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Starting a Gym 101: Keeping Tabs

Starting a Gym 101: Keeping Tabs

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Number 10 on our list is to set up a recordkeeping/accounting/in-house office system for your services. Many new business owners tend to put this on the back burner or contract it out to “someone who likes math,” and it can soon become cancerous. Improper record keeping or accounting can become a business owner’s worst nightmare, so attention to detail is extremely important.

Financial Management is the process of managing the financial resources, including accounting and financial reporting, budgeting, collecting accounts receivable, risk management and insurance for a business. The financial management system for a small business includes both how you are financing it as well as how you manage the money in the business.

In setting up a financial management system your first decision is whether you will manage your financial records yourself or whether you will have someone else do it for you.

Bookkeeping refers to the daily operation of an accounting system (recording routine transactions within the appropriate accounts). An accounting system defines the process of identifying, measuring, recording and communicating financial information about the business. A bookkeeper compiles the information that goes into the system, and the accountant takes the data and analyzes it in ways that give you useful information about your business. They will be able to advise you on the systems needed for your particular business and prepare accurate reports certified by their credentials.While software packages are readily available to meet almost any accounting need, having an accountant at least review your records can lend credibility to your business, especially when dealing with lending institutions and government agencies.

The most crucial part of your small business will be setting up an accounting system, collecting bills and paying employees, suppliers and taxes correctly. Unless you are well versed in accounting and bookkeeping, this is likely to be your nemesis if not handled appropriately.

The basis for every accounting system is a good bookkeeping system. What is the difference between that and an accounting system? Think of accounting as the big picture and bookkeeping system as the nuts and bolts of your business. The bookkeeping system provides the numbers for the accounting system. Both accounting and bookkeeping can be contracted out to external firms if you are not comfortable with managing them yourself.

Even if you outsource the accounting functions, however, you will need some type of recordkeeping systems to manage the day-to-day operations of your business – in addition to a financial plan and a budget to make certain you have thought through where you are headed in your business finances. And, your accounting system should be producing Financial Statements. Learning to read them is an important skill to acquire.

There are also several financial software options to choose from such as Peach Tree, Quicken and QuickBooks. We recommend trying the different types of software out and see what works best for you. Some software can work directly with your online registration software and your bank, so it’s best to investigate those options to save time in the future.

Clearly, financial management encompasses a number of crucial areas of your business. Take time to set them up right. It will make a significant difference in your stress levels and in the bottom line for your business.

Read more: http://www.smallbusinessnotes.com/business-finances/financial-management/#ixzz2o3hcFGT5

-Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris

Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Setting Up Your Space

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 

Starting a Gym 101: Setting Up Your Space

Starting a Gym 101: Setting Up Your Space

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Obtaining a building, space and equipment is number 9 on our list.

An inefficient design of your facility can greatly affect your bottom line. A lot of businesses go too big too fast. Getting the most amount of kids in the least amount of space is how businesses become profitable.

Every square inch of your facility should be viewed as a way to earn money. You will be paying for the space, so you should be earning on the space. Areas that you cannot make a profit on (office, front desk, etc.) should use minimal space, as this will allow you to maximize your moneymaking areas.

In addition, we highly suggest getting an equipment company that can also do a design layout for your facility. With most equipment/design companies, the money you pay for the design will go towards equipment you may want to purchase. Designing pit layouts, in-ground trampolines, etc. takes industry and architectural knowledge, and having a professional design your layout will save you time and money in the long run.

Before finalizing your budget numbers, remember to research codes and permits for your city to ensure your building is up to code regarding ADA, bathrooms, sprinklers, parking spaces, etc. A lot of the times new businesses forget to add those expenses into the cost of building or renovating their facility.

Equipment can be expensive and hard to obtain, financially, while you are starting out. We suggest starting with the minimum amount of equipment you need, and as your business grows, you can purchase more equipment. Depending on what programs you offer, your startup equipment list will vary. Just remember, it’s easier to add equipment once you start turning a profit. There are also websites that sell used equipment from facilities that are closing or wanting to get rid of their equipment—just be cautious and research what you are purchasing.

-Carrie Harris & Stephanie Beveridge


Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 

Starting a Gym 101: Getting Financing

Starting a Gym 101: Getting Financing

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Number eight on our “Starting a Gym 101″ list: Decide on any financing you will need and how you will get it. In other words…show me the money!

