As an entrepreneur, I am naturally inclined to believe that I can do things better and faster than a big company. Some people call that arrogance. Some people call it ignorance. But if you talk to me, you’ll know it’s neither of those. It’s hard to explain exactly what it is (definitely not the spicy Thai food I ate either)…but I see it all around me, especially at trade shows.
But has the entrepreneurial spirit died in our industry?
No. Absolutely not. Not a chance. But we do need to redefine it and in the process our roles. As our industry has continued to grow and evolve, outsiders have begun to realize that, done right, there are few retail businesses that are as profitable as a gym. This in turn has led to refinement of the business model and a need for efficiency. And in our case, it has led to a significant growth in the number of franchises. And in some ways bigger does mean more efficient.
But not in every way. Because of the personal nature of the service we provide, you can’t make everything a process, which is what big companies do well. And I think that’s why the health and wellness industry is an interesting test case where there is space for big and small to coexist and combine – a hybrid model.
This hybrid model allows the owner/operator to continue to inject their personality into the business. And this industry needs all the personality it can get. I would hate to see it become anti-septic and boring. And I think the large franchisors have done an amazing job of marrying the two.
The days of the fitness guru who just wanted to build his own place may be over. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the fitness guru. As long as big business stays away from my Thai food, I think we can all agree to get along! Because Pad Thai can’t be mass-produced! I’m sure I’ll regret saying that in a few years when McDonald’s opens their new concept, McThai.
Hossein Noshirvani is the executive vice president of Motionsoft Inc. Learn more about Motionsoft's club management software at motionsoft.net.