Health, Fitness and Beauty – Hot Sectors in Franchising
Any franchise business that works in the health, fitness or beauty sector is operating in an intensely personal space offering both opportunities and risks.
I have watched as all of these sectors have grown strongly over the past five years, fuelled by rising health consciousness in Australia, a growing interest in weight-loss programs and fitness regimes, an aging population prepared to invest in a fitter, healthier life and a scientific community that is providing revolutionary therapies in the area of beauty.
Wearable technology has put personalised biometric health statistics at people’s fingertips, while social media, with its insatiable appetite for personal photos and the rise of vloggers, has driven a generation of people who are far more aware of their personal style. Also, these sectors are becoming more and more important in professional development, with top motivational coaches, including fitness and personal presentation as non-negotiables in their success plans.
Franchising is an excellent business model in these areas. A good franchisor will provide the systems, manuals, documentation and training while you provide the vital ingredients – expertise and passion. But how, out of the myriad of franchise offerings in this sector, do you select a great franchise model to hook your future to?
First, work out where your passion fits. Is it for a dynamic fitness gym, a customised group training scenario, high-end scientific beauty procedures or maybe a traditional salon offering? Work out which model aligns with your skills and experience and emotional commitment. Once you’ve done that, then you need to evaluate all the franchise offerings in that narrowed sector very carefully. It is often a juggle between your finances – how much you can afford to pay to set up a franchise – and the quality of the brand. However, there are great franchise organisations at all financial entry levels. Some have already succeeded, and some are on the way up, offering unique opportunities for those who join them early.
If you are looking for a business that is close to home, then you’ll need to research your local competition — no point in going head-to-head with multiple solidly established businesses in your backyard. Either move further afield or revise the kind of offering you want to provide.
Look at brands that have been established and growing for over five years. These businesses have the runs on the board. Their processes and systems are robust, and they are a proven business model.
Talk to existing franchisees of brands that attract your interest. How do they evaluate the support they get from the franchisor? What’s the supply chain like? Are there good deals in place for consumables? Do they provide all of the compliance documentation that is so vital for the health, fitness and beauty industries?
Ask the franchisor to provide you with a list of all the forecast financial outgoings so you can plug them into an excel spreadsheet and work out how quickly you can become profitable. Also, check out the technology that underpins the product or service.
Spend time on social media looking at the posts on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn of those franchises that interest you. Are they engaged with their community, is their content appealing, how do they handle controversial comments and feedback?
Success in these sectors requires honed relationship skills for you and your staff. The ability to read your clients and deliver the messages they need to hear in a palatable, sensitive manner is key to your business and your reputation. Does the franchise offer training to help you give these skills to your team?
Over my years in the franchise support area, I have worked with a lot of good, well-established brands. I asked a few of the people who are experts in the health, fitness and beauty field what their advice was for people considering joining a franchise, and how to choose a good one.
Selina Bridge, CEO of KX Pilates, advises you to bring passion to the business. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into making a business a success, and if you have passion for what you are doing, it makes it easier to invest all that effort.”
Asked for advice on choosing a franchise, Selina replied “Choose a brand that is aligned with your values. If community involvement is important to you, look for a brand that does this. A well-respected franchised brand may have tight controls around how their brand is used and how you deliver your services. It’s important to do your due diligence and consider whether you believe in the brand and trust the system as these will influence the future of your business.”
Jason Smith, Founder and CEO, Back in Motion says that franchising a service as opposed to a product is very different as the goodwill is with the practitioner. “It’s imperative that you keep consistency in services, support and structure. Healthcare services are personal with all sorts of accompanying sensitivities, so you must have guidelines and protocols around decision making.”
Ben Fletcher, Founder and CEO of Listen To Your Body, agrees that passion is imperative for success. “When looking at a potential franchise model, make sure you align your passion to the type of offering – group fitness, gyms, Pilates, outdoor, etc.
and you will have a greater chance of success.” Ben advises that when you are evaluating franchisees offering this model. “Look at the level of support – talk to existing franchisees about their experiences. Look at the financial viability of the model.”
Deb Farnworth-Wood, an expert in the aesthetics industry and founder Australian Skin Clinics Franchise, believes the beauty industry has made a quantum leap in the past few years. “It’s now a scientific-based offering which lends itself well to franchising. A good franchisor should provide support for all areas of your business as well as advice and training on those newly critical areas of medical ethics and confidentiality.” She says that it is essential to keep records – notes on medical issues, consent to treatment, proof that clients have been informed of the possible implications of treatment, etc. “A good franchisor will have the systems in place to make this easy for you.”
Craig Arnold, Managing Director of Core9, says “Be passionate about fitness or be passionate about business success. Having both is the ultimate combination. The benefit of joining a franchise is that there is a community of like-minded people already in existence.”
When looking for a good franchise, Craig says to look for the problem their product or service is solving. What unique selling point (USP) do they offer? “If they don’t have a USP, then you are likely to have to spend a lot more on marketing for penetration, and that can become an expensive way to run a business.” He advises to look at the longevity of the franchise.
In conclusion, if you are looking at joining a franchise in the health, fitness and beauty sector, there are some well-established, innovative franchises to choose from. Do your homework, always over-estimate your financial outlay, add your passion then enjoy the challenges of being a business owner with that additional comfort of expertise on tap from your franchisor.