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Best Advice Ever

Don’t let rookie mistakes sink your small business.


Without time to write a business plan, she discovered that a bank loan wasn’t an option. The result of this led to starting out with insufficient start-up capital (she borrowed a modest sum from her daughter). It also made it nec- essary for Chappell and her husband to renovate the space themselves, in- cluding carting off old appliances, lay- ing laminate floors and painting all 1,800 square feet. “Neither one of is handy at all, and I

had two frozen shoulders at the time,” says Chappell, recalling the long, ex- hausting days and the ruthless bar- gaining required to stay on budget. Though today she considers her

business a success, she says she would never undertake a similar venture with the same haphazard approach again. “If I’d had a business plan I would have been less stressed, and it would have clarified my vision, confirmed there was a market for my services and given me a better sense of where the busi- ness could go.” Chappell isn’t the first entrepre-

neur to make a major business blun- der, of course. The list of potential mis- steps that can threaten the viability of a small business is a long one. Some simple errors can be easily rectified; others are fatal and can quickly sink a club.

Wendy Chappell, owner of The Whole Way Health and Fitness Studio, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Follow our experts’ advice to avoid

the pitfalls that regularly trip up nov- ice club owners.


endy Chappell doesn’t consider herself an im- pulsive person. But three years ago, the former free-

lance fitness professional noticed a “for lease” sign on the second floor of a com- mercial building, stopped in to check it out – and signed a three-year lease on the spot. Then she called her husband.

28 Fitness Business Canada November/December 2012 “I wasn’t even thinking about open-

ing a business,” laughs Chappell, owner of The Whole Way Health and Fitness Studio in Charlottetown, P.E.I. “But the location and price were good, and there was a fitness equipment store on the main floor.” The months that followed were nerve wracking to say the least.

on just flyers and referrals. At Refine, every day we have at least two differ- ent marketing pieces – like a direct mail campaign, a YouTube video or a public speaking talk – working for us at the same time.


Get talking Keep multiple fishing rods in the pond. Don’t think you can rely


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