“After our discovery days, you leave wanting to buy a franchise.”
So says Steve Strickland, CEO of Workout Anytime, which debuts on our Fast & Serious ranking in the No. 23 slot after growing sales and units 62 percent and 59 percent, respectively, from 2015-2017. The brand hit $53 million in sales in 2017, and its expansion to 143 locations to finish the year came thanks largely to positive franchisee validation, notes Strickland.
“Seventy-plus percent of our franchise partners own more than one club, which is the best validation of all,” he says.
Leading to that strong validation from existing franchisees is a growth strategy that recently has emphasized geotargeting and pay-per-click advertising as external marketing tactics for the low-cost, 24/7 gym brand. Internally, local marketing support, ongoing training, education and a focus on improving business systems has contributed to success, Strickland says.
Workout Anytime began franchising in 2006 and over the last three years has “hit a critical mass,” allowing it to “round out the franchise with a more refined business approach,” adds Strickland.
Of his guiding CEO philosophy to drive sustainable growth, Strickland says his approach is “to offer consumers a first-class facility at a value price, while providing our franchise partners a nice return on their investment.
“We are not in the business to sell franchises, we are in business to sell ‘successful franchises,’” he continues. “We are totally committed to the success of our franchise partners. It starts with site selection, real estate negotiation and aggressive membership sales during the construction phase.”
Increasing the presale of those memberships is both a challenge and an opportunity, one Strickland says Workout Anytime will “double down on” going forward. The goal is to sign 1,000 members before each gym opening.
The Franchise Times Fast & Serious list is our ranking of the 40 fastest-growing franchise systems that also have staying power, as an antidote to multiple other rankings that include too many one-year wonders. Controller Matt Haskin developed a proprietary 10-point formula, including percentage sales growth, percentage unit growth, dollar sales growth and numerical unit growth over the past three years. The database for the project is the Franchise Times Top 200+, our annual ranking published in October of the largest franchise systems by revenue. Haskin identified the companies that submitted information for all three years for that project, and then selected for analysis those with systemwide sales above $40 million.