For startup businesses, this can be one of the biggest obstacles in getting off the ground. Funding is a challenge for almost every small business, and this especially includes cheer/gymnastics facilities. The space and ceiling height requirements for a gym make the start-up cost even more than a regular new business.

A few ideas for financing your start-up:

1.    Work a second job to fund business (check CheerProfessional’s upcoming winter issue for more on this!)

2.    Major in business, as some business schools can provide connections to help a business get started

3.    Ask a friend or relative

4.    Dip into personal savings

5.    Apply for and secure a bank loan

6.    Approach individual investors

7.    Go for a government-guaranteed loan

8.   Try websites like www.gofundme.com (or similar sites)

9.   Work with venture capital firms (angel investors, etc…)

Using personal funds is the most common, and few banks will loan to people who are not risking some of their own personal funds too. While it may feel as if it’s impossible to start a business without having your own deep pockets or knowing someone who does, loans do exist and—with good preparation—are even relatively easy to get.

When seeking external funding, being prepared is essential. Write a business plan, have your financial statements ready to go, line up your references, develop a clear definition of what your business is and look at your credit rating, financial history and business planning; these are all things lenders consider in awarding loans.

Visit http://www.sba.gov for more information on Small Business Loans.

-Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris


Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 

 

 

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Number seven on our list is pricing your services! Pricing your service (tuition) is extremely important. “How much is it?” is usually the first question a customer will ask and—while you don’t want them to gasp for air at your answer—you want to be profitable and competitive with your market.

Your tuition cannot out-price your target market, yet a profit for your company must be made in order to keep your lights on. There are several approaches to pricing; ours is just one version for making pricing decisions that take into account your costs, the effects of competition and the customer’s perception of value.

Definitions:

  • Cost is the total of the fixed and variable expenses (costs to you) to provide your service. (Rent, payroll, utilities, etc…)
  • Price is the selling price per unit (monthly, 6-week session, a year etc…) customers pay for your service.

Price has to be set higher than the cost in order to turn a profit. How the customer perceives the value of your service determines the maximum price customers will pay.

Perceived value is created by an established reputation, marketing messages and your facility’s environment/personality. What do parents want for their children? What do parents value? Students learn life lessons, goal setting, courage, the humbleness of defeat and the glory of winning, etc. Parents know that these traits are valuable to their children and will more likely pay for those skills in addition to their child learning a back handspring. How are you different and what does your gym do better than your competitor? This will play into perceived value as well because your customer will compare you to other gyms.

Use cost-based pricing along with value-based pricing to come up with a price that is fair to your customer and profitable for you!

-Carrie Harris & Stephanie Beveridge

 

Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 

 

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Step three on the Starting a Business Checklist = writing a business plan. This is another crucial element that many current business owners still do not have. This is like going on a vacation without an itinerary or any idea of what you are going to do. You need a clear picture of what is in store for your business and the resources needed to get you where you want to go.

A well-written business plan is the story of how you will run your business, and almost every lender will require some form of business plan before lending money to a business.

The essential components of a business plan are:

Executive Summary: An overview of the entire plan along with a history of your company

Marketing Analysis: Illustrates your knowledge about the particular industry your business is in and presents general highlights and conclusions of any marketing research data you have collected

Company Description: How all of the different elements of your business fit together

Organization and ManagementYour company’s organizational structure; details about the ownership of your company; profiles of your management team; and the qualifications of your key staff

Marketing and Sales Strategies: Your outline to attract and service customers

Service or Product Line: What are you selling/providing?

Funding Request: The amount of funding you will need to start or expand your business

Financials: The critical financial statements to include in your business plan packet

Appendix: Additional supporting information such as: credit history (personal & business), resumes of key managers, product pictures, letters of reference, details of market studies,  licenses, permits, or patents, legal documents, copies of leases, building permits, contracts, etc.

Once you have gathered the information for the essential components, you can reformat it to fit a variety of needs (such as expansion, new business, plan for a lender or plan for personal records). Once you know exactly what information you need for your business plan, search for a basic Business Plan template online to assist you in the process. The majority of the information should come from the business owner because what gives a business plan “life” is you telling the story of your dream and how you are going to make it a reality.

-Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris of GymKix

 Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101

 

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Last month we provided a list for new business owners to follow in order to start up a new business successfully. We elaborated on the first step: picking a business name and registering it with your county (DBA – Doing Business As); this month, we will delve into checklist item number two: deciding on the legal forms of business ownership.

A major decision you will need to make as a new business owner is how you want your company structured. This decision should not be made lightly, as it will have long-term implications. When trying to decide, please take into account the following:

·     The size and scope of business you hope to attain

·     The level of control you wish to have

·     The level of structure you are willing to deal with

·     The business’s vulnerability to lawsuits

·     Tax implications of the different ownership structures

·     Expected profit (or loss) of the business

·     Whether or not you need to re-invest earnings into the business

·     Your need for access to cash out of the business for yourself

There are four basic legal forms of ownership for small businesses:

·      Sole Proprietorship

·      Partnership

·      Corporation

·      Limited Liability Company

The legal form of your business should be handled by a professional. If you are the sole owner, then an attorney can assist you with deciding what works best for your interests and future goals. If you are partnering with others, we highly recommend that each of the partners consult with an attorney separately first to discuss his/her options. Keep in mind that business partners, especially if they are not related to you, can become a serious liability. There have been numerous gyms that have been decimated by partner disagreements, divorces, and poor planning. It is reasonable to assume each partner will want to ensure that his/her interests are protected in the event that the partnership dissolves.

In our case, our gym started as a partnership between just us (Stephanie and Carrie). As the business grew, we added our mother as another partner. Because we are family, and new to the business world, we never consulted an attorney about our partnership agreement. When our gym grew even more and we took classes and attended business conventions, we realized that a change would be needed. We consulted with our attorney and he recommended that we switch to an LLC (Limited Liability Company)to limit the liability incurred by us as individuals. Talking to a lawyer will also help you find the best option for your business.

-Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris

 

Guest Post: Starting a Gym 101

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

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

 

C’mon, Get Happy: Boost Your Happiness Quotient

C’mon, Get Happy: Boost Your Happiness Quotient

Much like a double full or a scorpion, happiness is a learned skill—and good things come to those who practice. If you’re looking to lead a happier life, it’s crucial to learn the right skills and put them into practice. So how do you get from point A to point Be-happy? Here are a few clues.

Commit acts of kindness. Sometimes the fastest way to personal happiness is to make others happy—whether that means planning a philanthropic event, volunteering, or banding together to help another gym in need (like many did earlier this year when a tornado destroyed Cheer Fusion in Fredericksburg, VA).

Contributing positively to others’ well-being can also boost your sense of purposefulness. “I believe wholeheartedly that happiness is tied to purpose,” says motivational speaker and success coach Shawn Anderson. When individuals have a passionate purpose that inspires and drives them, happiness and fulfillment often follow hand-in-hand. At Gym Kix in Copperas Cove, TX, owner Stephanie Beveridge spearheads charity efforts for deployed soldiers and the local Hope Pregnancy Center. “[Our work] allows us to realize that there are other people out there struggling and how a little time, effort, and money on our part can be a great blessing,” she says.

Be optimistic. “Happiness is choice,” says Randy Taran, founder of the non-profit Project Happiness. “We cannot control the situations we’re in, but we can control our attitude towards them.” Beveridge agrees, saying, “We cannot equate our happiness with only the ‘good times’ or we’ll all be searching forever for happiness.”

When something doesn’t go your way, look for the opportunity within the adversity. (Taran calls this your “advertunity.”) Staying optimistic is key during difficult times, since focusing on an emotion tends to attract more of the same. The more you can focus on happiness and laughter, the more chances you’ll attract those into your life.

Know your happiness triggers. Do you know what makes your heart smile? Taran calls these things your “happiness triggers.” Spending time on the things you love is crucial for happiness—and the better you know yourself, the easier it will be to lead a more satisfying life. For Morton Bergue of CheerGyms.com, it’s taking time to indulge in a spa day, while for Beveridge of Gym Kix, happy times are most often spent relaxing with family.

If you’re still scratching your head as to your  own happiness triggers, Taran suggests thinking of happy times and analyzing what made those times special. By pinpointing the situations that elicit happiness, you can then incorporate those triggers into your daily life.

