This Fitness Entrepreneur Is Poised to Go Big and Wants Your Help To expand his business, On the Marc's young CEO decided to go the franchise route. Here's why.
In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what's your business?
I'm Marc Buccellato, founder and CEO of On The Marc Training. We are a mobile gym business that makes fitness convenient. We have state of the art vehicles with top of the line fitness equipment and go into people's homes to get them in shape. We bring the gym to you.
What inspired you to create this business?
From a young age, I've always wanted to help people. Growing up overweight and being an athlete, I knew the feeling of being intimidated by exercising in front of people. My goal was to help people get the results they wanted — whether it's weight loss or progressing in a sport — in the convenience of their own home. I wanted to get people who either were not comfortable or weren't able to physically get to the gym. Financially speaking, I realized the pros heavily outweighed the cons of running a mobile gym business compared to a conventional brick and mortar gym.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking for funding?
Personally I bootstrapped the whole operation. After college, I attended some of the best mentorship programs that fitness offers. Creating my own unique method with the help of top minds in the industry, I started OTMT from my parent's garage in Queens, NY. I can definitely advise that when you're a startup, you need to save as much as you can early on. I disciplined myself to save a specific percentage of all the money I made and pretend like I never received it. Also, I've learned that if startup capital is needed, asking your family first can be the best route.
Why did you choose to go the franchise route?
It took me six years and more than a few mistakes to build the plug & play, turn-key model of OTMT today. I looked at it as a challenge to help more people. On the one hand, we can help people get in shape nationwide. On the other hand, I can provide a smooth transition for people who want to be an entrepreneur. Our team provides the support and know-how to mold anyone from any walk of life into a successful OTMT mobile gym franchise owner. My vision was to get OTMT off the ground in New York first and then take it across the USA and potentially even on a global scale. We now have an offering that I hope interested people will take a look at. (See On the Marc Training's Franchise PDF here.)
How did it feel the first day you opened for business?
There is nothing like it. There are so many emotions. There's no better feeling than doing what you love in life and making a living doing it. To be honest many people thought my downfall would be that I never worked for anybody in my life. I was never an employee. However, I saw it as the total opposite. Starting with no clients and no financial help, there's only one option: work as hard as you can to make it happen. Failure is not an option.
What was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The first major expansion of OTMT was the most difficult. That was when I decided to grow the business and not make it about "Marc." I thought many clients would leave and not train with OTMT if I wasn't on the road providing the training. That's when I learned two major lessons. It's about the relationships you build with clients and it's about the quality of your staff and how you train them. Fortunately, with the method and the proper hires, we grew to serve over 200 families on Long Island and Westchester county without me providing any of the training.
Describe your company culture and how you helped shape it.
OTMT is one big passionate and energetic family. From the top down we have the right blend of professionalism and pure enjoyment for what we do. We all buy into our long-term goals. We are a young group and understand that we have to put in long hours now in order to succeed. We have an open-door policy and communicate very well with each other. Playing competitive hockey (I played Junior A in Canada and college hockey at Rutgers University) I realized at a young age the importance of being a team. We all have a voice at OTMT.
Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation?
I use my late grandfather as my inspiration. He came here as an immigrant from Greece at the age of 33. He did not know the language and did not know where his next meal (for him and his family of 4) would come from. But, his work ethic, determination, will power and love for his family drove him to be successful. One of my favorite sayings from him was, "It's not how much you make, its how much you save". That has stuck with me from day one of OTMT. I'm 29 now, and when things get rough and chaotic, I just remind myself of the position I'm in compared to what my grandfather had to deal with when he arrived in America.