Fitness franchising continues to gain momentum, especially with boutique clubs. Of those people who belong to a gym, over 40 percent are members of boutique studios, and that percentage continues to grow. With over 60 different fitness franchise businesses to choose from, how do you differentiate yourself to potential franchisees?
Focus tends to be on the type of modality — bootcamp, barre and HIIT, etc — the strength of the brand, franchise costs and franchisee endorsement. What many don’t consider is the support platform the brand provides.
A franchise is really a brand-driven company. If the brand is strong, people identify with it and want to be a part of it. So, when deciding how to set up your franchise support platform, doing everything you can to create a replicable model is paramount. You want your franchisee to be able to create his or her business to look and feel like your corporate club — like you’re on property every day.
That means your platform should include your operations, marketing and training information to ensure the integrity of the brand is preserved and the guesswork is removed from the franchisee. The platform should also be easy for the franchisee to access, and easy for the franchise to update.
Operations support should include everything needed to run the business. This includes the employee handbook, job descriptions, emergency procedures and approved vendor list, etc. The more guidance you can include about how to run the business, the more the margin for error decreases.
Marketing is the consumer’s first exposure to your brand, so this area needs to be substantial and easy to use. The more comprehensive your marketing support platform is, the stronger the uniformity of the brand, the stronger the brand recognition. A strong marketing support platform includes everything from campaign templates to logos, approved colors, decals and branded apparel — everything down to what is approved in bathroom decoration.
Support for the coaching staff should also be done through the platform. A library of exercises complete with pictures, videos and the approved language used to cure and correct is the first step. Additionally, specific instructions on the flow of the class, interactions with the members, timing, music and even how to clean the club after a class, further ensures symmetry from club to club. So, while each coach brings his or her unique personality to the club, the execution of the class will be the same in every class every time.
Franchising clubs is a growing trend, and those with a robust support platform provide both the franchise and the franchisee with the security of brand alignment from one franchised club to the next.