Alumni profile - Mike Neumann
Mike Neumann’s motto is “Get started and make corrections on the go.”
He didn’t plan to own a business. But today, he is the proud owner of Fit Body U, a thriving gym in Bourbonnais.
Before starting on his own, Neumann worked as a part-time independent contract trainer at a gym. Then, the trainers’ profit margins were cut. “I was backed into a corner,” Neumann says, and he considered a career change.
After hearing about a gym for sale, Neumann and a friend collected the money to make the purchase. “It just seemed like perfect timing. But I was flying by the seat of my pants.”
Soon, Neumann’s new gym was up and running. “I didn’t even have enough equipment for a full gym, but it was enough to get started.” As Fit Body U started making profits, Neumann poured the money back into the business and purchased more equipment.
“I’ve learned to appreciate the idea of a small beginnings,” Neumann said. “Some people want to start big and if they’re not sure about what they’re doing, they’ll fall on their face. That’s why I like starting small, and making corrections as I go.”
Neumann helped himself by re-enrolling at Kankakee Community College in his mid-30s. He took two classes at a time and completed a business degree in 2016.
“You’re never too old to go back to school,” he said. “You’re never too old to learn. There were so many good classes out here that I took. KCC has everything you need to become a better you and to become a better ‘who you are.’”
Neumann said Microsoft Excel, human resources and communication classes were helpful in providing skills to more effectively run his business.
After working for 11 businesses, Fit Body U allows Neumann to put his own ideas into practice. “If you work for someone else, you have to work for their vision. But now I can practice my own vision and see how the community responds to my ideas.”
In the last two years, Fit Body U has nearly doubled, from 450 to 810 active members. In the summer of 2019, Neumann is planning a big a big five-year anniversary celebration.
“If you’re passionate about a business idea, if that’s what you think about when you’re by yourself, then that’s what you should do,” Neumann says. “People around you will be inspired by your passion and things will come together. If you have consistency and passion, and if you’re always a student of the game, then it will happen.”
Kankakee Community College is an accredited two-year college which awards associate degrees and certificates of completion. KCC prepares students both to transfer to four-year colleges and to enter the workforce. The college also offers continuing education courses and certification training, literacy programs, English as a Second Language and GED preparation. The KCC mission is “Enhancing quality of life through learning.” The college has a Riverfront Campus in Kankakee, South Extension Center in Watseka, North Extension Center in Bradley and Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Center in Kankakee.
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