Ethal Baumberg likes to tag her social media posts with #DreamBig. As the co-owner of FLYAROO Fitness, a children’s fitness program, her big dream is to grow the company into a nationally recognized brand. FLYAROO Fitness taps into a child’s imagination to make fitness fun. Its classes include yoga and dance elements choreographed around themes like going to the beach or visiting the zoo. Having recently launched an online training program to certify FLYAROO Fitness instructors nationwide, Baumberg is on the way to making her dream a reality.
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Why did you start your business?
We started FLYAROO Fitness to expand on our concept of the importance of preschool-based fitness programs. We first began as a local, community-based fitness company. We chose to spread the love of fitness by scaling the company on a very national level.
I have a Master’s in public health, specifically in health education. I’ve been a business owner previously, so I have a lot of experience in business management and development. I also have a business partner, Ashley Spicer, who has been a dancer and choreographer. She created the curriculum and the choreography for the program. I call it our “super team,” because we bring our forces together to build a strong foundation for the company.
How did you get the funds to get going?
We were able to secure interest from a private investor through our company brochure that explains the program in great detail. We sent our brochure out to our family, friends and close networking partners. We were able to go through that investor to get the money and funding.
Have you heard of business credit?
Yes, a little bit. I always say, when you’re building a company, do everything through the company, not personally. If your company has capital, it’s the company capital, not your personal capital. My idea is to always stick to business capital and business credit. Stick everything with the business, and keep your personal finances separate.
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Managing the Business
What’s most challenging about running your business?
I find that taking on many roles, especially in the beginning, was very challenging. I had to be the marketer, the bookkeeper, the customer service and the person who developed the program. But, as we grew, we were able to hire more people and companies to help us with daily tasks, so we could focus more on the development of the program and keeping the brand alive.
How do you finance your business to manage cash flow or growth?
We use credit cards, and we received our initial capital from our investor, which really helped us grow. In our first year, we really grew FLYAROO Fitness locally, so we were able to spread the word and make a profit by teaching the classes in preschools. Since then, we’ve been able to build our own capital, and we have the money from the investor, so we used that cash flow to pay our instructors and vendors and suppliers.
Do you use trade credit from your vendors or suppliers?
We don’t work with vendors too much. When we do work with vendors, we pay them upfront. Most of our expenses are payroll and administrative types of things.
What’s the biggest mistake you made early on?
One of the mistakes that the company made in the beginning was limiting our budget for advertising and not really branding the company the way we wanted to. We had a different name. But, one of the greatest things about that is that it was in our first years and we were still very community-oriented. When we were ready to grow the company on a national level, we were able to take that mistake and make a really smart decision. We learned a lot from it.
What’s the smartest thing you did in your first year?
We spent a fair amount of money on advertising, but we also focused a lot on guerilla marketing, such as throwing events and free classes in the community to gain more recognition. We were able to gain partnerships with likeminded businesses and involve the community.
What’s the most rewarding thing about owning a business?
I think the most rewarding thing about owning FLYAROO Fitness is being able to exercise my creativity on a daily basis. I have the freedom to incorporate most of my ideas and allow them to come to life through the marketing strategies that the FLYAROO Fitness team develops together.
It’s also a pleasure to see the community’s involvement in our program. Last week, we were featured on “Good Day New York,” and the parents of our preschoolers came to the show for support. It was really fun to see how many people the program has touched over the years.
What does the future look like for your business?
FLYAROO Fitness is now a national program. We just launched our online certification training for fitness enthusiasts, community centers, preschools and gyms. Our goal is touching the lives of thousands of children across the country, and we think that we are the fitness company for the next generation. We hope to become a brand name nationally.
What advice do you have for someone starting a business?
My advice is to dream big. When we do our social media, we actually tag #DreamBig.
If you have a vision, share it with your support team, take risks, believe in yourself, and once you have all of those assets down, start building a business plan. It’s really important to have a mission statement and a branding message.
You can’t do everything on your own, you can’t take all the roles on, so decide which vendors and suppliers you will need to grow your business. That’s also a good time to take out a loan or raise the money that you need for capital.
Know when something is failing and take that failure toward another successful venture. Make mistakes, learn from them, and keep dreaming big.
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