In this episode, Michael Keller interviews Rick on The Business for Unicorns Podcast on how to build a fitness franchise and his entrepreneurial journey. Rick shares lessons from the Alloy Personal Training Fitness Franchise journey on how to succeed as an entrepreneur in the fitness industry.
Getting your systems and processes dialed in is important in the beginning. This allows you to grow, scale, retain, and repeat. This is the story of the Alloy Personal Training Franchise.
Alloy Lessons On Building a Fitness Franchise
Why Did You Franchise Alloy Personal Training?
Having been in business for over 30 years and licensed thousands of clubs worldwide, Rick Mayo and the Alloy team ventured into the franchising world in 2019. Shortly after, the pandemic struck, and we all know how this affected the fitness industry. But the Alloy Personal Training Franchise has been growing in a big way, with many locations coming up across the country since then
The original Alloy Personal Training facility started in 1992. After a lot of trial and error, we developed a successful business model based on personal training for more than one person with one coach. It ended up as one of the highest revenue per square foot facilities in the country. This created a high demand for Rick Mayo to speak and consult with other business owner on his success.
Following that phase, we licensed Alloy to business owners. We were powering many different brands from CrossFit to Anytime Fitness,Gold’s Gyms, boutique fitness studios, and everything in between. But we had little control over how they operated our systems and processes. After we would tell people how to run the Alloy personal training, it was hard to hold them accountable to those things to help them be much more successful.
Franchising is a better vehicle for success for the franchisor and franchisee. It’s like a collaborative partnership or a fractionalized partnership. So by the end of 2019, we branded and created our own franchise.
How Do You Differentiate Alloy From Other Fitness Franchises?
We differentiate ourselves with our personal training model by how we can make a scalable business model more affordable for the consumer. It’s a better business model for the owner. Creating a franchise is kind of the ultimate task of creating scalable systems.
What Systems Are Important To Scale?
Most of the deficiencies in business are operational efficiencies. We developed the best in business operating systems from software marketing techniques, sales induction process, personal training programs, and customer retention strategies. We wanted a seamless customer experience from the first time someone saw an advertisement or the brand name Alloy all the way through the customer lifecycle. Our scalable systems have resulted in one of the highest retention rates (97%) and the longest customer longevity (36 months) in the fitness industry. To have a seamless process for franchisees to be successful with operations, technology, marketing,sales, customer service, and the whole customer journey.
How Do You Scale Marketing And Sales Systems?
Many listeners to the Unicorn Business Podcast struggle with scaling systems around marketing and selling. Some think they have a lead production problem, but in reality they have a retention and operational problem.
They have a hard time wrapping their arms around the limited time they have as a team and how much time gets spent on marketing and selling. They aren’t two separate skill sets. If you can learn basic selling techniques and develop guidelines that would allow you to sell anything, then you can apply it to the fitness business and personal training. Once you learn to sell, the next step is to figure out how to create leads, which is marketing. That’s where marketing and sales become interconnected.
Alloy runs a very lean team, where most studios and franchises have an entire department dedicated to marketing and selling. All the industry experience over the years helped Alloy develop their marketing and sales systems. This is a differentiator for Alloy. Instead of hiring a separate marketing agency to develop leads and separate sales teams, as many do in the fitness industry, the Alloy franchisee doesn’t have to do that. We’ve already hammered all of those details out.
When you are a new franchisee in the pre-sales period, from day one you’ve got 50 leads, the software in the backend to support those leads, and it moves them into the different sales pipelines. It’s a scripted process, and we coach you by reviewing your text messages, listen to your phone calls and help coach you. We deliver that time to value with all the effort on the front end to get the quick returns. The advantages to the franchisee are it’s already done for you, already been tested, and has been working in every market. The clubs that we’ve opened have sold out, completely full in the pre-sale phase before grand opening. There are eight weeks of pre-sale before they open, and many were able to oversell and have a waiting list.
The Alloy Customer Demographic and Franchisee Is Unique
Our fitness concept is more expensive than a big gym concept. So our target customer trends in the older, 45 to 65-year-old age bracket. Our market is like a luxury car, where the customer avatar is not 26 years old, mostly because of the price threshold. It’s more in the 45 to 65 age bracket. Our customer are expecting scientific programming and the price threshold pushes us into that age category. That age group has more discretionary income typically. So yeah, I think that our franchise candidates recognize that because it just so happens that most people that have the money to invest in a franchise concept are also in the same age bracket as the people who can afford to buy Alloy personal training.
Alloy Vendor Partners Deliver Value
Another advantage of Alloy is our vendor partners. We have partners that are doing fantastic work in the fitness space. If someone’s already doing it what you need well, why invent something new that’s going to cost a lot of money to for you to develop?
Many of the franchisees may be owners that want to hire an operational manager or have multiple facilities. Getting the right staff inside the facility is huge. We provide the guides for the key staff, one of which is the Director of Training. They are like a general manager.
A talent acquisition vendor works in the fitness space for our franchisees. The job description and advertisement for this role is already prepared for the exact requirements for the person in this position. We also have a screening process we’ve built to help identify the right people to fill these roles. The need to be leaders, honestly care about people, and can address tough conversations.
The idea is we find people who are going to be great operators of each franchise, that they will attract people who want to work with them. And that’s a big part of the screening. We are hiring for both character and competence.
It’s very common in the business world for managers, CEOs and executives to take all kinds of self assessments on their personality, working style, communication style, and leadership style. It’s not very common in the fitness industry. So if you can get very clear on the values, characteristics, and skill set you need for your positions, then you can put together your own self assessment or ask specific questions that get to the core of what do you need from this person. People should hire more slowly and put people through the paces to make sure they’re a right fit.
Alloy has a set of core values that helps us to formulate questions about what makes someone a good fit for our culture.
Keep Your Focus On Your Main Business Revenue Stream
We discussed keeping the main thing, the main thing, to succeed in business in a prior podcast. Many entrepreneurs get the squirrel brain where they chase the latest and greatest ideas, that they forget to focus on their key business strategy. You don’t want to add additional lines of revenue if all of them are half-baked and take away from your main business revenue.
Tune in to hear his unique perspective, including the main things fitness entrepreneurs can do today to reap the biggest rewards.
- Why Rick franchised his business (02:29)
- The power of scalable systems and processes (04:59)
- Marketing and selling systems (08:11)
- The Alloy franchise avatar candidate (12:58)
- Finding the right Alloy franchises staff (15:35)
- Hiring for character and competence (22:36)
- Keep the main thing the main thing (24:57)
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Alloy Podcast Episode 155