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FitMiBODY, where are they now?

By Crowdcube. 9th Feb 2016


FitMiBODY is a personal training and fitness company, providing high-end personal training services and fitness classes. The company raised just over £75,000, from 144 investors last year to open a flagship East London Studio on Old Street.

Fitmibody founder Matt Lo, founder and director, was keen to share his story with us, and bring us up to speed as he prepared for the imminent opening of the studio.

Could you tell us about FitMiBODY?

FitMiBODY’s beliefs are to challenge the norms, to make things more accessible, and to believe in individuality. Everything we do as a company goes back down to our beliefs, which is what sets us apart from our competitors. Our signature “Evolve”, is a package of six week tailored fitness classes that combines access to your own dedicated personal trainer and unlimited access to our specialised fitness classes. This provides our clients with the structure, motivation and support they need to achieve their individual fitness goals. All classes are based on our strength and conditioning approach and are focused on two body parts. From February 2016 onwards, we will be running over 50 fitness classes per week at our Old Street Studio, which our Crowdcube investment has helped us to open.

It’s been 4 months since you raised £75,230 on Crowdcube, what’s happened at FitMiBODY since then?

The ball hasn’t stopped rolling since September. Building works began at the empty shell premises we acquired in Old Street, including the installation of plumbing, flooring, lighting, ceilings, air conditioning, walls and electrics. Equipment was purchased and shipped as soon as the studio construction was completed. We are also excited to have our physio partner, ‘Completephysio’, move in their furniture and equipment too.

Personal training has been going strong with three new clients joining our client base, training with us on an average of two times per week. We have also brought on board some new trainers to our team, who will help lead our classes and support our clients through their fitness programmes when our studio launches.

We’ve been particularly busy in our marketing efforts with the help of our experienced advisors and our Marketing Coordinator, Sophie. Together we’ve been working on planning our media classes in January, preparing for our launch party, writing up our press release, developing a marketing roadmap for the next year, engaging with our list of health & fitness media journalists/bloggers (which now includes over 700 contacts), refining our social media strategy, getting our brand new website ready and ensuring that all communications we send out are clear and consistent with our brand values. Our FitMiBODY community also continues to grow through word-of-mouth, and we are excited to launch some exciting marketing campaigns in 2016 to support our existing PR activities.

We’ve also managed to secure partnerships with:

  • Supernatural - a UK based natural organic smoothie company who will be supplying fresh smoothies, juices and snacks for clients to purchase;
  • LexieSport - a UK lifestyle clothing startup that will be designing and producing our team uniforms;
  • Cowshed - a UK-based cosmetics company who will be providing the studio with their award-winning bath, body and skincare products to help our clients feel refreshed after their workout;
  • Classpass, Somuchmore, Fever and PayAsUGym - are our class partners that we’ve brought on board to leverage their existing client base and encourage new clients to come and try our classes."

How would you describe the time since funding, compared to your projections and plans?

"It’s been quite frustrating, especially with building works being delayed, but I always stick to my guns to say never to rush things. Even though we had plans and projections in place, we’ve had to adapt to things that have popped up unexpectedly. It’s been a great learning experience and I am confident that, despite the hurdles, our studio will be an incredible, rather than a good but rushed, studio.

What challenges have you faced, or are perhaps still facing?

It’s never easy to go head to head with new challenges and not knowing the answer. You often feel the pressure of trying to meet deadlines, but there are not enough minutes or hours in the day to get everything done. Naturally, I am a very optimistic person and in situations like this, I always remind myself that with time, the experience will teach me how to handle certain situations. I keep going back to my passion, and the reason why I created FitMiBODY in the first place was with the belief to challenge the norm, make things more accessible and support individuality. Having to express my passion is a challenge I face daily, but I have found having structure and relentless determination has been the key to building my business and its successes to date.

This was my first project build and having to stay on top of two sets of contractors (landlords contractors and my own set of contractors) - I have had to be patient and can be very frustrating when deadlines are not met (especially in the lead up to a busy holiday period). There can be a lack of definitive answers and some jobs are just completely out of your hands. This is something I am not used to and since I launched FitMiBODY in May 2014, I have been involved in every aspect of what my company has done from beginning to end.

Another challenge and opportunity I have faced, has been to build a team that all believe in our ‘why’ as a company. My team needs to embrace challenges that we set ourselves and take a different approach to how things are normally done. People can get comfortable with normality, so seeing something done differently can sometimes be confusing.This is the reason our beliefs, the ‘why’ of our company, needs to be so clear and transparent in everything we do. I need to make sure that everything we do, from our marketing campaigns to how our trainers teach our classes, starts with our ‘why!’.

There have been a lot of ups and downs, but I love the fact I am always learning and faced with new challenges. I’m sure it’s something all entrepreneurs say, but I truly wake up each day knowing that I am contributing and making a difference in this world, and it makes those long working nights easy to handle."

You had a team of 4 when you raised finance, has your team grown?

Along with 136 investors, we now have a team of 8 trainers including myself, a team of four in our marketing department (including our Marketing Coordinator Sophie, two marketing advisors and one PR adviser), one front of house receptionist, a team of cleaners who work three nights a week, and our laundry company we have partnered with, all of whom I consider as part of our team who contribute to the daily running of FitMiBODY.

What’s next for FitMiBODY?

Once launched, it’s a case of making our mark in the community and telling everyone ‘WE HAVE ARRIVED’ and ‘WHY WE HAVE ARRIVED’! For me personally, it’s about changing the fitness industry and how it currently operates. I want to do things properly, give people access to more opportunities, and giving something that is suited to them individually. If I can get this right with FitMiBODY, and lead the team by inspiring them, the sky’s the limit and anything we do, we have a reason for doing it.

Why did you choose to raise finance from the crowd over more traditional routes to finance?

The truth is, my brother Tim Lo, put me up to it. Something I am very grateful he did during our random WhatsApp conversations. I had been looking for investment through the traditional routes, but had been told many times that my business was not traditionally 'investable'. Following my beliefs of challenging the norm, I took on the advice from my brother after finalising the business plan for FitMiBODY and went through crowdfunding, even after FitMiBODY had started as just a one man band less than 18 months prior.

Other than the financial backing, have there been any additional benefits of being backed by a crowd of investors?

Massively! When people see that we have been crowdfunded it can help break the ice a bit in meetings. You start sharing stories, and as much as being an entrepreneur can be lonely at times, it’s great to be able to talk to people who go through similar challenges and experiences as you. You talk not only about the business proposition as you intended, but also about the struggles and triumphs you experience as business owners. It turns into a great chat with a potential business partnership!

In business, it has helped FitMiBODY a lot especially with our partnerships. Our community is constantly growing because people can see that there is a real belief in what FitMiBODY is trying to do.

Do you have any offers, promotions, events, product launches you’d like to tell our crowd about?

Now the building work is complete we’re really excited about our upcoming launch party, where we’ve invited our investors, clients, friends and families to come down and see the studio (and play beer pong with the team!). We want to show everyone what the investment has done for FitMiBODY, showcase the studio and all of its amazing features, and thank our FitMiBODY community for their ongoing support.

Find out more about FitMiBODY and what they do on their website here.

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