Starting an online fitness business is exciting and can be done fairly quickly. But from my experience working with fitness instructors, I’ve noticed that the business’s initial planning phase is crucial to its success. And it stands to reason – the online fitness industry is booming, and it’s not projected to plateau anytime soon. In fact, the industry is projected to reach $325 billion by 2026

But over the last few years, I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs who feel that having an online fitness business plan gives them a sense of direction and who knows which goals they must work toward. And the proof is in the studies:

In the U.S. alone, approximately 543,000 new companies start every month. But here’s the catch; only 7 out of every 10 stays in business within the first two years. Furthermore, only 5 of 10 businesses are running after five years. Roughly 70% of those surviving companies follow a strategic business plan. 

These statistics show us that without a full-proof business plan, it’s easy for an online fitness business to sway, lose touch with its target audience, or even go out of business. So, in my opinion, here are eight steps fitness instructors should take to help them write a solid, practical, and bullet-proof business plan:

Writing an Authentic & Practical Online Fitness Business Plan

In-depth business plans can be extremely lengthy and time-consuming to do. I feel that business plans can be between 5 and 15 pages long, with each page discussing a specific business, environmental, or marketing factors. Here is a list of the most valuable components your online fitness business plan should include:  

1. Include an Executive Summary

An executive summary is the synopsis of your entire online fitness business plan. This is why I always advise entrepreneurs to allocate a space for it – but to come back and do this section last. This will allow you to encompass all your research and gain a better understanding of conclusions prior to summarizing the business plan. 

Your executive summary can include an overall explanation of your fitness business, your mission statement, the company’s vision, and business goals. It should also outline your target audience and your plan on how you hope to serve this group of people using various products, services, and solutions. Try to be specific when talking about topics, but keep it concise. You’re looking for something less than a page long for your executive summary.

2. Study the fitness industry

Fitness Industry

The next phase is what I call the “analysis” phase. You’ll notice that points 2, 3, and 4 all speak about the analysis of a particular area. The first is about analyzing the industry you’ll be working in. In this case, that would be the online fitness industry. The analysis should include tasks like researching the online fitness market’s size, growth, and projected growth over the next five to ten years. Then you can add a brief paragraph on your knowledge about the online fitness industry, what fitness is today, and what it means to business owners and gym members. It’s also good to analyze how the industry evolved over time and understand what clients want in 2023. For example, they see fitness as part of a holistic wellness regime today, as opposed to ten years ago when fitness was just about attending one aerobics class.

3. Do an in-depth competitor analysis

The next element you should include is a competitor analysis. This can be done by researching anyone else offering a similar fitness solution to what you envision. When studying competitors, take the time to view their website, social platforms, fitness studios (if they have any), and general online presence. Read their client reviews, understand their products and services, and analyze their overall messaging and aesthetic. This will help you know how successful they are and what type of message and visuals resonate with the target audience.

4. Analyze your target audience

Once you’ve analyzed the industry and your possible competitors, it’s time to identify your target audience. The best way to identify your ideal client is to look at your offering and imagine who would be the client that would always come back for more fitness training sessions with you. This can be broken down by using various criteria; demographics, location, income, likes, dislikes, preferences, etc. The key is to try and outline your target market in the most specific way possible – the more refined your target market is, the more accurate and appropriate your marketing message will be.

5. Examine internal business operations

Now that the analysis phase is complete, it’s time to look at the internal business operational factors. These include everything from the online fitness tools you’ll be using to your business security, payment options, and more. This section should cover the bread and butter of your business. State any rules and regulations you may have to follow (this could be anything from privacy policies to health and safety regulations). It’s important to outline any terms and conditions you have in membership contracts.

6. Define your products, services, and solutions

This component must outline any products, services, or solutions you will sell via your online fitness business. You can have more than one offering – but it’s vital to mention each element that will be priced on your website. This can be updated as your business grows. Your products and services should all have a description, price, and profit margin attached to them. Once you begin selling, you will be in a position to quickly understand which products give you the most value for the time and effort spent on them.

7. Create your marketing strategy

Marketing Strategy

Once your product or service offerings are outlined, it’s time to start looking at your marketing strategy. Your strategy should include the following: 

  • Current and popular trends that you plan to capitalize on.
  • Marketing tactics you will implement in order to generate sales.
  • Marketing messaging and how that resonates with your target audience. 
  • A marketing calendar and implementation plan.

8. Do a detailed cost analysis

The last step is all about your financial plan. You should look at your costs and list them all in your business plan. This can be anything from your streaming equipment to cameras, lighting, online teaching platforms, editing software, etc. Each expense must be listed and catered for when pricing your products and services. Your financial plan should also include possible profit margins you would like to work with. This way, your success can be measured against an initial profit goal.


Creating business plans is something that should take time and effort. It should be mulled over for a while so that you can get your mind into the operational business space.

Business plans always give us a sense of vision and direction. But that’s not to say that your plan can never be changed. As your online fitness business grows, you may want to update your offering, make your target audience more specific, or add to your marketing strategy. 

This is the best way to do business – evolve with the times. It’s how most successful businesses continue to impress their customers. 

Online Coaching 101