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Franchise watch: Hitting the trifecta of franchising with fit20

Franchise watch: Hitting the trifecta of franchising with fit20

How fit20 manages to bring simplicity, affordability, and sustainability to the forefront of fitness franchising.

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Ponce de Leon never found the fountain of youth, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The secret to success in franchising is finding the right ‘fit’ which is a combination of simplicity, affordability, and sustainability.

Those that are able to find a concept with those characteristics that also match their passion enjoy a lifetime of contentment and financial independence.

So, how do you make such a discovery? Sometimes, it is through kissing a bunch of toads until your prince arrives, but certainly, it requires not giving up until you are fully confident in your choice.

While many consider the franchise investment a mathematical equation, a healthy dose of passion for your business drives you through the valleys that may come along the journey. Let’s consider fit20, a rapidly growing wellness concept that may well be the new trifecta in franchising.


Let’s start with a quote from a famous inventor and philosopher, Leonardo DaVinci, who said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. When you are dealing with lots of employees, a myriad of vendors, various regulations, and licensing agencies, it makes it hard to replicate. Any deficiency in one area can strip away all your profits. Finding managers who can handle juggling competing attributes of a business plan can be as challenging as managing them as an owner. Finding a model that only requires one employee to start and can scale to significant size before having to staff up is a dream scenario.

Well, fit20 has figured it out, with one personal trainer handling your first 100 members. Of course, it could be a couple of part-timers, but even so – what a relief!

The studio is kept at 63 degrees and with the slow-motion approach there is no sweating, so no need for locker rooms, showers, towels or millions of nasty microbials that can join the party.

Members pay a monthly fee for one personal training session a week… for 20 minutes. That’s it, and it’s a protocol backed by science. A personal trainer can handle two people per session so six sessions an hour. The math is simple: 48 clients a day with one employee. Now that’s simplicity.


My grandpa always told me: “You can always get it cheaper and worse.” Boy, is that a true saying. There is a sweet spot where the amount you are spending meets or exceeds the value you are receiving.

When investing in a franchise, it’s critical to figure out where that sweet spot is for yourself. Maybe an IKEA franchise sounds attractive, but relatively few of us have $500,000 for the franchise fee, let alone $100m to open a unit.

At the other end of the spectrum are a myriad of under $100,0000 opportunities, but can they deliver meaningful potential for creating wealth? Finding a concept that can be up and running in 60-90 days for under $150,000 and is based on a subscription model is unheard of – until now. fit20 delivers a turn-key solution that pegs the affordability meter while providing unlimited scalability. In only 900 to 1,200 square feet, a studio will fit in any community in America, and with only six pieces of specialized equipment, the layout works in a square, rectangle, or whatever the landlord has left over in their development.

Members have an appointment with their personal trainer weekly, so no need for expensive ‘ drive-by’ spaces. You can be in the ‘A’ properties in town but happily in the ‘B’ locations within them.


When looking into franchising, it’s important to categorize the options as ‘trend on’ or ‘trend off’; otherwise, you may end up as a Blockbuster or Radio Shack franchisee. To make trend on decisions, you have to consider where the market is going. Wayne Gretzky, the most prolific scorer in professional hockey, once said: “I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where it’s going”. This is profound for would-be franchisees, especially given the typical franchise agreement is a decade long.

A critical assessment in the due diligence should entail determining the staying power of the concept, and this is based on past performance but also what is happening in the global economy.

Let’s consider some major themes. Firstly, the aging population is a key factor. While there are a significant number of millennials commanding more and more market share, they are not an easy bunch to captivate. It’s typically in retrospect when we figure out what they want, and even then, they can be very finicky on adoption. But the ever consistent and dependable baby boomers continue to provide steady revenues for those concepts that meet their reasonable needs. fit20 has proven to be an attractive concept for this stalwart group as they age.

One way to think about them is ‘successful’, and now they just want to live long enough to enjoy that success. They struggle with the typical fitness approach – with classes, loud music, clanging weights, and little or no instruction. What they want is personal training in a no-nonsense environment where they can come as they are and leave knowing they have improved their quality of life. fit20 boasts an over 80 per cent retention rate among its 18,000 members worldwide; evidence of a concept in the right lane at the right time.

As franchising forays into the 21st century with a dizzying array of concepts, the investors that will lead the fray will increasingly focus on simple, affordable and sustainable concepts that meet the needs of large populations of consumers.

So, whether you’re a franchise prospect or just an aging boomer, you might want to check out fit20. Because either way, 20 minutes a week truly could change your life.


Dr. Ben Litalien, CFE, founder and principal of Franchise Well and CDO for fit20 USA.


Number of locations: 145+

Location of units: U.S.A., Netherlands, U.K., Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden, Qatar, New Zealand

Investment range: Country dependent

Minimum required capital: Country dependent


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