As the pandemic continues to take a toll on business everywhere, a small number of sectors have managed to move through. Some businesses have not only survived; some have even managed to draw up quite the expansion. Among them: 12RND Fitness, a boxing and strength-focused fitness franchise that has 18 more locations set to launch in the next few months alone – and even more as 2021 unfolds. In fact, their pipeline is primed for them to open, on average, a new club every week.
The fitness brand puts a boxing spin on the gym class workout formula, putting customers through a 12-round workout that has them sweating it out for 3 minutes per round. There’s a traffic light system, starting a new round when the green light is triggered and moving you to the next station when the red light comes on. And with customers able to pick from any round from 1 to 12 when arriving at a 12RND club, the system enables up to 24 people to be training at any point in time. If it’s full, just wait 3 minutes to get your jab on.
“Our members get one-on-one boxing padwork with a coach throughout their session,” 12RND Fitness MD and Co-Founder Tim West explains to Dynamic Business.
“Out of our 12 rounds, 6 have boxing equipment, such as a boxing bag, and each day a new combination is assigned to each of these rounds. We have a coach in every session, and in every 30 second break they go around the club making sure all members understand the exercise for the round that they’re on, then when the round starts they do padwork with those on the boxing rounds.”
Importantly, the system ensures there are no fixed class times – so there’s no need to book and adhere to a class timetable.
“We find this to have the greatest appeal to new members,” West says. “It helps them to always make time for their training, and we know that attendance is the key to members getting value and value is the key to retention.”
The appeal of boxing is certainly widespread, but most of us aren’t exactly willing to jump into a ring at the risk of getting, you know, hurt. West says the “individual guidance and attention” they have implemented into their training system ensures those keen can “experience boxing training in an authentic way, using the training principles of a professional boxer but without the fear of being hit.”
The right hook
It’s a straightforward business model – and one that’s attracted franchise growth thanks to those that know how the business works first-hand: members. In fact, the majority of the franchise’s growth has come from member advocacy, with some owning up to four 12RND clubs. 10 of the 18 new franchises are backed by existing 12RNDer’s.
“It’s the clear differentiation of our membership offering within a crowded market and the simplicity of the operational model that converts many prospective investors, and our members and franchisees get to experience that first-hand,” West says.
“Then, the secret to getting such a high rate of reinvestment from the network is the financial model and the market-leading returns that can be achieved.”
As for 12RND Fitness’ success during the pandemic, West points to positive external and internal factors for the brand.
“Externally, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns highlighted the importance of fitness which created consumer demand; whereas internally, the forced lockdown of the network gave us time to invest heavily on innovation and fast-track evolution of the business model.”
While 12RND Fitness’ franchise expansion is no small feat, not all areas have been hitting knockouts. The business has met a number of challenges – particularly when it comes to generating interest in markets where the brand has no physical presence. Plus, there are the limitations that come with regions hit with tougher, elongated restrictions as COVID-19 rages on.
“2020 was meant to be the year that we launched the network in the USA and UK, however given the situation in those regions, we had no other option other than to pause these plans,” West says.
“Even though we had to walk away from lease negotiations, pause recruitment plans and re-purpose funding we were open and honest with all stakeholders and feel that we have retained good working relationships with everyone which means we can look to restart these as soon as possible.”
For businesses looking to push through during a period such as this, West has the following bits of advice:
· Surround yourself with a great team that has a good cultural fit with shared values and vision
· Engage the best advisors you can find
· Communication is king – in stressful times you need to over communicate
· Be decisive and follow through, indecisiveness cause anxiety
· Always look for ways to add exceptional value
“As a result of our efforts last year, we broadened the value proposition for members and franchisees, and now continue to look to technology for efficiencies,” West says.
“The next 12 months will reveal whether our strategy was the right one, we are confident it is but only time will tell.”