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Dec, 02 2015

Give shape to your startup dreams

“Stay fit, stay healthy and stay happy, and business will run smoothly,” believes Satya Sinha, a first generation entrepreneur, who runs a corporate fitness business and a fitness chain, Chisel in partnership with Virat Kohli. Read on to know more on how

One of the most remarkable things that I do every month is talk to world-class entrepreneurs.These business leaders work in diverse industries, but they are people who have reached the top of their professions and have surmounted unbelievable amount of hardships to get to where they are now. I recently spoke to Satya Sinha, Founder-Director, Chisel Fitness LLP expedite. For almost two decades, Satya & her huband, Dr Shardul Sinha (a qualified MBBS)  have been running a corporate fitness brand called Medifit, in Bangalore.

As they had pioneered the concept of corporate fitness in India, starting a dedicated separate stand-alone gym and fitness brand was a logical progression, they believe. That's how the idea of brand Chisel was born. Medifit worked on a B2B model and they wanted to capture the growing B2C gym market in India with brand Chisel.

Flip side of Chisel's Founder
1.    Favourite sport: Freestyle fitness
2.    First venture: Medifit Consultants Pvt Ltd
3.    Mentor/aspiration: Ratan Tata
4.    Entrepreneurship to you mean: Hands on in everything I do
5.    Favourite sportswear: Adidas
6.    Sportsman: David Beckham
7.    Family support: As a first generation entrepreneur, I have been largely self-sufficient but have taken exponential family support as and when needed.

Pumping up the business plan

For Chisel, it's been an exciting journey since their launch in April 2015 as the brand has made rapid strides in the last seven months with 11 franchisee sign ups. They also opened their second operational centre in Sanjay Nagar Bangalore, in October 2015.

When asked about the USP of Chisel, Satya Sinha, avers: “Consumers in the gym segment in India want constant variation, and our USP and differentiating element, is our diverse, new age,  and innovative fitness programmes, which are out of the box and clutter breaking from other fitness programmes in the market. We have a range of programmes from Les Mills, Exer Gaming, Hydro Fitness, Muay Thai fitness and a host of other free style and functional programmes.”

#NEVERSTOP mantra for business workout- Satya Sinha

Any challenges faced in managing two ventures?

Not at all, as my husband Dr Shardul Sinha looks after our corporate business through Medifit, and I'm fully focused on the growth of brand Chisel through Chisel Fitness LLP.

What kind of growth do you see in fitness industry?

As per Industry reports, the fitness and wellness Industry in India is worth INR 1 trillion, and with a young consumer base who spend a lot of time and money on fitness and wellness, we see huge potential for further growth and expansion.

Tech role in your business.

We have an effective club management software system, to track all member financial details across all franchisee centres. This will lead to transparency and efficiency on income statements, royalties and profit share.
Criteria of staff selection for your franchise centres.

All our trainers and program managers must possess all relevant fitness course certificates and have diverse experience in all fitness activities. As I have 17 years of experience in the fitness domain, I understand the importance of qualified trainers and instructors and ensure the best recruitment. Our head program manager went for a certification program to Les Mills Dubai.

Chisel’s success mantra.

#NeverStop is our mantra, and that's how we pursue excellence in everything we do. Everyone from the housekeeping staff to the Directors are responsible for the growth of our brand.

Game on with Virat Kohli

Post launching the brand Chisel, the management was keen to take the brand to the next level looking at the existing gap in the Indian B2C gym market for a world-class Indian brand, as the segment was dominated by players such as Gold's Gym, Fitness First and Snap Fitness. For Chisel, the partnership with Virat Kohli was a step in the right direction to achieve the goal of creating a world class indigenous brand. Striking the chord right, Chisel found the deal more than apt when Virat Kohli's licensing agency CSE Consulting approached them with a business idea, and it didn't take them  long to formalise an association.

On Virat’s association with the brand, Satya emphasises: “Anyone who follows Virat Kohli, will know that he is by far the fittest cricketer in India today, and an icon for fitness to many young Indians. Fitness is an area very close to Virat’s heart and hence he treats this partnership like his own personal venture. As Virat jointly owns brand Chisel with my firm (Chisel Fitness LLP), he often takes time out to visit us and share his inputs on fitness and modern training programmes.

Mastering the fitness business

Sandeep Naidu Gatti, (28 yrs), "Master Franchisee, CHISEL, Andhra & Telangana, “My association with Chisel is not that old but it makes me proud to be associated with a fitness chain where a leading cricketer has a role to play. My mission in life is to spread fitness and greenery around me."

Strengthening the franchise muscle

Franchise India is the exclusive marketing and franchisee recruitment partner for Chisel and they have a very stringent due diligence process on selecting the right franchisee. Satya also spends considerable amount of time with the new franchisee prior to sign up, to gain a comfort level in doing business together. So far, they have not come across many challenges, as many likeminded people have come forward and shown a keen interest in taking a Chisel franchise.
The brand currently has 11 franchisee sign ups, and is targeting a further 10-15 sign ups before the end of the financial year. What sets them apart is their stringent quality control by developing effective SOPs and maintaining brand guidelines at all franchise centres. The brand's two operational centres in Bangalore are doing extremely well with steady member growth.

The brand is keen to partner with young entrepreneurs. Specifically, they prefer working with franchisees between the age of 30 and 40. Led by a young dynamic brand, working with young people is an added advantage for them.
We got Virat's mind on Chisel's  expansion too, when asked about the five year plan, he says:  “Apart from 100+ operational centres, in five years, we aim to be India's preferred destination for new age, holistic and innovative fitness”
The brand believes that once they get established  in tier 1 and metro cities, they will then expand in tier II cities to capture the growing Indian middle class population who are spending an increasing amount of their disposable income on gym memberships.

Not to miss, international expansion is on the cards for Chisel and their first overseas targets are Dubai and Sri Lanka.  



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