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Create a Personal Trainer Business Plan in Six Steps


My personal training career began, as so many do, at a big box gym.

I worked my way up to management, then regional management, and eventually struck out on my own. Soon I opened a small gym, which progressively grew into a bigger gym over the next six years.

A natural evolution maybe, but no accident. It happened because I had a plan.

A business plan helps you stay focused. It puts you in control, leading you where you want to go, so you’ll end up happier and wealthier.

Yet lots of trainers don’t think to make one, or assume they don’t need one. You do. Taking the time to carefully craft a business plan can give you an edge, regardless of where you are in your career.

To help you get started, I’ve outlined a personal trainer business plan template with six basic steps:

Step 1: Write your mission statement

Step 2: assess the fitness industry and your competition, step 3: map out your revenue streams, step 4: plan for operating costs, step 5: create your sales and marketing plan, step 6: honestly assess your risk.

We’ll hit each of those in a moment, and share a downloadable worksheet for you to craft your own business plan. But first, you probably have a few questions.

What is a personal trainer business plan?

A personal trainer business plan is a written description of your business’s future. Think of it as your North Star. It will help guide every aspect of your business: services, products, people, location, competition, costs, and income.

Who needs a personal trainer business plan?

Anyone who makes a living as a personal trainer. Don’t wait until you’re self-employed. It’s never too early to think about your future trajectory, even if you’re still a gym employee.

What is a personal trainer business plan used for?

A business plan articulates what you do and why you’re doing it. Having it in writing helps you stay focused.

But depending on your needs and goals, you might also use it to impress potential investors, attract employees or customers, or deal with suppliers.

How long should a personal trainer business plan be?

A typical plan is about 10 to 20 pages, but there’s a lot of room for variation. It can be as simple as a few notes on the back of an envelope, or as complex as 50 pages with detailed projections and analysis.

What’s the purpose of your plan? If you’re trying to score financing, err on the longer side. But if it’s just for you, make it as brief or detailed as you like.

How do you start?

Easy: Just write. Tailor the language to your prospective audience. If you’re writing the plan for yourself, make it as casual as a conversation with a friend. If you’re writing it for a bank or private investor, be more formal. If it’s for clients, be professional, avoiding jargon or slang.

I remember agonizing over my first business plan, making a million revisions. I felt stuck because, as hard as I tried, my plan wasn’t perfect yet.

Then I realized something: Perfection isn’t possible, and you can’t let the pursuit of it keep you from moving forward.

The goal is to think about your personal training business in a more mature way. As you move through your career, stretching your abilities and learning from mistakes, you’ll gain the perspective you need to refine it.

Put another way, as you get better, your plan will too.

Personal trainer business plan template

This is two or three sentences explaining what your company aims to do, and why: “I help THIS group of people do X, Y, and Z. And this is why I do it.”

Don’t skip the second part. Clarifying why you do what you do is essential for setting your business apart. It starts with two things:

  • Your core values
  • Your training philosophy

Core values are your personal beliefs: who you are, and what you stand for. Your training philosophy is what you believe about training.

Why is training people important to you? Why is the demographic you work with important? What are the two or three most important things you believe about training that are nonnegotiable?

If you can answer those questions, you’ll have a much easier time conveying your value to others, and creating a coaching avatar that helps people connect with you.

READ ALSO:   How to Get More Personal Training Clients

Before you can figure out where you fit in in the fitness industry, you first need to know what that industry looks like. That takes research into the two most relevant market tiers for fitness pros:

To understand what’s happening locally, hop online and look up all the gyms and fitness facilities in your area. Visit a few. Talk to the locals, and pick their brains about what they’re interested in and why they chose their current gym. Gauge sample size.

For a national perspective, you could turn to Google.

Now think about where you fit in, both locally and nationally. What gap do you fill? What do you offer that someone needs but no one else provides? An honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses will help you find those answers.

Finally, determine your biggest threat. Think you don’t have competition? You do. Look at it this way: In the absence of your product or service, how do people fill that void? Where do they go? What do they buy? That’s your competition.

This one is simple. Just answer one question: How are you going to deliver your service? Will you train clients one-on-one, and also lead a group class a couple times a week? Or will you do small-group training at your gym, and supplement your income with online training ?

Start with only one or two income sources, and see how they work (or don’t work). Maybe you’ll find that one (like online training) generates enough revenue for you to focus on it exclusively. Maybe you’ll find that another (like teaching group classes at 6 a.m.) doesn’t pay well enough for you to continue. Maybe you’ll have so much success with one demographic or style of training that you’ll decide to create and sell a product related to it.

