Business Entrepreneur

How Rizwan Rabbani Grew My Bollywood Body on a Dollar a Day Budget

My Bollywood Body
This series was brought to you in paid partnership with Facebook Canada

“I’ve never spent more than a dollar a day on Facebook,” says Rizwan Rabbani, proudly.

Rabbani is this week’s Entrepreneur of the Week the founder of My Bollywood Body. The Brampton-based gym boasts hundreds of satisfied clients and a huge online following, but the 10,000 sq. ft. centre has humble beginnings.

Rabbani, a lifelong advocate for health and wellness, has been a personal trainer since 2003. He prides himself on being a trainer for beginners, “everybody claims they’re going to get you six-pack abs. I’ve never claimed that. I claim that I can get you fit.”

In 2015, he saw the opportunity to bring this mentality online and launched My Bollywood Body across multiple social media platforms. At first, Rabbani says that the business failed to harness the power of social media; they focused more on in-person personal training and only posted 10 or so videos within the year. However, the value of Facebook became evident overtime.

“If you do it the right way and reach out to the right demographics and audience, it [Facebook] can do wonders for you,” says Rabbani.

Building an online presence for one dollar a day

The value of mastering the art of advertisement targeting became clear when Rabbani opened My Bollywood Body’s physical space in 2018. Through spending one dollar a day on Facebook advertisements for 30 days, the gym was able to sell out of its memberships within one month.

Now, Rabbani utilizes the power of social media by posting a new video everyday. His online community receives countless free workouts to help target different muscle groups, and each video has a call to action that encourages viewers to reach out for online coaching from Rabbani himself. 

He continues to spend no more than one dollar a day to advertise his videos and credits Facebook’s wide-reach and intuitive algorithm for helping to build My Bollywood Body’s online presence (the My Bollywood Body Facebook page has almost 915,000 followers) in addition to online clients.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced My Bollywood Body to close its doors, building up an online presence proved to be a crucial part in helping the business survive the pandemic.

“Before COVID-19, our focus was between the gym and personal coaching. With COVID-19 our goals changed,” says Rabbani. “We knew the gym was going to be closed temporarily. So, our focus went right back to online.”

The benefits of being online

My Bollywood Body was not alone in their online pivot. According to the most recent Facebook Global State of Small Business Report*, 38 percent of operational SMBs in July on Facebook reported 50 percent or more of their sales were made digitally in the past month.

For Rabbani, gaining new online clients equates to online sales. More than offering a sustainable revenue stream during the pandemic, online coaching has allowed him to have virtually no restrictions on how many clients he can help or where they’re from. Despite being allowed to re-open My Bollywood Body’s physical space, Rabbani is dedicated to online training more than ever.

When I go online, my reach is global. I mean, it’s amazing to see,” says Rabbani. “Right now I have 4,600 active clients. When I pull up a phone and it says Mandy from Australia, or Alan from Jamaica or this person from New Zealand, it’s fascinating.”

A bright future ahead for SMBs

Like many entrepreneurs and SMB owners, Rabbani credits My Bollywood Body’s success to hard work and dedication, “you have to have that fire to grow your business in you. For any entrepreneur, I humbly advise to be passionate about what you want to do and you will be very successful.” 

As for his next steps, Rabbani says he hopes to see My Bollywood Body become a fitness phenomenon and be a franchise across Canada once the pandemic has passed. He is not alone in this hopeful sentiment, as 60 percent of owners and managers of operational SMBs in July on Facebook reported they felt optimistic about the future of their business.

While these next few months are uncertain, one thing is for sure: there is value in SMBs being online. Take the money you’re saving by not using Uber and for just one dollar a day, your SMB might be the next My Bollywood Body.

Additional takeaways from the Future of Business Survey

The Future of Business Survey is an ongoing effort by Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank to survey SMBs around the world and how they’ve fared during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through tracking timely insights on the impact that COVID-19 has on business operations, challenges SMBs face, and the pivots that they’re using to adapt and survive, this research hopes to support and amplify SMBs. 

The most recent survey included data from at least 392 respondents in Canada, and was taken between July 24-30, 2020. In order to participate, businesses were required to be an administrator of an active Facebook Business Page.

  • 88% of SMBs in July (vs. 74% in May and 87% in June) on Facebook reported that they were operational or engaging in any revenue-generating activities.
  • 51% of operational SMBs in July (vs. 64% in May and 57% in June) on Facebook reported that their sales in the past month were lower than the same month last year.
  • 29% of operational SMBs in July (vs. 40% in May and 36% in June) on Facebook reported they had reduced the number of employees/workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 44% of operational SMBs in July (vs. 41% in May and 45% in June) on Facebook expected cash flow to be a challenge in the next few months.