Cash flow positive in second month of business


Clinton Brabant knows the franchising system. He appreciates the fact that a good franchise provides all the foundation tools of a business; the systems, reliable products and a valued brand freeing a franchisee to concentrate on building a successful business, on building their wealth.

For many years Clinton had a successful Specsavers business. He couldn’t fault the franchise in any aspect but wanted to move into an area that allowed him to provide a more hands-on ability to help people. When he was in his twenties, he had been a personal trainer and owned a gym. It was a business sector he knew, enjoyed and understood and, as he thought about his options, he realised it also had the potential to provide him with the greater involvement in helping people that he craved.

Clinton wanted to keep to a franchise model and luckily the personal fitness industry is full of franchises. He spent quite some time researching his options and then met Ben Fletcher the operator of the Listen To Your Body franchise and he was impressed with the approach.

“Ben had developed a model that actually hit a sweet spot in the fitness industry,” Clinton explains. “It’s a concept designed to attract those people who don’t want to go to a highly frenetic, competitive gym environment, but who want to gain fitness, under guidance, at their own pace. The flexibility around membership fees was also appealing.”

Decision made, Clinton signed up to open a Listen To Your Body studio in Elanora, on the Queensland Gold Coast. As all new franchisees appreciate, it takes time to find a location and fit-out a premise. But Clinton used that time to set up his business for the best possible kick-off.

“I devised a marketing plan to build recognition of the brand and its offering throughout Elanora and nearby Palm Beach. I used local shopping centres for face-to-face promotion and social media for a broader, but geographically defined, reach.”

He knew the key to social media engagement was to set up Facebook and Instagram pages that had great content and in particular lots of video. “I wanted to build a personality for my business and so I hired an external provider for this,” Clinton said, “someone who understood the demographic I was aiming for and who could target boosted posts to the right feeds – maximising my spend.”

He made sure there was lots of motivational content while providing information on what Listen To Your Body offered. “People often don’t want to join group training because they are afraid they can’t keep up, or, that the less fit people will hold them back. Once you explain that we provide tailored training for every individual within the group, they are reassured.”

Clinton found the greatest social media engagement came from posts that asked questions, requested feedback. “You can have some great public conversations that way. You are responsive and accessible. I’ve always found that if you act like a big corporate, people will treat you like a big corporate and for a small business, that’s not ideal.”

The other successful approach to pre-marketing his business that Clinton used was a display stand at the local shopping centre. Apart from the normal advertising posters and information brochures he also had an exercise bike there and invited people to ride 500 metres with the opportunity to win a free month’s membership. He offered one month’s membership at a reduced price as an introductory offer and it worked really well in building him a pool of clients. He backed up his presence in the shopping centre by advertising in their local leaflet that was distributed not only throughout the shopping centre but also locally.

Now, with his second month of trading under his belt, Clinton couldn’t be happier. “All the detailed planning and pre-marketing has paid off,” he said. “I have broken Listen To Your Body records for the most sessions attended in a month and for the highest number of sales. And most importantly, my second month was cash flow positive.”

“My social media statistics are great. Over the last four weeks, our posts have reached 13,500 people with 1,100 people actually engaging with us in that time.”

Looking to the future Clinton plans a monthly newsletter to his growing database so that he is kept at top of mind with people. As he says, “They may not want to join now, but when they do think about a fitness program, they’ll think about Listen To Your Body.” He works a referral system through existing members, offering them one month’s free training if they refer a person to the program – and there’s no limit to the number of months free training they can earn. He reminds members of the offer through social media.

His brave move to exit from a successful Specsavers franchise to follow a dream of helping people with their health and fitness has paid off and he couldn’t be happier.