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How I Grew My Franchise — Fast

Take it from Wendy Alexonis with F45 Training: Growing a franchise is all about hard work, passion, and perseverance.
How I Grew My Franchise &#8212 Fast
Image credit: Casey Rowland Photography
F45 Training franchise owners Wendy Alexonis and her husband Kristian Gose

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One summer after their kids went away to camp, Wendy Alexonis and her husband Kristian Gose had some spare time on their hands. What better way to spend it, they figured, than focusing on their health? So, the pair hit the local big-name gym and took a class. Problem was, they weren’t very impressed. Before they even left the parking lot they started searching online for a better program.

That’s when they came across F45 Training. At the time, there weren’t any gyms near their hometown of Tucson, Ariz. But they continued to research and eventually reached out to the franchise team at F45 headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. They liked what they heard. After doing their due diligence, Alexonis and Gose decided to take the plunge and opened their first F45 Training franchise in late 2019.

“What originally attracted us to the brand was the effectiveness and efficiency of the workouts, and then we discovered the community within F45 and were sold,” Alexonis explains. “Working out should be about feeling good about yourself, being comfortable while you work out, and of course, getting the results you want. F45 is all about that.”

Today, their passion for hard work and delighting customers is paying off. Alexonis and her husband own five F45 franchises in the Tucson area and expect to open a sixth later this fall. They have plans to open at least six more franchises elsewhere in the region before the end of 2022.

“It is so rewarding every day to watch members experience the benefits of F45,” Alexonis says. “We have had members tell us that they would go to other classes and went unnoticed in the back for years. They have told us F45 is the first gym that they have felt comfortable going to.”

Here, Alexonis shares the key strategies they employed to grow their franchises fast.

Develop the right team.

Alexonis and Gose felt comfortable managing the business side of the franchise (finance, marketing, etc.) but needed to find fitness partners who could help the business grow.

“We started with a business associate that was a fitness model and very entrenched in the fitness community in Tucson,” she says. “From there we were able to recruit our general manager, and now partner, who had the connections with the best of the best coaches in town, including one who became an integral part of our owner group and developed into our operations manager.”

The key, Alexonis says, was that they took their time and didn’t rush into building a team that was “less than perfect.” All of their owners bring different strengths, she says, which is crucial to the franchise’s success.

Finding the right location.

As the saying goes, location is everything. But in the world of business and franchising, not every location is created equal.

Alexonis and Gose realized this early on. They started studying local demographics, high traffic counts, and convenience for members. They determined that their hometown was a perfect place for multiple locations.

“From the beginning we believed that Tucson could support at least six locations,” Alexonis says. “We broke out the map and started plotting general areas in attempts to strategically cover the Tucson footprint. We first determined where we wanted our flagship location and worked from there.”

Having perseverance to push on when things get tough.

Once the flagship store got off the ground, Alexonis and Gose planned to open a new studio every three months. But then the Covid-19 health crisis happened and businesses of all sorts – gyms included – were shutting down one after another, either temporarily or permanently.

All the while, Alexonis and Gose were signing more leases, planning buildouts, and doing events in parks while their gyms were being built. “At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, we had two signed leases while looking for our other four Tucson locations,” Alexonis says. “We had many conversations about putting things on hold or pushing through. There was no doubt in my mind that the right thing to do was to continue full force forward and have these beautiful gyms ready for everyone when the pandemic started to ease up.”

Their thinking was that gym members all around Tucson would be ready for something new once the Covid-19 restrictions began to lift. They also saw opportunity as other gyms were shutting down and letting coaches go, so they began hiring.

“We spent months and months moving equipment outside and recreating as best we could the F45 experience in an outdoor, pandemic-safe environment,” Alexonis says. “No one could believe we were doing this and members loved it and very much appreciated it. We believe this commitment and effort helped build relationships with members that we will have for many years to come. Our approach during this time has really set us apart from our competition.”

Click here to learn more about how you can become a F45 Training franchisee today.

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