But don’t feel you have  to add revenue streams. Some of the most successful businesses in the world offer only one or two products. A sharp focus lets you excel at one thing. Sometimes that’s better than being kinda good at several.

READ ALSO:   Avoid These Mistakes When Building an Online Training Business

Jot down all the expenses you need to run your business: rent, equipment, insurance, software, business license, and any administrative fees. Add it all up, and you get your operating costs, the minimum income you need to exist. Keep in mind that some percentage of that income will go to taxes .

Now tackle revenue projections. Make a high-low chart, with one column for worst-case scenario, and another for best-case.

Your best-case scenario is what would happen if you absolutely crushed it, and kept a full book of paying clients all year. Your worst-case is the opposite, the least amount you would make if things don’t go according to plan.

Comfortable with those numbers? If not, rejigger the plan until you are.

READ ALSO:   How Your “Freedom Number” Can Give You the Opportunity to Fail

At Fitness Revolution  (where I work), we have something called the Triple-A Marketing Method : Assets, Arsenal, Action plan. Here’s how it works.

  • Start with your assets—your skills, talents, and strengths. Maybe you’re really good at videos, or you’re great face to face.
  • Now determine your arsenal, the tools you’ll use to deploy those skills. If videos are your thing, social media might be the way you share them. If talking to people is your strength, focus on networking.
  • Finally, create an action plan, taking care to define exactly how often you’ll deploy those resources. Maybe you’ll post a new video every week, or attend a networking event once a month.

Over time, you’ll refine this section as you figure out what works and what doesn’t. But this is a good start.

There’s a reason why, in Step 4, I had you draw up a worst-case scenario alongside your sunniest projection. Too many personal trainers are overly optimistic, and write up business plans that assume things will always be awesome.

The problem with projecting 365 days of sunshine is that you’ll be blinded by the imagined glare. You won’t be ready for the bootcamps that get rained out, the clients who move on, the rent that goes up, or the car that breaks down.

Try pretending it’s your friend’s business plan. What would you say to that friend? Even better: Seek feedback from a fitness industry mentor or someone whose business advice you value. A neutral expert can give you much-needed perspective on the realities of running a business in an often-unpredictable world.

That brings us to risk. How much risk is written into your plan, and how much can you tolerate?

If you’re just starting out, your risk tolerance is probably pretty high, simply because you have less to lose. You could also pivot and try something else if your plan doesn’t work out.

But as your business grows, and you have more people who depend on you, the decisions will be harder, and your appetite for risk will probably drop.

Ready to get started? Click here to download our free Personal Trainer Business Plan worksheet.

What happens now?

A business plan is never complete. Even if you never need a detailed, professional version for investors, and you’re the only one who ever sees it, it’s still something you revisit as needed.

Every time your business shifts direction, your financial outlook changes, or you launch a new product, you’ll need to revisit your business plan.

But you don’t have to wait for a major change. Even a successful plan will eventually run its course, and need to be updated. If you think it’s time to revisit your plan, you’re probably right.

successful personal trainer business plan

David Crump

David Crump is a personal trainer, industry-recognized speaker, and fitness business consultant who helps other fitness professionals grow their business. He is the training and content manager for Fitness Revolution, where he oversees continuing education and all things start-up related. He has helped open at least seven independent fitness facilities in addition to his own, which he ran for six years. You can keep up with him at his website or on Facebook .

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Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a Personal Training Business

Personal trainer standing on outdoors

Congratulations! You passed your online exam and have earned your personal trainer certification . Now comes the time when it's necessary to decide where you will work and how you will start your personal training business.

This blog will provide nine tips for starting an independent personal training business. Keep in mind that starting a business is a lengthy process with several legal implications, so there are many nuances that are not covered within this guide.

With that said, let’s dive in!

No matter which field you work in, being an entrepreneur and starting a business require a lot of energy and effort; nowhere is this more true than in the fitness industry. When it comes to promoting a fitness business and gaining customers, it will take time to develop a client base.

Plan on taking three-to-six months at the minimum to establish a revenue stream through a personal training business. When you're just starting your personal training career , whether, in real life or online, clients won't just find you. You have to hustle to get out and find them, so get to it!

