We’ve consolidated our videos, guides, webinars and more into the AFS Business Learning Center. Browse the resources, and use the concierge service if you need help with any topic.

Anytime you’re running your own business it’s essential you have an employee handbook that contains the information about your business including company policies and procedures. Utilizing a handbook will provide you the opportunity to set clear guidelines about your company and its culture from the start.

Download our all inclusive employee handbook builder and easily use it for your own needs!

At a minimum your Employee Handbook should include the following...

(1) an employment at-will disclaimer 

(2) a statement regarding equal employment opportunity 

(3) a policy prohibiting unlawful discrimination and harassment

(4) a section that describes the policy for use of company property, social media, and privacy rules

(5) a section on employment classification and overtime rules

(6) a policy on Family and Medical Leave

(7) a section on Safety

(8) You should also consider including a disciplinary guidelines

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Human Resources

As an entrepreneur, creating a business plan and documenting it provides clarity and direction to your vision.

By identifying your new studio’s objectives, then building a plan to achieve them, it provides added insurance that you know where you are going and how you are going to get there. 

How-to Guides, Business Start-up, Finance, Strategy Articles, Operations, Human Resources

Dreaming of owning your own studio?  Business Plans can range anywhere from a few pages to countless.  No matter which direction you go, this 30-page Business Plan template is where the dream-to-reality process begins by allowing you to develop your business “on paper,” creating a living document you can show to potential partners and investors.

Learn how to develop everything shown below!

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Products and Services
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organization
  • Personal Financial Statement
  • Startup Expenses and Capitalization
  • Financial Plan
  • Refining the Plan
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Business Start-up

While researching the hundreds of fitness studios over the past few weeks, it was alarming to see the amount of common mistakes that studio owners make. Most might seem minor but often lead to a significant loss of leads and sales for their owners. 

As a studio owner, you want your website to compliment your business. You want people to understand exactly what you do as quickly as possible. Someone once told me to design your website as if “the dumbest person in the world was trying to understand what you do and navigate your site.” While a drastic approach, that statement stayed with me.

Blog, Operations, Website

In today’s banking environment, I am asked frequently if any lending is being done. The good news is that lending is indeed being done. The bad news is that as a direct result of our prolonged recession, many funding sources have gone out of business and have exited the leasing business.

This erosion of lenders has put additional demand on the remaining funding sources with a finite amount of capital to lend.

Blog, Finance

Studio developers (those looking to open their own studio) are often faced with several obstacles (financing, website design, marketing, social media expectations, amongst a slew of others).

One area that’s just as important, but often overlooked is ensuring you have a custom domain. Not only does it reflect your studio’s identity, but represents your brand, helps to improve your website’s credibility, and your search engine rank.

Blog, Website, Business Start-up

Management software plays an important role in the effective growth of your business. A major component of your software is the billing process, and many fitness facility owners are confused about this component.

A commonly asked question is, "Should I manage my own billing or should I let someone else handle it for me?" If you align yourself with the correct software system and billing process and if you ask the right questions, you will be able to retain members and minimize your processing costs.

Blog, Finance, Operations

You might not enjoy thinking about insurance, but you will enjoy it a lot less if you’re ever in need. Just ask the owners of Amherst Orthopedic Physical Therapy, the Buffalo, NY studio in which a client was left paralyzed when a leg extension machine fell on her.  

The $66 million judgment (later reduced via settlement to $19 million) was viewed by the court to be 20% the responsibility of the studio.  Ouch! Here’s an insurance primer that outlines the most important coverages.

Blog, Insurance

Social media has become one of the hottest platforms for marketing and messaging. The “experts” would lead you to believe that social media is a “slam dunk” when it comes to generating fans, followers and of course, prospect traffic.

In reality, social media can be an outstanding marketing tool, which in combination with other marketing strategies can be effective in generating consumer interest.

Blog, Marketing

Studio Success is the ultimate guide to studio ownership.  A 200-page must-read, but broken down with key learning lessons after each chapter, for any owner or developer, it’s the most relevant book in the fitness industry.  

With 15 chapters, you'll identify how to start a business, marketing, financials, human resources, customer expectations, risk management and so much more!

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Research & Publications

Despite what you might read, there IS money out there and you CAN get it. Learn the best sources of funding and how to access those funds.

Webinar, Finance, Business Start-up, Video, Quick Answers

Never before in the history of the fitness industry has a study been produced that measures the baseline operating and financial metrics of fitness studios - the fastest growing segment of the fitness facility industry.

Among the more interesting findings in this report: the impact of ClassPass, Groupon, and LivingSocial, how much studios pay front-line staff, measuring profitability on a per square foot basis, essential Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and where studios are spending their money

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Research & Publications