Arieh Ordronneau has been a fitness entrepreneur since 2009. He owned and operated three highly successful Anytime Fitness location for eight years prior to selling them.
He then opened his first Fit Body Boot Camp in Cranberry PA in February 2018. He has been using ClubReady in his gyms for over six years and knows how to use it as a powerful tool to drive revenue. Today, he’s known as Fit Body Boot Camp’s resident ClubReady expert and generously hosts webinars throughout the week to help his fellow FBBC owners make the most of ClubReady’s powerful solutions.
Recently, Matt LaCaprucia, Senior Account Manager at ClubReady, took some time to learn a little more about Arieh and what’s led to his success.
ClubReady: How did you get started in the fitness industry?
Arieh Ordronneau: I was working in the telecom industry and was ready for a change. From there, I went back to school to earn my master’s degree with the plan to teach at the university level. Nearing completion of the program, I realized that teaching was not for me and began researching franchise opportunities. Thumbing through a franchise magazine I found Anytime Fitness, which was the start to my career in the fitness business. At the time my area lacked a 24hr key card style fitness business. I decided to jump in and purchase 3 Anytime Fitness locations which I sold 2 ½ years ago. After the sale, I decided to invest in a Fit Body Boot Camp opening the Cranberry PA location 1 ½ years ago.
CR: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen occur in the industry over the years?
AO: One of the largest changes has been the commoditization of fitness memberships. The going rate switched from $35-$40 to $10 with the opening of HVLP models such as Planet Fitness. The ripple effect has led to movement in group classes and personal training offerings. I think we are at the crest of the fitness boutique boom and in the next few years smaller studio franchises are primed to take off. Of course, we have the potential for over saturation, so operators should be focusing on delivering a best in class customer experience to their client base.
CR: Why did you choose to go the franchise route, and why did you choose FBBC?
AO: Like many others, we were really feeling the market shift when Planet Fitness moved into small towns. At the time I was still operating my Anytime Fitness locations but realized that personal training revenue remained stable. Moving to Fit Body Boot Camp was the logical decision because it aligned with the revenue stream that was still trending positively. The change allowed me to hit profit targets with fewer members while also experiencing reduced churn. Your best members are not renting a treadmill, they are engaged in personal training style programming.
CR: What makes FBBC unique?
AO: I would say it starts with their leadership, Bedros (FBBC Founder and CEO) has built a great brand with access to tools that help make owners successful. The culture is encouraging rather than “cliquish”. Each owner has a ton of flexibility to customize member experience and programming which is frowned upon in other franchises. They also vet their partners carefully, only building relationships with the top technology vendors in each segment.
CR: What do you currently have in the pipeline for growth and expansion?
AO: Cranberry Fit Body Boot Camp is a large studio spanning 5,000 square feet. With that much space, we still have room to grow in that location. Right now, we are adding team members with nutrition certifications so we can expand that part of our business. I am confident that with refined processes in place we will be able to replicate our success in Cranberry to more locations in the future.
CR: What is the FBBC experience for members?
AO: Joining a gym or studio is intimidating and we work hard to minimize that as much as possible. In the first 2 weeks we connect new members with our “broken glass clients”, aka those who will walk over broken glass to get into our boot camp classes. By teaming new members with our biggest fans, they instantly make a friend and no longer feel the anxiety that derails so many. As a staff we utilize ClubReady’s business automation to roll out our communication plan, every customer is constantly engaged and focused on reaching their goals. Delivering a positive experience is essential, utilizing this method has led to growth throughout the summer months which is uncommon in our industry.
CR: What have been the most challenging aspects of the business?
AO: Price point for today’s studio memberships is the most challenging aspect of being in the business. People seem to be allergic to 3-digit numbers making it difficult to secure financial commitment. At Fit Body Boot Camp, we utilize low barrier offers to help prospects realize the value of membership before securing a long-term commitment.
CR: How important is studio management software for the businesses and why did you decide to partner with ClubReady?
AO: When I first started with Fit Body Boot Camp, we were using a different vendor. As an owner who lives far from his studio, I needed a solution that allowed me insight into my business without necessarily being inside of the facility. Transitioning to the ClubReady platform absolutely contributed to our success. I now have access to a dynamic reporting platform that allows me to inspect what I expect. This business is run by the numbers, we now can easily track our set, show, close rates and identify what part of the sales process needs attention.
CR: Your studios have experienced significant revenue growth since coming on board with ClubReady? What’s made the difference?
AO: We converted in June of 2018 and immediately saw an increase in sales. I believe the reporting platform, flexible agreement process, and ability to create business automation have all been difference makers. Utilizing their leadSPEAK functionality, we have created custom communication plans for our members and leads. Their dashboards help us stay on top of critical touch points, so no leads fall through the cracks.
CR: ClubReady is a very robust platform. What features do you and your staff use most often? Which have become an integral part of running your business?
AO: I am a big fan of the sales process report. It has really removed the guess work out of analyzing our sales cycle and marketing efforts. We take advantage of leadSPEAK automation to stay in touch with our base using personalized communications. The fully managed billing platform saves us time by putting all our merchant and chargeback processing on autopilot.
CR: What gems of advice would you like to share with others looking to own their own fitness business?
AO: People entering the fitness industry should have a passion for sales. Most of the successful owners have some business or sales experience. For anyone starting out, hone your sales experience or hire an expert.
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