Amanda Brinkman talking with Chuck Runyon of Anytime Fitness

Small Talks features insider expertise from successful small business owners. This video series highlights how real entrepreneurs overcame their most pressing challenges.

With nearly 4,000 clubs in more than 20 countries, Anytime Fitness has helped entrepreneurs around the world become business owners. CEO Chuck Runyon first learned about the franchise business model from his mother, who managed a McDonald’s when he was a teenager. As co-founder of one of the fastest-growing franchises ever, Runyon knows what it means to sweat your way to a successful franchise. He has three pieces of advice for aspiring franchisees.

What to consider before opening a franchise

1. Research the industry and opportunities for growth. Look at the industry you’re buying into and make sure there’s room to grow. Runyon knew his health club franchising model offered plenty of potential for expansion geographically.

2. Talk to existing franchisees. Call or visit some franchisees to get a feel for the people and culture. Would you be a good fit? Do your best to research how the franchise units are performing.

3. Get to know the corporate team. “The beauty of a franchise is that you work for yourself, but not by yourself,” Runyon says. Remember, this is a relationship, and this team is going to support you once you open your business.

In 2002, Runyon opened his first club in Cambridge, Minnesota. Now Anytime Fitness is one of the biggest brands around. So how is he continuing to build and maintain that momentum? Runyon believes it’s about having the right mindset, namely putting the success of the franchisees first.

“My job is to make sure that franchise owners have the resources, the culture, the tools and the direction to become better leaders,” Runyon says. He adds that if you’re a franchise leader who understands that you work for the franchisees and not the other way around, your business is going to change radically.

Watch the full video above for more insights.

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