Count your blessings. Expressing gratitude can open your eyes to all that you have and all that you’ve accomplished. “There are a hundred blessings we each have that we tend to ignore, only to wonder instead why we don’t have something else,” points out Anderson. By being grateful for even the smallest things, you’re more apt to be content and appreciative for what you’ve got. For those struggling with anger or dealing with distressing emotions, try keeping a gratitude journal—or simply make a list of 100 things you’re thankful for and watch the anger melt away as the list gets bigger.

Follow your heart. A fulfilled heart is a happy heart. When you’re doing what you love, happiness is easier to find. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start chasing happiness. Making one small change today can change your whole life.

Happy days are here again.

 

Expert Q&A: I Want To Open a Gym — Where Do I Start?

Question: I am in a market where there is not a gym or all-star program and have almost 20 years of cheer experience but would love some help with getting a gym opened! Do you have any advice for a budding gym owner on how to get started? – Ali

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Answer from Gym Kix co-owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge: First and foremost, we applaud you for having the enthusiasm and bravery to start your own business. We could probably write an entire novel full of tips for a budding gym owner.  We thought back about our first years and decided that there were a few things that are “must know” tips:

***Before starting any venture, especially one as unique as the cheerleading business, we would ask that you evaluate your reason for starting a business. Do you want to make money? Be your own boss? Do you love children? Do you enjoy the sport of cheerleading? What exactly makes you want to start up a business? (Because that is what it is—a business!) Most people start in this industry because they love the sport and they love working with kids; however, it has to be more than that or you will get burnt out. You have to understand that you must treat your business like a business or you will get frustrated and be left broke. Always remember that the owners of McDonald’s love business, not just burgers. You must be a business owner first and a coach second if you want to stay around for years to come.

***After evaluating your motivation, you will want to find a trustworthy accountant, insurance agency and attorney. I have seen many gym owners start up their business and start coaching without a full understanding of balance sheets, payroll, insurance, leases, taxes and the many other facets that can overwhelm even the most veteran business owner. Without consulting honest professionals before making decisions such as signing a lease or writing paychecks, you can have your business torn apart faster than you can say 5,6,7,8.

***In addition, I would network with other business owners in our industry, out of your state if possible. (Conventions are a great way to do this!) You will quickly find that your time is your most valuable asset so please don’t try to reinvent the wheel!  Invest the time up front in researching how the successful programs got to where they are. You will want to ask how they register people, how they run their seasons, how they bill and an overview of their day-to-day operations. Find out how others have become successful and tweak it to fit your personality and business model. We have personally assisted numerous new businesses and we are always open to helping new business owners get started by sharing our forms, facility information, operating systems, advice and more.  Businesses that have been around will know what works and what doesn’t, and they are usually eager to help other entrepreneurs.

Once you have your location and business items in order, you will need to get an effective marketing campaign started. We recommend the following to ensure your clients can find out information about your business even before your doors open:

  • Listing in Phonebook: We recommend using the least expensive listing to save money. Most people don’t consult phone books, so your money is better spent on good signage and having a good online presence. We also cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have your phone answered as much as possible by a real person. If it isn’t possible, then you must ensure that customers are called back in a timely manner. It sounds simple enough, but most places tend to neglect this very important tip!
  • Website: We use Jam Spirit Sites as they are affordable and it is very user-friendly.
  • Social Media: At a minimum, you should have a Facebook page and Twitter account for your business.
  • Business-to-Business Relationships: Join your Chamber of Commerce and start networking with daycares, doctors, schools, real estate offices, local stores, nail shops and the library.  Many times, they are willing to place your flyers in their business if you offer to do the same.

Don’t forget to track where you are getting referrals from, at least for a couple years. This will allow you to see where your marketing money is most effectively used.

With these basic tips you can choose your business’s destiny. After years of business, we have come to the conclusion that new cheer businesses are either destined to be a stick of dynamite or a dynamite factory. A stick of dynamite will definitely get attention, but the fuse burns quickly, then it explodes, and then nothing is left but devastation. However, with proper planning, the right motivation and a business mindset, your business can be the dynamite factory:  profitable, long-lasting and an asset to your community.

Now go produce dynamite!

Stephanie Beveridge & Carrie Harris of Gym Kix