REAL Fitness and KO Gym: sam Nankani
The Real Fitness founder on setting up his Thai boxing gym
Company Name: REAL Fitness & KO Gym Website: www.ko-muaythai.com Founders: Sam Nankani Based: London Staff Numbers: 2 Date Started: 8/06/2009
Tell us what your business does: We provide gym use, fitness classes and muaythai (Thai boxing / martial arts) training.
Have you always wanted to run your own business? My idea to start a gym began when I was about 19. I studied business studies and administration a university with the aim of one day opening up a gym.
How did you know there was a market for it? There are no real muaythai gyms in the immediate or surrounding areas (Thornton Heath). I could also see that due to an increase in crime, especially knife crime, there was the need for somewhere people could take self defence classes and therefore knew there was a gap in the market in this location.
What’s your USP?My unique selling point is that my clients learn the real authentic muaythai and not a watered down version. We differ from our competitors as we have a very friendly, welcoming approach and our clients leave knowing they have a more personalised service. We also complement our muaythai with other services such as mixed martial arts classes, Brazilian Ju-jitsu as well as weight loss programmes and diet tips etc.
What were you doing before? I’ve been a director of another company for over eight years. I have also participated in Thai boxing matches with no losses on my record to date.
How did you fund the business?I managed to raise money for this project through years of hard work. I had a little in savings and some help from an investor which required me to put together a business plan as well as really sell myself and the business idea before getting the extra funds though.
How have you promoted your business? My business has been promoted through word of mouth, leaflets and the website. The website has been the most successful form of marketing to date.
What’s been your biggest challenge?My challenges so far have been a stretched budget due to delays in getting the gym open and balancing the running of my other business with the gym.