Fitness is a financed industry. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a first time club owner, a seasoned owner operator of several clubs or if you are looking to open up your first fitness club or personal training studio, obtaining financing is a must. Even if you have the cash to pay for start-up costs, equipment and for the working capital needed to operate the business, it makes good sense to finance as much of these costs as you can.
But financing is not always easy to arrange. The last couple of years have been tough ones, especially for those of us in the fitness industry, and lenders have been increasingly stingy with credit approvals. If you were able to work some financing out, the terms were generally less than what you requested or not exactly the best for your specific situation. What is the expression: lenders will not loan you money unless you do not need it? Seems this has been the case for the last few years and probably will be for another year or so.
Not a dead-end street, though. Money is available, but getting it is all about accepting how lenders perceive you and about how you present yourself in response to those perceptions. Lenders bear the greatest risk when giving out money and they have the least to gain in doing so. Lenders look to make a small amount of interest often on large amounts of money they put at risk. Borrowers look to make far more than what the lender expects to earn or the owners would not be looking to go into business. So, from a lenders eye, the lender has the most to lose and the least to gain.
Present yourself and your request for money with this in mind. Lenders want to get their money back so before they give it out, they want to feel very comfortable with the person and the project receiving the money. Present good information about yourself, the purpose for the money being requested and how it will be repaid. Be prepared to provide solid current personal and business financial statements and credit information. And this includes complete sets of tax returns…in some cases those for the last three years. And do not fight requests for business plans, demographics or personal resumes. Lenders love lots of information, but after they first understand the “story” behind the request so take the time to prepare in narrative form the “Who, What, Where, When, Why, How and How much” of your credit request. Tell the story and then support it with good financial information. Pictures tell a great story, too, so if you have some, send them along. May not save a thousand words, but can add some visual reality to your request.
And other important parts of the story include making it clear what you are asking for….don’t let the lender guess what you want. Present details, amounts, time frames and locations. And when it comes to the location, share some demographics…Google can help here…and also give an overview about the competition…..good or bad. Fill the lender in…..don’t be the one being filled in.
Again, a story, so make it a good one.
Next up, Its always about the money….and you!