Business partners Robyn and Becki met while working for the same company, providing therapeutic-based exercise to seniors. Robyn, a registered kinesiology therapist, and Becki, an exercise science professional with a focus on geriatrics, soon realized they could venture out and provide their services on their own.
“At the time, our company was really the only entity offering therapeutic exercise for seniors, and we wanted to offer a lower price so more people could access these services,” said Robyn.
Possessing a passion for filling the needs of underserved seniors with disabilities, as well as connections across the community gained from their professional experience, Robyn and Becki began searching for start-up resources. During her research, Robyn came across Mi Casa Women’s Business Center, and both she and Becki enrolled in Mi Casa’s 13-week Business Success class.
“Mi Casa’s Business Success class helped us build the foundation for our business,” said Robyn. “We went through a step-by-step process to develop a comprehensive business plan, including the financial aspect, which was really helpful since that is not our background.”
Each Business Success class features a guest speaker who shares from their area of expertise – covering topics from legal issues, taxes, marketing, accounting, and more – giving participants an understanding for each area of small business development. These guest speakers are often successful small business owners themselves, which serves as a source of encouragement to budding entrepreneurs.
“Starting a small business is truly daunting, but ultimately Mi Casa’s Business Success class gave us the confidence to take that leap,” said Robyn. “Hearing the different stories of success from the guest speakers gave us the reassurance that we could be successful too.”
Robyn and Becki established Senior Functional Fitness in July of 2012, several months before graduating from the Business Success class.
Startup funding was gained through a loan from one of the partner’s family members as well as a traditional loan of $8,000, which helped Robyn and Becki purchase a laptop, QuickBooks software, exercise equipment, and also supplemented their salaries while they were building a client base.
“Mi Casa Women’s Business Center helped us realize and think through all the challenges of starting our own business, so Becki and I were prepared for what lay ahead,” said Robyn.
Armed with a thorough business plan developed through the Business Success class, Robyn and Becki experienced a gross net of $96,000 in their first year of business.
Senior Functional Fitness recently celebrated its two-year anniversary and continues to thrive. Robyn and Becki expect their business to grow by 12 to 15 percent in the coming year, and are currently in the process of hiring their first employee.
“We just formed a new partnership with a large, in-home senior care company to offer group exercise classes to their clients,” said Robyn.
This in-home senior care company spans multiple locations across Colorado as well as several states, and Robyn and Becki expect their new partnership to grow and expand their business.
Robyn and Becki are also actively growing their clientele base through strategic marketing efforts, including social media, and networking.
“The benefits of starting a business definitely outweigh the stressors that come with being an entrepreneur,” said Robyn. “Starting Senior Functional Fitness created a way for Becki and I to provide our services to populations that have been traditionally underserved, allowing us to more fully follow our passions.”
Robyn said, “Mi Casa both prepared us and gave us the confidence to take the big step into business ownership, and it has been so worth it.”