"My experience with Gary and the [Florida] SBDC [at FAU] was amazing. Starting Catalyst was the most worthwhile and difficult challenge of my life. … I am very thankful the SBDC exists."
Nick Murtha was a business operations specialist for a consultancy company providing advice to gyms and fitness centers on how to improve the operations of their businesses. After working with the company for seven years Nick was ready to explore his own entrepreneurial path. Anthony Mainella's specialty working for a well-known fitness club was client retention and his client engagement and communication know-how led to an accomplished client retention program.
Murtha and Mainella met at a routine training and sensed they shared a vision for a unique kind of lifestyle training facility. Their connection was instantaneous and their bond gave life to a new concept in fitness training. "Nick and Anthony believed that they were put here to make the world a better place for others and they created a business model that was designed around what people needed in order to sustainably achieve, over the long haul, their health and fitness-related goals."
Ultimately it was a clear-cut decision ̶ it was time to join forces and start their own facility. Murtha's function is the overall management and strategy of the business. Mainella takes care of sales, onsite coaching, and customer relationships. Their combined savings totaled a good portion of what was needed to open the business, but they still needed additional funds to open the doors.
They contacted the Florida SBDC at Florida Atlantic University for assistance in obtaining a loan for the balance of the funds required to ensure working capital. Murtha met with SBDC at FAU Consultant Gary Cole to address access to capital as well as general business start-up information. Consulting services also covered business plan assistance, financial projections, overall marketing goals, customer demographics and the targeted Fort Lauderdale location of the gym.
Through the SBDC at FAU guidance, they were introduced to a lender, assisted with the lender approval process and were provided the required financing to start the business. Catalyst Fitness, LLC opened for business in late 2017 and became profitable after only two months. The business has been well received in the community and business is brisk.
Their mission: "to help people get in the best shape of their lives so that they can be the best version of themselves for the activities and people who are important to them." The Catalyst Fitness, LLC goal is to provide high quality individualized lifestyle training services for men and woman between the ages of 35-55.
"My experience with Gary and the [Florida] SBDC [at FAU] was amazing. Starting Catalyst was the most worthwhile and difficult challenge of my life. I believe I had a great idea but also I understood the importance of getting other people's perspective. Gary coached me, challenged me and supported me which was what I needed at the time. We secured our loan, are helping a ton of people and business is booming. I could not have done it without his help. I am very thankful the SBDC exists."