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Today I wanted to talk about building a fitness bootcamp franchise with my good friend Scott Henderson.
Here’s some of our clients:
What I’ll do is to talk through several elements of it – beginning with why it’s something that just makes sense for me:
I love sports, health & fitness.
Right now I’ve got my cup of Roobois tea with 1.5 litres of water that I need to drink.
I’ve just taken a Vitamin D tablet and finished reading the Blinkist for Super Human by Dave Asprey and have decided that I’m not going to eat anything until around 2 pm (my last meal was 8 pm) – which is a small intermittent fast, as it’ll be a 16-hour gap.
Furthermore, I’m now downloading the Sleep Cycle app; and have just Googled seeds that have health benefits and bought a bunch:
And I started my morning at this time:
Incidentally, my 430am starts are a journey that I started with Scott!
(Long may they continue – it’s 536am now and writing this is part of my morning routine)
Alongside the morning exercise routine that I have of push-ups, squats and setups.
Ok, I think I’ve gone a bit overboard with underlining all of this haha.
Scott had been unhappy with his former franchise Fitness Squad for some time.
As someone with significant previous military experience (25+ years) as well as with the police force (2+ years) – he was an ideal candidate to become part of what they were then known as Regiment Fitness.
And to his credit, over several years Scott had done an excellent job of building up a local (in West London near my parent’s place) devoted group of outdoor fitness Bootcamp students who came to the weekly sessions.
It’s not an easy sell! Training outdoors in the UK to keep in shape.
But those who do get into it – love it and tend to stick with it.
We’d been friends already for several years – I’d met him right at the time I’d withdrawn my application to the special forces and was considering reapplying.
I’d walk past the boot camps he ran in Yiewsley Park regularly – especially when I was living at my mum’s place. Ironically he’d very often see me running past the park or along the Cowley rRad which was adjacent to another Bootcamp location he had.
Nothing much came of any of this as I attended one Bootcamp session in total and then life got in the way and my attention moved elsewhere.
But then after bumping into each other in the Costa Coffee at the local Tesco’s – a friendship formed.
And a couple of years later ultimately after doing a couple of duathlons together I propositioned him as to the idea of leaving Fitness Squad and us setting up something all by ourselves.
And that was a couple of months back and here I am today writing about it 🙂
The plan is as follows:
- Build up the number of people that actually come to the classes
- Build up the brand
And see what happens.
It’s actually that simple.
This is the plan for 2020 and assuming we’re able to do those things – the idea would be to turn this business into a couple of things:
- A franchised model that we could expand across the UK
- An online membership community with subscriptions
- Selling corporate training packages
These are the three ways we really see this growing.
I’m enjoying the prospect of being involved in a physical business again.
Here are the flyers we have for the business:
What I’m still trying to work out is how I can passively (i.e without too much input) keep the business growing so new customers keep coming in all by themselves.
The SEO team are doing their work in trying to rank the website for various keywords:
Here’s a selection of them (which don’t really carry any search volume – but we feel it’s important to rank for them as it’s our local area)
Outside this, we’ve tried a guy who did 1,000 flyer drops. I think it makes sense to try him one or two more times to see what effect it has.
Making use of signs/banners whilst Scott is running sessions himself I think is critical, so we’ve ordered a couple of these to get them to put up whilst he’s in session:
The van we have also helped:
Outside this – Scott has seen some good success running Facebook ads which generate enquiries pretty regularly, so we’ll continue with that – and the spend is very low – ranging from $50 – $150 at a time over a week.
I’m beginning the background journey of building videos also that relate to health and fitness:
The plan is to get 30 videos recorded initially and then move into getting 30 blogs written.
Scott had a great idea of 30 in 30 for the business and this is the path that I’m on with it.
I’m pretty excited to see how this business will develop over time and want it to keep growing slowly and steadily and from the basis of the strong brand that we build – use that as a base to go and do even greater things.
It’s fun and challenging trying to learn more about the physical services industry again – and brings me back to the days of Deep Impakt Recordings and Gobsmacked.
But it’s great to combine the passion I have for health and fitness with working with a good friend in a manner that makes sense for us together.
Marketing is so evidently what I do and I’m eager to see where this goes.
There have already been some ‘failures’ in terms of the things we’ve tried
- I spent £500 hiring a cold caller coming into the end of November period when no one is really thinking about training outdoors or at least starting – in hindsight that was a really silly thing to do because I have no way of assessing whether the cold caller was any good or it was just ‘that time of year’
- We did the same thing with flyering in December. No one will even turn up to a session in the cold of December – so why bother flyering then?
There are also problems with the business model potentially.
Fitness outdoors is inherently a difficult sell for probably several months a year and impedes growth – so how do we combat this?
How do you truly scale a physical-based business?
If we grow via a franchised model what challenges will that bring? (This was something I’d previously decided to do with Deep Impakt Recordings and it failed)
How big can we grow the business overall?
But at the same time, there are also significant market opportunities:
The market is still underdeveloped in terms of outdoor fitness boot camps. Whilst bootcamps do exist in the UK, there isn’t one single huge brand that has a major market share.
Be Military Fit is the largest company in the UK, and they’ve grown via their franchise model and now have Bear Grylls as an investor/brand ambassador which demonstrates they see this as a growth market
In Scott’s classes, he has seen great retention even over the dreaded winter months and that underlines his ability to deliver great classes.
I am a marketer and am of the opinion most of our competition isn’t that sophisticated, so I’ll have the skill set to find a way to make this work
The way to scale is ‘digital’ as many would argue (courses/membership/clothing) – and this is where in parallel with the offline business – we’d like to set our goals
These are all the thoughts that turn around in my head with 1 More Rep and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out – but at its core there are several things here that do make it make sense:
I love health and fitness.
I love marketing.
And with 1 more rep – I can have it all.
That’s all for today guys – catch you in the next letter 🙂