Encounter Exercise: Becky Laffan
Fitness courses for individuals looking to gain the appropriate qualifications to be gym instructors or personal trainers
Tell us what your business does:
Encounter Exercise is a fitness training provider that offers a quality service to the busy individual. Each learner completes the work set on our e-learning platform in their own time and lets us know when they are ready for their assessment.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea came from receiving poor service from other providers. There also appeared to be a gap in the market for offering a service that would fit around the busy person’s life and current commitments. I was completing some research for someone that wanted a personalised course with little delivery and there did not appear to be one that met all of their requirements.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I have worked in the industry for a couple of years and have seen the market grow dramatically. I have also spoken to numerous people who are either college leavers or professionals looking for an alternative direction in their life or career.
What were you doing before starting up?
I currently work as a teacher for a premiership football club.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
I have always wanted to run my own business ever since I used to beat all of my family at monopoly from a very young age. I loved the adrenaline rush of making your own decisions and learning from their successes and failures.
How did you raise the money?
I saved up over a period of six months from my full-time job. I also had to borrow some money from my parents to pay for an additional qualification for myself to verify the work.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The main challenge was getting all of the initial paperwork together for the approval process. There are a lot of procedures that you have to write and processes that you need to understand to be approved by an awarding body. To combat this I completed lots of independent research, offered to take industry specialists out for coffee and spoke to the support at the awarding body.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Encounter Exercise offers fitness courses to individuals looking to gain the appropriate qualifications to be gym instructors or personal trainers. The individual pays to undertake the qualification and we deliver, assess and verify the work.
What was your first big breakthrough?
The first big breakthrough was definitely getting the approval to begin to recruit learners and potential customers. There was a lot of work that went into this process and it felt brilliant when it was finally granted.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
I would say do not expect an easy time, starting a business is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have networked and spoken to a lot of well-placed people and I believe this is what you need to do to time save and see what is realistic.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I want Encounter Exercise to be a global training provider offering fitness courses to busy individuals in at least four countries.