Alexandra Bonetti started the bari Studio, home to a unique workout method, with a total of $250,000 between her own savings and additional loans or investments from friends and family. Now her total investment has eclipsed $1 million as bari approaches its five-year anniversary, and Bonetti is looking to expand by franchising and bringing the concept online. Here's what Bonetti had to say about her journey so far when she went behind the business plan with Business News Daily.
Business News Daily: In a nutshell, what service does your business provide?
Alexandra Bonetti: The best workout in the world. bari's cutting-edge method combines dance cardio, trampoline cardio and muscle sculpting for an addictively fun and challenging workout.
BND: How long have you been in business?
Bonetti: We're turning 5 years old this coming summer.
BND: Did you start with a formal business plan? If not, how did you lay the groundwork for your business?
Bonetti: I started with a formal business plan. My background is in business and finance, so this was the first way that my concept felt real, actionable and possible.
BND: How did you finance your endeavors, both initially and as your business grew?
Bonetti: Initially, I invested my own savings and asked friends and family to pitch in. After I had opened my first studio and it was profitable, I bootstrapped the rest of the operation and have taken out loans when needed.
BND: How much did you invest personally?
Bonetti: The initial investment was around $250,000. To date, we've invested a total of around $1 million.
BND: Is your business today what you originally envisioned at the outset, or has it changed significantly over time?
Bonetti: I don't think it has changed significantly, but it definitely evolves. I hope it continues to. It's important to never forget the reason you started and your vision at the outset. I think it's easy to get sucked into the day-to-day operations and problems of a business, but as a business owner, you always have to find time to work on the business, even if you're working in the business.
BND: What are some lessons you've learned? Is there anything you would've done differently?
Bonetti: I would have focused on my team just as much as I did on the product from the start. It took us a while to hire great people, because I thought if I had the best product, everything else would fall into place.
BND: What were the most important factors that contributed to your success?
Bonetti: People are the most important piece of the puzzle, both your team and your clients. And we've never stopped learning, growing, changing, evolving and asking ourselves what we could be doing better. Perhaps to a fault, we're never comfortable or content.
BND: What are the next steps you want to take as a business owner? How do you see yourself achieving those goals?
Bonetti: We're strategically franchising and taking our product online.
BND: What is your best advice to someone with a great business idea who is ready to give it a shot?
Bonetti: Make sure you really, really love it. Being a business owner has a ton of ups and downs, but if you love what you do, the downs will just be part of a great ride.