School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Enterprise

Becky launched her company, onesixeight:fitness, in June 2010 – the year before she graduated. She provides personal training and fitness solutions as well as nutritional advice to people in the Loughborough area – specialising in sessions for beginners and people returning to exercise after a break.

What prompted you to set up your own fitness business?

I love exercising – the benefits are immeasurable.

Launching my business has meant that I am able to share my passion and help others to reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle. The most satisfying thing about my job is when I help change someone’s exercise or eating habits for the better.

How did you get started?

There was a lot of work to do before I could even think about taking on clients. I developed a business plan, decided on a suitable company name and created my website.

I applied for and received a start-up business grant from the Enterprise Inc programme which really helped me to get going.

The great thing about the scheme is that as well as financial support it provides business workshops and a mentor to help you during the set-up process.

This support supplemented the advice and guidance Marina Pickles, the University’s Student and Graduate Enterprise Manager, was on always generously on hand with.

When I was ready to start growing my client base, I began networking at local business events and offered free trials so that people could find out more about the exercise and health services I provide.

Initially, business was slow to take off, but the networking really helped. I also launched a series of group fitness classes to get people interested – and gradually got them hooked!

Where is your company at now?

I now offer a wide range of services including one-to-one sessions, online personal training, and a beginners’ running group which meets three times a week. I also provide exercise guidance via my two mini-trampoline workout DVDs which are selling well.

In 2010, I set myself the goal of helping over 10,000 people improve their health and well-being through exercise and healthy eating during the two years leading up to the London 2012 Olympics. I was thrilled when I reached and exceeded this target.

I also marked the Games by encouraging staff and students at the University to join me in a record-breaking bounce-athon. I am thrilled to say that over 300 energetic people joined the attempt and we now hold the world-record for the most people jumping simultaneously on trampolines.

My efforts to grow the business have been noticed locally. I was over the moon to be named Small Business of the Year by Oak FM’s
Pride of Loughborough Awards sponsored by East Midlands Airport in 2012.

I have since employed three members of staff and opened my first studio on campus at Loughborough University, with the longer term vision of branching out nationwide.

Any words of wisdom for inspiring entrepreneurs?

I guess my advice to new entrepreneurs would be the same as it is to my clients...

Set goals, put the effort in, monitor your progress, and don’t give up until you get to where you want to be!

How would you describe your Loughborough experience?

It was always my dream to study at Loughborough because so many great athletes train here and I wanted to be surrounded by inspiring sports people.

I really enjoyed my degree – Sport Management – particularly the Olympic Studies module because it was so topical. The business modules have turned out to be really useful, helping me set up my company, onesixeight:fitness – I’ve been able to put my knowledge of marketing, accounting and people management to good use.

The sports facilities at Loughborough University are fantastic. It's great that everyone has access to them, not just the elite athletes. There are so many Athletic Union clubs, you can always try something new.

Since graduating, I’ve been able to share my career experiences with current students. Some of my former lecturers have invited me to present elements of their modules – particularly on management – because I can talk about setting up an independent fitness business. I have enjoyed sharing my experiences with students, and hope I have encouraged them to achieve their goals.

When deciding on a university, think carefully about how your chosen course will shape your future. I chose Loughborough because it was the ideal place to further both my professional and athletic careers.