Transformative Fitness: A Conversation with Walter Vendel, CEO of fit20

fit20 is a rapidly expanding fitness franchise with 160+ studios across 12 countries. Known for its unique blend of human expertise and cutting-edge technology, fit20 is a leading player in the B2C market, training thousands daily. With a mission to add strength to lives, fit20 is not just a fitness franchise but a global movement fostering transformative change. Explore the journey further in this interview with fit20’s Founder & CEO, Walter Vendel.

1. How did you enter in the franchise business?

I started a pilot studio based on this unique training method. It proved to be succesful, so the question was: how will we grow this? Then franchising seemed a good way of growing fast with shared investments and clearly divided responsibilities. Looking back it was the best business decision I ever made.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

I am a lifelong enthusiastic sportsperson at an amateur level and came across this once a week 20 minute workout. This couldn’t be possible but curiosity got the better of me, so I had to check this out personally. From then onwards one thing led to another….

3. What inspired the brand name?

You become fit by doing fit20 and it only takes once a week 20 minutes. Super simple really!

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

Someone told me to choose a short name as people will remember that more easily than a long name. I also wanted to have our promise in our brand name and tagline. So after some weeks of playing around ‘fit20’with the tagline: fit in 20 minutes per week, was borne.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

Couple of things set us apart from regular gym operators. Like, at fit20 you do 5 or 6 exercises for all your major muscles groups moving in slow motion in airco cooled studio. This prevents sweating, so our members don’t have to change clothes and women don’t have to worry about their makeup and hair. We serve the 35+ year old population who appreciate training under personal supervision to eliminate injuries and optimise results. All our trainings are appointment only and it really does only take 20 minutes, so going in at 9.00h means you will be going out at 9.20h.

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

They need to have a passion for living a healthy lifestyle and wish this for everyone. So they will put the client first. They also need to be able to communicate our message and program in business clubs and so on as the business community is a good source of our members. They gradually need to develop the ability be able to hold a small team of personal trainers together as stability is the key for growth. They need to be disciplined with the invoicing of the memberships as this is our earning model.

7. How long does it take, in an average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

The total investment for a studio is below $ 100.000. Our ROI can be 30 months for a franchisee. This does depend on how well the franchisee will execute our guidelines.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

The covid crisis was the worst as we had to survive 3 hard lockdowns. First and foremost our team spirit pulled us through as well as the loyalty of our members. Lastly, our government allowed for delayed payment of taxes.

8.1. What is your best achievement?

To persistently have kept going through many challenges, trusting there is always a way forward to be found and having the good fortune of being able to do this together with a very committed team.

9. How does your business day start?

Early. Then there is the peace and quiet to focus on what is really important that day. To have the time to go over the emails, messages and have that out of the way before the first meeting starts.

10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

Receiving the Silver Award 2022 for International brand from the European Franchise Federation.

11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

In 30 countries having 500+ studios worldwide and most of all changing the lives of an increasing number of people for the better.

12. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?

Walk before you run. I sometimes got ahead of myself which usually ends up costing more money, time and energy. However, sometimes we did the impossible before time so I guess you have to follow what fits your style and nature.

In essence, fit20 transcends being merely a fitness franchise; under the leadership of CEO Walter Vendel, it has evolved into a global movement. Boasting 160+ studios across 12 countries, a track record of B2C success, and a commitment to enhancing lives through added strength, fit20 presents entrepreneurs with a lucrative opportunity amid the changing landscape of preventive health and fitness.

SOURCE: The Franchise Talk

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