Kim Klafcynski, CEO/Founder RenewU Fitness (LA)
RenewU Fitness is an app for iPhone and Android that summons a personal trainer to wherever you are for yoga, cardio, or weights. We also have the XBAR — a fitness tool that provides a full body workout and is transportable by all of our trainers which we feel confident will evolve the dislike of schlepping to the gym and will unquestionably change the lives of those who are just too busy to travel for their workout.
My biggest obstacle has been building a tech-centric business for fitness people, not techies.
The app itself was my initial “aha” moment; RenewU’s two additional revenue streams launching later this year were my secondary & tertiary lightbulbs (can’t disclose them just yet)!
The main addition to RenewU came about because someone mentioned a potential competitor thinking about replicating our idea. I didn’t sleep an entire night until I came up with a differentiator so great it could be a new business, never been done before, in and of itself. The same with #2. A successful start-up is constantly having miniature moments of brilliance, but we refer to this as “pivoting”. If you do it too much your vision changes completely, but if you keep integrity with your original goal in sight you will realize small tweaks will constantly be needed to improve.
How to Restore the Unicorn’s Health
Patience, and understanding that both sides of the coin have a lot to offer. It’s easy to rush a product for the sake of exposure or income, but at the end of the day integrity and grace have to win over product placement or press. There are constantly new fitness innovations hitting the market, so it was crucially important that when ours did, it was a SMASH. And not just because it was a good idea, but because it was gloriously isolated.
I’ve always been a fitness industry personality, whether it be coaching bodybuilders for the stage or loving the spotlight on stage myself-I’m a ham! I have a solid publicist, Ralina Shaw, who preps me for promotions and speaking engagements & a fantastic team of marketing personnel who work without needing their hands held. Not to mention diligent, always-on-call software developers who require fairly common text messages at 2am. I am one of those people who always says “I’m exhausted” when asked “how are you?” but I wouldn’t have it any other way, frankly. I thrive under pressure (I was always the one who would write the best grad school papers the morning they were due) and balancing each part of the start-up equation is what keeps me insanely sane! The app development and testing is never ending along with my brain creating new ideas, so it’s not difficult to manage-if you love doing it, it’s just part of life like eating and working out!
How to Care for your Unicorn
I have used this book in many a job interview and it has been the book that spurred me wanting to be an entrepreneur as soon as the lightbulb went on in my head. It’s called Blue Ocean Strategy, and it focuses on finding a blue ocean in a sea of red. Excerpt below:
“…I had vowed to change fitness for almost a decade, after I met my own criteria I felt was critical for success: I finished school, learned how corporate America worked, could sell in a business setting via phone and in-person & came up with the most unique and disruptive idea with my passion of fitness involved.”