2. Do Your Research

Starting a business means you’re not going to be working for an employer and instead will become an entrepreneur. You may want to research whether it is worth your time and resources to start a business entity like a limited liability company (LLC), which can separate your assets from that of your business. These rules vary from state-to-state; spend a little time to research what would work best where you live.

3. Invest in Liability Insurance

Where will you provide personal training services? Will you be paying for a space in a facility, or do you plan on working in clients’ homes? In either case, it will be necessary to invest in liability insurance. Most facilities that allow personal trainers to see clients will require this. If you’re going into clients’ homes, it's a good idea because, like forming an LLC to separate your business from your assets, it could protect you from any liability in the (unlikely) event a client becomes injured. As an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, you have access to an affordable liability insurance program .

4. Scope Out the Facility

When scoping out your facility here are 4 really helpful questions to consider asking before you make any decisions. Only after you have weighed the potential answers to these questions should pick a facility.

  • If you do decide to work as a contractor, where you are paying rent for space in a facility, what type of support, if any, will the facility offer? 
  • Will you have the opportunity to meet with new members of the facility? 
  • Will you be able to solicit existing members, or will you be required to do your marketing to bring clients in? 
  • How is the facility managed? It may be a popular place to work out. Still, if it's not professionally managed, you may want to consider whether it's worth your time to establish a formal business relationship.

5. Invest in the Right Equipment

If you decide to market yourself to clients in their homes or offer workouts in a location like a park, that will require you to invest in some exercise equipment. That's because you'll want to be sure to have what you need to successfully apply the different stages of the NASM Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) Model of program design.

From medicine balls to rubber resistance to kettlebells to adjustable dumbbells, there are a number of options. Your budget and ability to transport them to the locations where you will be seeing clients will help determine the best equipment to suit your needs.

If you are going to offer workouts at a park, make sure you check with the local park department to see if any permits are required.

For example, in the city of San Diego, it is okay to train one or two people at a time in a city-managed park. Still, groups over the size of four require a permit issued by the park authority (which requires having the proper liability insurance).

Graham King, the owner of Urban Fitness in Washington, DC, started his business by offering workouts in a park and has grown to have three locations. As Mr. King demonstrates, park workouts can be an excellent option for starting a fitness empire, but you want to be sure you do it correctly.

6. Consider Online Coaching Options

If you're going to offer online personal trainer programs, how will you market your services and deliver the workouts? Will you sell static programs or offer to coach through an online service? Another option is to provide live coaching via apps like FaceTime, Zoom, or Facebook Live.

Kira Stokes, an NASM Certified Personal Trainer in New York City, teaches live classes and works with clients in person. She also has evolved to offer a successful app based on her 'Stoked Method' that reaches thousands of people a month, in addition to training clients online through video conferencing.

The point is that technology has now made it possible for personal trainers to provide fitness solutions to clients anywhere in the world as long as they have a high-speed internet connection and space to exercise in. Like any other business, there is tremendous opportunity in online coaching, but it will take time to be successful.

7. Identify Your Target Market

Whether you are offering your services live or online, who is your target demographic? Who are the clients that will receive the most significant benefit from your services? It's one thing to offer a variety of different types of workout programs.

Still, if you identify a specific target market, that could help you develop your messaging for how you market your services.

For example, offering weight loss and muscle-sculpting programs in an area with a large population of older adults may not resonate with an audience. Who lives in your immediate area? What types of clients do you want to work with? Take some time to brainstorm a target demographic like new moms, older adults, or teenage athletes, then identify the most effective method for communicating with them to attract and earn their business.

8. Create a Brand

Once you identify a target demographic, how will you communicate with that demographic so they can understand the benefit of your fitness services? Marketing is branding, and branding is marketing; creating a brand identity can help you to communicate with potential clients.

When you think of tissues or adhesive bandages, brand names like Kleenex or Band-Aid tend to pop in your head right away. This is called 'top-of-mind' brand recognition and is the power of developing a recognizable brand identity.

Ms. Stokes used the convenience of her last name to establish her 'Stoked Method,' an instantly recognizable brand that has developed a strong following for her workout programs and coaching services.

9. Research Payment Methods

Whether you offer live or online services, how will your clients pay you for your time or the programs you sell? Just like technology has made it possible to reach clients anywhere in the globe, it will be necessary to research payment methods.

You can start an account with PayPal, Venmo, Square, or any other service so that you can be sure that you are adequately compensated for your time and efforts.

