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Lift Brands’ Recipe for Growth


Hopefully at some point in your career you will be faced with the task of growing a company. Usually, growing is a positive thing. It means your company is experiencing success and ready to expand its reach. When you grow you have an even greater opportunity to impact more people through health and fitness.

However, there are some challenges that come along with growing. How do you know when it is time to grow? What if you grow too fast? What are the risks associated with expanding?

With six successful fitness brands, including 9Round and Snap Fitness, Lift Brands has experienced extreme growth over the past year. Not only has the company continuously grown domestically, but recently it has seen significant international growth as well. Steele Smiley, the chief development officer at Lift Brands, answered a few of our questions about expanding your brand.

CS: How has Lift Brands grown over the past year?

Steele Smiley: We have seen a lot of growth not only domestically, but more importantly internationally, which is a huge focus for us over the next five years. Somewhere in the world, in one of our six different brands, there are nearly 3,000 locations built or in development in 24 countries. We are certainly on a high growth trajectory and it has been a really fun ride for us over the last 12 months. This path will continue for us easily in the next three to four years. 

CS: Are there any challenges with growing at such a rapid rate?

SS: I think the challenge is really the infrastructure required to support the growth. We made a really meaningful change during the economic recession to build an infrastructure where we did everything ourselves. A system that allows us to do the real estate selection, the build outs, the software, everything we do to build a club, we build internally so we are very scalable. Much more scalable than the rest of our competitors, and so we have been able to grow really quickly, especially internationally over the last 12 months.

CS: When did you know it was a good time to grow?

SS: Honestly, when the phone starts ringing off the hook, you know it is time to go. We have been very fortunate domestically; we have grown so well over the last 10 years. Internationally it has been very different. Master candidates that want our brand in their countries are soliciting us. They reach out to us saying they are looking at a wellness brand, and I start to connect with them and a few months later they become our partners. Ultimately it is consumer driven demand.

CS: What advice would you give about growing a company?  

SS: I think growth is great, but controlled growth where your quality stays high is most important. Everyone wants to grow and that is a wonderful thing, but you need to make sure that the quality of your product is never sacrificed during that growth period.

Emily Harbourne

Emily Harbourne is the assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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