Who’s on your fitness business dream team!? Who should be? Most fitness professionals will work with an attorney, a banker, and a certified public accountant (CPA) at some point in their professional careers. These people are often key resources for a successful fitness business. Do you know how to make the most of these relationships, and a couple more? If you don’t have a relationship with one of these professionals, how do you go about finding the right one to help you build a healthy, profitable, and protected fitness business?
Fitness Business Attorney
Fitness Professionals promote the value of prevention for their clients with the idea that it’s better, and in the long run almost always less expensive, to stay healthy! The relationship between a fitness professional and his or her lawyer should be similarly proactive. Legal problems are easier and less expensive to prevent than to solve.
Shopping for an attorney who has experience working with fitness businesses can be a challenge depending on where you are located. Recommendations from colleagues are a good starting point, but remember that you’re only getting one side of the story.
For fitness professionals facing a malpractice lawsuit or other litigation, the professional liability insurance carrier may provide counsel as part of the coverage. In that unfortunate situation, the choice of an attorney is out of the fitness professional’s hands. The specific requirements of the policy, including any notice requirements, should be discussed with the agent or carrier prior to a claim.
It’s important to keep in mind that many of the jobs an attorney will perform for your fitness business —such as business formation, drafting contracts, negotiating employment agreements, advising about disgruntled clients and estate planning—are not “fitness industry-specific.” However, it is preferable that your attorney does have fitness industry experience because they will take far less time getting up to speed and are more likely to be more accurate in their advice.
Honest and Skilled Accountant
A bookkeeper or financial advisor can be helpful, but neither is a replacement for an accountant. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can help by setting up and administrating accounting systems, maintaining payroll, preparing tax returns, and consulting on various tax, business, and financial matters. You need a CPA with an understanding of your type of fitness business, especially if you are conducting part of your fitness business online.
CPAs will also work very closely with your fitness business’ other trusted advisors, including your banker, insurance agent, investment advisor/certified financial planner, and attorney.
Finding a great CPA can be a challenge. Ask fellow fitness business owners who they use. Ask your local chamber of commerce for a list of local CPAs and ask if they have worked with fitness businesses. Ask your attorney, your insurance broker or your bank if they have a recommendation.
Consider seeking out an independent insurance agent/broker. They will need to disclose if they receive a commission for products they recommend, but you won’t necessarily be locked into one underwriter or insurance company. They should be able to answer questions about the type of insurance you need, why, and any limits and limitations. With their connections and their knowledge of the market, agents can often find a better value for your insurance dollar than you might find on your own. They should find you the right blend of price, coverage, and service.
Do your research and look for underwriters or insurance companies that specialize in the fitness industry or service related businesses.
Bank – Business Banking Advisor
Deciding which bank to use for your business banking is a decision that deserves some thought. If you are likely to move your business, consider going with a larger bank that has branches in multiple locations. The kind of funding your business requires should also influence your decision – as some types of banks are more likely to fund small businesses than others. Remember that unless you have collateral or a solid earning history, obtaining a loan or a line of credit for your fitness business may be difficult.
No matter which financial institution you decide to use, you want to make sure it is FDIC insured. The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insures each depositor to at least $250,000 per insured bank.
When it comes to financial advice, sometimes your bank isn’t the best source. Look for a fiduciary advisor – that’s one who must give you the advice that puts your interests first. A certified financial planner is who you’ll need if you are looking for advice on where and how to invest business assets.
A business mentor is a key to building a growing, sound, fitness business. Generic business advice has limited generic use. A good business mentor can focus in on your needs and your business. A fitness business mentor is someone with more entrepreneurial business experience than you, who serves as a trusted advisor over an extended period of time – you can be involved in a variety of mentoring relationships, whether as part of a paid consulting relationship, a mastermind, a structured mentoring program, or an informal mentoring relationship.
A Business Bestie
Whether it is sharing your victories or challenges, asking for recommendations, or just plain needing to vent, a business bestie is pretty much essential. They might not even run a business in your industry. They can often be the only people in your life who “get” it! You might even find them in our Business Bites Community Facebook group.