From $198K to $1M in Sales for Fitness Together Operator
Stacy Adams, back row center, with her team at a Fitness Together studio in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood.
Ten years ago, Stacy Adams sat with Fitness Together CEO Jeff Jervik and said, “I’ve done the math, and there’s no reason your studios can’t be doing $1 million, if not $2-" in annual sales. He just laughed, she said, and replied with something like, “You go, Stacy.”
Last month Adams, a Fitness Together franchisee for the past six years, became the first franchisee in the system to cross that target. “We actually passed the million-dollar mark in December, a million 32,000,” to be exact. She sets an ambitious revenue goal each year, shares it freely with her eight full-time employees, and for the last three years the team has hit or exceeded the goal. When they do so, she takes everyone on an all-inclusive paid trip, this year to Puerto Rico.
When she bought the struggling club, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on New Year’s Eve six years ago the picture was dire. “Georgetown was doing about $198,000 annually; they had been going for three years. We came into that and very quickly turned the business around. We did $400,000 that first year,” she said.
She remembers looking at the books for the first time, and comparing them to her experience when managing clubs as an employee for corporate. “I was used to opening my schedule and seeing a full book,” but at her new club, “there was hardly anybody on the schedule, and it was terrifying and exciting at the same time.
“I came out with a big smile on my face, and I said, ‘This is better than I thought … because there were so many opportunities for us to crush it,” she recalls today with a laugh.
Adams believes in full transparency with the financials of her business, something she says many owners shy away from because they think employees will believe they’re rolling in the dough. People say, “We don’t want to share those because the team says, oh my god you make so much money and we make nothing,” she says, but she believes “if people are driven by understanding the why behind the business, they’re more likely to buy in.”
She shares the overhead of the business, too, so they don’t look just at the top line and think “you made a million dollars this year.”
Adams also focuses on building her team so that each has a main job as a certified trainer and then a secondary leadership role, such as social media or nutrition or in certain functional movements—“so it’s more of a career” rather than just a job. These days, she’s also mentoring a few employees to get them ready to buy a franchise of their own in a couple of years.
Adams was able to buy her franchise in the first place at age 31 because a client backed her with a $75,000 investment. It was a “huge leap of faith” that allowed the initial purchase “and I had enough money to basically last one month.”
Rather than looking to buy additional units herself, she said she’d rather grow the single studio. “What I find is if you put all your energy into one you can have a very profitable business and also quality of life, versus spreading yourself thinner and thinner and thinner,” she says. “I’ve always had a vision of having one and just grow and grow and grow.”