It’s a bummer that I’m required to sign so many non-disclosure agreements.
Because I have the good fortune of doing business with some very smart people in the fitness business. Some are experienced gym owners while others are transplants from other industries who not only have a passion for fitness, but also possess a unique set of skills from technology and finance to operations, administration and marketing.
Honestly, when these professionals get together and collaborate…. some amazing ideas and fitness concepts are born. I wish I could share them all.
Unfortunately, most often, our role is to supply the product and keep our mouths shut! (NDA)
Do-It-Yourself Multi-Level Marketing
One thing I can tell you without breaching any agreement is the number of “grass roots” MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) buisnesses is growing. Especially among fitness entrepreneurs.
Just since January 2014, we’ve started supplying two different fitness businesses (a small training studio and a medium size multi-purpose club) who are using an MLM sales and distribution model with their own branded supplement lines.
YES, both were experienced and successful MLM affiliates in the past. One was with Advocare and the other with Herbalife.
Technology Makes it Possible
As one of them said to me:
“Once I was confident I had a quality product,
I kept asking myself… how hard could it be..?”
While both sell within their facilities.. they also sell online with sophisticated websites that allow their affiliates to add their contact info, track commissions, conduct transactions, calculate shipping, etc., just like the big guys. Also, they both offer their members the opportunity to become “top level” distributors.
The mid-size club even conducts a sales and motivational seminar for their members once every three months.
Both facilities have increased their purchases from us, so, I know they are experiencing success with the model.
A Word to the Wise….
For the most part, MLMs have a “bad rap” for two main reasons.
- Most of them have lousy products.
- The focus is all about the money instead of the quality of the product.
However, in both the cases above, I personally know the products are state-of-the-art, high-quality formulations. And, that’s exactly their focus. They position the products as “Active Lifestyle” products for active lifestyle enthusiasts. And, in both cases, it is secondary, passive income behind their main revenue source. So the pressure to sell, sell, sell is replaced with more of a qualify, pitch and close sales technique on the merits of the product line and its purpose.
If this sounds like an awesome idea, then, before you jump in you need to do some homework. Remember, these two facilities already had a few years of successful experience in their respective programs. They already knew the ropes. However, they both retained lawyers to make sure they were set up correctly and in compliance with their state regulations and especially compensation issues. It can be a little tricky.
So, here’s my advice. If you think this is something you want to pursue:
- Google these terms: “How to start an MLM” “Your state MLM compliance” “MLM structure” “multi-level direct marketing”
- Investigate companies that specialize in MLM website design. Many of them offer templates that are pre-built to meet your needs.
- Be ready to spend some upfront time creating a “plan,” getting it started.. and be patient.
Disruptive Innovation is Coming to Fitness
Whether or not this is a good idea for your business is up to you. But, here’s one thing I can tell you about the Fitness Business is general. It is rapidly changing.
Look out over the fitness landscape of big box clubs, mid-size clubs, key card 24/7 clubs, training studios, spas, etc., and you’ll notice the fitness business model and service deliverables have remained the same for last 40 years. However, that is beginning to change.
You may have heard the terms: Disruptive Innovation or Disruptive Technologies. This is where innovation or technology disrupts the status quo within an industry.
As I mentioned in the opening of this post, there are lots of smart people getting involved in the fitness business. And, they are quietly disrupting the culture with all kinds of online technology.
- I’m personally seeing it with our HealthCoach Kit Administrators who are pulling in clients from all over the world as well as forming new alliances within the medical community and corporate wellness programs.
- There are many online fitness businesses using a combination of their website, YouTube and Skype to run their entire fitness business from their homes (with no equipment!)
- And now, even the MLM markets within the fitness niche are going to be disrupted through innovation and technology in the hands of some very dedicated and smart fitness professionals who aspire to do things “different.”