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Franchising has changed over the last couple of years with the fallout from the pandemic. Unfortunately, many businesses didn’t survive. Plenty that did make it had to pivot or, in some cases, completely alter the way they operated. Successful health- and fitness-industry leaders did just that, innovating everything from online training to telemedicine. I want to explore and share these trends as we move forward into this new world of franchising.
More people than ever are now comfortable with online video meetings. I often joke and say, “Your grandmother didn’t even know how to turn the computer on before the pandemic, but now she has five Zoom calls per day.” This reality has created a whole new way to implement marketing and sales initiatives, training and coaching camapigns, virtual events, etc.
As Xponential Fitness CEO Anthony Geisler said in his companys Q3 report announcement last year, “Brick-and-mortar gyms are back, and boutique fitness customers are excited to return to in-person fitness across our growing franchised studio base.”
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Cole Arranaga, vice president of sales and operations at D1 Training, similarly stated, “Despite all that happened due to the pandemic, D1 has been posting record-breaking revenue every month since June of 2020.”
When I asked him what leadership and operational strategies they implemented to survive the pandemic, he said, “during this uncertain time, D1 Training established its mission to find ways to connect with its members to keep our community intact and provide ways for franchisees to maintain and further grow their business; to help unite members outside of the gym and keep individuals accountable for working toward and achieving their fitness goals.”
I’ve observed other new, innovative brands building momentum to launch their franchise opportunities in early 2022 that will create or round out newer franchise categories. Mobile Doctors offer mobile medical services together with video medicine to take the services to their patients; Gameday Men’s Health is a testosterone replacement clinic that offers a variety of health solutions for men; and Cosmic Veggies is a plant-based, gluten-free fast-casual food bar addressing the growing interest in healthier alternatives to other traditional options.
These new opportunities represent the changing market driven by evolving consumer needs and wants. Many of these trends will remain after things move toward normalizing due to the convenience factor and because most people are now comfortable with mobile apps and online meetings.
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We are all tired of the restrictions that Covid has caused in our lives. People around the world are anxious to return to normal life. The franchise brands that were able to pivot and innovate in the health and fitness industry are coming back strong, making this category a strong contender to consider for those seeking franchise ownership in the new year.
The franchise market is already starting to reboundm and more people are thinking about business ownership due to layoffs, business closures, furloughs and a host of other reasons. We are seeing buyers with equity in their homes, good credit and money in the bank to invest, giving them more options. The health and fitness category is definitely one to keep an eye on.