Startup Diaries: Looking Back on 2012

Art Cardenas owns The Fit Pit, a fully equipped professional boxing gym in Austin, Texas. The gym, which opened in January 2011, is still growing and now has plans for expansion. 

There is a saying that is sometimes used in popular culture that has its roots in boxing: Roll with the punches. The saying connotes being able to overcome adverse circumstances. For me, the saying compels me to learn from all experiences that come my way.

Now that we’re into the new year, it’s time to reflect back on 2012 to see how well I did in "rolling with the punches."

Once again, I learned that perseverance and hard work pays off. The Fit Pit Boxing Gym is still in operation and growing strong. My small business counselor advised me to remain optimistic and not to become disappointed, especially during the first three years of operation. This is primarily because many startup businesses fail within that time frame. Perseverance and hard work applies to all aspects of my small business. From the simplest of tasks (such as janitorial duties and equipment maintenance) to the more complicated (like accounting, bookkeeping, and marketing). Not enough time seemed to be the major obstacle in terms of this.

Fostering professional relationships with various clients proved to be challenging at times too. The majority of my clients remained consistent and loyal to the gym. A couple sought their fame and fortune elsewhere. I was often asked about the whereabouts of one or two clients who had started off the year strong at the Fit Pit Boxing Gym, but had since moved on to other gyms. In response, I would honestly say that I could not give them what they wanted or needed. Nonetheless, I was able to learn a little something about these individuals and myself as well.

The courage to venture out into new areas proved to be a growing experience in 2012. I expanded the business by bringing a licensed massage therapist and additional trainers onto my staff. I also continued my endeavor of organizing a large boxing tournament and in 2012, under my guidance, the third annual Austin Regional Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament took place.

The biggest lesson learned in 2012: Staying focused and working hard were the keys to another successful year.

The resolution for this year: Try to get more much-needed rest and concentrate on living a healthier lifestyle. Yes, even a gym owner needs to be reminded to do that.

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