Small business diary with Duffy Boxing: Learning the basics

By Dom Walbanke on Small Business UK - Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs Small Business catches up with Ciaran Duffy, former professional boxer and founder, for a series on starting a small business The post Small business diary with Duffy Boxing: Learning the basics appeared first on Small Business UK.

Small business diary with Duffy Boxing: Learning the basics

By Dom Walbanke on Small Business UK - Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs

Ciaran Duffy training

Ciaran Duffy is a former light middleweight boxing champion who has set up Duffy Boxing, a boxing gym for all abilities based in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East London.

Duffy Boxing is backed by our very own CEO: Stubben Edge founder, Chris Kenning.

It’s our mission to help people start and run their businesses better. Now, we’re getting to live that experience through a connection with a brand new business. This three-part series has been created to shine a light on what it actually takes to start and run a small business. 

The first interview looks at the challenges of starting up and how to overcome them.

I knew what I wanted after I stopped boxing

“I had my first fight at 11. I trained for years before that – my father was a coach and my grandfather boxed so boxing runs in my blood.

Boxing’s addictive so even when I stopped fighting, I wanted to stay involved in the sport. But I’ve always had a love for fitness and sport in general, so I also liked training people with no pressure – training people to lose weight or just to feel good.

Duffy Boxing started after my friend Chris Kenning asked if I was interested in opening a gym. I had been working in the city training people and it developed from there. I knew what I wanted: a gym that could turnover and wash its own face but where I could also help grow a boxing career. It seemed a realistic and plausible option for me.

My idea is to have a real professional gym where pros train and they can rub shoulders with people who come in for a session in the morning. The trainers here are ex-fighters but they’re not your angry-faced boxers, they’re friendly, positive people with good energy.

Duffy Boxing

I like the mix of training pros and classes where we can have a giggle and everybody works hard and everybody’s smiling at the end. It’s a nice balance.”

Top tip: Know what you want, but keep it realistic.

The most important thing is to develop relationships

“We had problems with flooding in the build-up to the launch. It was a frustration but it’s like anything else: you have to chip away and try your best. We got over that period, I was lucky enough to have a lot of good people around me.

We also had to get the name out there. We worked with Spencer Oliver and Johnny Nelson: two world class fighters and personalities within the sport and they’ve helped a lot get the name of Duffy Boxing and the brand out. At the opening we had Sky, ITV, TalkSport and social media companies and that’s through the connections and the fighters we have.

As a boxing club it’s already known. We all help one another. For me, the most important thing is relationships with people. I help people and they do the same for me.

They say the harder you work the luckier you get. I don’t know how hard I’ve worked but I know I’m lucky. I’m blessed with the people I’ve got around me. The team, the fighters and coaches.

In boxing, life and business – what goes around comes around. I really believe that. If you do right, right comes to you.”

Top tip: Relationships with people are incredibly important. If you do right, right will come to you.

Marketing and social media has been very important

“Filling up this gym is very much about local advertisement. The majority of our members are people in the housing estates around here and the surrounding East Village. People tend to not travel a huge distance for a boxing class and I understand that.

Duffy Boxing’s launch event: Ciaran Duffy, Spencer Oliver and Johnny Nelson

One person came up to me and asked if it was a franchise and I said ‘no, it’s just my name but I’m pleased you think it’s a brand!’. The more people see it out and about, it helps.

In terms of the Duffy Boxing brand, social media is very helpful. I’m lucky because I work with fighters who have a large social media following and we have people involved with us who have large social media followings too and that’s important for the wider brand.

The development of our fitness app also allows us to reach a far wider audience and cross boundaries you’d have with just a physical building.”

Top tip: Drum up interest with local advertising and social media.

Stick to a realistic vision

“If you’ve got a vision – a realistic vision – using a skillset you’ve got, then it’s about finding a way of making that work. Keep coming back to that one point and say, ‘this is what I want’. It’s hard to stay true to what you want.

Be willing to move and adapt because you might have to. I have plan B and plan C. There are ways around everything and you’ve got to be able to flow and adapt.

Have a vision and do everything in your power to make that work. And if it doesn’t work, roll with the punches, baby!”

Top tip: Be flexible and adaptable in case things don’t go to plan.

Duffy Boxing Elite Training Centre is open now. Find out more about training and classes, all the way from beginner to advanced, here. You can also follow Duffy Boxing on Instagram @duffyboxing_

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The post Small business diary with Duffy Boxing: Learning the basics appeared first on Small Business UK.