Small Talks: Anytime Fitness – Deluxe

– As a small business owner, you encounter new
challenges every single day. I’m hitting the road, seeking out answers to your most pressing questions, and I’m going straight to the source, interviewing other small business owners who have overcome the same obstacles, and the experts who have
helped them succeed. (rock music) On today’s episode of Small Talks, we’re meeting with Chuck Runyon. He is a wildly successful entrepreneur, who built Anytime Fitness into the fastest growing franchise ever, expanding to thousands of clubs in more than 20 countries. Today, we’re talking about the most important things to consider before opening a franchise business. Okay, so I’ve been doing
my research on you. – ‘Kay.
– ‘Kay? And I read that you really
discovered the franchise model from learning from your mom,
cause she ran a McDonald’s, (laughs)
is this true? – Well, so our building
on Weir drive in Woodbury, but if you take a left
out of our parking lot and go not even a mile, the McDonald’s is there
that my mom opened, you know, gosh, over 25 years
ago, and so I worked there as a teenager.
– Well, one could argue that you guys are one of
the best franchise models in the world, you’ve been named the fastest-growing franchise model, over 3500 clubs?
– Yeah, it’s funny cause you know, 15 years
ago we had one club in Cambridge Minnesota, and now today, we have, we’ll end the year
at nearly 4,000 clubs open, we’re the largest co-ed fitness franchise, but now we’re really one of the biggest franchise brands out there. – You started it knowing it was going to be a franchise model, that it was going to
be multiple locations. – Yeah, we started from day
one with franchising in mind, we knew we had an opportunity
to grow this, geographically, now look, honestly, this
size we are has exceeded our initial ideas and our thoughts, which we’re grateful for, but I think part of our
secret is, you know, we’ve always balanced micro
and macro meaning that, today, we still think
about the individual member that’s entering our store in Florida, how’s her experience gonna
be, we still think about the individual franchise owner, who’s gonna open up a store in Omaha, and how we can help them
run a thriving business. – That’s what I think is so interesting about your perspective is, you
are an entrepreneur yourself, you started your own business
and are wildly successful, but you’re also working with individual small business owners
in these club owners, because they technically
are running their business, it’s a franchise model,
but it’s their business. Do you see them going through some of the same
learning curves that you did as an entrepreneur when you first started? – I do, I mean the
beauty of a franchise is you work for yourself but not by yourself, but you know, over the last 15 years, I’ve kinda had a court-side seat to small business
ownership, and the mindset of small business owners,
and those who thrive and those who maybe
struggle a little bit more, so I think it’s been very
interesting to see that, and something that, you
know, we still try to, you know, help our franchise owners, not to be better operators
but better leaders. – So what are the three things
someone should think about if they are considering
opening a franchise? – Very easy, first of all, look at the industry
you’re buying into, right, make sure there’s ready,
there’s opportunity for growth, then look at the performance
of the franchise units, talk to some existing franchisees, and then get to know the corporate team, cause this is a relationship,
they’re gonna support you once you open up your
store, so those are three critical elements to look at. When we got into franchising,
we understood that we actually work for the franchise owners, and when I drive up to
this office every day, I actually work for the 230
people here in Woodbury, my job is to make sure
they have the resources, the culture, the tools, and the direction as to where we going,
so I really feel like I’m here to make those
230 people rock stars, and I’m telling you, if a leader
had that change of mindset, if they drove to their, if they
drive to their work tomorrow and say, “I work for these
people, they don’t work for me”, like, I’m telling you, your business is gonna change radically. (rock music)

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