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From Military Veteran to Club Owner

Roni Meyerhoff

Serving in the military provides veterans with a number of skills, many of which apply to owning a small business. For evidence of this, look no further than Roni Meyerhoff, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 23 years before becoming a 9Round franchisee in Marietta, Georgia.

During his time in the military, Meyerhoff served in a variety of leadership roles and was deployed all over the world, including combat environments. No matter where he was located, working out was always a top priority, and his workout of choice was a 30-minute HIIT workout involving a heavy bag. As a result, he understood the effectiveness of a workout that emphasized intensity over time. 

Ultimately, Meyerhoff’s passion for 30-minute HIIT workouts, paired with a desire to help people, made him a perfect fit to become a 9Round franchisee. Here, he shares his biggest lessons learned from his time in the military and how that applies to his gym today.

CS: What are some of the biggest lessons you learned from your time in the military that you use in your day-to-day business or that impact your current leadership style? 

RM: My time in the Marine Corps taught me the value of a disciplined routine and what it takes to overcome adversity. I learned to move through the ambush, toward “the sound of the guns.” Marines don’t run away, we confront our battles and leverage our disciplined training with our physical and mental readiness to bypass and collapse what stands in our way.

While my work environment today is vastly different from what I faced on a daily basis in the military, I still maintain this same focused mindset. Regardless of how it presents itself, we all face adversity, so the determination to overcome obstacles applies to everything in life.  

As the owner of a 9Round franchise, I find it especially rewarding to empower others with the intensity to reach their physical goals through their own workout routines. Furthermore, since my military background gave me an appreciation for a system that requires following a script and upholding a certain standard, franchising has been the perfect business model for me to succeed with. 

CS: What was the biggest challenge in transitioning from the military to being a small business owner, and how have you overcome that challenge? 

RM: Transitioning into the civilian sector after spending a good portion of my adult life as a Marine has not been easy. I certainly loved serving my country and the selfless meaning it brought to my life, so finding the same value when I retired from the military was easier said than done. 

But my journey to where I am today as a 9Round franchisee made for an adventurous and educational journey. Striving for success with the same sense of boldness and initiative that characterizes me as a Marine actually allowed me to operate better than most in many unique and challenging environments, beginning with corporate America and now in the heartland of this country’s small business sector. The combined experiences I’ve gained from the aggregate have been priceless. 

In the end, finding 9Round gave me a renewed chance to change lives, which is something I desperately wanted to do. Serving others is ultimately what gives meaning and significance to my own life. When I learn about how my 9Round studio has changed a member’s life for the better, I’m stricken with a sense of pride and accomplishment that closely resembles what I once felt as a Marine. 

CS: Did you receive any sort of financial incentive as a veteran joining the brand?

RM: Yes, because I’m a veteran, 9Round gave me a 15% discount on my initial franchise fee when I joined the brand. Through incentives like this, 9Round continues to encourage veterans like myself to join its franchise network, earning the brand its third consecutive year of recognition on Entrepreneur’s annual ranking of Top Franchise Brands for Veterans.

CS: How do you continue to support veterans through your own franchise?   

RM: I offer various membership incentives to veterans and first responders, among others, and I also support local veterans’ groups. We are currently planning to host a fundraising event with our local Cobb County Police Department, and we’re also looking further into enhanced opportunities to support those serving our local community with a health and wellness program.

CS: What’s your vision for your franchise’s future, and is there anything else you’d like to share? 

RM: I would like to play a role in the proliferation of the 9Round brand in and around Atlanta and beyond. It also would be great for 9Round to continue expanding its presence abroad and/or in close proximity to U.S. military bases and stations around the world. 

I’m thankful for the love and support my wife and family have provided, because the burden of small business is something you carry 24/7. It takes a strong family to persevere.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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