Issue Six: Mastering Our Unique Business Model
A Comprehensive Analysis for 2024
At PEX Health and Fitness, we’ve pioneered a unique business model where each coach operates their own personal training business as an independent entrepreneur while being part of our larger, supportive community. This approach has not only set us apart in the industry but has also sparked a trend, with many of our competitors now attempting to adopt similar models. Spoiler alert: it’s not as easy as you think!
Let’s take a step back to critically analyze the pros and cons of this model from two perspectives: that of a coach and that of the facility owner. This reflection is crucial, not only for understanding our own business better but also for providing insights that could be beneficial to others in the industry.
PEX Health and Fitness: A Hub of Independent Coaching Excellence
First and foremost, at PEX we believe in empowering fitness professionals. Our coaches are not employees in the traditional sense; they are independent personal training business owners who benefit from the robust support system, brand reputation, and state-of-the-art facilities that PEX offers. This model encourages a vibrant ecosystem of fitness professionals who bring their unique skills and entrepreneurial spirit to our community. Most importantly, the relationships we are building with these entrepreneurs are not purely transactional. We are in the business of helping coaches shape and grow their careers. This is an important distinction from our competitors (there is a distinct difference between having a job, and crafting a career).
Why Analyze Pros and Cons?
As I have noted, this business model is gaining popularity so it’s important to assess its impact thoroughly. It is important to realize and understand the advantages and challenges from both the coaches’ and the facility owner’s viewpoints to continuously improve our model and maintain our leadership in the industry.
Our Model: Independent Personal Training Business Owners Within a Unified Brand
From the Coaches’ Perspective
Entrepreneurial Freedom. Coaches enjoy the autonomy of running their own business. This means that they can set their own schedule, establish their own services and pricing, create their own programs and engage in their own style of marketing. What’s more, they can work as much or as little as they want, go on vacation whenever they want, engage with the community as much or as little as they want, engage in online and virtual training…The list goes on!
Earning Potential. With direct control over their client base, pricing and extremely limited exposure to overhead costs, coaches have significant opportunities to maximize income. In 2023, the 20+ coaches working out of our facilities collectively generated $2.4 million in income, with our top coaches earning more than $200,000!
Brand Association. Being part of a well-established brand like PEX is a platform for success. This provides stability, credibility, a bigger marketing platform, access to a broader client base, and a built-in client referral system.
Resource Access. Coaches benefit from PEX’s pristine facilities, marketing initiatives, robust operational support. These resources might be challenging to access independently. Furthermore, the coaches who run their personal training business at PEX have significantly less overhead exposure, as PEX pays all of the operational costs.
Community and Networking. There’s a strong sense of community and networking opportunities with other fitness professionals, thus fostering both personal and professional growth.
Self-Management. The responsibility of managing one’s business, e.g. marketing and client retention, rests solely on the coach.
Financial Variability. As with any entrepreneurial role income can fluctuate. So, adept financial planning and management is required.
Cooperative Working Environment. Operating in a space-share with multiple individual business owners can be challenging. Therefore, understanding the true tenets of “cooperation” (literally co-operating your business with other businesses) is critical.
From the Facility Owners’ Perspective
Diversified Business Model. The variety of services offered by different coaches attracts a wide range of clients, enhancing the business’s market appeal.
Reduced Operational Load. With coaches managing their clientele, the operational burden on the business owner is significantly reduced in this sense.
Scalability. The model allows for scalable growth, adapting to market trends and demands without overhauling the core structure.
Brand Growth and Reputation. Success stories from individual coaches contribute positively to PEX’s brand reputation, attracting more clients and talented coaches.
Cooperative Working Environment. I know this might seem unusual, but managing a space-share with multiple individual personal training business owners can be complex from an operational standpoint. Walking the fine line between “collaboration” and “cooperation” can be tricky. Cooperation at our facilities is mandatory with emphasis on the fact that it is a community and collaborative setting i.e. we “co-operate”. With this in mind, we embrace the act of working together harmoniously towards a shared goal or objective. Collaboration, in a more general sense, is optional as we recognize and respect the interests and contributions of each individual coach.
Quality Control Challenges. Navigation for ensuring consistent service quality across different coaches can be complicated considering the coaches are not employees. However, it is necessary as the overall brand reputation is impacted by the services provided at our facilities.
Dependence on Coach Performance. The financial health of the business is influenced by the success and consistency of individual coaches, which can be variable.
Management of Complex Dynamics. Balancing the collective needs of the business while respecting the autonomy of individual coaches requires sophisticated management and leadership skills.
Is This the Best Model?
Without a doubt, but you have to be the right person to run your personal training business within this model. First, you have to be capable of self-discipline with an entrepreneurial mindset, passionate for providing exceptional services. Additionally, you must be proficient with operating in alignment with the conduct requirements that come with working in a cooperative setting. That being said, the right coach, whose values are parallel with the values of the brand of the facility operating with this model, has the potential to succeed. Provided that they meet the requirements, they will see career progression, accelerated income potential, work-life balance, achieving more than they will under any other business model in the industry.
Similarly, you have to be the right person to succeed in running a facility under PEX’s business model. Primarily, it requires shedding your ego and embracing a leadership role that’s more about setting examples than commanding the spotlight. In light of that, you can expect to see coaches flourish, sometimes surpassing your own success, and be ready for the reality of being a stepping stone in their careers.
Furthermore, as the facility owner, it’s important to realize that financially, this model will make you comfortable but not rich. For example, profits are slim, and initial sacrifices are significant. You’ll navigate a delicate balance, acting not just as a mentor but also as a facilitator, creating a space where individual success stories contribute to the collective brand. This candid snapshot isn’t meant to intimidate but to clarify what lies ahead. Overall, the true reward lies in cultivating an environment where every personal training business owner’s growth is a testament to the model’s success and sustainability.
Looking Forward: Strategic Enhancements for 2024
In sum, our journey in 2023 has set a clear blueprint for the future. This year, we aim to refine our operational processes, enhance coach support systems and implement strategic marketing initiatives that align with the unique aspects of our business model. Overall, we’re committed to sustaining an environment where both coaches and the business thrive symbiotically, setting the stage for a year of unprecedented growth and success.