In previous blogs we covered A five-point plan for starting your personal training business and The First Steps of developing your business.
Today we are looking at an essential part of any business – your business plan.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a professional document that provides a framework for the development of your company or organisation.
It should give a clear overview of your business goals and activities, how you will carry them out and the internal and external elements that might cause you to fail or succeed.
Do I need a business plan to start a personal training business?
The simple answer is yes. A business plan helps you to focus on what you want to achieve and alerts you to potential pitfalls. You will also find it useful to return to your plan and develop it as your business progresses.
A business plan also essential if you want to access start-up capital from a bank or another source of funding, as it will show you understand the sector in which you are launching your business and that you have plans in place to help you succeed. You may want to create two versions of your business plan: one to use as a working document and another for investors.
What time scale should a business plan cover?
Ideally at least up to three years, to show that you are planning ahead and committed to your goals. You should revisit the plan at least every year and rewrite it if necessary.
What should I put in a personal training business plan?
Start with an Executive Summary. It’s essential to get this right, as it’s the first section that potential investors and funders will read and you want to give them confidence that you know what you are doing.
It should include a mission statement, details about your existing business set up and structure, an overview of your personal training services and achievements to date, and an outline of your goals, target market and the competition you might face.
Your plan should cover:
- Your business idea – what you will do and any USPs (Unique Selling Points). Are you going to target the general population or specialise in a particular aspect of training, eg people with injuries or older populations?
- Marketplace analysis – information about your customers and the competition. Create a ‘customer avatar’ of the ideal customer you will target and look at who is already servicing these customers. Have you found any gaps in the market? Where in the marketplace are you pitching your services – top, middle or bottom – and how will this affect your financial projections? Who are the competitors in your area and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Marketing and sales strategy – how you will attract new customers and communicate with existing ones, eg flyers, social media. Outline any costs involved.
- Financial analysis – realistic detail on expected expenditure, projected cash flow and future forecasts. Include a funding request if required and any existing financial information if you are already running the business.
- Risk factors – demonstrate that you are aware of any risks to your business, whether from inside (eg illness) or outside (eg increase in overheads). Include a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).
Anything else to consider?
Think about the layout and presentation, as well as the content:
- Is your business plan well-presented and easy to follow?
- Is your writing style clear and concise?
- Have you corrected any spelling and grammatical mistakes?
- Have you numbered the pages and included a contents page?
- Would the plan benefit from charts or illustrations?
Is there anyone you can show the plan to – friends, family members, professionals – who might be able to offer advice?
A business plan is an extremely helpful tool when you are launching a personal training business, even if you are not applying for outside funding.
There are plenty of online templates and resources you can use, including:
Your business plan is not just a box-ticking exercise – a good plan will focus your thoughts and actions, measure your success and help you on your way to running a successful business.