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Jul, 29 2015

“Success is actually about making a difference in people's lives”

This was the principle upon which I and my partner Dr. Vikram based our business idea on. We not only wanted to make a difference in people's lives by making them healthier and happier but also help people in realising their dreams of becoming Entrepreneu

My love affair with fitness began in 2004 when I moved back to India from Australia. Armed with an MBA in Finance from London University and an MBA in Marketing from Sydney University, I was all set to take up a staid and routine job in a bank, but one visit to a neighbourhood fitness centre changed my life forever.

I applied for the job of a centre manager of the club and after that there was no looking back. Not only did I manage to turn around the club but was promoted to Brand manager and Franchise Manager within 6 months. The energy of the fitness industry was so addictive that it was next to impossible to even think of working in any other industry.

It was then that I met Dr.Vikram who is a dentist by profession and equally passionate about fitness and wellness. He took up a Franchise of the big box fitness brand I was currently working with and while running the club he realised that though the industry is growing and the response to branded gyms phenomenal, the high fixed overheads of a big box fitness club made it impossible for the franchise owner to make money.

The principle upon which the model is based and the man behind it, Peter Taunton made it easy zero in on our decision to take the Master Franchise and bring this brand down to India. Peter Taunton was himself the owner and operator of big box fitness clubs which included swimming pools, sauna, tennis courts etc. He then realised that 90% of the people did not have the time to use any other facility other than the basic gym facility of cardio and strength. He then shrunk the model from 30,000- 3000 sq feet and brought down the cost to a dollar a day. The model was a runaway success for both members and investors. The members were happy that they were getting value for money and not paying for services they were not using and the franchisees were happy with the healthy ROI. This helped the brand  become is a global leader in fitness franchises with currently   2,500 clubs worldwide  in USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, UK, India, New Zealand  and some 15-20 new clubs added monthly somewhere in the world.

Being a Franchisee in the fitness space can be hugely rewarding and challenging. Rewarding both mentally and financially because you are not only helping people get healthier, fitter and happier but also are part of an industry which is growing 40% year on year. Fitness and wellness will only get bigger with more and more people getting fitness conscious and lifestyle diseases going up. Our Bollywood and Hollywood stars also contribute hugely towards the growing awareness on fitness. Also, the energy is so addictive that once you get into the fitness industry, you will find it very difficult to work in any other sphere. We have 60% of our franchisees who are first generation entrepreneurs who have given up their jobs to open Snap centres and find it extremely satisfying and fulfilling. They have moved on to being successful businessmen/ women who have opened multiple clubs and have secured their future successfully. Their retirement plans are set. Moreover, Fitness being a cash positive business where people pay upfront for the entire year, your operational break even happens even before the gym is officially open and your working capital requirements are taken care of.

We formed Force Fitness India Pvt Ltd in 2008 and the first Snap club was opened in India in November 2008 in Bangalore. The high value proposition, convenience of location, being open 24/7 and global reciprocity etc helped us get 200-300 members even before the gym was officially launched. Looking at the success of the centre, our members started asking for franchises and our first 12 clubs were franchised out to members of our first club.

(Srileka Reddy, Co-founder- Director Marketing, Snap Fitness India. She did her MBA in Finance from London University and MBA in Marketing from Sydney University. Basically from Hyderabad, Lekha has been in the fitness industry for over 14 years. A mother of two kids, Lekha believes that fitness should not be looked at as a short term goal but should be a part of a lifestyle change. She advises budding women entrepreneurs to believe in their own ability and do not give up.)


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