A lot goes into starting a fitness business. There is no guarantee of success, but if you have the hustle, put in the work, and apply these nine steps, then you will be well on your way to a long, rewarding and potentially lucrative career as a fitness professional.


If you choose to work for an employer like a health club or fitness studio, they should have training and development programs in place that will educate you on what you need to do to work in their operation successfully.

The role of the fitness manager is to support you as you start your business. Listen to their advice because they know what works. Also, look for the more experienced, established personal trainers and ask for their help on how to be successful in that business model.


If you plan on opening a facility, it requires several different steps from finding the best real estate to hiring the right contractors for the build-out. Therefore, these recommendations are for those of you who are considering becoming an independent personal trainer either contracting with a facility, working in clients’ homes, or offering online coaching programs.

Coping with Pressure, Anxiety and Adversity in Uncertain Times

Push, pull and shift: learn the power of perturbations, pete mccall.

Pete McCall is a NASM-CPT, PES, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), international presenter, host of the All About Fitness podcast, fitness blogger and an author of several articles, textbook chapters and the book Smarter Workouts: the Science of Exercise Made Simple. In addition, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and has been educating fitness professionals for more than 15 years. Currently Pete lives in Encinitas, CA where he is an education consultant and content creator for Core Health & Fitness, Terra Core Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness.

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ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, How to Write a Business Plan for Personal Trainers

How to Write a Business Plan for Personal Trainers

Reading Time: 5 minutes 57 seconds

DATE: 2020-11-04

Many fitness professionals operate without a business plan. This is partly because writing this type of plan takes time. And in the fitness industry, if you aren't in the gym training clients, you aren't getting paid. This may lead you to operate your personal training business without a plan as well. But is that really a good idea?

Do You Need a Business Plan as a Personal Trainer?

If you provide personal training services as a hobby, you can probably get by without a business plan. You're not reliant on the success of your side venture, so creating a detailed plan as to how it will operate isn't as necessary. Conversely, if you want to make a career out of personal training, there are many benefits to sitting down and writing out a business plan.

For instance, if you want to become a gym owner, it could cost you anywhere from $65,000 for a modest gym up to $1 million if you want a gym loaded with every amenity possible. Where will you get the capital to build your gym? If your answer is "from investors," you will need a business plan to convince them that your gym business is worth the investment.

Or maybe you want to build and grow an online personal training business. Creating a business plan helps you become crystal clear on what your virtual company needs in order to operate smoothly. It provides a detailed budget, marketing plan, and a thorough look at your competition. All of this will help you position your online personal training company for maximum success.

Other benefits of writing a personal training business plan include:

A clearer understanding of what the future looks like for your fitness business, and how to get there

A list of all the people needed to build and grow your training business, such as other trainers, legal counsel, business insurance providers, and other business partners

A plan for how you will monitor your business's success, ensuring that you continue to progress forward

Realizing how to stand out from your competition , making your training services more in demand

Understanding Your Business Plan Options

There are two basic business plan formats. They are a traditional business plan and a lean startup business plan .

What's the Difference?

A traditional business plan is more comprehensive. That makes this a good option for a personal trainer who thrives on detail. It's also helpful if you're a new business owner and want to ensure that you've addressed all issues when building and growing your company.

successful personal trainer business plan

Traditional Business Plan

The nine sections in a traditional business plan are:

Executive summary . This is where you state your mission statement and provide basic information about your personal trainer business. It is essentially an overview of what your business looks like.

Business description . In this section, you'll give more detail about your training business. You will explain the problems you solve as a personal fitness trainer. Depending on your specialty, this could be helping clients with weight loss, improving senior fitness , or designing fitness programs for youth.

Market analysis . How does your personal training business compare to others in the field? What does it take to become a successful personal trainer? What must you do to appeal to a new client?

Business structure . This section explains both the legal structure of your training business and the structure of your company internally. You must decide whether you're going solo or if you want to hire employees.

Service and product offerings . Typically, a personal trainer business provides a service. But maybe you want to offer your clients products as well. In this section, you will share your plan for what these services and products look like.

Marketing strategy . Here you will explain how you plan to find and appeal to a potential client. Will you buy social media ads or send out mailers? You'll also include what you'll do to retain your clients long term.

Funding needs . If you need capital to start your personal training business, this is where you'll outline this information. Provide the costs related to building or growing your gym or fitness studio. Be specific about how much money you need, as well as where you plan to spend it.

