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This wellness consultancy is expanding internationally after the pandemic forced it to pivot online

Apart from having the right processes in place, SgFitFam makes good use of digital tools and marketing techniques to reach out to a bigger customer base

SgFitFam's founder, Gina Chan, has a passion for improving lives through fitness. PHOTO: SGFITFAM

For six years, wellness consultancy SgFitFam has offered a holistic long-term approach to health and fitness to both private and corporate customers. Beyond typical personal training sessions, their offerings extend to rehabilitative fitness, nutrition plans and mental wellbeing. Founder Ms Gina Chan, had plans to grow this even further, but 2020 threw a spanner in the works.

With Circuit Breaker restrictions keeping gyms and fitness studios closed, Ms Chan reported a 50 per cent drop in revenue. She realised quickly her team had to be agile and adapt while the situation remained in flux.

“From group fitness classes to personal training and corporate events, we moved everything online. Even so, it took a while for our clients to adjust to the new norm, accepting that virtual wellness was going to stay,” says Ms Chan.

A passion for improving lives through fitness

The trials over the last two years are all par for course in the pursuit of one’s dream. Ms Chan’s passion and drive to improve lives through fitness saw her becoming a personal trainer in 2013. She quickly realised that there was a lack of holistic fitness programmes in the market that encompassed other aspects of a healthy lifestyle - such as performance training, nutrition and rehabilitation – in addition to exercise and weight management.

“Three things were important to me. One, for a client to find the right trainer for their goals; two, for them to have access to more than one fitness professional in one package; and finally, for them to achieve sustainable fitness with sustainable results,” she says. “That’s why in 2016, I started SgFitFam as a sole proprietor to focus on providing a customisable personal training package for our clients.”

SgFitFam’s clients begin their fitness journey by going through a consultation conducted by a team of specialists that are tailored to an individual’s needs and goals. The company’s core team comprises fitness professionals in a variety of disciplines, including a weight loss trainer, pre/post-natal trainer, running coach and a nutritionist.

It was a concept that resonated with the public. In 2019, SgFitFam faced growing demands among corporate clients looking for wellness programmes or fitness events for employees. The company also expanded its offerings to provide more than 60 different types of wellness activities, ranging from group exercise classes to mindfulness workshops.

SgFitFam currently provides more than 60 different types of wellness activities, ranging from group exercise classes and nutrition talks to mental health workshops. PHOTO: SGFITFAM

SgFitFam currently works with over 150 certified group exercise instructors to provide corporate wellness and gym management services. Management also constantly reviews and improves the programmes through client surveys and feedback forms and the tracking of participation rates.

Ms Chan believes that convenience is behind SgFitFam’s popularity among corporate clients. “Instead of having to coordinate with multiple vendors or trainers themselves, our clients can just go through us to get everything done.

When they saw their entire business shift online over circuit breaker restrictions, SgFitFam’s commitment to their clients remained unchanged. They set up video conferencing and conducted extensive sound and video testing, to ensure trainers are able to apply the same level of attention and care as they would in-person. Ms Chan also saw this opportunity to reach customers beyond the border, through newly implemented digital marketing efforts.

“Thanks to these, we were able to grow our client base to Malaysia, Australia and even the United States. Yes, sometimes we’d be conducting classes at 1am Singapore time!” says Ms Chan.

Putting the right processes in place

As with any passion project that gains traction, SgFitFam had to put in place the appropriate processes and systems that could support its thriving business. This is especially important after it was registered as a private limited company.

Xero’s Budget Manager allows companies like SgFitFam to keep track of revenue and expenses easily. PHOTO: SGFITFAM

“My corporate secretary highlighted to me the importance of proper tracking and records, so as to simplify our yearly reporting for taxes,” Ms Chan shares. “At that point, we were still using spreadsheets and manually keying in our revenue and expenses every week!”

SgFitFam implemented cloud-based accounting software platform Xero, which Ms Chan says has been amazing for the company. 

She highlights Xero’s Budget Manager as a particularly useful tool, to keep track of expenses and in setting up monthly budgets. She also cited that Xero allowed her team the visibility of monthly revenue goals and ensured that their finances stayed on track. Since using Xero, Ms Chan and her team have saved an estimated ten man-hours weekly on tracking and reporting financial data, allowing them to focus on client wellness and developing new offerings.

A healthy understanding of her finances continues to be invaluable as Ms Chan looks to expand the business both locally and in new markets like Australia and the United States in 2022.

“Currently, we are growing our team to meet the increased demands for corporate wellness activities, such as group fitness classes and mental well-being workshops for employees. At the same time, we are raising funds from investors to grow the team and boost our public relations and marketing efforts, so that we can continue to raise awareness of our services to both local and overseas companies.”

“We can’t wait to see how we can continue to serve our clients in a hybrid setting as Singapore slowly opens up again.”

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