Tips for developing a new business - Business Works
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Tips for developing a new business

Henry Cleminson, founder, Corefit UK keen sportsman and martial arts enthusiast, Henry Cleminson knew, even from a young age, that the sports arena was where he would forge his career. After completing his degree in sports science he was fortunate enough to work with football clubs including Notts County and West Bromwich Albion FC Academy, as a strength and conditioning coach. But his vision to create a fitness centre like no other became a reality this year when he took his school hall-based fitness club to dedicated premises Ė and he hasnít looked back. From one class a week in a school hall with a handful of friends, heís grown the club to a 300 member-base with 33 classes over a seven-day week. Here, he shares some of the important lessons heís learned and tips for any business looking to take a step to the next level.

Start small but think big

Whilst teaching at a local Muay Thai club, I saw the huge potential in this fast-growing sport and saw this as a great opportunity to start my own business. I wanted to test the market first before jumping into long leases and big overheads, so decided to start offering classes in a school hall. This meant I could start small and test the water Ė and tap into potential members that the school connection would bring my way. The response was phenomenal and word quickly spread. Children were recruiting their friends and even parents! I had a really diverse member base with all ages and gender, so I decided to capitalise on this and add functional core training classes too.

Have a USP

Sounds obvious, but you really have to differentiate yourself in order to have a chance against well-known competitors. Mine was using TRX suspension equipment, way before health clubs had even heard of it. In a nutshell, forget what you know about gyms and machines: this is entirely different and suits men and women of all ages and fitness levels. These gave me a real USP, as they differ from the conventional gym concept and allow for concentrating on core fitness. Resistance or suspension-based training - whereby someone trains against their own body weight - and Functional Integrated Training (FIT), are great methods of training that target all aspects of fitness including strength, power, flexibility, agility, speed as well as burning fat and improving cardiovascular fitness.

Hit the ground running with a member/customer base

It was having the member base that gave me the confidence to look for premises to set up my own centre, where I could continue my classes but also expand the offering and number of classes available. It was a big step - huge - because all of the sudden the overheads are much bigger. But unless I took that leap Iíd always be operating from the school hall and that wasnít allowing me to expand.

Budget for marketing

Definitely budget for marketing, but donít expect immediate results! Brand awareness takes time. Do spend some time researching marketing techniques to ensure you get the best bang for your buck, especially if your budget is tight. Thatís why having a starting customer base is so important, as you canít rely on marketing to bring people in immediately. Social Media are a great tool and one that Iíve found invaluable as part of my overall marketing strategy.

Itís been a great experience, but hasnít been without its challenges, or sleepless nights! However, eight months on the club is healthy and growing. Iíd recommend making the leap to any business looking to grow - you donít want to be left wondering 'what if?'.



Henry Cleminson is the founder of Corefit UK, a fitness and Muay Thai centre. Henryís impressive CV includes a degree in Sports Science and more than ten years of martial arts experience over which time he has produced six British Champions. For further information and fitness tips, please visit: www.corefituk.com



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