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10/12/2014 3:25:32 PM - Daven
Email Exchange #1 - Opening A Facility

Listed below is an email exchange I had with Daven, a future gym owner who initially got in touch with me via Q&A. I tried to be as open as I could regarding our situation and experiences. This is the first of our exchanges. I hope it's somewhat helpful for you all. I will post additional exchanges as they happen. Daven has given me permission to share our emails.
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Dear Mrs. Wattles,

I am a powerlifter from Northern New York, and a long time fan of yours on EliteFTS. Me and my business partner are trying to open our own gym here in the area. We would like for it to be a serious strength training gym for athletes of all disciplines.

My questions lies in the capital needed for start-up. We have everything started and the whole process has been moving along quite nicely, but we desperately lack the monetary capital needed to go much further with our goals. When you started Competitive Edge, who/what type of people did you look for as investors? I have absolutely no idea where to start on this, and I was wondering if you could provide me with some guidance. Thank you for your time, any help is immensely appreciated!!


My Response:

Thanks for your patience, Daven. Sounds like you have a great plan and can totally relate. When you say capital, I am not sure what you mean for what specifically. I suggest your local Angel Investment group or small business center/association for help with finding investors if you're certain you really need to do that.

We bought most of our equipment over a very long period of time knowing it was for our training but also with the end game to open a facility. We did do a fairly small equipment lease and in hindsight could have cut those expenses in half. The old saying of wants versus needs applies there. I mention all of that because it allowed us to open our facility independently. We did not have investors and we did not and do not have debt (minus the last bit on the equipment lease). We were able to cut our lifestyles back SIGNIFICANTLY to live off one income. It was/is painful.

My bigger advice is to try everything you can to NOT have investors. Start small and build. Truly. Most gym/facility owners (who are still in business) have all said it and they are all right. Initially (and still) we have only made one year agreements on our lease, phone, etc, etc. My prevailing thought was going into unchartered territory for us, I wanted all the flexibility I could manage in order to allow us the freedom to build the business as we intended, not with an investor or outside entity dictating how we could make decisions. We have seen multiple sort of-ish competitors shut down just in the time we are getting warmed up. Over leveraged and too large of spaces are my best estimation of why they closed.




More To Come,
Amy Wattles


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