How to run a franchise business

Mark Wahlberg

Written by F45’s Founder Rob Deutsch

Have a Strong Business Model

A strong business model is one that has been tried and tested by the franchisor and other franchisees, with notable success in demonstrating profitable operations for the franchised business. It’s important to remember that a lot of franchisees are first-time business owners, so a good franchisor will have everything prepared for them, with a systemised model that illustrates admirable success in everything from marketing and branding to site selection and approved vendors.

At F45, we have invested a considerable amount of resources and finances into researching and developing our systems and technology, ensuring franchisees are alleviated from unnecessary distractions, ensuring they can focus on value-added tasks that supercharge their profitability. Every aspect of the business, including advertising, financial controls, employee management and customer service has been catered to so that our business model can survive all stages of the economic cycle, and not one essential area has been neglected.

Our premium product combined with our tried and tested business model has been fundamental in driving our exponential global growth. This is also the main reason we have been able to secure the support of investors from all over the world, including the Mark Wahlberg Investment Group.

Have a point of difference

Having a strong offering with a point of difference is essential. It may be the product, or the service that that comes with the product, but it needs to have a unique selling point. F45’s USP is that you don’t need to do anything else – just the classes. It’s functional training at its best, no frills, no fuss, just workouts. We have a full-time global fitness team who are constantly developing new workouts; there are over 4,000 exercises and every three months 250 new ones are added, along with fresh equipment. We currently have 36 workout programmes, which are added to seasonally, and no two classes are ever the same. Each class contains different variations of high intensity, circuit-based exercises and we know our customers enjoy the excitement of never knowing exactly what they will be doing in their sessions. We are constantly developing our brand in order to offer variation; this could be the key to our global customer retention, and we thrive on that.

Technology is at the core of our business and has played a major role in our booming success. We have 25 people in our tech team, so we like to see ourselves as a software company just as much as a fitness company. We incorporate the latest innovations in patent protected, fitness-based technology for systemised delivery, increased motivation and measurement, as well as post activity workout reporting, resulting in an enhanced customer experience. Screens are strategically placed overhead illustrating each exercise, as well as a countdown to your rest period as you move along the circuit. This allows the trainers to focus entirely on motivating the participants and correcting form. The Aussie ‘community spirit’ offered by every F45 studio worldwide is also key to our business. We have world-class trainers who see their members as family, and encourage them to see their fellow exercisers as teammates, working together towards their goals

As a forward-thinking company, F45 incorporates another key fit-tech trend; heart-rate monitors. Our unique LionHeart technology and gamification software ensures members can monitor their progress and performance in real time. Unlike other systems on the market, the LionHeart technology can not only monitor heart rate, but also the percentage of the individual’s maximum effort and their total calories burnt in a session. Users are also rewarded for their efforts through our unique points system, which allows members to see how they are performing in comparison to their fellow classmates live in an F45 session.

Support your franchises

Recruiting quality franchisees is of central importance; good franchisees will promote network growth, whilst poor performers will stunt it. Once franchisees are accepted into your network, a support system should be firmly in place to help ensure your franchisees success. The type of support available will depend on the industry, the size of the franchise, the financial capabilities and the culture of the franchise system. At F45, we prioritise the development of our franchisees, and spend a considerable amount of time making sure they are adequately trained and prepared to run a profitable business. Assistance may include assessing and acquiring suitable sites, advice on the type of location, size of premises required, rent, rates and lease terms.

F45 offers all franchisee owners a comprehensive, one-week training programme which is can be undertaken at either the Australia or Los Angeles F45 headquarters. Alongside this training programme, franchisees receive ongoing training and development, to help them maintain the success of their franchise.

A supportive franchise system should strive to make additional investments in order to improve customer/member experiences and/or work overtime to satisfy demands. As a support system, a franchisor should allow franchisees to understand and recognise changes in the way the business is conducted as a result of emerging competition and any unforeseen circumstances.

At F45, we offer our franchisees access to ongoing training through our online portal, as well as providing training and education days which are run globally on a regular basis.

Executives and business owners all rely on proven support systems and partners to help them push past plateaus, smash through barriers and get them on their way to greatness, and the built-in support system offered to F45 franchisees is a prime example of how this can be achieved.

Protecting your brand

As a franchisor, your most valuable asset is your brand; protect it at all costs. Your brand represents your culture, your beliefs and your attitude toward your customers. It can be critically impacted by the conversations in the online and social space, which can often be difficult to control, so building a solid brand message and remaining consistent is crucial.

When making the decision to franchise your business, you are allowing new individuals to represent your brand, and this is one of the biggest risks of franchising. Clear guidelines should be established for the use of all brand assets. Consistency is super important at this stage and its fundamental that one clear message from one clear source is being relayed throughout the entire organisation. This can seem overbearing, but you should never let anyone use your brand assets in any way, no matter how small, without your prior approval.

Monitor everything, pay close attention to videos and pictures, and monitor all social media outlets on a regular basis. This will hopefully ensure comprehensive brand protection and reputation framework.

To protect our brand, we have strict guidelines around the look, feel and training, as well as control of sound and visuals. The only thing that differs from franchise to franchise is the people who work in them. We have F45 Master Trainers that champion the brand DNA across the network, and we hold events like our franchisee conference, to ensure we always remain a family.