I was recently interviewed about my experience as an entrepreneur in the fitness industry by someone at Subkit.com and I wanted to share it with you.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Vos is a full-service health concierge providing Fitness Training, Classes, Workshops, Nutrition/Wellness Coaching, and Corporate Well-being Programs. We work with property managers, private residential buildings, and individual corporations to deliver our services to their tenants, residents, and employees. We have an incredibly talented team with a wide range of expertise and experience working to better the lives of our clients in several locations across the US.
If you are a developer in the planning phase of a new build project, we will be there with you every step of the way, from pre-construction facility design to providing the very best services to your residents and tenants throughout the full life of the building. If you are a property manager, we take the guesswork and everyday worries of running your fitness facility off your mind. For corporations, we deliver the very best services for your well-being program to enhance the health of your team and company culture. And most importantly, for the individuals we work with, we bring the highest level of care and skill to every personal training, Pilates, yoga, and coaching session we do.
Tell us about yourself
I’ve spent my entire career and whole adult life (more than 25 years) working in the fitness industry. Before going out on my own, I had managed a very successful health club with a large team and an amazing member community in a traditional gym setting. Starting this business and making the leap as a business owner was as much a matter of opportunity than it was planning. I recognized that I had a chance to try something new, and I went for it!
The thing that motivates me is working with clients and helping change their lives. The name “Vos” comes from the Latin word for “you.” I always want this to be about you. It’s never going to be about a goal I set for someone or telling them what they should be working towards. It’s always going to be about each client and their own individual journey. My role is to support the client and guide them to achieve whatever result they want. The team is made up of people who feel the same way. That is what we are passionate about, and we bring that to work every day in every training session.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This may be a recency bias – surviving and then growing through the challenges of the past 2+ years. We were operating 100% in-person, and on March 15, 2020, that all went away. Within three weeks, we had taken the entire business virtually. At this point, we’re a hybrid company and will forever remain that way. Pivoting this quickly allowed us to actually grow revenue year-over-year from 2019 to 2020. By the end of 2021, we were back on track with our previous growth goals.
That was, of course, encouraging. However, the best part was adding a whole new aspect to our services. We had been discussing how to execute virtual training and were not quite sure how it would work. What’s more, the clients weren’t super eager to give it a try. Once we didn’t have a choice, it gave us the opportunity to figure it out. Turned out the clients, for the most part, really liked it, and we got better and better with each session. We accepted the reality of the situation and got to work. We went from making it work to thriving, and we credit that to the greatness of the team, the willingness of the clients, and it’s something we are very proud of.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most difficult thing is the constant feeling of having to invent or figure out things. There is no playbook or blueprint for our business. Oftentimes, we’re working through new ideas or fresh attempts at marketing, business development, operations, and the services we provide (just to name a few things). It can be fun and exciting. It can also be exhausting and feel daunting. When things feel “hard,” it’s usually when we’re working through something new or trying something that maybe isn’t working so great.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Who’s Your Customer? – You may have the greatest product, idea or provide the greatest service the world has ever seen. The only way that becomes a successful business is if you have customers to buy that product or pay for that service. When it comes to marketing, think about who you are trying to reach. Once you figure out who you are selling to, then you figure out the best ways to reach them and the best messages to use. But it HAS to start with “who.”
Don’t Go It Alone – When I started the business, I was on my own. Today, I run it with my husband, Bryan. We’re very fortunate that our professional experience complements each other very well. This allows us to share the duties and responsibilities of running the business. More importantly, we always have a sounding board and someone to share the victories and challenges of owning a business. Doing it alone can very much feel like just that – lonely. Having a partner or team of partners can help you spread out all that needs to get done, allow you and others to concentrate on the things you do best, and provide you with a built-in support system that cares about your business as much as you do.
Treat Your Team Like People – Your team will drive your business and be the most important thing that will grow and sustain success. That does not mean that these vitally important parts of your business are assets. They are not assets; they are people. It doesn’t matter how big you grow or how many people comprise your company; they never cease to be individuals. If you want to set yourself up to be successful as a leader and set your company up to be successful as a business, do what you can so that every team member can bring their very best to work every single day. This means asking them what they need to be at their best – at work and in their life away from work. Are you providing them with the resources and support they need to perform in their work? Are you providing them with clear direction and a shared mission that brings meaning and pride into their work? Are you asking them what they need and doing what you can to support that? Go beyond your walls and think in terms of their mental and physical health and quality of life outside of work. Don’t guess at these things; ask them. Find out what they need to bring their very best and try to make this happen.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Go For It!! – If you are waiting for perfect timing, perfect circumstances, and everything to line up perfectly before you start a business, you’ll be waiting forever. There is no certainty about what your business will be and can accomplish. I will guarantee a few things, though. Some things will work out; some things won’t. You will make mistakes, and no single mistake will break you. You figure out as you go, you improve, and you try to perfect. And most importantly – I guarantee the only way to find out any of this is just to go for it.