Who is the owner of a fitness club? Who is this person who owns a whole fitness club, and sometimes a whole network of clubs with all their areas, equipment and staff? What professional and personal knowledge he should have, what managerial experience he should possess and how the owner differs from the director of a fitness club. I will try to answer all these questions in this article.
In the articles “How to become a fitness trainer” and “How to become a fitness club administrator” I talked about how people get into the industry on their initial positions. In the article “How to become a director of the fitness club” I talked about a typical club employee’s path from initial position to a leading one. Today, I will try to explain what’s the difference between the director and the owner of a fitness club. This topic is important because despite the fact that both can be classified as executives, in fact, the owner of the club is not an employee.
By and large, the whole difference between these two is that you need to climb the career ladder to the position of director of a fitness club, that is, go through all its intermediate stages. But at the same time, you can become the owner of a fitness club literally at once. You wonder – how could it be? Very simple – in case if you have money to create or purchase a fitness club. And you have certainly guessed what I’m talking about. The director of a fitness club, despite his high status, is an employee, and the club owner is a businessman.
Who is the owner of a fitness club
The owner of a fitness club is actually his own boss. He doesn’t obey anyone, since he stands at the head of the business and is its founder. He also has no job description. As an entrepreneur he should have key competencies, which we will talk about a little later. He doesn’t even need to understand the intricacies and nuances of the fitness industry, since he just needs to hire those who understand this. That’s why among the owners of the fitness business there are often both people with a sports background and those who have never been involved in sports at all.
That’s why entrepreneurs, and especially owners of a fitness business, can be divided in two categories. On those who goes into this business exclusively for money and those who follows their vocation. The first ones are those who don’t care what business they do, they choose what they like most of all or it seems easier, they invest money and, as a rule, they try not to interfere at all in operational activities. The second ones are those who have been involved in sports all their lives, who have built their careers in sports and who consider it their vocation to help people become better, more beautiful and healthier.
Portrait of the owner of a fitness club
Among the owners of a fitness clubs, the first ones are rare, since the fitness business, no matter what they say, has a low margin. With significant and sometimes even huge start-up investments, the return on investment takes quite a lot of time, in some cases up to several years. For example, a small fitness studio with 50 square meters in the loft style, without major repairing and redevelopment with a minimum amount of equipment and personnel with proper management can pay off in less than a year. But a full-fledged fitness club of 1000+ square meters or more, with a full list of expensive gym equipment, with fitness halls, with a swimming pool, SPA, massage and solarium rooms will literally pay off for several years.
That’s why fitness business is not about “big money”, “high margins” or “fast ROI”. This is a long-term and often family-owned business, which is created most often by fans of a healthy lifestyle – former or current athletes, sports enthusiasts or those who directly or indirectly associated with the sports and recreation industry. One way or another, further we will talk about entrepreneurs. About who they are these people who are engaged in the fitness business and are the owners of a fitness clubs.
Who is an entrepreneur
Let’s start with the fact that an entrepreneur in a broadest sense is a person who either improves something that is already exists or creates something new. Both in the first and in the second case – this is a person who strives to do things better, to make processes faster, to make systems more convenient and not only. It’s important for him to create, develop and increase. In the context of the fitness industry, an entrepreneur, as the owner of a fitness club, is a person who strives to make people better, healthier and more beautiful.
A business owner is a proactive and responsible person with strong risk addiction. However, the list of his qualities and skills is so large and so different from the model of behavior and way of thinking of an “ordinary person” that it needs to be placed in a separate block of information. So, then I will give a list of the most characteristic traits – signs, skills and qualities that most fully describe the image, or if you like, the portrait of an entrepreneur.
Traits of an entrepreneur
Trait No. 1 – proactivity. An entrepreneur is a person driven by initiative. He doesn’t wait until somebody will come and help, prompt or bring the result on a tray. He doesn’t lie on the couch and doesn’t wait for the planets to line up in a row. An entrepreneur is a person who, in any life circumstances, takes the situation into his own hands and begins to act.
Trait No. 2 – addiction to take risks. No entrepreneur ever knows in advance whether his business will be successful or not. But it’s precisely the absence of fear of taking risks that distinguishes entrepreneurs from all other people. As the famous saying goes, “Whoever takes risks can lose or win, but who doesn’t risk at all, has already lost in advance”.
Trait No. 3 – responsibility. An entrepreneur always realizes what responsibility he takes upon himself by launching a new startup, renting premises, buying equipment, hiring employees, lending to a bank and more. He doesn’t shift responsibility to anyone and doesn’t blame anyone for his troubles. He perfectly understands that he’s responsible for everything.
Trait No. 4 – the desire to learn. He constantly learns something new, participates in seminars, undergoes trainings, workshops and conferences. A proactive entrepreneur always wants to know more, understand better and delve into the essence of the processes so that new knowledge can be used to improve, optimize and increase the efficiency of his business.
Trait No. 5 – analytical mindset. An entrepreneur is able or at least tries to assess all possible risks. He always searches for analytical data, checks statistics, requests reports and looks for ways of more profitable investment and spending of money in order to understand on this basis which decisions will be more and which could be less appropriate.
Trait No. 6 – creativity. Almost any entrepreneur is a dreamer, but a practitioner one. He doesn’t dream of abstract matters, but about things that no one has come up with before him. Or he dreams about how to improve anything or how to unconventionally approach the solution of standard problems. He finds answers where others only have questions.
Trait No. 7 – sociability. By the nature of their activities, an entrepreneur has to constantly communicate with personnel, customers, contractors, suppliers and even his rivals. For this reason, he often has well developed communication skills to influence, persuade and negotiate with people. Also he has a sense of humor, which also helps a lot in business.
Trait No. 8 – perseverance. A true entrepreneur is not only not afraid of failures, but also tends to learn every time from the mistakes he made and joins the battle with renewed vigor. He’s not afraid to start all over again, he’s not afraid to try 2, 3, 5, 10 times, because he knows very well that only perseverance and hard work will bring him the result.
Trait No. 9 – leadership. An entrepreneur is able not only to generate brilliant and innovative ideas, he also knows how to infect people with enthusiasm and inspire them with his ideas. He’s able to assemble teams and lead them to the intended goal. He’s a leader, an ideological inspirer and a driving force for his subordinates.
Trait No. 10 – rigidity. An entrepreneur always knows how to set strict conditions, distribute responsibilities and set deadlines. He’s guided not by emotions, but by logic. He can make decisions quickly, break contracts as necessary, dismiss subordinates and sacrifice small goals to achieve more global ones.
Summing up, I underline once again that the owner of a fitness club is primarily an entrepreneur. He’s not an employee and therefore doesn’t report to anyone. A business owner is a person, as a rule, with non-standard thinking, comprehensively developed and able to look at things from different angles. It is entrepreneurs at all times that have been the engines of progress. They develop the economy, help society, and ultimately make the world a better place.
Author – Felix Palmer