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Wellness Industry 25 May 2015

Fitness industry have opportunities for organised players: BodyPower CEO

US-based Nick Orton is the CEO of BodyPower, Physique Elite and a number of other fitness initiatives, partnerships and businesses across the globe with interests spanning 29 countries. In an exclusive conversation with Wellness India, the man shared his

Bringing bang-on opportunities for Indian fitness traders with huge scope for skill development, opportunities to tap into fitness space and suggestions to grow rapidly, the US-based fitness trade show BodyPower, which entered Indian market last year, is conceptualised by Nick Orton. Orton is recently being appointed as the health and fitness Editor for NDTV India. His current designation allows him to push out healthy living and fitness lifestyle content to an enormous number of people.

Wellness India brings to you an exclusive conversation with Orton to share a clear overview of Indian fitness industry and its current scenario:
 

What was the purpose behind conceptualizing BodyPower expo?
I started working on a concept for BodyPower in 2008, after we identified an opportunity in a team meeting. As myself and my core team are fitness enthusiasts, we were keen to use our collective skills to build a brand which inspired as many people as possible to get more into fitness.

What challenges you've faced while creating BodyPower expo? How did you overcome it?
Initially, we had many setbacks, as people in the fitness industry were skeptical that we could achieve our plans. As is in common with most ambitious plans, I was not surprised that people found it hard to believe it possible. In instances like this, you have two choices, either give up and accept that you were wrong, or fight for what you think is right and push on regardless. I have always been confident in my ability. I believe whole heartly that I can achieve anything I put my heart to, so it was an easy decision for me to press on regardless of the wider industry opinion. Nowadays, those people are nowhere to be seen of course!

Is it a bootstrapped project or you have raised funds from the investors?
Prior to starting BodyPower, I had already built, from scratch, a major trade show business, which I sold earlier in 2008. Financially, this sale was very lucrative and I was able to fund BodyPower. As a result, I did not required external investment at that time. For entrepreneurs, who do need investment to get their projects funded, my advice is that they should do adequate research into their project before they approach investors. You will only get one chance to impress an investor, so it’s essential that you approach them with impressive research, evidence and thought through plans.

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How difficult or easy is the fitness business in India? How the comparatively unorganized fitness industry may shift towards organized side of the business?
There are certainly opportunities in India for those who are organised, disciplined and hard working. One of my main frustrations working in the Indian fitness industry is the speed of getting things done. If you can work efficiently, you will achieve so much more.

Elaborate on the concept of corporate fitness in India? Can you name few corporate fitness gyms and wellness centers which are dominating the market at present?
I don’t think anyone is dominating the market at the moment – I see growth, but nothing which seems to have a robust business plan behind it.

Does BodyPower provide resources or fund to set up fitness venture in India? What's the eligibility and procedure?
We will be launching our PT studio franchise soon in India. This has proved very successful in the UK and allows trainers, who want their own studio to get one, with minimal investment and with a fully supported business, marketing and sales functions.

Who are the other existing players in the Fitness expo space whom you consider as your biggest competition and why?
I don’t view any other fitness expo as competition. Fitness is a fast growing industry throughout the world and consequently there is room for expo’s. I get upset if expo’s make up statistics about visitor numbers or mislead visitors/exhibitors in a bid to line their own pockets, but these expo’s are few and far between. I have a good relationship with other major expo organizers and I would like to think that there is mutual respect.

What could be the next biggest revolution into the fitness space as per your observation and research?
There is a major new revolution coming soon called Archon. BodyPower and Reebok are working together on the project and I am sure it would be hugely popular. To summarise, Archon is a very technical series of algorithms, which means that anyone can test their fitness against anyone else, regardless of sex, age, weight, build, etc. Exciting stuff and BodyPower will be launching this in India later in the year.

Ever since the inception of BodyPower expo in India, how you form strategy of marketing to gain competitive edge into the fitness space?
I have really enjoyed working in India. I have to say that I love the country and the people. I feel so welcome and I often now say that I am ‘half Indian’! My strategy has been to talk to people, encourage people to join me in my quest to inspire as many people as possible to get fitter. I have toured the country several times and will be starting the 2015 tour in July. I can’t wait to meet more people in the cities and villages around.

How does your revenue model look like?
I am investing heavily in India. My first priority is ensuring that as many people as possible should look towards fitness. Second is revenue, we charge exhibitors and sponsors to take part in the expo, and we charge delegates to visit the show. I expect to be investing in the country for several years further, before I see any return though.

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