Financial projections . What is your financial plan for the next five years? Don't forget to consider your reoccurring cash flow needs, such as utilities and gym equipment maintenance.

Appendix . This final section includes any supporting documentation for your personal trainer business plan. If you're seeking funding, you might include a credit report and project price quotes. Other items to consider include building permits, a copy of your personal trainer certification , and vendor contracts. If you've been acting as a personal trainer already, provide your past financial statements as proof of your business's financial health.

Lean Startup Business Plan

Because a traditional business plan is so lengthy, some fitness professionals opt for a shorter, less comprehensive plan. This is where the lean startup format comes into play. Creating a lean plan is often enough for someone who wants to provide personal training services solo. This type of plan also enables you to begin providing personal training services fairly quickly.

Like with a traditional plan, the lean format also has nine basic components. The difference is that they can be outlined more briefly. In some cases, you may be able to get by with a bullet list of that section's information. These nine components are:

Key partnerships. The suppliers or vendors you will be working with as you build and grow your fitness business.

Key activities. The actions you will take to bring in new clients; your personal trainer marketing plan.

Key resources. Your business assets, whether financial or people-related, like having staff.

Value proposition. The things that set your business part; how you are unique.

Customer relationships. How you plan to communicate with your clients. What your customer service looks like.

Your ideal client. Identify your target market. Do you want to provide fitness advice to people who've had a stroke ? Would you rather work with young athletes who play a particular sport?

Communication channels. What methods will you use to connect with your client base? Social media? Email marketing ? Some other method?

Costs. List the costs associated with creating a successful training business. When providing training services, will you offer any discounted pricing? Conversely, what are some ways you can increase your value to your target audience?

Revenue streams. How do you plan to make money? Solely by providing personal training services or by selling products too? You can also share your pricing strategy here.

Filling out these sections does require that you take some time, but it is often quicker than providing the detail necessary to complete a traditional business plan.

Creating a solid personal trainer business plan can help you build a strong, profitable business. To make this plan more effective, you must get crystal clear on what you want your training business to look like.

If you're unsure, take a few moments to close your eyes and imagine your business when it is up and running. How big is it? How many personal training clients does it have? How does it help them improve their fitness? What are you doing to run the business? Do you have staff? If so, how many? The more you can envision your goal business, the easier it is to create a personal training business plan that supports this vision.

Even though you now know all of the elements of a good gym business plan, it sometimes helps to work off an outline. Many online sites provide an easy-to-use business plan template. All you have to do is download it, input the requested information, and you're good to go.

Review Your Personal Training Business Plan Regularly

A fitness business plan isn't something you write up and file away never to look at again. Reviewing it regularly helps you identify if you need to strengthen certain aspects of your training business to reach higher levels of success.

Taking the time to write and review your business plan also helps you get and stay on your desired path. It provides guidance as you build and grow your personal training business.

Another way to take your business to the next level is to obtain additional certifications. For instance, the ISSA offers Certified Gute Specialist certification , Corrective Exercise certification , and Bodybuilding certification . Gaining more credentials tells potential customers that you have the education necessary to help them achieve their fitness goal!

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Personal Training Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

personal training and crossfit business plan

Personal Training Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their personal training companies. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write a personal training business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your personal training business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a personal training business or grow your existing personal training company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your personal training business to improve your chances of success. Your personal trainer business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Personal Training Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a personal training business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for personal training companies.

    Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for a personal training business.

If you want to start a personal training business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The business plan outline below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your personal training business plan.  

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of personal training business you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a personal training business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of personal training businesses?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

  • Give a brief overview of the personal training industry.
  • Discuss the type of personal training business you are operating.
  • Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
  • Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
  • Offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of personal training business you are operating.

For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of personal training businesses:

  • Mobile personal trainer: This type of business involves traveling to the client’s home, a park, or another location that is convenient for the client to provide personal training sessions.
  • In-home personal trainer: This type of business is operated out of the trainer’s own home. This type of business may be great for trainers that have their own equipment.
  • Online personal trainer: This type of business involves providing training one-on-one or group sessions online live or via pre-recorded webinars.
  • Gym trainer: This type of personal training business operates out of a gym that allows the trainer to work with their own clients at the gym.

In addition to explaining the type of personal training business you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of clients served, the number of sessions provided with positive outcomes, reaching $X amount in revenue, etc.
  • Your legal business Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the personal training industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the personal training industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your personal trainer business plan:

  • How big is the personal training industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your personal training business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your personal trainer business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, schools, families, and corporations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of personal training business you operate. Clearly, individuals would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.  

