Tom Norbury – only 24 years old with plans to open five clubs

Industries 
Anytime Fitness offers our members convenient and affordable 24hr fitness. With the support of an experienced global franchisor, you can invest in this proven, low cost fitness franchise and join in our success.
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Anytime Fitness

Opportunities:
In the UK
Business Type:
Franchise
Minimum Investment:
£170,000
Training Provided:
Yes
Home-based:
Yes
Part-time:
Yes
BFA Membership:
Member - Associate

Father and son team David and Tom Norbury have opened their first club in Basingstoke this year and hope to open five sites in the next five to ten years.

Anytime Franchise Opportunity

Passionate about the fitness industry and a recent Oxford Brookes University graduate with a philosophy degree, 24 year old Tom shared his thoughts on working with Anytime Fitness.

What did you do before running your franchise/ what prompted you to investigate franchising and why an Anytime Fitness franchise/why the health, fitness, gym sector?

“I graduated from university and then worked in Sales and Marketing. I had always wanted to start up my own business and considered pursuing a couple of start up concepts I was working on. My older brother had set up a e-commerce business which has grown considerably in recent years but did take several years to get going so I had some doubts about the success rates of start up’s. It was at this point that I began to look at franchising which instantly began to resonate with me. I researched all the main franchise operators and then came across Anytime Fitness which straight from the beginning sounded attractive. I knew the fitness industry was very much a growth sector and that there had been an influx of budget style operators opening with considerable success.

“Anytime Fitness fitted exactly where I liked in the market, middle price, convenient, affordable and with the USP of 24/7 fitness I felt that its presence in the market was needed and would be well received in the U.K. As a franchisee now who has successfully launched a Anytime Fitness club with over 500 members in the first 3 months of being operational I feel the Anytime philosophy of getting to know your customers on first name terms is the secret ingredient to being successful in this industry, that standard of customer service and interaction is what Anytime Fitness is all about and is why they retain more members year in year out.”

How was it in the beginning?

“The support we received from the Anytime Fitness Head Office was superb so it felt very much as though a lot of the stresses that an independent Gym operator would feel on launch were minimised and that we were part of a large, structured operation with lots of industry experience. The franchisee corporate training was really thorough and intensive which benefitted me tremendously not being from the fitness industry. In the beginning as a franchisee you will be working alongside an array of preferred suppliers who Anytime Fitness have handpicked for the franchisees to help get your club open.

“This could be anything from commercial property companies, securing loans, building works, security, equipment, marketing support, insurance, personal training etc who have all been fantastic to work with and are all part of a larger Anytime Fitness community. You will have a pre-sales period before your club is officially open to the public. This 8-10 week period is vital in order to help raise awareness in your chosen territory and sell memberships before you are operationally open which will help your cash flow for when you are open to hit the ground running. We have been supported on a daily basis by Anytime Head Office who in the early days literally got involved in sales in the field and help you train your staff to the right standard.”

What is your typical day like?

“I decided to be hands on and run the business as a club manager as well day to day. I wanted to know first-hand how the business ticks and importantly understand what my customers are like and what makes them tick. If you wanted a less hands on approach the technology utilised in Anytime fitness clubs is such that owners can run their franchises from anywhere in the world successfully. Franchisees have a digital Birdseye view on every aspect of their business and can literally look on the club CCTV to make sure their sales teams are doing what they should be!

“There are also advanced billing and management tools that all the franchisees use on a daily basis to track performance. My typical day involves having a de-brief with my sales team and then getting out in the Town promoting the business and raising awareness, speaking to our members who are ultimately your biggest sales people, booking club tours, maintaining the clubs high standard of cleanliness and signing people up to club memberships.”

How is business in the current economic climate?

“I believe that more and more people in the UK are becoming clued up to the huge importance to lead healthier lifestyles. Anytime Fitness fits in the market in the middle for price but crucially is centred around convenience, being member centric and taking out the things in health clubs that aren’t needed to stay fit i.e. sauna’s / steam rooms etc that although are nice they are not what the average customer really needs.

“During a tough economic climate people want an affordable service but still want a rewarding experience and to be valued as a customer. This is exactly what Anytime Fitness offer. Our climate is not too dissimilar to the American or Australian markets and Anytime Fitness has been hugely successful in both countries during the recession opening thousands of clubs with over a million+ members. My first club has been open for 3 months and has 500 members so things are progressing well.”

What advice would you have for others considering a franchise/in this sector?

“Research the sector well. Visit lots of different chains and ask yourself where each fits and why someone would commit to the brand and pay money to use it. Ask yourself where will this brand be in 5 or 10 years? Arrange to meet the existing franchisees to understand their first hand experience.

“Review the franchise contract with a solicitor and your family and then finally once you have exhausted every aspect of the business plan go for it! Remember 8 out of 10 franchises succeed and 8 out of 10 start up businesses fail!”

How do you see the future of your business?

“I am very confident that Anytime Fitness as a brand will perform as well in The UK as it has done in America and Australia. I went into this investment with the ambition to open over 5 Anytime Fitness clubs over the next 5 to 10 years which I feel is more than achievable.”

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