Small business diary with Duffy Boxing: Upping your game

Small Business catches up with former professional boxer, Ciaran Duffy, to talk about what's coming up next for his boxing gym

Ciaran Duffy is a former light middleweight boxing champion who has set up Duffy Boxing, a boxing gym for all abilities. It’s 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. 

In the final article of this three-parter, Duffy talks about what’s coming up next for his boxing gym.

Learning from the process

Though he has grand ambitions, Duffy wants to keep things simple for now. “I need to consolidate this place and make it profitable,” he says. “Then we’ve got lots of options.”

In fact, he is in the process of launching a fitness app. Setting up the app has had its challenges, but he’s confident that it will help to grow the brand, alongside other strategies. “We’re looking at different methods to get that out there, different methods to grow the brand using influencers, potentially using different media outlets,” he says.

Maintaining reputation is key to the gym’s continued success, with the high-level fighters that the gym produces being testament to its authenticity. “You’re not coming to Duffy Boxing to learn from someone that doesn’t understand the sport. If you come here, it’s the real deal,” he says.

Opening more outlets is on the cards for Duffy, as the team are constantly scouting for different possible venues.

Keeping the big vision in check

Duffy compares the growth of his business to a ten-round fight, and that’s how he paces himself through growth. “The first two rounds is to make this work. That doesn’t mean you blow out all your energy to win the second round and you’ve got nothing left for the third round. What it means is that I’m consistent and make this work. Of course, I’m thinking about the third and fourth round when it’s the second round.

“Sorry for the cliché but that’s the way my brain works,” he laughs. “It’s what I’ve grown up with. One round at a time is the way I see it.”

Understanding your limitations

Even the most keen athletes burn out: “The thing that sport does is teaches you to understand your limits,” Duffy says. “My wife and I know if I’m going too hard. I look at the big picture, I’m not working myself until I can’t function anymore. If I need an extra day off, I’ll take a day off if possible.”

Happiness in doing what you love

“I’m already living the dream right now,” Duffy says with a smile. “I’ve got a gym full of good boxers, lots of opportunities coming up, I’ve got lovely people coming in morning and night to train with me. And the numbers are going up. It’s just exciting.”

In growing his business, he’s open to advice from others, but he understands that how things roll is largely up to him. “It’s nice to sit and see how I could do this and that. And then that’s when I speak to people who are more experienced than me and I ask their advice, and then I decide. You have to decide what direction you want your life going in.”

But at the base level, he just adores what he does: “I love training fighters, so everything else works around that. I love all the other aspects, but I want champions. This is my sport. I’m not trying to be something that I’m not. I’m happy to just be a trainer.”

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_

Read the rest of the series

Small business diary with Duffy Boxing: Learning the basics – Small Business catches up with Ciaran Duffy, former professional boxer and founder, for a series on starting a small business

Small business diary with Duffy Boxing: Conditioning your business – Small Business catches up with former professional boxer, Ciaran Duffy, to talk about what advice you should take on as a business owner

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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