New year new you!

Along with the New Year come New Year’s resolutions – the majority of which are focused on career progression or self-improvement. Tiffany Brooking investigates the fitness and wellbeing industry and how its opportunities could be the perfect chance to get your career back into shape.

It’s the same story every New Year, we all make promises to ourselves that we will make the coming year the best ever and that we will achieve our personal or professional goals.

These resolutions can be anything from quitting smoking, learning to speak a new language, losing weight, doing a sky dive or getting that promotion. However, there is one resolution that many people dream of achieving but all too often shy away from – taking control of their lives and careers and becoming their own boss.

For many, the thought of running a business can seem like a daunting and unobtainable prospect – one of the main reasons being that most people lack the confidence and self-belief to start out on their own. A lot of people think that they don’t have the necessary skills or experience to run a business, but one of the key elements to being a successful business owner is passion. As long as you have the desire to succeed and truly believe in the service or product you provide, you are well on your way to achieving your goal.

Most people’s passions lives within their hobbies and interests, which is why the wellbeing and fitness industry can be the ideal place to find the business for you. Opportunities within this industry can range from weight-loss groups and gyms to sport activity groups and Martial Arts schools.

Not only is the New Year a great time to realise your business ambitions, it’s also the time when many people are hoping to kick-start their weight-loss or fitness goals – achieve your resolution while helping others achieve theirs.

One such person who had the drive and ambition to start her own franchise after trying to achieve her own personal goals was Fiona Egan, founder of sásta fitness.

“I founded sásta fitness franchise when, being overweight, I researched a reliable and sustainable way of dropping a few stone and living a healthier lifestyle,” she explains. “I came across some interesting facts from the World Health Organisation that made for horrific reading. According to experts, obesity has more than doubled since 1980 with over 40 million children under the age of five being overweight in 2010; now experts predict a staggering 70 million of us will become obese by 2015. In my opinion this is an epidemic and, pardon the pun, let’s stop feeding it.”

According to the 2012 State of the UK Fitness Industry report, which is published by The Leisure Database Company, the UK health and fitness industry has grown its total market value by 1.4 per cent to £1.38 billion between April 2011 and March 2012. With this trend predicted to steadily increase over the next few years, there is no better time to get your piece of this billion pound industry.

One of the top New Year’s resolutions, and indeed an ongoing concern as we as a nation become more aware of the associated health risks, is the desire and need to lose weight.

If you’re somebody who is passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and who harbours an ambition to become an entrepreneur, a lifestyle nutrition or weight-loss franchise such as All About Weight or LighterLife could be the perfect business for you. Franchises such as these provide flexible working opportunities – perfect for a working mum or busy individual, as the franchise owner can determine their own hours.

All About Weight is a franchise that has the ability to transform lives, not only for those that wish to run their own business and have a flexible working life, but the clients that want to lose weight and find a new them.

Helen Powell, who runs the Swindon All About Weight franchise, believes that taking clients on a weight-loss journey is extremely rewarding as it can transform their lives, leading to new careers, love and health benefits.

“The financial rewards are there as well,” adds Helen. “With generous discounts for products and percentage of all online sales in specific geographic areas.”

While a balanced diet is key to achieving a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise is just as important. The fitness industry holds a wide scope, so there is an opportunity out there for everyone.

If you’re looking for a low-investment, hands-on fitness franchise, an activity group such as multi-sport coaching franchise A-Star sports – which you could have up and running from just £12,500 + VAT – could be the perfect fit for you.

Extra-curricular sports activities for children have been growing in popularity for over 20 years – and for good reason. Studies* show that they can have a big impact on children’s physical, social and emotional development.

Gary Bassett, franchise owner and co-founder of A-Star Sports, says: “The real benefit of being part of the fitness industry, sports coaching in particular, is that it is a profession that can make lives richer and not just for those being coached.

“While there are key extra-curricular times to be coaching young children, there is a lot of flexibility in the management of the business, and limitless opportunities to inspire families and their upcoming generations through fun and inclusivity. Successfully reaching out to these children is job satisfaction at its best.”

However, if you’re looking for an investment/management opportunity, there are many different gym franchises available, ranging from women only to 24/7 facilities, that have the potential to offer lucrative financial rewards.

When you own a fitness or wellbeing franchise you’re not only creating yourself a better, healthier lifestyle combined with the benefit of earning more money; you’re also benefiting from the reliability, ongoing support, mentoring, education and training, and brand awareness that a franchise has to offer.

All of the above are vitally important; however, what is also critical about running a fitness franchise is knowing your market, keeping your clients satisfied and helping them achieve personal success.

Whatever your goals and aspirations for the New Year are, don’t shy away from them – take the leap in 2013.