What does it take to build a successful franchise? Jacinta McDonall is the co-founder of the Anytime Fitness business in Australia; alongside her brother Justin she spotted the potential for this US-based brand and followed her instincts that it would be a success.
Introducing the 24-7 concept in 2002 has helped transformed the fitness market here.
Now she has set herself on another trajectory with a brand new project, Urban Yoga, an inner-city venue that shakes up the mind and body experience with its sleek, modern, music-based fitness regime.
So she knows a thing or two about working in the wellness sector, and driving a business to success.
At the recent Franchise Council of Australia’s Women in Franchising High Tea in Sydney, McDonall shared her insights into what it took to get Anytime Fitness to become the household name it is today.
To get the rights to the Australian market took 12 months, four US trips, and endless conversations.
Why did it appeal? “It was a niche market. We understood that, working at Fernwood. We had 15 years in fitness, we knew the business really well.”
Industry colleagues said it wouldn’t work but the pair were convinced consumers would love the product.
“You have to trust your gut,” says McDonell. “I trust myself more than other people’s opinions.”
5 reasons why the franchisors got it right
“It was not all us,” McDonell stresses. The system has a high level of multi-unit franchisees and really profitable units, she says.
So how did they achieve this? McDonell says:
1. It was the right time.
2. We worked so hard for the first four years
3. We hired smarter people than ourselves.
4. We anticipated the staff we would need in six months.
5. We got a GM pretty quickly.
Today the network numbers 452 gyms – and it’s still growing.