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other personal training businesses.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes other types of trainers, coaches, gyms, and fitness programs. You need to mention such competition as well.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What type of personal training business are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you make it easier for clients to acquire your services?
  • Will you offer products or services that your competition doesn’t?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a personal training business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of personal training company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide lifestyle training, boot camps, or performance training services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your personal training company. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your personal training business located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone gym, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your personal training marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
  • Reach out to websites
  • Distribute flyers
  • Engage in email marketing
  • Advertise on social media platforms
  • Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your personal training business, including answering calls, planning and providing training sessions, billing customers and collecting payments, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to book your Xth session, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your personal training business to a new city.

Management Team

To demonstrate your personal training business’ potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing personal training businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a personal training business or successfully running a small fitness class.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you see 5 clients per day, and/or offer group training sessions? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your personal training business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a personal training business:

  • Cost of equipment and supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your gym location lease or testimonials from happy customers.

Writing a business plan for your personal training business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will understand the personal training industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful personal training business.

Personal Training Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my personal training business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily write your personal training business plan.

How Do You Start a Personal Training Business?

Starting a personal training business is easy with these 14 steps:

  • Choose the Name for Your Personal Training Business
  • Create Your Personal Training Business Plan
  • Choose the Legal Structure for Your Personal Training Business
  • Secure Startup Funding for Your Personal Training Business (If Needed)
  • Secure a Location for Your Business
  • Register Your Personal Training Business with the IRS
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get a Business Credit Card
  • Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
  • Get Business Insurance for Your Personal Training Business
  • Buy or Lease the Right Personal Training Business Equipment
  • Develop Your Personal Training Business Marketing Materials
  • Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Personal Training Business
  • Open for Business

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Eight Steps to the Perfect Personal Trainer Business Plan

Eight Steps to the Perfect Personal Trainer Business Plan

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Now is a great time to become a personal trainer because the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult for people to visit gyms. This means that many gym-goers are now relying on personal training services to keep them fit and healthy.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to start your business. As a personal trainer, you know the importance of creating a plan to help clients adhere to their fitness programs.

Well, the same is also true for your personal training business.

Using a personal trainer business plan to set goals and create a roadmap for how you will achieve them is an effective way to make sure you will be successful in the fitness industry.

In this article, we’ll look at why you need a personal training business plan, as well as the eight steps you should take to make an effective one.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Why Write a Personal Training Business Plan?
  • 2 Your Personal Training Business Plan Template
  • 3 Step One: Write Your Executive Summary
  • 4 Step Two: Analyze the Personal Training Market
  • 5 Step Three: Perform a Customer Analysis
  • 6 Step Four: Write Your Sales Plan
  • 7 Step Five: Write Your Personal Trainer Marketing Plan
  • 8 Step Six: Write Down How Your Business Will Operate
  • 9 Step Seven: Your Qualifications
  • 10 Step Eight: Financial Plan
  • 11 Wrapping Up

Why Write a Personal Training Business Plan?

personal trainer business plan on a laptop

A personal training business plan is a guide you can follow to work out your unique selling points and help your business succeed.

It will also help you define the business’s revenue streams, make financial projections, identify market trends, and find out who your target market is and what your marketing strategy should be.

It will also give you an idea of the risks or challenges your business might face. For example, the competitor research section gives you an understanding of how others in the fitness industry work, which helps you to stay one step ahead.

Having a clear view of your finances will also help you make better decisions. Doing this before you get started is beneficial as it becomes harder to make these changes once you are training clients.

It is also usually necessary to write a business plan if you want to apply for funding. Banks or other potential investors will want to see you have put thought into how you will run a profitable business.

Finally, business plans aren’t just for personal trainers starting out. If you already run a personal training business, creating a plan can still be a useful tool to ensure you are heading in the right direction.

Your Personal Training Business Plan Template

Your plan will include sections on market analysis, marketing sales, operations, staffing, and finance.

While this may seem like a lot, we’ve made the process manageable by breaking it down into eight easy to follow steps.

Step One: Write Your Executive Summary

Your executive summary is a quick overview of your fitness business and why you think it will be successful.

Start with your mission statement. This is a one-sentence summary of what you are trying to achieve with your personal training business.

Include what you want to help your potential customers to achieve and how you will do this. For example, will you offer one-on-one sessions, nutritional guidance or small group training?

