Diary of a Startup: Part II
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When you last saw Karen Jashinsky (December 2005), she was knee-deep in her business plan to start a gym/lounge/cafe for teenagers. However, shortly after we spoke in August 2005, she was in an accident--a car hit her as she was traveling on her bicycle. Thankfully, Jashinsky survived, but she suffered serious injuries. She fractured her lower back, and broke her collarbone, right hand and left pinky finger. Not paralyzed, but in a back brace and with very limited mobility, this 28-year-old fitness expert was facing the biggest challenge of her life-getting back on her feet.
As she recuperated at home, Jashinsky had to re-evaluate her old business plan and management structure if she still wanted to open her gym. "I'd laid out the entire game plan for the year, but because I couldn't drive and work, everything changed," she says. She originally planned to visit high schools to speak to PE and health classes about fitness, and to gather market research during the tail end of 2005, but she had to postpone those plans until January.
At the time of the accident, she was seeking help for getting the business started, but now she needs it even more. "I [started] looking for interns or students who were interested in being a part of the concept and helping me develop the programming," she says. As she recovered, she interviewed prospects at her home.
Now, she's looking for a business partner with a fitness background. Jashinsky is also building up her advisory board, trying to get more pediatricians and psychologists who work with teenagers onboard to help her promote the idea and start building an e-mail list.
At press time, she'd had another meeting with a loan counselor at the SBA, and she's finalizing her business plan and meeting with equipment vendors to complete the financials for her loan applications. She has also finally chosen a name for her business--2 Nax Fitness. One especially positive note: An old high-school classmate heard about her business idea and contacted her about seed funding--he works in a real estate firm and knows of interested investors.
Though life threw her a curveball, Jashinsky is turning her accident into something positive. "I'm learning a lot about rehab and sports injuries," she says. "This is definitely a testament to how important it is to be healthy."