6 Ways to Scale Your Business
Morgan Kline, co-founder of fitness franchise Burn Boot Camp, trains you in growing your brand.
In 2012, Morgan Kline and her husband, Devan, started their Burn Boot Camp venture out of a parking lot. When Devan was released as a professional baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, he hit a crossroads in his life, trying to figure out what he would do next. Combining his innate athleticism with a burning desire to help people achieve their health goals, he conceptualized a female-focused group personal training program called “Lightning 900” in Naples, Florida. Morgan, a former athlete herself, helped him with his programs before and after her day job as a sales rep for Kellogg's. Forming what would be the foundation for Burn, the high school sweethearts relocated to North Carolina when Morgan got a promotion at Kellogg's. There, Devan gathered 21 local women to continue his fitness revolution. Morgan offered financial and emotional support, working at her corporate job to fund their business while they built their following. “Our mission is to impact as many lives as we can and we do that through the gateway of health and fitness,” says Morgan. “We are driven to empower women to be strong in their communities, in their homes, in relationships—they’re the ones that can create real change in global obesity and better nutrition.” With an integrative approach to transform clients’ mindsets, educate on nutrition, incorporate both burst and strength training and foster a sense of community, Burn quickly grew to 250 paying members in just five months. Morgan left Kellogg's to devote herself 100% to the fulfilling new enterprise. That meant leading all business operations—everything from client communications to bookkeeping and marketing. In 2013, they each opened up separate facilities in the Charlotte area and those two locations soon grew to five. “People came up to us saying, ‘We love this so much. We want to open up a boot camp. What can we do?,’” says Morgan. “That’s when Devan and I looked at each other and said, ‘We really have an opportunity to scale this business outside the efforts that you and I can put in it.’” In February 2014, Burn officially became a franchise. In just two years, they’ve been awarded 251 locations in more than 28 states. In 2016, their system-wide sales were $13 million and they have projections of $30 million for this year. We sat down with Morgan to get her tips for turning a start-up business into a raging success.
1. Put the right systems in place
When you're launching a franchise, you need a robust system that any business owner can plug in to apply to their share. As owners or founders of a company, you have to remove yourself from it and make sure the model can be proven without you. We gave our owners an entire list from A to Z on how to start their business, partner with joint ventures, make media appearances, write a blog and do a Facebook Live. We made phone scripts for them to follow when they were calling people. The first part was to get them on the same system and speaking the same language as us. From there, we built a consistent workout that everyone’s going to use at every Burn Boot Camp. Then, we focused on creating the same client experience at every location—from how you’re greeted when you walk in to what the check in process is and what the gym looks like.
2. Build a strong team of people that believe in
We feel like we’re stronger with more people on our team than just the two of us. We knew that If we brought the right people in, we could still maintain our brand integrity. In terms of personal trainers, we’re looking for the top two percent in the industry. They must be Certified Personal Trainers (CPT) and complete a strength and conditioning test under 15 minutes. Over 70% of our prospective trainers actually fail their first attempt and those who push themselves to pass are the type of people we want training our clients. As far as the owner process, there’s a series of interviews at our headquarters. If we don’t truly feel like you’re in it first to change people’s lives, we’re not interested. We’re not motivated by business owners that are looking to make a lot of money. We’re motivated by people that have the same mission as we do.
3. Pursue extra revenue ventures
Our clients wanted to wear gear with our Burn Boot Camp logo on it, so we formed a retail line. Then, Devan and I were having a hard time finding supplements that aligned with our nutrition philosophy, which meant no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, nothing fake that’s in your food. It didn’t feel right for us to recommend brands that we didn’t 100% believe in. So we created our own line where we know its ingredients. Our tanning is also 100% organic, with no toxins. We felt it really complemented our brand and wanted to bring as much to the gym for busy women on the go to create a one-stop-shop for them. We have unlimited membership that includes free childcare, free one-on-one focus meetings with a trainer, free yoga and free content on our blog. The more you can add value to your clients’ lives, the more loyal they’re going to be
to your brand.
4. Dream big
We learned not to set limits on ourselves. You can achieve things you never thought possible if you stay mission-focused and really come back to why you’re doing what you’re doing. For us, it was to impact millions of lives. You’ve got to work backwards from that. We first scaled our business to a franchise and now it’s setting numbers and looking at how many realistic locations we can open up in the U.S. We are on pace to award 1,200 franchises domestically in our first six years. We plan to award 15 to 20 per month in 2017 and open 92 more in the U.S. We are currently gearing up for international expansion into Eastern Europe, Canada, Latin America and India.
5. Get creative when it comes to growing your community
Devan and I spent every single weekend at trade shows or healthy home events and would even go into grocery stores to tell people about our brand. We were very relentless in the first two years of our business and every second we could, we were wearing our gear. We wrapped our cars in Burn Boot Camp vinyls because we wanted everyone to know about it wherever we went. We led with the brand and our clients were so loyal to us that they were doing the same thing in their communities. People became proud to wear Burn Boot Camp on their chest, almost like a team.
6. Raise up new leaders and empower them to branch off on their own
Our philosophy in leading our team is to empower them. We have 16 people in our headquarters that support the franchise. The way we run our office is by collaborating with our leadership group. When you do that, there’s a sense of ownership for your employees because they had a say in the end result. You have to have a very strong mission and core values. When Devan and I aren’t in the office, our leaders are powered and equipped to know what the right decision is without
having to ask us.
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Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo