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A ‘workout’ plan to build and maintain a successful fitness franchise

A ‘workout’ plan to build and maintain a successful fitness franchise

Cameron Falloon, founder of Body Fit Training (BFT), explains how franchisees can achieve sustainable demand and success for their fitness franchise

As we embark on another new year, a period famously associated with resolutions and ambitious goal-setting, it’s an opportune moment to take a look at the fitness franchise industry. With the two most common new year resolutions being to do more exercise and to lose weight1, now is the time to ‘workout’ how to build and maintain a fitness franchise to ensure sustained and scalable long-term growth.

The fitness, wellness and health sector is rapidly growing with great potential globally. Despite having been hit hard by the pandemic and forced to adapt to survive, fitness franchise businesses have demonstrated how they are both robust and thriving. However, as the fitness industry grows, so too does the competition, and for a franchise fitness brand to prosper, it needs to adapt to what people want more now than ever in order to create long-lasting loyalty.

Whether that means innovative offerings, personalised experiences, and a commitment to the holistic well-being of its members, it’s all about ensuring the brand’s relevance and success in a transformed world.

A growing industry

The latest State of the UK Fitness Industry Report 2023 showed that the UK fitness market continues to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic, and that member numbers are up 3.9% versus 2022. And while numbers are still slightly below pre-COVID highs, the market is continuing to trend in the right direction.

Events such as HYROX and CrossFit Games have surged in popularity in recent years, driving a trend for a more well-rounded athlete. This reflects a shift in consumer preferences towards more diverse and challenging forms of physical activity that combine strength, endurance, and functional fitness. These events, characterised by their high-intensity and community-driven approach, are not just attracting traditional gym-goers but also a new demographic who are looking for an engaging, competitive, and social fitness experience. This trend is influencing gym offerings and workouts to meet this growing demand.

The heart of fitness success

Excellent customer service is key for retainment and recruitment of both members and employees. Satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal and continue using your services. It’s also significantly cheaper to retain a member than it is to recruit a new one. Good customer service is also a powerful tool for attracting new members. Word of mouth is incredibly influential and the most cost-effective form of lead generation; happy members often share their positive experiences with friends, family, and social networks. There isn’t just a physical benefit that members are looking for but a mental one as well.

As franchisees, it’s essential to engage with your members. Personal interactions make customers feel valued and appreciated. In the dynamic business environment, staying sharp means continuously improving customer service strategies based on feedback and changing customer needs. What better way to get feedback is there than working directly with your members?!

The power of social media

We’re all aware of the power and influence social media can have on a franchise business. To keep your audience engaged, your brand must stay visible and relevant. Regular content is crucial, but don’t post for the sake of it. Ensure you are creative, stay on top of trends and showcase what you can offer potential members.

Promoting and showcasing fitness challenges is a great way to engage your audience. Displaying success stories of members who have achieved their fitness goals can be very motivating for current and potential members. By promoting competitions and challenges, you demonstrate the effectiveness of your fitness programmes and the community spirit that sets your fitness brand apart.

At BFT, we do an eight-week challenge three times a year. The challenge is all about positive transformation, exercise, diet, and mental wellbeing. By showcasing the challenge on social media, our members can show their progress and we can promote the services we provide.

Location is the foundation

The significance of location in establishing a successful business, particularly in the fitness industry, cannot be overstated. A strategic location sets the foundation for attracting and retaining customers. Choosing the right location involves finding a gap in the market where there is unmet demand. This might involve some research to understand where potential members are and what they need.

Locations near commuting hubs, such as train stations, or areas with high foot traffic, are ideal. The easier it is for people to access your facility, the more likely they are to become regular members. The location should align with the community’s culture and vibe. A fitness centre that feels like a part of the community is more likely to attract local members.

Once you’re part of that local community, make sure you connect with it. This is where your core base of members will come from. Participating in and supporting local events relevant to your membership base can increase visibility and demonstrate your commitment to the community.

To summarise, owning a fitness franchise can be an incredibly rewarding experience. While a lot of new members sign up in the new year, if you’re doing it right, it’s a year-round journey of growth and community building.

At BFT our goal is to deliver the best programmes while fostering a sense of belonging for all our members. It’s about building a community where members are excited to return, share their progress, and encourage each other. Ultimately, the success of a fitness franchise lies in the ability to consistently deliver value and create a positive impact on members’ lives, turning seasonal enthusiasm into long-term commitment and lifestyle change. As they say, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon in business, but this is where the hard work really pays off.”

About the author
Cameron Falloon is the Founder of global fitness franchise, Body Fit Training. With over 25 years in the health and fitness industry, Cameron has travelled the world and worked with varying populations from general to chronic rehabilitation patients to elite athletes as well as the rich and famous. Recognised as Australia’s fastest-growing fitness franchise with 62,000+ members across 270 open studios, Cameron has a passion and dedication for delivering world-class training programmes, practices and education to the broader fitness industry.

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