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Making a Fitness Franchise a Success

Shannon Hudson

The neat thing about my business is that I get to meet potential franchise owners from throughout the country.  It's a ton of fun to meet people from all over the United States.  If they are from up north, I can crack a joke or two about their northern accent, call them a "Cranky Yankee", and so on.  (That's about all the northern jokes I have). These folks come to the corporate office to see what we are all about and meet the team.


When they come in, of course, myself and my team, put our best foot forward.  I'm up late the night before begging my wife to iron my slacks.  (I tried to learn, but it's embarrassing to see the product of my ironing.) We make sure the office and corporate clubs are clean and smelling good.  Heck, I make sure I am smelling good too, so I spray 3 sprays of "Success" cologne made by one of my idols, Donald Trump. I razzle and dazzle them with a power point presentation then we show them a few successful clubs.


After I do my high energy presentation, I get a few questions.  The funny thing is, I always get this one question.  The question is, "What makes a 9Round Fitness Franchise successful?"  Is it the location, the equipment, what?  Here is the answer.  It's not the location, the best punching bag, the coolest t-shirt...IT'S THE PERSONALITY OF THE TRAINER ON THE FLOOR!!  PERIOD. People are always surprised when I tell them that their location by the Starbucks is NOT going to make them a success.  Here is a quote that I developed that I am quite proud of.  I tell all franchise candidates this.  "We are NOT in the Fitness Business, we are in the PEOPLE business."


When a client walks in a club for a workout, they don't really give a rats a#! about what kind of day the trainer had or how the trainer physically feels.  All they really want is a great workout, someone to encourage them, and someone to pay attention to them.   This is an element of customer service that a lot of the 24 hour "Big Box" gyms can't seem to understand.  Come on folks, fitness is really not about the fancy hexagon-octagon (whatever they are) dumb bells or the super-duper elliptical with 43 movie channels on it.  It's about service.  That's why it's called the customer SERVICE.


On a final note, there is not a piece of fitness equipment or machine in the world that can replace the human face to face, toes to toes, nose to nose customer experience.  All the virtual stuff is a load of crap. Yep I said it!!  Machines??  Hogwash!!!   Hate em.  When you go into a 9Round Fitness Kickboxing Club, you will NEVER, EVER, EVER see a machine.  Not while I'm the CEO.   You WILL SEE minimal equipment and high energy trainers there to motivate you.  When you walk in the trainers know your name and use it.  They will give you a pat on the back and will tell you when you are doing something good. They will correct your form so you don't get injured, then they will drive you home and tuck you in at night with a goodnight kissy.  (Just kidding about that tuck you in part, but I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.)


Hey, if you haven't noticed, I'm proud of the fact that we rely on people to create a customer experience. FITNESS IS ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE, NOT THE STUFF IN THE GYM.

Shannon Hudson, founder and CEO of 9Round Franchising, LLC is the current IKF Light Middleweight Kickboxing Champion of the World. He trains under legendary boxing trainer Xavier Biggs, brother of 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Tyrell Biggs. He has a 5th degree Black Belt in Japanese Shotokan Karate and a 4th Degree Black Belt under Joe Lewis's Fighting System JLFS.