The Zone

Growing up in an entrepreneurial household, Lauren Caffrey has had business on her mind from a young age. Having always been passionate about fitness, it seemed like a natural route for her to try and just four years after leaving school, she turned her work experience as a personal trainer into her own gym business, offering personalised fitness and nutrition plans.

In order to make sure everything ran as smoothly as possible, she joined the Enterprise Hub programme, supercharging her business plan with the insights she needed for success.

How it all began

There aren’t many 21-year-olds that feel ready to start a business, but for Lauren it was an easy decision to make. Eager to gain experience straight from school, she took a role as a personal trainer at a local gym when she was just 16. Here she steadily built her fitness knowledge and client base until she felt ready to go it alone.

The Zone opened in 2019 to an influx of excited clients, with Lauren and her friend Emily delivering 60 sessions per week.

“The sessions were so successful from the beginning, that two months into the gym opening I had to start thinking about what I could do so that I didn’t have to turn clients away – this is when I decided to start online training sessions.”

The introduction of the “7-week shred” meant that The Zone was able to continue to support those looking to change their lifestyle and eating habits, whilst maintaining a full schedule at the gym.

With more than 300 enquiries in the first two months, she decided that it was time to put some structure into the business to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Fortunately, she knew exactly where to turn.

How the Enterprise Hub helped

Lauren was introduced to The Women’s Organisation by her mum, who had found success doing that very same thing herself 20 years before.

“My mum was actually the person who introduced me to The Women’s Organisation and got me my first meeting with my business advisor Carole … she has a very successful business herself and she highly recommended that I should go and get advice from them.”

During their first meeting, Carole helped her look at the structure of her business and the potential growth she could start working towards. Lauren began attending courses and regular meetings, using insights into using social media, managing staff, dealing with client growth and loans to cultivate her business and nurture her client base.

Like many businesses across the world, the effects of COVID-19 meant that The Zone was unable to offer their 1-2-1 services in person. To ensure the business could continue operating, they introduced live workouts on Instagram – collaborating with other brands to help increase their audience. These free workouts have helped to successfully promote the brand, bringing in 2000 new followers and paving the way for potential clients in the future.

“My turnover has practically doubled since getting more advice around the structure of my business. I have also been working on fixing little tweaks in the business I did not know need fixing until I started this programme. The support has given me the skills to reach a wider audience and has taught me how to handle taking on more clients.”

The future

The Zone has been open for less than a year but has already achieved more than expected for a small start-up business. Lauren is now looking to move into larger premises and is increasing the number of personal trainers in the business. The Zone has also launched its own app which contains lots of helpful information, exercise demonstrations, workout plans and even healthy recipes.

“Since coming to The Women’s Organisation I have been a lot more confident knowing that if I get stuck, I can always get help from my business adviser Carole. It really is a great community that keeps you motivated by seeing how ambitious all the other women starting businesses are. If you have an idea in mind, do not give up until you get it!”