This is a success story of sheer grit, passion and indomitable spirit. Snap Fitness’ rise in the fitness industry shows that right vision and determination can never go wrong.
Read to get inspired and learn how three fitness enthusiasts brought an international fitness chain to the country & how they plan to change the Indian fitness industry scenario.
India’s youth is rising to the increased need of staying fit. Hectic lifestyles and improving disposable incomes are pushing the young brigade towards gyms and fitness centres. A FICCI-PwC report released in 2012 estimated the size of the wellness industry at Rs 70,000 crore in 2012, and projected it at Rs 100,000 crore by 2015.
Rising demand is galvanising the industry into action and it is now getting more and more organised. One of the major constituents of this sector- the gyms have shown a steady change in this regard. Local gyms have more or less been overpowered by well organised and formally structured ones, getting a sense of order and a proper system in place.
One of the recognised players in the fitness industry that has made a niche for itself in a span of just six years is Snap Fitness. Introduced in the Indian market by Dr Vikram and Srileka in the year 2008, Snap Fitness is one of the fastest growing fitness chains in the world today. Within just six years of its launch in the country, the brand has been successful in opening more than 60 centres across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and tier II, III cities like Daman, Pathankot, Mysore, Raipur, Lucknow, Vadodara, Guwahati, Davangere, Tumkur.
How Snap came into being
It was a membership with a local gym in Bangalore that formed the basis of Dr Vikram entering the world of fitness.
When Dr Vikram took up the membership, the idea of running a franchise of the same gym crossed his mind. That’s when he met Srileka, who was associated with that gym and who helped them buy and run the franchise successfully for about one and a half years.
But there was no stopping for Dr Vikram, who envisioned a bigger and better fitness scenario for Bangalore and subsequently, the rest of the country.
Dr Vikram decided to visit the US in search of a bigger opportunity. There he met Peter Taunton, the man behind Snap Fitness and were very impressed with his vision and business model. As they say, luck favours the brave and thus, he returned with the Master Franchise rights of Snap Fitness for India and opened the first club in November 2008 in Bangalore (Indiranagar).
Dr Vikram’s early realisation of the growing need for international quality fitness centres in India that are affordable and accessible to the common man finally led him to become the CEO and MD of Force Fitness India Pvt. Ltd; the Master Franchisee of Snap Fitness for India.
Today, Snap Fitness is one of the biggest international fitness chains in South India and the third largest international fitness chain in India. Dr Vikram and Srileka aspire to make Snap, the No.1 international fitness chain in the country and also plan to go public with an IPO in the next two years.
“Inspiration is nothing but our passion for fitness. It is also the need of the hour for India. It’s a healthy business to be in as you are helping people stay healthy by the day. As they say, prevention is better than cure,” opines Dr Vikram.
Soon enough, Snap Fitness came to be known as a no frills neighborhood fitness centre. It offered complete value for money by providing an international workout experience with world class equipment, certified trainers, dieticians, 24X7 access and easy accessibility; all at an affordable price.
“‘Fast, Convenient and Affordable’ is our brand tagline and we stick to our brand promise. Join any one club and access all 2,500 worldwide in USA, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia,” informs Dr Vikram.
Franchising for a healthier biz
Franchising has helped thousands of brands in India to achieve the horizontal growth in business. Similarly, Dr Vikram believes, “Franchising will play a very important part in our expansion plans as we understand that it is the fastest way to grow and also leverage on our local strengths. Our parent company has expanded primarily through the franchise route and we would do the same.” Snap Fitness understands the benefits that franchising brings with itself. It’s not just about better expansion but also effective management and delegation of responsibilities. The brand takes pride in being one of those in the industry that is well known for its franchisee support and training.