You can use your mission statement on your website or in marketing. Even if you don’t share it publicly, it is still a useful tool to help you define your goals and keep you on track when making business decisions.

Here are some examples of personal trainer mission statements:

North West Personal training in Vancouver:

“We are passionately committed to changing people’s lives around the world by helping them adopt a more healthy and fit lifestyle so they look and feel their best.”

Bodyline Studios in the UK

“It is our aim to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get fit and improve their wellbeing by providing a well-equipped, supportive space where highly qualified and experienced health and fitness professionals can deliver their services.”

After your mission statement, your executive summary should also include:

  • Your fitness value proposition: This could be body-building, weight-loss, resistance training for seniors, TRX bands, etc.
  • Who your customers will be: middle-aged men looking to get back in shape, high-level athletes, millennials looking for a new way to work out.
  • Where your personal trainer business will operate from: Your own personal training studio, rented space in another gym, the local park or fitness center.
  • Basic pricing strategy: How much you will charge per session, costs for renting space/equipment, your marketing budget.

This section is step number one in our guide because it is the first part of a personal training business plan.

However, many people find it beneficial to complete this step after writing the rest of the document. At this point, they are usually better prepared to answer the above questions.

Step Two: Analyze the Personal Training Market

Personal Trainer Training With a Client

Next, you need to analyze the personal training market. This will include the local area you will operate in as well as national — or even global — trends.

Completing this section shows you understand the personal training industry and may give you ideas about how to run your fitness business more effectively.

Include information such as:

  • What are the most popular types of personal training?
  • Is the industry growing or shrinking?
  • How has Covid-19 affected other trainers?
  • Approximately how many personal trainers will you compete within your area?
  • How does a self-employed personal trainer find customers on a national and local level? Will it be beneficial to become active on social media, sign up to certain forums, advertise in local media?
  • Do you have a lot of competition in your niche? Is the service you plan to offer in-demand? If not, how will your marketing strategies help you stand out?
  • What qualifications do the personal trainers you will be competing with have? Are there any qualifications you could get to make yourself stand out?
  • How much do personal trainers in your niche charge per session? And how do your planned prices compare to those of existing trainers?

When completing this section, it’s best if you can include specific figures. Searching on Google will provide you with a lot of information you can use. Or you can speak to other people you know in the industry.

Step Three: Perform a Customer Analysis

Next, you can talk specifically about the potential clients you will target.

You should find demographic information about your local area, such as the size of the population and the percentage of people in different age groups.

You can also focus on the intrinsic motivations of your customers. Thinking about what motivates them, how they like to work out, and why they might need a personal trainer can help when it comes to the marketing and operational parts of your business plan.

Step Four: Write Your Sales Plan

Personal Trainer Working out With a Client in a Gym

In the sales plan, you can map out how you will make sales and how many you expect to make. Things you can include in this section are:

  • How many sessions a day or week will you run?
  • How much do you expect to charge per session?
  • Will you run discounts for clients who bulk buy sessions? How about people who refer other clients to your business?
  • Using the above information, how much do you expect to earn per session, day, or month?
  • How will you process sales? For example, will customers pay cash in hand on the day, or will they pay when they book a session through your website or app?

When writing this section, it will help if you have an idea about your costs and industry standards. This will help you choose a price point that is competitive while being enough to keep your business profitable.

Step Five: Write Your Personal Trainer Marketing Plan

It’s all well and good having a sales plan, but you’ll need a way to get your client base to pay for your service. In the marketing plan, you can describe all the ways you will try to attract clients, as well as any costs associated with this.

Some ideas include:

  • Being active on social media.
  • Using referrals to encourage word-of-mouth.
  • Using PPC adverts on Google.
  • Advertising in your local gym or fitness centre.
  • Adding your Google My Business listing.
  • Advertising in local office buildings or other places where your target customers gather.

When writing your marketing plan, you should go into detail about how you will utilize the techniques you choose.

For example, if you want to get new clients through Google search queries, list the queries you will target and provide estimates for how much you expect to spend on this area of marketing.

You can read more about personal training marketing ideas here.

Step Six: Write Down How Your Business Will Operate

In the operations section of your business plan, describe how you will run your business. This will include all the things you need to do daily to provide your service.

Where possible, include specific details like exact locations, prices, and times.

successful personal trainer business plan

Image source

Completing this section in as much detail as possible is a good way to spot if you are missing anything before you start.

