Q: I’m a fitness junkie and am thinking about starting a gym and personal training studio here in Oregon. I have some ideas that I haven’t seen used anywhere else that I’d love to get to folks, but I have no idea where to start. I’ve seen several online courses advertised that may help, but I don’t know what to look for. How do I get the knowledge that I need to plan to my business paying thousands before I even have my idea off the ground?
A: I know I say this each time, but I love this question. It’s exciting that we live in a time where it’s easier than ever to start a business. In many cases, all you need is a computer, talent, and a great idea. That said, everyone has a computer, and that means that anyone can package themselves up just right to sell you a course that promises to deliver all of your business owner dreams to your doorstep. Whether they actually do or not is another matter.
The sheer scope of all that you are responsible to understand and manage as a business owner is daunting. It’s essential to have an understanding of all major areas of running your health and wellness company, but it’s impossible to know it all.
It’s overwhelming. And it feels like it’s a Catch-22. You need to understand so much, but don’t yet have the income to pour into getting the help you’d like to supplement your knowledge.
The temptation to throw money at a problem is real. After all, there are investments you need to make in your business from the beginning. But let me tell you this: you probably don’t need to spend anywhere near what you’re considering.
Feeling overwhelmed can lead us to spend money we don’t have, but more importantly, that we don’t need to pay. There are a wealth of excellent low-cost resources for business owners of which I encourage many of my clients to take advantage. I don’t want you to swim in frustration about your lack of knowledge, and thankfully, you don’t have to.
Here are five free resources that I hope you’ll take advantage of to help you gain support and knowledge in your business.
This is a resource every entrepreneur should check out. Whether you’re just starting to think about opening a business or you’re in the throws of it already, this website features a wealth of resources available to help small business thrive. Find your local office to see what events and training programs are available near you. Whether you are new to business or looking for funding options to grow your business, the SBA has tools you can use.
SCORE is another option that is a must for every small business owner to have in their toolkit. They have great webinars, local programming, and my favorite–one-on-one mentoring. You don’t have to pay thousands to hire a business coach. Instead, SCORE works with volunteers who are experts in every industry you can imagine who are there to help you walk through your business challenges. It’s an amazing service and can be done in-person or virtually, depending on what works best for you. You don’t have to do this all alone, my friends!
Hubspot has free online trainings and resources on a range of topics related to digital marketing. I’m sure you’re aware of how confusing and all-encompassing managing your online presence can be. Don’t take just anyone’s advice about what you should do. Go to the experts. Watch their courses in the quiet of your own home, any time of day, and feel the stress melt away as your knowledge goes about leveraging content to grow your business.
4. Facebook Groups
This one may be controversial, but there is so much that can be gained from finding the right Facebook groups for your industry. They are not all created equal, and many do little to hide the fact that they are extensive commercials. But others offer amazing value in the information shared and connections made. You can also use them to find where your customers are and see, in their own words, what they struggle with. Ask trusted colleagues and mentors for their recommendations on groups. You will have to wade through some duds, but you’ll know when you’ve stumbled upon Facebook group gold.
Just like with podcasts, some provide vastly more quality information than others. There’s room for you to find the ones that match your style. That said, look for who the information is coming from. Some of the most noted experts in their field regularly drop some knowledge bombs on their podcasts with regularity. Here are a few to start with:
- The $100 MBA Show – This review is an excellent teaser and description of the show. “You may ask what Omar’s $100 MBA podcast has to do with astronaut food… Well, like astronaut food, this podcast is small, lightweight, easy to consume, and PACKED with nutrition.”
- Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman – Hoffman is one of LinkedIn’s cofounders and provides excellent advice to grow and scale your business.
- Marketing School – This podcast can be a bit technical, but if you’ve got 5 minutes, you can learn some top-notch information about up-levelling your business’ marketing.
When we start our businesses, it can feel like we’re all alone in the struggle to sink or swim. By taking advantage of some quality tools and resources at your fingertips, you can begin to gain the knowledge and support you crave to reach your dreams.
Best of luck to you!
Image by Mark Zamora via Unsplash