Fighting COVID-19 through fitness
Nadia Millinship was already a very busy lady before the COVID-19 outbreak, having been a fitness instructor for twelve years, a single parent to two children, and a hair extension specialist. Oh, and she is also currently studying for a Masters in Entrepreneurship too. We spoke to Nadia about how she was dealing with the challenges the pandemic on her business, ClubKombat, which provides fitness classes in a nightclub in Plymouth, offering exercise in a fun environment.
Nadia told us, “I wanted to set up a business where people could come and take part in a fitness class with a mix of kickboxing & combat moves to give a full body workout. I didn’t want it to be just another fitness class as it was important to me that I broke down barriers to enable people from all backgrounds and situations to be able to benefit from better health and a more positive mindset as part of a wider community.”
Prior to COVID-19, Nadia had been making steady progress over the past 18 months building her Facebook community and hosting fitness classes every Wednesday at a centrally located Plymouth nightclub in the early evening. However, since the outbreak, she has adapted quickly to take her fitness offering online and host her classes from her back garden.
She commented,”This has meant a change to how I structure my working week and also consider how my children can also feature positively in my content to demonstrate the role of fitness in improving physical and mental health for all the family.”
Nadia added that one of the biggest challenges has been in getting repeat participation in the online classes. To achieve this, she has developed a loyalty offer featuring unlimited classes and tailored fitness plans for £10 a week for those clients who are serious with progressing their fitness goals during lockdown. “I am still refining how this will work but it could have a real impact on improving customer satisfaction and overall retention.”
Describing the impact that COVID-19 has had on her business, she stated, “Such an exceptional event has forced me to pivot and make swift decisions to ensure my offering remains relevant and I can keep my business afloat. Ironically, it might also get me closer to the digital delivery model I had previously had in mind for the medium term. I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions and have had to remain positive and resilient with the hope that all my efforts will pay off.”
Since the social isolation restrictions came into place, Nadia has had to make some rapid changes to her business practices but she states, “I think it has forced me to focus more and prioritise the activities that will monetise quickly and also be even more entrepreneurial in my approach.”
Nadia mentions that she has not immediately benefited from some of the recent government funding initiatives, but she is hoping to secure more inward investment in the next three months to help her strengthen the operational foundations for her business. She is also looking to further outsource activities such as social media management as this is an area that continues to require plenty of focus and coordination.
Nadia encourages other small business owners, saying “You need to keep calm and carry on at times like this. By believing in yourself you can get through this – remember why you started it in the first place!”
Looking forward, Nadia says that once lockdown is lifted: “ I’d like to see Club Kombat go from strength to strength within this online platform bringing members of the community together through fitness. I have the chance to branch out far and wide to get my message across of inclusivity and diversity within fitness and once people get a feel for me as an instructor, I can then look to feed that into other locations other in different areas. I am excited about what lies ahead.”