By Bedros Keuilian of Fit Body Boot Camp
I’m very passionate about building franchise businesses the right way. The franchise model is a great way to do business, but we need to overhaul the way we do it. The fact that franchises can have a 30 to 40 percent failure rate and still be considered “healthy” strikes me as a little embarrassing, to say the least. I’ve always strived to do better in my own business, and now I want to help you do better as well.
(Photo courtesy of Bedros Keuilian)
Make Sure Your Selling Point Is Unique
The last thing you want to do as a new franchise business is try to compete with the big names. Don’t go up against a Starbucks or a Subway. They have far more money than you and they have their niches cornered. You won’t win.
Instead, solve a problem that no one else has solved yet. Examine your industry carefully and find the task that everyone needs to do but nobody likes doing. Take something that is boring, tedious and time consuming and make it fast, easy and fun. This is how you become unique: by offering an elegant solution to a problem no one else has fixed.
You might notice that this strategy leaves you with a highly specialized business. That’s a good thing. Your unique selling point should be the one thing you do better than anyone else. My own business, Fit Body Boot Camp, offers women over 30 of the fastest and most sustainable weight loss solution with the most flexible schedule. Our workouts are only 30 minutes long and use very little equipment – they’re accessible, quick, and fun.
And that’s exactly what our market wants. Is that what everyone wants? Of course not. There are people who want a more competitive, intense culture, so they go to Cross Fit. There are people who really like fancy equipment, so they go to Orange Theory. I’m not worried about either of those guys because we each have our own niche and are doing quite well within it.
Which leads me to my next point….
Find Your Niche
Pick out a market that the rest of your industry has ignored. Study them. Imagine yourself living like them. Learn to speak their language. Then, when you start pitching offers to them you’ll get much warmer prospects because that market has been waiting for someone to speak to them.
Again, I’ll use Fit Body Boot Camp as an example. We’ve studied and continue to study the female over-30 market for a long time, and by going narrow and deep with our focus we’ve discovered some important insights. Yes, women do want different things in their fitness than men do. They’re more interested in cooperation and group support than competition, and they consider self-care a core value. Naturally, we’ve built all of that into our program design and marketing.
However, we’ve learned something that a lot of other businesses seem to miss: women don’t necessarily want “women’s fitness.” The women who are ready to commit to a boot camp program are just as serious about their fitness as any man is. They want to know that they’re part a real fitness program, something that’s going to challenge them to achieve amazing, lifelong results.
If you look carefully at the marketing for Fit Body Boot Camp, you’ll notice we do focus on women’s concerns, but we don’t coddle them. All of our branding, even down to our location design, reinforces that we are a fitness company. There’s no bells and whistles, no flowery extra stuff – just fitness done right. Turns out, our market likes the honesty of that.
Embrace The Future
This is big one, and it’s the hardest thing for most people to grasp.
We live in a whole new world of marketing. Marketing spaces are more crowded and consumers are more desensitized and media smart than ever before. The old ways of doing business are done. Don’t think for one second you can do what McDonald’s did and grow your brand by just slapping your name and logo everywhere.
Your marketing needs to be nimble, specific, and ready to adapt at any moment. Embrace online marketing – it’s faster, cheaper and more effective than any of the old media. Understand that even when you’re doing everything right, marketing your business will be ten times as difficult as you expect going in.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your good idea will “sell itself.” It won’t. Get scrappy and do whatever it takes to make your vision a reality.
Bedros Keuilian is the founder and CEO of the world’s fastest growing indoor fitness boot camp franchise: Fit Body Boot Camp. He’s also the fitness industry’s leading consultant for marketing, business systems and development. His blogs, products, books, and live events help tens of thousands of fitness professionals and business owners around the world build more robust and profitable systems. Bedros has been featured as a host and expert on Spike TV’s Gym Rescue, and he’s also known as the “Hidden Genius” behind many of the biggest names in the fitness industry including top celebrity personal trainers featured on popular television shows. An immigrant from a communist country turned hugely successful entrepreneur, Bedros uses the stage to share his personal American Dream story and impart his passion for success with audiences worldwide.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.