When Cora Lambert (Ngai Tūhoe, Ngā Puhi, Waikato) saw that mainstream gyms did not cater for Māori and Pasifika people who have the highest obesity rates in Aotearoa, she decided to start a group fitness business called Fitness With Cora.
As a Zumba instructor, Cora found it “tricky at first… to convince people to try Zumba out as it was not as popular as other fitness classes such as boxfit, yoga, and pilates.”
So she attended the Pakihi Digital Marketing workshop to get support on how to spread the word about Zumba and her business by using social media.
“While it can be a full time job maintaining social media pages, it is the easiest and fastest way to get the business brand out to the public and is a much cheaper option, which is attractive to many small businesses especially those in start-up.”
From her insightful and practical experience of the Digital Marketing workshop, Cora went on to participate in three other Pakihi workshops.
“I turned to Pakihi for support, because it was by Māori for Māori small businesses.”
Cora appreciated that each Pakihi workshop had an element of tikanga and Māori values embedded throughout. “Each day started with a karakia which set a relaxing tone for the rest of the day… being in an environment where tikanga was second nature meant that I could just focus on the business side of things”.
Through her Pakihi mentor, Cora came to a realisation that it was important to create a strong network to grow her business. “I have never been a fan of networking however after discovering through these courses its’ importance, it has caused me to get out of my comfort zone and just do it. I now have a much wider network than I think I ever would have.”
With all her learnings and experience from attending the Pakihi workshops and mentoring, Cora will continue to create a space where those most at risk can feel safe to come and work out to improve on their hauora.
Cora’s key tips for business:
- Know your why! Money should not always be the main driving factor.
- Do your research and prepare yourself for your business idea/business. Know your product or service, be confident in your business. Having knowledge of what you are getting yourself in to will assist you in dealing with those hurdles as you come to them.
- Stay genuine and humble! Especially in the fitness industry. People can tell if you are genuinely there to help or just to make another dollar. It can be the difference of that person coming back or not. Customers are our business. It is important to look after them, always.