For myself, and my partner Heidi Clowe, our market is fitness. Fitness is the industry that will never die. It will continue with legitimate experts, fad diets, gimmicks, equipment sales, and more. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, and everywhere you turn, your “best” solution awaits.
It seems everyone and their mother own a gym/studio/class these days. And if every single one of these people were focused on the genuine betterment of people, then I say the more the merrier. It’s the “smoke and mirrors” approach that leaves us passionate ones constantly pushing to redeem that passion. Those wrapped up in the “sell, sell, sell” aspect of the business, are leading the average client to believe that a one size fits all meal plan is the way to go. (I mean, let’s think about that for a moment: I am a 5’4”, 150 lbs female. My husband is a 6’6”, 260 lb male….do YOU think its logical for us to follow the same “meal plan”?) Yet, to my dismay, a large portion of the market seems to think this is the answer.
Our business, Metabolic Meltdown, officially began on April 1, 2013, as a mobile group class business. By September 2013, we opened our first location, a 1500 sqft hybrid training studio in St. John’s East. By May 2014, we opened our second location in Mount Pearl. This one is more than double the size, with a smaller Personal Training area and large warehouse gym, and an office for our Registered Dietician to privately complete her consults. We went from a two-woman show, to a team of 9, with 2 locations in 17 months. Our team consists of 8 fitness professionals, and a registered dietician.
Today, both gyms are still in a steady state of growth, and we are seamlessly working together and booming more now than ever.
Other gyms are popping up in the area as fast as dandelions grow in the Newfoundland summer, but we are smart and unwavering in our approach, and though a building may be duplicated, a business culture can not. And you know what they say about the greatest form of flattery….
So, why then, have we experienced such a steady growth since our inception? There are several factors. We haven’t been without stress – to think that way would be unrealistic (and quite frankly a lie) for anyone who knows what the business world is like. You see, there is a large difference between a small business owner, and an entrepreneur. Heidi and I are entrepreneurs and to say we are passionate about bettering the lives of others is an understatement. And we’re just getting started.
As an overview to our success thus far, below are the top 6 contributors to our success in a saturated market:
- We both have an educational background in business. I have a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University, and spent the first 10 years of my career working in Accounting/Auditing. Heidi has a similar education, so I would call that step one to our success – obtaining a relevant education for business success. We knew from the launch of our business how to manage it, and how to manage it well. We knew requirements and guidelines to properly plan, project, adjust, prepare, and be proactive to the financial and business processes. This has proven to be a huge contributor to our success.
- Experience in being a leader. I have been involved in leadership for as long as I can remember. Attending leadership conferences throughout my school years, to competitive public speaking, to student council appointments to student anti-violence committees, to leading the church choir, to beginning as a fitness coach almost 5 years ago. I love people. I love motivating, I love inspiring. The best feeling in the world is seeing someone do something they never thought they could through your encouragement and guidance. Although we both have experience in coaching strength training and personal training, the bulk of our work was in motivating for fat loss. And we are good. Real good. Heidi and I have that ability to connect with people. That is not something you get through simply smiling at someone or writing on their Facebook timeline – that’s something you achieve through genuine concern and genuine care for the client’s improvement and success.
- Having a moral backbone. Every business and business owner has a feeling in his or her heart of how the business should be based. Unfortunately, some are “at all costs”, or even worse, some are based solely around the purpose to “beat” a competitor. What is way more contributing to success is to have something strong, something meaningful; a solid foundation on which your business is based. It’s not something to simply talk about. Live it. Every day. Our business is based on the 4F’s – Family, Friends, Fitness, and Fun. It is our heartfelt view that these are the true foundation of a happy, healthy, prosperous life.
- Be present, and let your personality show. If the image and the standard that you put forth in your business, and to your clientele, is based on a genuine reality, then be open. We use social media a lot in our business. There is a reason for that – social media is a reality of life in 2014. People use it, people connect that way, people find information and opportunities that way. So we’re there. On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – both professionally and personally, we’re there. Although the things I post on our business page (programs and pricing) may differ slightly from the things I post on my personal page (pictures of my kids), the underlying human is the same; the same values, the same morals, and the same work ethic. And there’s nothing about these traits that isn’t 100% transparent.
- Be aware of your competition, but don’t be affected. It’s important to keep up with the market you operate in. It’s important to be open to client/public suggestions and comments but it’s a complete waste of time to spend any time trying to duplicate someone else’s work (although it happens all the time in fitness). That’s not something that we will never get wrapped up in. We’re so confident in our unique atmosphere of belonging, inspiration, and motivation that we are never worried about those who attempt to duplicate that, and it simply hasn’t occurred to us, to operate in this way. We’re good. We’re real good. Our market share is continuously increasing, and if you peel away all the business layers – all that matters is that we are reaching and helping more and more people to lead a happy and healthier life.
- Assembling a team of professionals. We are very careful when and who we hire to our team. With a couple of minor misjudgments along the way, we now have a team of professionals. Each member of the team offers something unique, while also sharing the moral backbone and spirit of betterment that we encompass. Every member of our team (myself and Heidi included) have an area of expertise. This is a major point to note, do what you’re great at in your business and hire experienced professionals with common goals to do the rest.
Being an entrepreneur is the most exciting, exhilarating, inspiring, and rewarding job in the world. It is also stressful, demanding, and often filled with more questions than answers. Heidi and I made a decision on April 1, 2013 to be successful in our business. It has proven true thus far, and we have no intentions of slowing down. Our next big move is on the horizon!
Gill Whelan is a MUN Alumni having completed her Bachelor of Commerce Co-operative degree in 2003. After years of experience in Accounting and Auditing, Gill became certified as a fitness coach in 2009, and found her passion! In 2013, Metabolic Meltdown was founded along with her partner Heidi Clowe. We are proud to be a privately owned and operated gym, with 2 locations, and an atmosphere and culture that breeds results and success! For more information about Metabolic Meltdown, visit them on Facebook. Their website will be launching soon at www.MetabolicMeltdown.ca.