In this section include:

  • How many sessions you will run every day and when you will run them.
  • Where you will run the sessions.
  • How you will gain access to the locations you need to run the sessions and how much this will cost.
  • The steps you will take to measure the progress of clients.
  • When you will take care of other aspects of your business, like marketing, accounting, etc.
  • Do you need to provide anything for clients (water, etc.). If so, how will you source this?
  • How will you process client payments?
  • How will you process and organize bookings?
  • Anything else you think is important to the running of your personal training business.
  • Do you need to hire any extra staff? If so, how will you manage them?
  • Do you need any qualifications or certificates before you can start your business?

successful personal trainer business plan

One tool that can help streamline your personal training business is your own app .

By asking customers to download an app, you make it easy for them to book and pay for sessions on the go. You can also add helpful content such as videos, blog posts, or social media links that can help your customers achieve their fitness goals.

Click here to find out how you can easily create an app for your personal training business.

Step Seven: Your Qualifications

Personal Trainer Working out With a Client in a Gym

Write down what makes you suitable to be a personal trainer. Include your qualifications and experience in the industry. If you are going into business with anyone else, you can include information about their suitability for the role.

Step Eight: Financial Plan

The final step is to check the financial viability of your plan. In this section you should include:

  • Startup costs: What do you need to pay for before going into business?
  • Operating costs: How much will you spend to run your business? This can include rental costs, replacing equipment, costs associated with software to help you run your business, costs of hiring staff, marking costs, etc.
  • Expected revenue: Here you can write down how much you expect your business to earn every day, week, month, year, etc.
  • Break-even analysis: If you have high startup or operating costs (for example if you rent a space to run your business from) this section will show you how long it should take before you start making a profit.

This section will show you what you need to do to stay financially viable as a business. It will show you if your business model is realistic or if you need to make adjustments to prices or costs to hit your earning goals.

Wrapping Up

Now you’ve finished your business plan you can begin to take steps to put it into action. If you noticed there are areas of weakness in your business, now is the time to make changes to strengthen your position.

If you want further information about starting your business, check out these articles on writing a business proposal in 2020 , and writing an effective small business marketing plan .

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How to Create a Personal Trainer Business Plan — Your Blueprint for Success

successful personal trainer business plan

The Architecture You Base Your PT Business On.

A successful personal training business is one that starts based on a solid business plan. It's not only the foundation of your business, it's also a tool to make sure you’re on track.

If your future plans include goals such as owning a studio and all your own equipment, growing your client base to the point that you need to hire staff, and of course, generating enough income to support your chosen lifestyle, then you must start with a business plan

Why do PTs Need a Business Plan?

Mike Tyson once said, "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." In other words, thinking about your business and how you'll react to threats and opportunities is just as important as the plan itself. When you start to put your plan together, the first thing you need to do is to clear business strategy in mind. What services will you offer? What do you hope to achieve? What are your goals? What’s the purpose of your business?

If you’re looking to borrow money to launch your business. The first thing your bank will ask to see is a comprehensive business plan with a clear vision, goals and objectives

The creation of a business plan will also ensure you analyze two critical components:

  • Your Clients Who is your ideal client? What are they looking to achieve? Why will they choose you to chart their fitness journey? The better you understand your clients , the better service you'll provide them and the easier it will be to target them with your marketing strategy.
  • The Competition You need a clear idea of who you're up against. Otherwise, how you can you offer things they don't? If you're going to create a working competitive advantage, you need to know who your competitors are—why they're successful, or what their failings have been.

There are many reasons you need a business plan , but to nutshell the whole concept, think of it this way; your business plan is like a road map. You can travel without one, but you risk getting lost along the way. Everything contained in your business plan will revolve around and support your strategy.

How to Write a Winning Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan requires detailed information in a clear format. This downloadable guide can help you write out a business plan that outlines your strategy, crystallize your ideas and identify priorities, saving both time and effort.

The eBook, Strategy is at the heart of your business plan , covers:

  • Crunching the numbers—we walk you through a break-even service rate analysis that will tell you if your personal training business is financially feasible.
  • The nuts and bolts—four key steps to your business plan:

1. A business overview, including your business structure and location 2. A detailed outline of your personal training services 3. Marketing strategy—from your competitive advantage to social media, this is how to get the marketing mix right 4. A detailed financial plan

  • The actual writing—how to begin putting all your ideas together.

Are you ready to get your business plan underway? Download the guide and get it moving!

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