KATIE BULMER-COOKE: New business, big challenge

The last time I had an itch I ended up doing The Apprentice
The last time I had an itch I ended up doing The Apprentice
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Wow what a week it has been! Last Tuesday saw the launch of my brand new business The National Fitness Network.

Alongside with my fellow directors Graeme and Neil, we’ve been working so hard over the last few months to bring this idea to life and turn it from talk into a national concern.

The National Fitness Network is an organisation that offers its members, who are fitness professionals, such as personal trainers and instructors, and fitness enthusiasts, exclusive deals and discounts on the things they purchase regularly, both personally and professionally, for example supplements, music, clothing, equipment and education courses...but the list certainly doesn’t end there.

One of the most exciting parts of setting up the business, in preparation for the launch, has been getting big brands on board as our partners and negotiating the deals that they would offer our members, at times I felt like I was on The Apprentice all over again, and I definitely felt like I was on the winning team when I landed Reebok Fitness Equipment as our headline sponsor.

I’m so incredibly proud of this. To have a company of their magnitude believe in our business is amazing, and certainly better than any win in the board room.

We launched at 6.30am on Tuesday and I sat with my phone in my hand, refreshing my emails over and over again, waiting for our first member to sign up.

I was nervous and excited all at the same time. The seconds felt like minutes, waiting for our first customer. The good news is I didn’t have to wait very long at all. By 7.00am things were well underway and our online community was starting to grow, with trainers from all over the UK becoming members of The National Fitness Network.

The hard work is by no means over, in fact it’s only just beginning. All start ups, especially online ones, need a lot of graft. But I’ve done it before and I’m more than willing to do it again (cue the 2am finishes, PR fun and extensive work on Facebook ad campaigns).

I’m totally ready for a new challenge that I can really get my teeth into.

I think I get an itch every tow-three years where I need to get out of my comfort zone. The last time I had the itch I ended up doing The Apprentice in 2014, so goodness knows where this one will take me.

Business chat aside, I want those that work in the fitness industry to feel like they are part of something...a big community that helps and supports them and most importantly gives them something back.

This is the reason we created The National Fitness Network, because often working in the fitness industry can be lonely. Unless you work in a gym or health club, you don’t tend to have work colleagues or people you can bounce ideas off and who can support you when you have tough days.

That was certainly the case for me for many years, so here’s to creating a big fitness family and getting even more fantastic deals for our growing membership base.