Use These 3 Strategies to Build a Thriving Franchise Organization Xponential Fitness Founder and CEO Anthony Geisler shares the leadership secrets that have helped him build a boutique fitness empire.

By Rick Grossmann

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Anthony Geisler

If you are developing a franchise organization, as a leader, it is critical to your mission to make sure that you are clearly communicating your beliefs and strategies to prospective franchise owners.

The boutique fitness industry is at an all-time high, according to The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). Consumers have found that smaller studios offer more convenience, variety and customizable workout plans and courses compared to big box gyms. The IHRSA also found that between 2012 and 2015, membership at traditional gyms grew by 5 percent, while membership to boutique studios grew by 70 percent.

One growing franchise organization in the boutique fitness industry is Xponential Fitness. They are a multi brand franchisor that currently offers eight franchise brands across several verticals including barre, cycle, dance, Pilates, stretch, rowing, yoga and running. It currently represents over 2500 locations.

At the 2019 International Franchise Association event in Las Vegas I sat down with Xponential founder and CEO Anthony Geisler.

Before launching Xponential, Geisler was the Founder and CEO of the LA Boxing franchise system. In our conversation, he spoke about what he has learned about success over the course of his career, and shared the three strategies that he and the Xponential team live by.

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"It is not how hard you hit but how hard you can get hit and get back up."

Perhaps it's unsurprising given that he is the founder and former CEO of the LA Boxing Franchise system, but one of Geisler's favorite movies is Rocky. He shared that one of his favorite quotes from the film is when Rocky says, "It is not how hard you hit but how hard you can get hit and get back up."

Geisler said it especially resonated with him because no matter how ferocious the beating was, Rocky kept fighting.

His opponents would wear themselves out hitting Rocky as hard as they could muster, but in many cases, it was the goal of triumphing over those punches that kept him on his feet. This philosophy has become a big part of Xponential's ethos.

Franchise success has a lot to do with persistence and the willingness to keep fighting when the going gets tough. This core belief is shared with Xponential's franchise owners as well, so they show up ready to fight and win.

"No owner left behind"

To help me understand his commitment to all of their operators, Geisler told me a story about one of their Pure Barre franchise owners.

Soon after he acquired the Pure Barre brand, he was contacted by a franchisee in need. She explained that her landlord was going to terminate her lease. She said it would put her out of business.

Geisler said that this wasn't going to happen. He gathered his team and embarked on a plan to make sure that this owner did not lose her business, which included assembling the appropriate resources and people to defend the franchisee.

They invested time and money to help this owner fight for her business and together they won. She is in business to this day.

"The animal we have created is built for speed"

Geisler explained that he honed his approach to growing successful franchise organizations while developing the LA Boxing brand, and that in turn has become the foundation for each of the brands at Xponential. He says that it is driven by efficiency.

"The animal we have created is built for speed," said Geisler. He noted that his goal is to put franchisees and the overall brand on the fast track, by establishing right from the start a company wide baseline for studio design, marketing and customer service programs and operational systems and strategies.

Creating and implementing efficient systems is the cornerstone of the franchise model. Xponential Fitness has built a thriving franchise organization by sticking to their core beliefs and finding operators who believe in the company's brands.

With all of the options out there, strong leadership is the differentiator that can make one boutique fitness franchise successful and another fail.

For individuals seeking to purchase a franchise, it is important to always do the appropriate research to make sure that the company's leadership is in line with your own. You will be in business with the brand for a long time and it is imperative that you are willing to work with the leadership team as you grow your business.

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Wavy Line
Rick Grossmann

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Franchise Bible Author, Speaker and Coach

Rick has been involved in the franchise industry since 1994. He franchised his first company and grew it to 49 locations in 19 states during the mid to late 1990s. He served as the Chief Executive Officer and primary trainer focusing on franchise owner relations and creating tools and technologies to increase franchisee success.

Rick developed and launched his second franchise organization in 2003. He led this company as the CEO and CMO growing to over 150 locations in less than three years. He developed the high tech/high touch franchise recruiting and sales system.

Both companies achieved ranking on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 List. During this period Rick served as a business and marketing consultant to small business and multimillion dollar enterprises. He also consulted with franchise owners and prospective franchisees, franchisors, and companies seeking to franchise around the world.

Rick is the Author of Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise Bible series and his 9th Edition was released worldwide in April of 2021.  He also is a contributing author to Entrepreneur Magazine and other industry publications on the subject of franchising and business.

He currently heads up the Entrepreneur Franchise Advisors program, serves as an executive coach and strategist for multiple franchise clients and is the co-host of the Franchise Bible Coach Radio Podcast with Rick and Rob.

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