Liberty Fitness Women's Health Club captures entrepreneurial spirit in women
AUSTIN, Texas (December 1, 2006) -- Liberty Fitness Women's Health Club is fast becoming exclusive to women in more ways than one. Not only did a woman launch the company in 2002, but 74 percent of the Liberty Fitness clubs are woman-owned.
These numbers reinforce a national trend recently cited by the Center for Women's Business Research. The center's biennial update reveals that women-owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of all firms in the United States. According to the center, between 1997 and 2006, the number of majority women-owned businesses increased from 5.4 million to 7.7 million, an increase of 42 percent, almost double that of all firms.
Liberty Fitness CEO and President Linda Burzynski says she believes women are seeking business ownership opportunities with Liberty Fitness because of the company's higher mission to improve the health and wellness of women everywhere. She admits it is the reason she accepted the offer to lead the company in July 2005.
"Regardless of who you are, you want your life to have meaning. Liberty Fitness afforded me the opportunity to not only build a dynamic business, but it's a business that makes an incredible social impact," she says. "Cardiovascular-related diseases are the No. 1 killer of women in our country, and everyone knows that cardiovascular diseases are linked to obesity. At Liberty Fitness, we focus on what works long term. We combine commonsense weight loss plans with fitness and wellness, and we offer it all in beautiful spa-like setting."
Burzynski is no stranger to the franchise business. In the past 10 years, she has made a name for herself as the CEO of CM IT Solutions and as the chief operations officer of Molly Maid Inc. Both companies experienced tremendous growth under her leadership. However, she says her career goals evolved when she came on board with Liberty Fitness.
"Last year I turned 50 years old; I have come to realize that I want to be involved in a business that brings about positive change in people's lives. Women perhaps understand this more than anyone," she says. "We know that 85 percent of household buying decisions are made by women. If we can inspire women to make healthier decisions for themselves, they will have influence over others in the household. In that sense, we're transforming entire families, which, in turn, can transform a nation. If you change the woman, you change the world."
When Donna Nelson took the plunge into business ownership as a Liberty Fitness franchise partner, she also had a higher purpose in mind.
"I had just lost a lot of weight, and I wanted to share what I had learned with other women," says Nelson, who investigated a handful of franchises before opening a Liberty Fitness club in Ocala, Fla., three years ago.
Today, she has a steady membership roster, a thriving business -- and a healthier outlook on the future. She says that Liberty Fitness was the perfect company to help her transition into business ownership.
"The support I received from corporate was a huge factor for me; they were so open and encouraging and genuinely excited about helping me open my business," Nelson says. "That just wasn't something I got from the other companies I investigated."
She says the enthusiasm hasn't faded.
"They are standing behind me today just as much as they were on that first day of business," she says. "We have access to continuous training, and I can pick up the phone anytime and get a question answered when I need it."
Nelson says that owning a business has taught her two things: (1) to never give up and (2) learn from every experience, whether it's positive or negative.
"In the beginning, I think I wasn't as sure of myself, but Liberty Fitness has helped me believe in myself and I've learned so much," she says.
Liberty Fitness also inspired Tanya Ford to venture into business ownership. Her club, in Winston-Salem, N.C., opened this month. Prior to becoming a franchise owner, Ford was a lead analyst programmer for a national bank for 19 years. When she heard rumors that the bank planned to outsource its information technology jobs -- including hers -- she decided to take action.
"It was time to take charge of my own destiny," says Ford, who began looking into health club franchise opportunities in June 2005. "I've always struggled with my weight; I was actually a member at a competing circuit club, so that's how I knew about the 30-minute workout. I liked the concept, but I felt it needed more. They're convenient, but you can reach a plateau and the lack of variety can lead to boredom."
As part of her research, Ford attended one of Liberty Fitness's Discovery Days to learn more about the company.
"My impression was: This is it for me," she says. "I liked Linda's vision and her proven background in the franchise business. I also liked her value system. Liberty Fitness looks at the total woman; it's not just about working out. I especially liked the wellness aspect, because many women lead stressful lives, and I wanted to offer a place where women can decompress and rejuvenate."
Not only has Ford taken control of her professional destiny, but she's achieving her personal goals as well.
"I participated in a 12-week weight loss challenge for Liberty Fitness trainers, owners and managers this past summer, and I've since lost 17 pounds and 15 inches," she says. "Because I'm an owner now, I felt like I needed to step up to the plate and set a positive example."
Ford says she still has 10 pounds to lose, but she's not discouraged. In January, Liberty Fitness is launching an innovative weight loss program that offers one-on-one counseling to participants. Ford says she'll be among the first at her club to sign on the dotted line.
About Liberty Fitness Women's Health Club
Liberty Fitness distinguishes itself in the 30-minute circuit workout industry as the only club that offers a holistic approach to women's health. Liberty Fitness combines progressive fitness equipment, customized weight loss plans and innovative wellness programs in a supportive, spa-like setting. Founded in 2002, Liberty Fitness has 30 independently owned and operated clubs in 16 states. They share a common vision to help women everywhere lead healthier, happier lives. To find out more about membership or franchise opportunities, visit www.libertyfitness.com.
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