Diary of a Startup: Part III
It's all happening at once for entrepreneur Karen Jashinsky, as she journeys toward opening 02 Max Fitness, her gym-meets-teenager-hangout. We spoke with her just after our first article about her company appeared in Entrepreneur, and her concept was gaining much attention. Due to the article, Jashinsky, 28, was contacted by many willing to help develop her idea.
With her opening planned for fall 2006, Jashinsky is securing financing--she started the application process for an SBA loan. "I need to put [at least] 25 percent of the startup costs on the table, and my parents are helping me with that," she says. Considering all the interest in her company, Jashinsky is also looking to investors for capital. At press time, she was deciding what kind of equity she'd tender to investors as well as deciding which investors were a good match for her vision.
Securing the right location, though, is proving to be more difficult than Jashinsky anticipated. "Real estate has been a big challenge because of the parking requirements," she says. The Los Angeles real estate market is never easy to navigate, but establishing her gym requires a set number of available parking spaces for her clientele--a feat doubly difficult in a city where parking is at a premium.
Jashinsky is even looking for more space than her company needs, hoping to sublease to a complementary company--she's spreading the word around her network that she's seeking a rock-climbing wall operation, a martial arts enterprise or another business that may be interested. Since we last spoke, Jashinsky has also built a 15-person advisory board, including parents, doctors, trainers and teens, to help plan her program offerings. And Jashinsky says, "We're going to have a contest where teens vote for a slogan." Jashinsky has also worked with Swell Strategies, a business started by a fellow University of Southern California MBA, on marketing and press-kit materials.
All the publicity even netted a designer for her newly launched website, www.02maxfitness.com. Rick Avelenda designed it for her in exchange for credit on her website for his site, www.techsiteamerica.com. And Jashinsky is in talks with a potential partner who read about the company in Entrepreneur. Says Jashinsky, "I have met many people and had several potential partners, but this one just felt right. We are in the process of working out the details."
Stay tuned for the September issue of Entrepreneur to see how Jashinsky brings 02 Max Fitness into the home stretch.