Q&A with Mark de Gorter
WORKOUT ANYTIME recently named industry vet Mark de Gorter as the COO of the company. De Gorter answered a few questions about growing the WORKOUT ANYTIME brand and the keys to its success.
CS: What drew you to WORKOUT ANYTIME?
MG: I knew Steve Strickland for a number of years. He has built a great organization. He has taken it from zero to 80 clubs and that is an amazing undertaking in any industry, certainly in this one. The company has very strong economics, a tremendous group of developers and overall very committed people. They reached a point where they wanted a little more structure and strategic planning, which is really my background.
CS: How will you help grow the company?
MG: My role now is really to help connect the dots on the day-to-day operations of the business as it pertains to four key areas of franchising.
- The first is a really strong product and making sure that our product remains competitive. We are doing this in a couple of ways: through our new personal training program developed by Greg Maurer, as well as making sure we are providing the best pound for pound workout experience on the market.
- The next step is focusing on the brand and making sure the brand is engaging and perceived as both aspirational and inspirational to our members. We are working on strategic partnerships that can elevate the brand above and beyond the type of things a normal franchisee would be able to do on their own.
- The third element that we are focusing on is what we call the WORKOUT ANYTIME University. That is a multi-phased training and education system that allows our franchisees to get greater levels of immersive training and education in the day-to-day operations of their facilities. That exists on a number of levels from a very immersive academy type program that will involve three to five days of training in our corporate office to ongoing webinars covering everything from operations to marketing to sales. Then the last level is WORKOUT ANYTIME TV, which are a series of videos, each covering specific topics that any of our franchise partners can watch and learn.
- The final element I am focusing on is the integration of business systems and what we can do to improve what I call the connective tissue amongst the franchise network to make their operations more efficient.
CS: In your opinion, what separates WORKOUT ANYTIME from others in the industry?
MG: I think that certainly our basic model, which is low price and 24-hour availability, separates us quite a bit from anyone else that doesn’t do that. I think in our space we really differentiate ourselves from the other value price groups. We offer two membership programs: one for $15 a month and one for $25 a month. The basic membership program gives members access to all of our clubs nationwide. We are looking for people who want a really great workout at a really great price. We like to consider ourselves a results-based fitness facility and we really focus on that through the collection of equipment and the ancillary programs we develop, like our personal training program.
CS: What about plans for the future?
MG: Most of our franchisees are multi-unit franchisees and I think that speaks to the success of the model. They are successful, making money and engaging members. All franchisees have a tremendous passion and commitment for the brand and that is a great thing to see. We will continue to expand in existing regions and will also expand in regions that we haven’t sold as development territories. We do very well in small markets, but we are also seeing success in some of the larger markets, such as Chicago, Atlanta and Nashville. We believe the brand has legs to go international and we have had a lot of interest from people who want to take the brand international.