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A 24/7 quest for success is raising fitness franchise Lift Brands to new heights

lift brands, the venture magazineStrength, agility, and endurance aren’t just the benefits from your workouts; they’re essential qualities you need to operate a successful franchise. As one of the leading franchise firms in the fitness industry, Lift Brands know all about that. With revenues in the top 25 per cent of Australian franchise firms, Lift Brands are star performers in the $83.1 billion global fitness industry.

With over one million global members and over 2,000 clubs open or in development across the world, the Lift Brands network of fitness brands offers rewarding opportunities for enterprising franchisees with a passion for health and wellness.

With headquarters in the US, Lift Brands have a strong presence in Oceania and are developing multiple opportunities in Asia-Pacific. The firm’s anchor brand, Snap Fitness 24-7, offers customers a well-rounded blend of training options including 20-minute, high-intensity MyFit workouts synced with heart rate training, as well as cardio, strength, and functional training. All this is available to members on their own schedule, any time of the day or night, seven days a week.

The firm’s 9Round brand developed when a US kickboxing champion sought a way to bring the fitness benefits of the sport to non-athletes. The first 9Round opened in Greenville, South Carolina, in 2009. Today there are 700 clubs in 16 countries, with over 500 more in development.

Virtual fitness platform FitnessOnDemand™ rounds out the Lift Brands offerings in Australia. The platform brings a range of premium fitness programs, featuring celebrity fitness instructors, into virtually any setting. This enables operators to economically provide the hottest fitness programs to their users in workout facilities, hotels, office buildings, residential complexes, and other group settings.

Each franchise in the network features a simple model with systems and processes that can be replicated for multi-club ownership, strong support for franchisees including robust training, summits and dedicated support staff, and educational support for club managers and trainers. As a parent, Lift Brands does what every great fitness instructor does: create the most successful environment possible, where everyone can thrive.

As CEO of Lift Brands Asia Pacific, Ty Menzies oversees the Snap Fitness 24-7, 9Round, and FitnessOnDemand brands in Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific region. Having purchased his first fitness franchise at the tender age of 20, Menzies successfully combined his natural business acumen with a love of fitness, and is passionate about his work with Lift Brands.

“I've been both a franchisee and franchisor, and I think the biggest piece when looking to invest in a franchise is to understand the leadership that comes with the franchise you’re investing in. How invested in the business are they? What's their background? Are they interested in what they do? I've been passionate about health and fitness since my early teens, so for me that's an important part of who you're partnering with,” he said.

The Business of Fit Bodies

lift brands, the venture magazineAs a specialist in operating fitness franchises, Menzies has seen trends come and go. “As boutique fitness starts to grow in the space, we started to see the consumer going from looking for low cost, low service models, to shifting to very high service models, going from $10 a week to considering paying $60 to $70 a week, or even more, in some cases,” he revealed.

When Snap Fitness 24-7 began offering franchises in 2009 throughout Australia & New Zealand, a significant portion of investors were entrepreneurs looking to glean high returns, and not necessarily interested in running fitness centres. Today, that’s shifted. “Our clubs average 30 to 35 per cent ROI these days, and that's a reasonably strong ROI for any business out there,” he said. “We’re certainly seeing a lot more owner-operator type investors coming into our clubs as operators, and fewer large group investments. We’re still happy to take those franchisees that have other investments, as Snap Fitness is a great investment model, however we are very much looking for our franchisees to be connected to their clubs, not necessarily in a full-time capacity, however, but spending some time at their clubs, educating and building relationships with their staff, trainers, and even members is integral to the success of our locations.”

Lift Brands’ franchise model is controlled through territory reservation, which considers an area’s population size (with a general baseline of about 30,000 people required for consideration), and psychographics such as interest in fitness, and their interest in joining a fitness club. Franchisees are given access to strong technology, marketing, and operations support, as well as opportunities to network with other franchise owners beneath the Lift Brands umbrella. The ramp-up from initial investment to operation is relatively speedy, as well. “Typically, it's six months from the purchase of a franchise to securing a property and having the doors open to the new club,” Menzies pointed out.

In recent months, Menzies’ office has significantly strengthened its resources and is bringing the Snap Fitness 24-7 and 9Round franchises to the Asia-Pacific region, most notably to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Indonesia with opportunities in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and others to follow soon. Overall, his office will oversee franchises in 9 Asia-Pacific countries. Lift Brands is also one of the largest fitness providers in New Zealand, with 53 locations across the North & South islands plus more in development. In full, Menzies and his staff of more than 40 oversee the needs of over 300 franchises currently and set to grow by around 50 locations per annum in the coming years.

“No matter which brand you go with, we are always looking at what's next,” he said. “If you invest in the Snap Fitness brand now you may be investing in a 9Round in six months’ time in your same territory. In 18 months’ time you could be investing in something completely different that we're developing in the pipeline. We're not just a one-stroke wonder. We have opportunities that go outside one set brand; even with that one brand we are always developing to stay both relevant for our members and progressive within the industry.”

lift brands, the venture magazineWith 300 club locations and managers, 300-400 support staff in those clubs, and around 1,600 personal trainers across the network, not to mention franchisees, maintaining an emphasis on culture is key. “It's quite an extensive network when you start boiling it down, so we need to ensure we are embodying a strong culture to our network,” Menzies explained. “The values that we align ourselves with include respect, integrity, and genuinely giving a damn. We want to go the extra two miles, not one.” Spoken like a true (and very fit) leader in this space.