June 10, 2010 // Franchising.com // HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. – Even profitable companies with hundreds of locations in multiple countries must look to improve in today's unforgiving economy.
That's the speech Jeff Jervik, president and CEO of Fitness Together Holdings, Inc., delivered today to some of the nation's top franchise executives at the International Franchise Association's "Emerging Franchisor Roundtable" at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.
It's a topic Jervik knows well. He stepped in to run Fitness Together Holdings, Inc. (parent company to the Elements Therapeutic Massage and Fitness Together franchise brands) in May of 2008. From that time on, he has hardly been in his office. Instead, he visited more than 150 franchise locations across 15 states to get a grassroots perspective of what existed and, more importantly, what could be improved.
Then Jervik came back to the company's headquarters and officially changed the office name to the Fitness Together Franchise Support Center. This was step one to emphasize the most important function for the franchisor: to support its franchisees.
Upon rebranding its headquarters, Jervik identified four areas that the company should focus on for improving the franchise system: profit margin, staff retention, client retention and sales. In order for a franchisor to be successful, it needs to help its franchisees be successful in these four areas.
The same is true for any growing franchise, Jervik said in today's speech.
A lean corporate staff with franchise experience has since focused on improving morale, sharpening key support systems, promoting a cohesive vision, and improving field support. The creation of leadership councils for Fitness Together and Elements Therapeutic Massage has also encouraged input from successful franchisees and Area Directors for both brands.
"We have a laser focus. Run great studios. Build great teams. Make plan. And grow," Jervik said. "The approach has allowed a large system to run much more efficiently, which has positioned us for strong growth today and in the future."
The direction has helped Fitness Together and Elements Therapeutic Massage remain vital and to grow despite the economy. Contrary to old views of personal training and therapeutic massage as discretionary expenses, today's emphasis on health and wellness, stress reduction and preventative health measures have greatly boosted both franchise systems.
Jervik said that franchisors, large or small, must get out and see their systems, train and support franchisees, and have a presence in the field to validate that the system is working. Advanced communication tools like webinars, electronic newsletters and videos, and social media can also keep a growing network connected, on message, and working towards common goals and best practices for a brand.
For Jervik, it is also critical to practice what one preaches in running a good business. That's why he volunteered to be one of the first clients for the launch of Fitness Together's new Nutrition Together program, which means working out with a personal trainer at a local Fitness Together franchise and changing his diet to reflect his individual weight and nutrition goals. Today, not only is Jervik the President and CEO for Fitness Together Holdings, Inc, he is also a successful client.
Based in Highlands Ranch, Colo., Fitness Together Holdings, Inc., is one of the world's largest wellness organizations. The parent company oversees Fitness Together Franchise Corporation a one-on-one personal training fitness franchise established in 1983 that began franchising in 1996, and Elements Therapeutic Massage, Inc. a massage therapy franchise that began franchising in 2006. Today, the combined franchise network has hundreds of franchises sold across the United States, Costa Rica, Brazil, Israel, Ireland, and Canada.