It’s testament to the strength of Western Sydney’s economy that, despite the volatile economic and geopolitical times in the wider world, many business people still have confidence to invest in this region.
One such business is TESGO Training, a personal training (PT) business run by locals Cristian Cordova and Clayton Karaka. They aim to use strength and conditioning training in the gym to build their clients’ self-confidence beyond the gym.
The past four years have seen the young fitness entrepreneurs progress from University, graduating and starting their small personal training business, to winning a Penrith City Business Award, and now opening their first training facility in Penrith.
As a TESGO Training member, I am thrilled with what the guys have achieved, and I recently interviewed them about this success and their new facility for my Let’s Talk Business podcast.
According to Clayton, one of their aims in creating the new facility was to make it easier to bring their PT clients together to “train as a team” and build an inclusive community.
“Our point of difference is that community and culture is at the forefront of everything we do,” Cristian said.
“We pride ourselves on always putting the [TESGO] community first and always doing what’s in their best interest.
“We build everyday people into everyday athletes.”
During the podcast I asked Clayton and Cristian what had been some of the biggest challenges in taking their business to this next stage.
Finances were the big one, but building a strong team and learning to trust each member of that team to meet their responsibilities was not far down their list.
From a personal point of view, they said self-confidence and self-belief were key when taking such a big business risk.
“There have been times when people would question us – it’s like they were waiting for us to fail,” Cristian said.
“Instead, I’ve had the confidence to back myself and not fall into the trap of worrying about what other people say. That confidence comes from training and from our TESGO community, and it has gotten me to the point where I’m ready to just go for it, for our community and our company.”
Clayton has a similar philosophy: “The only way to grow is to get uncomfortable – get out of your comfort zone. That’s one of the tools for progressing.
“You have to learn how to deal with being uncomfortable, as we’ve been a few times throughout this process.
“Not everyone will be there to back you up, so you have to learn how to back yourself, then be proud of what you’ve achieved.”
Tips for starting or expanding a business
- Develop a plan: Planning is essential. You must have a vision and a clear direction as to what you want to achieve. Your plans may alter here and there along the way, but you need a blueprint to get started. To help create your plans, consider questions like; What are you trying to deliver? How does it fit in the existing market? What will give you a competitive advantage? How can you ensure your offering is sustainable?
- Set your priorities: Once you have your plans, you'll have competing priorities that must be met. Make sure you understand what is critical, and focus on those priorities first. Critical factors in delivering business plans often relate to ensuring you have the financial capability to operate, both in terms of investment needed, and day-to-day cash flow.
- Establish effective systems: Alongside financial capability, you need operational capability to deliver your plans. Make sure you have sufficient capability in your team, and that you have established effective systems and processes to deliver a consistent and sustainable offering.
- Understand the risks: In starting or expanding a business, you will undoubtedly encounter additional risks. Do you have those covered? Are you protected from a legal and insurance perspective? Have you met all the regulatory requirements of establishing a new premises, for example?
- Tell the world: A marketing strategy is critical, whether you're establishing a new business or changing your offering via expansion. You would have identified potential demand in the business planning stage. A good marketing plan will allow you to ‘tap’ that demand.
- Listen, learn and refine: Once your plan is ‘turned on’, be attuned to how your new or expanded offering is being received in the market. Be prepared to refine your offering in response to market feedback.
Ultimately, starting or expanding a business involves risk. It’s up to you to do your homework – ideally with the help of trusted advisors – to ensure it’s a calculated risk, and one worth taking. And once you commit, back yourself.
I’m really delighted with what these dedicated young men have achieved and, if you’re in the area, I urge you to visit the new TESGO Training facility this weekend for its Grand Opening event from 10am-2pm, Saturday, November 4, at 1/7 Renshaw Street Cranebrook.