Finding Opportunity In Uncertainty
Imagine opening up your new business and having to close it down two weeks later? That is exactly what happened to Luz and Rodrigo, owners of RL Fitness. This Las Vegas based CrossFit gym opened its doors February 29, 2020 – just two weeks later COVID-19 forced the business to shut down indefinitely. This was extremely difficult as both Luz and Rodrigo had invested their life’s savings into making their dream of owning a boutique gym. Even more difficult was that Luz left the security of her full time job to dedicate herself to running a successful business.
RL Fitness was a concept that had been formulating in their minds for years. As avid practitioners of CrossFit, Luz and Rodrigo had always wanted to turn their hobby into their careers. As certified instructors, the idea for RL Fitness was born. But RL Fitness isn’t just a gym where members go to workout, it is a lifestyle and community. This has been made possible because of the vision Luz and Rodrigo had.
They wanted to create a space where their community could come and not only work on their physical fitness, but also their emotional and mental well-being. Part of their vision included activities outside of the gym, such s hiking excursions, meal plans that came with guided coaching and mentorship to help their members create a healthier, sustainable lifestyle.
Starting out with 15 members and a full-time coach, Luz and Rodrigo were forced to think on their feet and pivot their business model to accommodate the change brought on by the shut-down. Natural go-getters, they began to offer live classes online as well as tailored programs to keep their members engaged. Even while providing these services, they found it difficult to keep members fully engaged. This trickled after the restrictions were lifted and they were able to open up once again.
Finding it difficult to attract people to come back to in person coaching sessions and classes, Rodrigo knew it was only a matter of time before they would go through their savings and potentially be faced with making a decision to close the gym. That was, until he was connected to Noe, a Business Advisor with Prestamos CDFI. This connection connected Luz and Rodgrigo to a wealth of business resources and financial options to help keep RL Fitness open. Through the PRIME program, they were able to take advantage of one-on-one business coaching in a variety of areas.
The main area of opportunity they needed guidance in was social media and marketing. That is when Noe brought on Hector, another Business Advisor, on to help inform and strategize on RL Fitness’ marketing needs, Through Hector, Luz and Rodrigo were able to create a solid plan that has helped them expand from the 15 members they started with to 180. They even experienced growth in staff, going from three to five employees. Rodrigo was even able to transition from his full time employment to dedicating himself completely to RL Fitness in January 2021. This growth exceeded the expectations of Luz and Rodrigo.
“Hector has been a huge help in providing new ideas and helping guide our strategy in a way that is easy to understand. He is a thought partner and is willing to work with us through the barriers we come across.”, says Luz of her experience.
“Working with Prestamos has provided a big sense of security. The guidance of our business coaches has allowed us to develop our expertise and also learn about the different ways to spot rising issues and identify opportunities. It was really been a huge blessing”, says Rodrigo. Prestamos has motivated Rodrigo and Luz to think and dream bigger. At the moment they are working on developing additional programs to incorporate into their current offerings and are looking for opportunities to expand their business. They even started a class geared towards youth to provide them a space to work on their physical health while their schools are closed.
Prestamos exists to help nurture and grow entrepreneurs through their journeys. We are a mission-driven entity that operates under the non-profit Chicanos Por La Causa, which provides communities with resources ranging from health, education, financial services, housing, and advocacy. Prestamos continues its efforts to advance our work to provide high-quality financial products and services for small businesses that lead to impactful economic development projects. We invite you to visit our website, prestamosloans.org to learn more about our efforts and apply for a business loan.