Keeping a business alive is one thing, but creating a business in an already dense industry and keeping on top of it whilst it undergoes rapid growth is a whole other ball game. These three businesses show how they weathered rapid growth whilst still maintaining their goals and keeping true to their values.
Since it’s inception, F45 Training, as a brand, has been the fastest growing franchise in Australian history – even beating McDonald’s. However, it is no fluke that this new style of training has been so well received, with Co-Owners Emily and Daniel talking about their tremendous growth in our city.
F45 exploded onto the Townsville gym scene in 2015 when Daniel and Emily saw a gap in the fitness market. Unlike conventional box gyms, Daniel and Emily say F45 has a vastly different offering, which is one of the big reasons it has seen so much success.
“I akin working out at F45 to going on a tour while on holidays. Why? Because everything is already organised for you,” says Daniel. “All the workouts are really heavily thought out by PTs and exercise physiologists and there’s a focus on specific muscle groups and outcomes with each exercise. So people just have to show up, participate and before they know it they’re getting results in all areas.”
When F45 in the city first started, it was just Daniel, Emily and one casual staff member. However, they have since grown to add seven additional staff and a full-time manager.
“Our goals were to be in a position where neither Daniel or myself were needed to take classes,” says Emily. “I continue to take the occasional class to stay in touch with the members who have become like family but we’ve certainly met this goal.”
Now, the duo hope to grow their base by an impressive 25% over the next six months and have even started looking at overseas markets to grow the franchise even more.
“F45 as a brand is the fastest growing franchise in Australian history – even beating McDonald’s,” Daniel says, as he talks about the gyms rapid growth. However, some truly valuable lessons have been learnt along the way.
“Business always looks easier when someone else is doing it,” Daniel says. “However, there are no sustainable shortcuts in business; your clients will only be as good as the service you deliver.”
It’s this strong belief in what they do, paired with a unique offering and passion to help both staff and members that have seen F45 Training thrive in such a dense market. This proves that regardless of how established the industry is, there is always room for disruption.
In 2013, Mr Paramedic was a two-person operation that offered first aid and water courses solely in Townsville. Since then, they’ve moved from an at-home business to a new training venue in South Townsville, seen a 350% increase in staff numbers and even had a 600% increase in location offerings. Believe it or not – that’s just the beginning!
The idea for Mr Paramedic was born out of a desire to create better first aid courses for people after Caleb Love, founder of Mr Paramedic, had his girlfriend Mia Hayes leave a first aid course with blanks in knowledge still present.
Originally staffed by Caleb and his partner Mia, the two-person business grew just as quickly as demand for their courses did.
“The business is constantly evolving and changing almost daily at the moment,” Caleb says. “The core of our business is still there – that is, teaching first aid and water courses. However, since we began, the range of services we provide keeps growing. For example, we offer more courses than we did when we first began. This developed out of clients wanting other services and also our interest in different areas of first aid.”
It’s not just courses that have seen a boom in growth either. Both their staff and their service offerings have seen a exponential increase since 2013.
“In 2017 we launched our ‘Every Minute Matters’ initiative whereby we gave free defibrillators to schools and businesses so they would be equipped to save a life. This was brought about by the staggering Sudden Cardiac Arrest statistics in Australia. We also created a childcare and school incursion ‘Students Save Lives’. These 45 minute workshops teach children as young as three vital life-saving skills,” says Caleb.
“Regarding staff, we now have nine, which includes myself as the head trainer in Townsville, two office staff that look after the daily operations of the business and six other course trainers servicing Cairns, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Melbourne. In terms of equipment, our mannequin family has extensively grown as well. To cover all the courses we run in the different regions we now have over 60 mannequins.”
If the 60 mannequins weren’t enough, the team have also added two ambulances to their fleet and added an online shop where the team sell and audit defibrillators, first aid and sports medicine equipment.
Whilst both Caleb, Mia and the team have huge goals for the future, they say they have never wavered from their original goal of providing comprehensive, easy to understand and interactive first aid courses.
“I started this business because I believed paramedics had the knowledge, skills and passion to teach people first aid and I wanted them leaving a course with confidence that they could act in an emergency if they had to. We are proud to say most comments/reviews of our course say something like ‘this is the best CPR course I’ve ever done,’” Caleb says. From here, Caleb hopes to keep expanding nationally whilst still keeping the quality high, something he is very passionate about.
“We are always getting enquiries from Paramedics across Australia wanting to join our team and become a course trainer, so in 2018 we will continue with our expansion. However, our business is specialised, to be a course trainer you have to be a current Advanced-Care Paramedic. So our biggest challenge with expansion is finding current paramedics who are also fantastic educators. We will continue to expand nationally as long as we have qualified and suitable trainers to front our courses.”
Sometimes being smart about business doesn’t involve treading the same track as everyone else, which is exactly why Lighten Up Studio has evolved from a small boutique Studio in Townsville’s CBD to a thriving Yoga and Pilates Studio with two locations and over 30 classes on offer each week.
When Rebecca Dore first opened Lighten Up Studio, her peers advised her to start small and grow. However, Rebecca took a different approach to business that has seen incredible success ever since.
“I noticed that Townsville was missing a studio that offered a combination of classes from a variety of disciplines. Many students that like Yoga, also love Pilates and Barre classes to so I wanted to create a full service offering straight away because that’s what I would want if I was a student,” Rebecca says.
“I decided to back myself, take on a lease in the CBD and ensure that there were at least two classes on each day. I think we started with about 11 classes per week and now we have over 30 on offer with seven teachers working at the studio.”
When Lighten Up first opened its doors in 2015, Townsville was still booming at the time. However, 2016 saw a real drop for many local business owners. “We had to work a lot harder to maintain what we were doing, so we added quite a few different offerings, honing in on what our clients were looking for,” Rebecca says. “At first, it didn’t feel like I got any benefit from my hard work because it was just maintaining the status quo but now I feel like it’s starting to pay off.”
After great success with the initial location, Lighten Up expanded into the Douglas area in April last year.
“We had a number of students wanting classes closer to home,” says Rebecca. “Many of our clients work at the Townsville Hospital and James Cook University so it seemed an ideal location. We had also been considering a bigger location for the City studio, but we weren’t quite there yet.”
By late 2017, the large range of classes had caught the eye of local workers, with dozens of people voting to have Lighten Up Studio in the Fitness Passport program. The program, which is supported by large employers such as Department of Main Roads, Townsville Hospital, James Cook University, Australian Taxation Office and many more, was the tipping point that gave Rebecca the confidence to move into her dream studio in the CBD and expand once again.
“The Fitness Passport created a lot of growth towards the end of the year, which is usually a quieter time for the fitness industry,” says Rebecca. “I was borderline looking at a new place but I didn’t want to move based on potential growth, I wanted to know it was there.”
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons Lighten Up Studio was so popular comes down to its relaxed atmosphere, huge array of classes, teachers and flowing vinyasa style sessions. All of this, combined with a strong social media presence and positive word of mouth promotion has resulted in a strong foundation for Lighten Up.
It also proves that there’s always going to be more than one way to run a business. While expanding as you go is perfect for some, backing yourself and knowing what your audience truly wants is a brilliant way to motivate customers and continually move your business forward.