turn your passion for coaching into a profitable, well run facility—if it doesn’t make money it won’t stay open for long.
Your future gym is a business. If you don’t have a plan for your business, how can you be sure you’ll be successful and profitable? The key is to turn your passion for coaching into a profitable, well run facility; if it doesn’t make money it won’t stay open for long.
This short series is aimed at highlighting some of the things you might not have considered when deciding to open a gym, and make sure you cover every element on your business “scoresheet”.
STEP 1: DO YOUR MARKET RESEARCH
Understanding where you live and what type of businesses exist that cater to youth sports (not just cheerleading!) will help you determine the financial potential and growth opportunities for your gym. Start with observational research to help determine if it’s an area in need of your services, but remember actual numbers will be needed in order to apply for a business loan (more on that later).
Youth Sports Demographics
- Does your area offer more competitive sports and activities, or focus on recreation/participation? This is a big determination in how your business should start. If you offer elite competitive training to an area that isn’t familiar with the financial or time commitment, you’re already planning to fail. This doesn’t mean your gym cannot grow into a championship-winning facility in the future!
- Are there many gyms in your area and what kind of cheerleading or gymnastics do they offer?
- Are there many middle and high school cheer/gymnastics teams in your area that could benefit from using your facility?
- Are there dance schools and are they competitive/professional or recreational?
- Take notes on the size of these businesses, how much they charge for a term/semester, whether they travel to compete, and what makes some places more popular than others in a similar sport.
Financial and Business
- What is the average income in your area? This information can be found on your local council website from previous census polls, or simply by looking at the businesses like retail and dining, the cars people drive, the clothes people wear etc.
- Is the area growing or shrinking? Are more people moving into the community or leaving?
Availability of Potential Facilities
- How much square footage do you think you need to start your gym?
- What is available on the market to rent in your area?
- What is the average price for the square footage you need?
- How long is the average lease? Consider the pros/cons of a longer lease at a cheaper price.
- Do the rental companies offer the ability to move to a bigger space in the same area if you outgrow your facility before your lease is up for renewal? If so, are there any conditions or costs you would incur?
Next Up: Step 2 Find Your Gym Mission and What Makes You Different (coming up next in our series)