LAUNCHING A FRANCHISE BRAND WITH TWO TARGET AUDIENCES IN MIND: THE LUMIN FITNESS BLUEPRINT
By Brandon Bean, Lumin Fitness
Why do so many businesses get into franchising? The answers vary, but often well-established companies with proven models view franchising as a vehicle to expand their brand and propel their business to greater heights. But what if you want to launch a brand as a franchise from day one?
That’s exactly the blueprint we created at Lumin Fitness, laying the groundwork for franchise success from the outset by crafting a brand strategy with both future customers and potential franchise owners in mind.
The Birth of an Idea
After years of building a career in fitness franchising, a realization dawned on me: while technology was rapidly advancing in other sectors, traditional brick-and-mortar fitness spaces seemed to be lagging behind. The market was ripe for innovation, and the potential was there to completely transform how technology and fitness coexist. My co-founder Omeed Shams and I spent the next four years alongside a trusted team of experts developing Lumin Fitness, The World’s Smartest Fitness Studio. Our state-of-the-art boutique fitness concept combines personal training with a group fitness community in an AI-powered, immersive environment that changes daily and evolves over time. By utilizing cutting-edge technology to meet the growing demand for hyper-personalized fitness experiences, we’ve developed something that is truly original and nearly impossible to replicate in a highly saturated and constantly growing fitness industry.
As if developing the high-tech consumer experience wasn’t enough, we were simultaneously designing the business model to operate as a franchise. I knew that our business was set up perfectly for accelerated expansion, and franchising was the best way to make that happen. As soon as we opened our flagship studio, we were ready to start selling franchises.
As a franchisor, there were three key principles that guided me and my team through the brand development process to make for a successful franchising launch:
1. Surround Yourself with the Right People
The worst mistake an entrepreneur can make is to try to do everything themselves. I knew I would need to enlist the right partners to make my vision come to life.
Over the course of Lumin Fitness’ development, we created a team with extensive experience in the fitness, franchising and gaming industries. My co-founder, Omeed Shams, a successful tech and gaming entrepreneur and avid fitness enthusiast, is the technology brain behind everything. Our Chief Development Officer Craig Sherwood, a former colleague of mine from Gold’s Gym, has driven significant growth for some of the biggest household names in franchising. With experts like these two in the mix along with many others, we have an especially solid foundation to build from.
Franchising works when the franchisor respects the fact that they are asking someone else to use their money to grow the franchisor’s brand. As such, the franchisor must hire a service-minded team that is absolutely committed to the success of each franchisee. Having a team that shares these values and has a track record to prove it is a major differentiator.
2. Establish Your Identity
Creating something truly revolutionary presents a serious educational hurdle to overcome. If you’re delivering a product or service no one has experienced before, then how can you succinctly educate consumers on what it is and why they should buy in? Before formally introducing Lumin Fitness to the masses, we conducted consumer testing in our test studio as well as a two-month preview period at our flagship studio in Irving-Las Colinas, Texas, to show proof of concept. This provided opportunities for people to see, feel and experience our concept in person as well as give us valuable feedback.
From a franchising perspective, we also wasted no time in preparing our franchise disclosure document (FDD) to ensure we were fully ready to start selling franchises as soon as our flagship studio opened.
The FDD is often mistaken solely as a legal necessity, but in reality, it’s about crafting your brand’s story. It communicates not only the logistical details but also the ethos, values and vision of the brand. It is the first step in a partnership between the franchisor and franchisee, built on mutual trust, understanding and a shared vision for the brand’s future.
While it may be tempting to start selling as soon as you can, keep this in mind: the stronger your brand identity is through proof of concept and your FDD, the more successful you will be in growing your brand.
3. Shape Your Systems
The power of franchising lies in an emphasis on the importance of systems to ensure smooth, efficient and fulfilling experiences for everyone involved — both customers and franchisees alike. We knew that without clear systems in place for our eventual franchise owners to follow, then we could never make it as a franchise.
So, as we looked to create those systems, we remained steadfast in the mindset that inspired Lumin from the start: technology can unlock incredible opportunities when harnessed effectively.
Much like we reinvented the entire experience for customers through our app and studio to emphasize hyper-personalization, we’re doing the same for franchisees. Lumin’s optimized business model includes custom-built back-of-house systems that streamline operations for the owner by embracing technology, therefore allowing franchisees to focus on interacting with members and building a strong Lumin community. This starts the minute someone expresses interest in a Lumin Fitness franchise, with an internal app that guides potential franchisees through the discovery process.
Of course, advanced technology can be difficult to develop and optimize for your very specific needs. But if you are willing to invest the time and resources in technology that will improve the experience for both your customers and your franchise owners, it can refine your franchise system to become a major selling point for your business.
Franchising with a Vision
As my journey with Lumin Fitness has shown, franchising a brand from day one is not something that happens overnight. It’s not just a means for replicating a business; it’s the steppingstone to revolutionizing an industry. By leveraging the right expertise, creating a strong brand identity and leaning into technology to build effective systems, you will be headed toward turning your vision into something lasting and impactful.
Brandon Bean is the co-founder and CEO of Lumin Fitness and its parent company Mixed Partners, a global partnership of fitness, gaming and entertainment industry veterans. For more information about IFA franchisor member Lumin Fitness, please visit franchise.org/franchise-opportunities/lumin-fitness.