Owning a weight loss center can provide you with the opportunity for self-employment while at the same time providing a valuable service to your community. Before opening a weight loss center, you should understand the steps involved.
Choose the type of program you will offer. Will it be a nutritionally driven program? Will it include exercise equipment or weekly meetings? Will you sell prepackaged meals or herbal supplements? Once you have answered each of these questions you have a more focused idea of what your weight loss center will include. If you are going to sell products of any kind, be sure to apply for a tax resale number.
Select a location for the weight loss center. A first floor location will be best, as many of your clients will be overweight or out of shape. You don't want to discourage them from joining your program because of having to climb multiple stairs to get there. You also want to look for a location that has a cheerful, warm storefront feel to it. You want your clients to feel good about taking this step, and a welcoming environment will encourage them to keep coming back. Check with your city and county officials to be sure the location is properly zoned for a weight loss center. Remember to ask about permits for food sales if you are going to offer that as part of your program. Obtain proper licenses and permits for running a weight loss center. Apply for your EIN (federal business tax) number.
Design your center's name and logo so that it can be printed on all business cards, brochures and invoices. A logo depicting the benefits of losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight will work well. You might use a shadow picture of someone walking, exercising or hiking. The logo should promote a feeling of good health and happiness. Determine the days and hours of operation. Print that information on brochures and cards. Choose a CPA or bookkeeper who will be responsible for your quarterly taxes, payroll and other bookkeeping needs.
Market the center. Purchase advertising in local newspapers, and secure radio and television spots. Design and post fliers in locations frequented by people who would benefit from a weight loss program. Gyms, doctor offices, public pools and salons are all good places to post information. Clients in those places tend to care about their health and their looks and would provide a good target market audience for your weight loss center. Ask if you can put a stack of cards on the counter of the local health food store. If there is a vitamin shop nearby ask them if you can do the same. Present your weight loss program to several doctors and ask them if they will recommend you to their patients. Gather testimonials from your first few satisfied clients to use in future advertising.
Offer discounts to new customers who bring a friend to sign up with them. The discounts can be a percentage off, free food or anything else you want to use as an incentive to promote business.
Candace Webb has been writing professionally since 1989. She has worked as a full-time journalist as well as contributed to metropolitan newspapers including the "Tennessean." She has also worked on staff as an associate editor at the "Nashville Parent" magazine. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in business from San Jose State University.