Mimi Conner is the founder and aquatic specialist at Aqua~Fit, a boutique wellness center that offers swimming, aquatic fitness, weight management and nutrition supplements for the whole family. “We specialize in adaptive swimming for the special child, swimming lessons for the fearful and Therapeutic Movements classes the older adult,” Mimi explains.
Mimi Conner is also the winner of the Plano Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Person of the Year award 2017, so we got together with Mimi to find out about her business and what advice she has for other small business owners.
How did you get started?
I started teaching out of my home in 1990, developing a strong swim program for both children and adults. I worked for the City of Plano, and Medical City of Plano.
What is your passion? What drives you?
My passion is helping other to be safe, understand the properties of water and teach them to love the water as much as I do. Safety always comes first and teaching families how to be safe in, on and around the water allows me to help prevent drownings. Seeing the look on a child’s face when they accomplish even the smallest skill or the happiness on a parent’s face when they see their child succeed drives me to continue teaching. Knowing that I am helping to reduce the number of children drowning each year, pushes me to strive for strong swim programs that teach safety and skills appropriate for each age group.
Our adult program is one of my favorites. So many adults have never had the opportunity to learn or even be around water and to see them accomplish so much freedom and having fun in the water is inspiring. They want to learn for various reasons, like traveling to beaches, cruises—children know and they do not. Swimming is many times on their bucket list.
I love seeing safe and happy families swimming together.
What is your advice to other small business owners?
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To know all aspects of your business, never be afraid to learn from your employees, hire good, smart and talented people who are like-minded and will help build your company. Don’t be a one person show. Treat your clients with respect but never let them bring you or an employee down.
What is your advice to someone wanting to start a small business?
Do your homework! Get legal advice and make sure that you are ready to put in more than 100%. Be prepared for anything, learn to ask for help, never turn down a new thought or idea. Always take those ideas and thoughts into consideration. Grow your business day by day, make a plan, get out and network as much as you can and learn from your mistakes—we all make them and failing allows you to grow in new and different ways. Have fun and enjoy what you do!
What is your leadership style?
My leadership style has changed over the years. I have become a better listener and am more open to others ideas. I believe that anything that I ask of my employees, I would be willing to do or have done in the past. I love being a teacher and to share my experiences and knowledge. I try to lead by example and hope that my passion is contagious, especially to the younger and less experienced instructors.
Swim & Fitness Wellness Center
1400 Summit Ave. D2
Plano, TX. 75074