Snap Fitness boasts in being the ‘one-stop-solution (from thought to finish)’ for setting up an international fitness centre and making it profitable. The brand carefully selects its franchise partners. It looks for like-minded individuals who share Dr Vikram’s passion for fitness and wellness. Franchisees must be able to devote some time to their business. On the brand’s end, Snap Fitness is committed in providing a start to finish project support to its franchisees; right from selection of location, procurement of equipment, build-outs to recruitment and training of staff, pre-opening support and ongoing sales training and marketing support.
For a successful franchisor-franchisee relationship
The brand believes in maintaining world-class standards at all their centres. To help franchisees attain that perfect level of service and maintain the brand’s reputation in the market, Snap Fitness conducts regular franchise audits. Monthly reviews of all the clubs is conducted with either the franchise owner or their representatives to check on customer satisfaction, marketing and sales. The brand has also initiated an audit visit to the clubs, making sure they stick to the protocol and parameter of Snap Fitness.
Also, it believes in going all out to support its associates and franchise partners as it feels brand support goes a long way in helping the franchisee grow and in turn, help the brand grow further. Be it support in the form of operations, marketing, recruitment, training or sales, Snap believes its success lies in the franchise owner’s success as he/she represents the brand.
Expanding its footprint
With an aim to spread fitness throughout the country, Snap Fitness is looking at pan-India expansion. Targeting high streets of residential catchments and areas with good visibility and ample parking, Snap wants to set up centres in Hyderabad, Chennai, Cochin, Ahmedabad, Surat, Indore, Pune, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar. The brand’s main focus, however for now is Delhi and NCR. It is eager in setting up base in the national capital with many clubs being opened there in the near future.
For franchise enquiries, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
“WILL ADD 200+ CLUBS IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS”
In a candid conversation with TFW’s Parina Sood, Dr Vikram talked about the initial challenge that Snap Fitness faced as it started out. Here’s a snippet of brand’s past struggle, present positioning and future plans for India.
You started out in 2008, during recession. Did it cause any problem?
As we launched Snap Fitness in the peak of recession in 2008, it definitely added a level of difficulty for us, as Snap was an unknown brand at that time. We found it difficult to sell our first franchise for that reason. But the runaway success of our first club proved that Snap could be recession proof and we sold 6 franchises after that, all of them being members of our first store.
How is Snap Fitness positioned at present?
We have 10 company owned and 50 franchisee led centres at present. Moving forward, we would be adding 20 more company owned locations and more than 200 plus franchise outlets. We have a mandate to open 300 locations pan-India. For the year 2014, we will be adding another 40 franchisees by the end of December.
What kind of growth do you see for your brand in the next five years?
We are looking at adding more than 200 clubs over the next five years. But by the end of this year we will be close to 100 clubs. We have just entered the North Indian market and within a span of 6 months we have opened four locations and signed 10 more locations which are in the build out stage.
DR VIKRAM, CEO & MD, Snap Fitness India
AN EARLY BEGINNING
A passionate and a restless soul since his early days, Dr Vikram wanted more out of life at every step. His entrepreneurial spirit and intelligence prompted a young Vikram, barely in class 12th then, to become a sales representative with a real estate firm. At that tender age itself, Vikram closed around 42 deals in Shimoga for the company and tasted success for the first time. Next, he joined Amway where his dedication and hard work saw him rise quickly to the level of direct distributor.
Donning many hats in the early stages of his life, Dr Vikram went on to organise live events for a while and hosted shows of S P Balasubramanyam, Usha Uthup and Jonny Lever in Shimoga that were highly appreciated. An active NCC member, Dr Vikram took to distribution of medical equipment in Shimoga while in the second year of his B.D.S (Bachelor of dental Surgery) as they weren’t readily available in the region.
In the later years, even while practising dentistry, Dr Vikram used to explore the possibilities of additional revenue and made some small time profits in real estate before entering the world of fitness.
Investment: Rs 1.5-1.8 crore
RoI: 40 to 45%
Area: 3000 to 5000 sq.ft
Breakeven: 2-3 years
Expansion Plans: 300 clubs by the next 5 years