After seeing the popularity of Gym Kix‘ Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris’ Expert Q&A on starting your own gym, we’ve decided to tap their expertise even further! This post marks the first of a series on starting your own gym—from two veteran cheer professionals who’ve been there, done that.
Starting a gym is no easy task. To help new gym owners in getting their businesses set up professionally, legally and thoroughly, we have comprised a checklist of key steps that every business should take in order to start their business out on the right track. These steps are guidelines to follow after you have already completed the necessary research as far as competitors, demographics and feasibility for starting your new business.
1. Pick a business name & register with your county (DBA–Doing Business As)
2. Decide on the legal forms of business ownership
3. Write a business plan
4. Set up professional relationships (bank, business consultant, accountant, attorney, etc)
5. Ensure all legal requirements are met for starting a business
6. Get all licenses, permits and insurance
7. Decide on prices for your services
8. Decide on any financing you will need and how you will get it
9. Obtain a location, building, equipment, etc…
10. Set up recordkeeping/accounting/in-house office system for your services
11. Hire employees
12. Develop a daily operating/managing system for your staff and your business
Each of the above tasks needs to be taken into consideration if your business is to become a successful reality. In this post, we’ll start with the first task on the checklist and then explore each one individually in future posts.
Picking a business name and registering it
A business name is an important part of your business efforts and should not be taken lightly. Know your target market and be sure your business name fits what your services are. Some people say be creative and others say be descriptive when picking a name for your business. In the end it will be solely up to you, but whichever way you decide, be sure and visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark office’s (USPTO) online system to search all state and federal trademark registers to see if their proposed name is being already in use.
In addition, domain names should be searched to ensure your website will be easily accessible. You don’t want your domain to be www.powertumblecentralnewyork.com because there are three other gyms with Power Tumble as a domain name. Keep it simple and be unique! It is also important to be aware of how your web domain might be misinterpreted, take a look at these unfortunate examples:
• A company selling CAD software and Learning CDs was called ViaGrafix – quite innocent until a blue pill hit the market. The company is now called Learn2. Their website was: www.ViagraFix.com
• If you’re known as Big Al, why not call your online fish supplies store for Big Al’s Online? His website is: www.BiGalsOnline.com
Once you have decided on a business name you will need to register your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located. There are a few states that do not require the registering of business names.
A logo for your gym is also an essential part of your brand. If creativity is not your strength, hire an outside business to help create a good logo that represents your business and the impression you want your customers to have of you and your gym. Do not rush this process. This is your main form of marketing and your first impression. Keep in mind that if you have a logo that only looks good printed in four different colors, which can be expensive for printed and clothing items! A busy logo may also be hard to decipher and not immediately grab the attention of your target market.
You will never regret taking more time, but you will regret rushing through such a vital part of your business’s future.
-Stephanie Beveridge & Carrie Harris