Starting a business can be terrible – that’s why Barreworks. Founder of Vicki Anstey (And SAS: Who Dare Wins Finalist), here’s to give you a seven-step guide to getting started
When I started a business – BarWorks – more than ten years ago, I wish there had been a framework to follow, a book to read, or a group of like-minded individuals for sharing knowledge along the way.
No one had heard of Barre, and single-concept studios did not exist.
Most people thought I was crazy to leave a successful career in advertising during a recession, retraining and gambling on an unproven business idea.
But it was my one-minded determination to make the Barworks work and to prove to everyone that I could do it that I backed down on every obstacle. I took quantitative risks every day and made countless mistakes in the process.
Most people thought I was crazy to give up a successful career in advertising
I taught 24 classes a week when I first started without taking a single leave, and with the compulsory pressure that a physical job brings, I definitely had burning moments.
Those three years were instrumental in building a thriving business around my passion, and I quickly fell in love with my new life.
However, I found myself in a cycle of being unable to find the time or energy to meet the demands of classes and to grow my business permanently.
Now with ten years of running my business and three years of working with business guru, Erica Wolfe-Murray, I am delighted to be able to leverage my experience from corporate life and to others emerging in the wellness industry. is.
Before you jump into the deep end, here are some simple principles to help guide you in the right direction of starting a business:
# 1 Build Your Business Based on Your Passion
It’s not as self-indulgent as it sounds.
Have confidence to let your intuition guide you when it comes to decision making, especially during times of physical exhaustion. Your inherent passion for what you do will propel you forward.
If your business idea is based on your own experiences, insights and personal passions, then you will always be your target market.
When I’m training barre trainers, I call them ‘jam jar exercises’, which is to capture the essence of what they like about this method.
Brainstorming a range of words that sum up the unique aspects of your business idea and writing them down will give you a reference point should you ever need to re-ignite the spark.
What attracted them to start? Perhaps even inspired him to quit another career or develop his barre side-hustle.
# 2 Make your business unique to you
For example the fitness industry is booming, which brings both opportunity and competition. The trick is to know what scenario you are entering when starting a business, but also to have confidence to know that your business idea will stand out.
If your business idea is born from your unique story to that point of your life, then no one else can compete, it’s your brand DNA.
Write down every job you do, every paid job you do, every employer you work, and every skill you develop in a work environment.
no one else will have your special skills
No one else will have your special skills, so watch it carefully to see what areas and experiences come up.
Then list your hopes and dreams without financial or practical limitations, which can be personal or work-related and should be as ambitious as they seem unrealistic as you can make them.
This will give you a point on the horizon for the target – a big audacious target – and act as a guiding light along the way.
The only requirement is that you write them down – and revisit them regularly to check that you are on track.
#3 Know your market
Who is your primary target market? As mentioned above, it helps if ‘they’ are ‘you’, as you can use your behavior to test the latest ideas and track performance, adherence and success.
Being a credible example of what you do is the best advertising money can buy.
Becoming an expert in your specific field is priceless, so be passionate about setting yourself up as such; Keep learning, keep growing and be the best to be at the forefront of your field.
See both online and offline aspects of your market
Most businesses will have a group of people who are deep divers and a secondary audience for dabblers. They are important.
Imagine them, describe their behavior, where they shop, how they spend their time and income, what their values are and how they are motivated.
See both online and offline aspects of your market and get to know your product or service inside and out. Consider that in the fitness industry, specifically, Netflix and inactivity are still the biggest competitors.
# 4 consider yourself as a business
When starting out, especially as a freelancer, it can be challenging to say no to anything.
You may find that boundaries blur as you do everything possible to fit your client’s schedule, leading to a complete abandonment of your own.
You never put the laptop down and find yourself drawn to social media to increase your presence, and you lose your needs.
Think ‘I am here, my business there …’ and your chances of getting burnt are slim.
Consistent coaching clients can be emotionally exhausting because every class requires you to give something of yourself, and while this can be incredibly rewarding, over time, it can also tire you out.
Take time to recover, reflect, and reevaluate yourself. Investing in your self-care, taking the time to do what you love (which may include your physical training) is important.
# 5 Talk to your inner critic
We all have a voice in our mind that tells us ‘we can’t’ or ‘shouldn’t’ or ‘don’t deserve it’.
The voices will be from someone in your life or your past who has doubted you and led you to doubt yourself.
Accept whose voices are there and negotiate with the person to close them so that you can move forward with the business without reaching your true potential without hindrance.
Talking out loud (as silly as it may sound) can be an incredibly powerful task.
Create a physical representation of your inner critic and make those exchanges. The achievements are incredible.
#6 Understand your numbers
I was particularly struggling with this area, as I am not a naturally ‘numerical person’ and find myself regularly confused and overwhelmed.
But I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay on top of your numbers and understand them, that way you can control them, so they do not control you.
Know your costs and what you need to do to break even, or to make a profit on a sliding scale. If you cannot achieve this, your business will not be successful.
Know what your ‘price elasticity’ is, do you have room to increase profit margin or is your pricing model fixed?
If so, don’t count yourself out, instead look at your business model to find additional revenue streams beyond the core business.
#7 Innovate and maintain
Businesses that remain seated become stagnant and will become outdated. But there is a difference between innovating (following or following trends) and innovating from within your business. The latter is far more durable – and reliable.
Gather data and intel as you go and continuously ‘un-pack’ various aspects of your business to see where new opportunities lie.
Erica taught me that there are five areas of opportunity for growth:
1. Existing and Past Customers
2. Future Customers
4. New buyer
5. New audience you want to tap
Continue to review each section to check that you are taking advantage of every opportunity.
Enabling you to keep growing, innovating, and that you build a sustainable resilient business with ever-increasing revenue streams.
Vicky Anstey One of the UK’s leading fitness experts and founder of London’s original Barre and Ballet studio, Barworks.
Vicky is also the first female Harlequin Foundation Ambassador and the winner of the 2019 ‘Best Female Entrepreneur’ Award at the Richmond Business Awards.
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