How To Scale Your Fitness Business to Multiple Locations

Do you have what it takes to scale your empire from a single location into multiple across the world?

A lot of personal trainers will start a fitness business and they’ll see that one gym location do really well. So they think, “well if I’m doing so well here, then I can open more locations and create even more success and wealth.”

So they open up another 2, 3 locations and they find that those locations aren’t doing as well as the first one.

They want to go bigger, but they’re forgetting the first crucial step to opening multiple locations, and that’s proof of concept.

Prove the Concept Before You Scale

Just because you have one successful location, that doesn’t automatically mean your idea has legs to stretch globally.

Your first location is dependent on you. You’re in the trenches, doing the work, creating the brand, making sure everything is running the way you want it to.

What often happens is these entrepreneurs step away from the first location to focus on opening more locations, and they come back to the first one and find it’s gone to shit.

Why? Because their heart, soul, and vision left, and the clients left with it.

This begs the question, is it the owner making this business successful, or is it really a scalable idea?

Can this idea survive in various cities and demographics?

You need to figure out what’s unique about you, and market the hell out of it.

Let’s look at Afters Ice Cream. They created a simplified model of taking a warm, glazed donut and stuffing your favorite ice cream flavor into it.

They turned this simple idea into their unique selling point, and now they’re growing and already have a strong brand image.

Why Fit Body Boot Camp Is Scalable

I saw all the glaring problems with boot camps, and I knew this boot camp concept had the potential to help more people.

With traditional outdoor boot camps, there’s a lot of limitations – for one thing, the weather could stop your business in its tracks.

Because of this, boot camps became a seasonal thing. Unless you live somewhere warm in climate like California or Florida, you’re going to be dealing with rain and snow during the winter months.

Which puts you out of business until spring and summer.

You can’t use a lot of fitness equipment outdoors, you have to worry about Mrs. Jones tripping on a sprinkler head, you can’t charge what you’d charge in a nice studio.

Everyone told me boot camps were a fad, and I shouldn’t waste my time. But I knew I could break the rules and create a whole new model.

I saw my first location become successful, so I opened a second, and then a third, and fourth, and so on.

If your first four locations do well, then you can move to scale.

What You Need to Do to Scale Multiple Locations

The first thing you need to do is replace yourself.

With Fit Body Boot Camp, we have location managers who run our marketing campaigns and convert leads into clients.

Our trainers deliver results to our clients, and our assistants make sure the clients are paying on time and not missing sessions.

There was a time when I was the guy running the show and doing everything. If you’ve been following me long enough, you know that that led to anxiety attacks and ulcers.

You don’t need to be the guy or gal doing everything in your gym or boot camp. You hire people who have the skill and the personality you want, teach them your systems, and step away.

When you’re opening up location two, you’re going into an unpredictable environment where things can and will go wrong.

In case something does go wrong, you better make sure you have systems in place so no one is running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

That’s why I have myself and my team members write quarterly “alien abduction manuals”. These manuals are a step by step guide on how each individual does their job.

In case anyone is ever abducted by an alien, someone new will be able to come in and know exactly what to do based on this manual.

Where Curves Failed, FBBC Succeeds

I like to do studies on two franchises – one that’s successful, and one that’s failed.

One of those that have failed is Curves.

Curves had 13,000 locations in 2006, and now they’re under 2,000.

So I thought, what the hell happened? How did this once successful company take such a huge nose dive?

The reason is they had a program that didn’t deliver results, and they weren’t charging enough to hire trainers.

At FBBC, our coaches deliver results, we run a Facebook group to keep members motivated outside of the studio, and we’ve built a community environment.

Obstacles to Scaling

Cultures, systems, and leadership are your biggest obstacles to scaling.

When FBBC was suffering, I was faced with the decision of either closing shop or fighting for my business.

So I manned up to become an effective leader, I got clarity of my vision, and I built a high performance team.

Back when I was doing all the selling and marketing, I knew I needed to outsource but I didn’t have the vision to guide my sales reps on how to turn prospects into clients.

In order to achieve your goals, you have to get your team and clients behind your vision. And to do that, you have to have culture.

When you’re leaving to open more locations, your clients from location one may feel like you’re abandoning them.

This is where you have to fill them in on your vision. Tell them you must open more locations to help 100,000,000 people live healthier lives by 2025. Get them excited to be part of something bigger.

Now comes the part that no one wants to do, creating the systems.

You don’t run the business. Your run the systems, and the systems run your business.

When a pull up bar breaks or you’ve got a leaky pipe, what do you do? Do you have a system to handle problems as they arise?

Many of these great business that could scale bigger get stuck because they take a step forward, then have to take another step back to fix what went wrong.

Think of it this way, if you can go away on a one month vacation and the place isn’t on fire, then you’ve created successful systems.

If you come back and things are the same or less, then you’re an ineffective leader and need to tend to your garden.

To hear Craig Ballantyne and I talk about how to scale your gym into multiple locations, click here and watch our podcast!

Committed to your success,