Business is healthy for Shapeup & Go franchisees

With a lack of fitness facilities for the mature woman and the continued rise in the level of obesity, Shapeup & Go is taking proactive action to help combat Britain's health problems by launching its women-only fitness franchise opportunity

As they say in business, it's a lot easier to keep your existing customers than it is to find new ones. As ladies-only gym Shapeup & Go is proving, customer satisfaction is the key to keeping your members coming back for more. The Shapeup & Go flagship gym in Cheadle, near Manchester, has recently celebrated its first anniversary.

Director John Mollart explains why, unlike many leisure based businesses, Shapeup & Go has not felt the credit crunch pinch: 'I must admit to feeling slightly nervous as our first anniversary approached in July. After a full year of trading we were about to face the ultimate test. Would our members renew their memberships and keep using the gym once their first year was over or would they decide that going to the gym was a luxury they could no longer afford in these difficult financial times? As it turned out, membership renewals are flooding in and we have retained our core membership base.'

In hindsight, John and the Shapeup & Go team need not have worried too much about membership renewals as every member of staff is fully trained to work with clients on an individual basis, tailoring their exercise programme to their personal fitness goals. 'Our focus is always on the client's individual needs and we regularly monitor their progress, providing motivation and constructive feedback as necessary,' explains John. 'Because of this, we've received a very positive reaction from our members, many of whom have actually exceeded their original fitness goals.'

Shapeup & Go uses power assisted exercise machines - this means the workout is suitable for women of all ages and fitness levels and takes only 30 minutes per visit. The programme is beneficial to clients who are hoping to achieve weight loss, toning or simply improve their general fitness and mobility. 'We are operating in an inclusive market for ladies who feel more comfortable exercising in an all female environment,' says John. 'While many of our members are mature ladies, some are recovering from injuries or illness. We're fortunate that in this economic downturn, many of our clients are retired, and therefore less affected by the credit crunch than others, or they regard their membership as a health necessity rather than a luxury.

'It's vital that every member of the Shapeup & Go team has empathy and understanding for our clients. Whatever their individual circumstances and reasons for undertaking an exercise programme, every single member is made to feel very welcome at Shapeup & Go, every time they visit.'

A Shapeup & Go franchise provides an excellent opportunity for people with an interest in health and fitness to offer a valuable exercise facility to ladies in their neighbourhood. Extensive training is provided in all aspects of running the business, including a thorough training programme covering the health and exercise aspects of Shapeup & Go. 'While a health and fitness background is not required, it is essential that our franchise partners have excellent communication skills and some sales and management experience,' John explains.

'In exchange for your commitment and enthusiasm, we'll give you all the support and advice you need, including regular visits from your Franchise Support Manager and expert marketing and sales support,' he concludes. Isn't it time you shaped up and got your Shapeup & Go business going?

Reported by Charlotte Urwin