I founded a women’s-only gym in a growing Maryland County where no such exercise facility existed.
I love being a Personal Trainor and saw the need for a place where women could work out without the pressure of the presence of men
SWT Fitness aka “Sistas Work Together”, is a fitness studio, which exclusively caters to and enthusiastically promotes woman’s fitness needs. SWT Fitness’s mission statement is to provide a fitness environment exclusively for women that is safe, clean and inviting. In addition, SWT’s goal is to foster an atmosphere which is welcoming, encouraging and supportive in a first-class exercise facility.
The low points have been learning how to assert my authority as a business owner to evaluate and, when necessary, dismiss employees who are not helping the team to succeed. The high has been the growth of a strong team attracting many women to participate in gym activities.
That owning a business involves much more than just leading a class as a personal trainer. It requires continuous recruiting/marketing, and paying attention to the financials, running a payroll, and paying monthly lease, loan, utility and other recurring obligations. It has required a 24X7 commitment in thought and constant concern in a way much more than I anticipated.
As my business maxed out in my home gym, a neighbor with her own business recommended I seek out SCORE for advice on how to “expand into a brick and mortar building.” My SCORE Mentor, Bob Whitcomb was the perfect match because Bob previously owned a retail establishment and was also very good with the numbers and spreadsheets – not my strong point. So, we started working together on the gym expansion plan in late September 2020. By early 2021, we were having frequent Zoom meetings to refine my plan and pulling numbers together for presentation to potential lenders. He also helped me We also examine several retail locations and their lease obligations in support of lender financial pro formas.
I knew I had a successful business concept because my female-only fitness gym was outgrowing my home’s basement. SCORE helped me develop the roadmap I needed to follow to secure funding enabling me to expand my gym into a prime retail location.
Bob was stupendous in that he was always available to speak to especially at my lowest moments when funding seemed impossible. His financial was key and, in fact, it was Bob who introduced me to M&T Bank who became my primary lender. Bob was also instrumental in helping me find a secondary loan through Calvert County’s Economic Development Council.