What it really takes to build a fitness business

plus, the value of social media!

By Jess Arrowsmith • 9 months ago • CAREER

 

If you haven’t heard the fuss, you’ve most likely seen your favourite influencers – Victoria’s Secret model Georgia Fowler included – being put through paces as they splash some of the toughest workouts going around on Instagram. That’s right, BeFit is shaking up the fitness industry one dumbbell at a time, becoming one of Sydney’s hottest gym spots since launching in late 2016.

So how does a small fitness business carve its name in the cutthroat and hotly competitive industry? Triple White spoke to BeFit Founder and Director, Ben Ezekiel, to find out what it takes to build and and grow a thriving business, the role of social media in the mix and the skyrocketing impact of women in the fitness industry today.

 

Where’d the idea come from and how did business really take off?

Prior to BeFit I was working with a not-for-profit, providing a ground-up solution for teens suffering from depression. For me, motion creates emotion and helping those in need understand the power of movement and what types of movement they enjoy  was the catalyst and the origin BeFit was built on.

 

You’ve grown rapidly since opening your doors, what approach did you take to grow the business?

We built our BeFit model around flexibility. Being able to customise to each member’s needs and recognise how to communicate with each member to help them reach their potential. Being able to adapt our programming and offer one-on-one interactions early on with our coaches is a critical factor for us when it comes to success. It’s a unique approach and one that really worked and continues to work for us.

 

When it comes to competitors, how do you distinguish yourself in the competitive market?

We’ve never tried to identify ourselves by what our competitors are doing or not doing. It’s really important to develop an approach that you believe in, because every successful business started from a place of passion. Our approach has always been about giving our members a holistic experience, flexible enough to become habitual for them.

From day one we’ve always been flexible in our approach but constant with what we have been trying to achieve. Being constant is key.

 

In what ways have you seen women in fitness evolve over the years?

When it comes to the benefits of strength training, women have really evolved for the better in recent years. There’s been a misconception around women and lifting weights, with many concerned about developing a masculine physique – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Strength training under the correct guidance and protocols is the most beneficial way for women to achieve their desired physique.

 

What has been the biggest challenge to date?

We opened doors in Double Bay in Dec 2016 and twelve months later we had 300 members. Being able to manage scale while maintaining a flexible approach was definitely challenging but incredibly rewarding. Thanks to experiencing that period of rapid growth, we developed systems and software to keep our brand’s origin and foundation true to this day. Being agile, flexible and fluid with change (both gradual and  instant change) is key when starting a business.

 

What would be your advice to anyone starting a business?

Be curious, not judgmental. Before jumping to conclusions on why competitors or customers have made different decisions, take the time to find out why. Taking the time to understand your customer’s why will make or break your business.

 

What about your biggest learning so far?

The power of social media – both for the better and the worse. Social media provides a reach that you wouldn’t be able to achieve organically. That being said, it can set unrealistic expectations on what’s important and what’s real. It’s really a balancing act we’re conscious of in the way we market both our clients and ourselves.

 

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you first started out?

The importance of the people you surround yourself with. Do they inspire you? Do they challenge you? Do you enjoy their company? The days are long but I’m enjoying every minute of it because I’m able to work with some of my best mates.

My advice? In the same way you surround yourself with people who add value to your life, apply this approach to your business and work with and alongside people who inspire, support and lift you up.

 


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