Want to do more good? Keep it simple.

Want to do more good? Keep it simple.

Jennifer Smithberger
October 07, 2019
Pumps for Pups at Fearless Fitness

Brandon Rocco is the owner of Fearless Fitness, a growing brand of group training focused gyms. In the past year, he’s opened gyms in Hartford, CT, and Cedar Park, Texas.

We sat down with him recently to learn how he juggles being an owner/operator of five expanding gyms and a recent first-time dad.

How do you maintain a calm and grounded presence when you are stretched among five clubs, with three of them early in their growth journey?

After setting up and launching the first two gyms, my focus is now on replicating the model that has proven successful. I’m really disciplined about managing my time. I have specific days allocated to various tasks – digital marketing, sales calls, finances, fitness programming, staff hiring and training and operations. I also think it’s important to stay connected to members, so I coach several classes a week.

What is one of the biggest challenges you face in the gym industry?

The health/beauty/fitness industry is the third most popular business industry. There are nearly 40,000 gyms in the country, which is more than double the number of McDonald’s fast food chains. Intense competition in the industry makes it challenging to stand out and get noticed. Within the industry, customers are in charge; they have lots options and are constantly getting offers to try new places. I work hard to differentiate the gym with unique training programs, varied class styles, great coaches, new equipment and building a sense of community among members.

How do you build community?

Community is about showing members we care about them inside and outside the gym. It requires consistently putting effort into relationships and staying connected with each person’s training, health and life. This is one of the parts I enjoy the most.

One of the ways we help boost community is by hosting charitable events supporting causes we are passionate about with our members. Our latest — “Pumps for Pups” — was for Northern Bound Rescue, a no-kill puppy rescue in Central CT.

How do you find time to plan a special event with all the day-to-day things required to run the business?

The trick is to keep it simple. Work within the parameters of your existing resources and operations. There is no need to stop or change what you are doing, instead focus on adding to it.

Walk us through the steps you took to plan the event?

  1. Identify a cause that aligns with your business or interests. One of our members, Sarah Lucas, volunteers at the dog rescue. She approached me about helping her build awareness for the rescue. The first step was exploring the opportunity with her. I’ve  adopted four rescues, so it’s a cause that is near and dear to me, and it allowed me to support a long-time member.
  2. Be clear about your desired outcomes and available      resources. We discussed what would make the event a win-win for both of us and what resources we had to offer. She was looking for opportunities to spread awareness about Northern Bound and reach potential future puppy adopters. She also wanted to raise funds and collect supplies, such as food, leashes, blankets and chew toys. For the gym, it’s a way to give a regular class a new twist and generate leads by encouraging members to bring guests. Sarah’s background is in marketing and event planning, so she easily came up with a catchy name – “Pumps for Pups.” I had the venue to offer and ability to turn a class into a charity workout event.
  3. Work through the logistics to pick a date and time.  We decided to host the event across our four gyms in CT. They each have the same weekend schedule, so we chose the 8:30 am class on Saturdays and picked a date that gave us enough leeway to promote. We planned the event around our regular schedule to ensure minimal interruption to staffing and members.
  4. Engage your team in the event. I brought the team together to review what we were doing and why. By including them early in the process, they took ownership in helping to spread awareness of the event and it created an opportunity to have the four clubs partner on shared purpose.
  5. Actively promote in the gym and via social      media. We had a distinct event invite – with paw prints and dumbbells – and kept sharing the event via Instagram and Facebook. Social media is a free source and allowed for repetition, which is key.  You want to start communicating early enough that members can think of potential friends to bring, and then keep reminding during the final lead up; ensuring the event stays on their calendar.  

Thanks for walking us through the steps. Any final words for business owners on how they can add doing good into their day-to-day operations?

As business owners, our plates are always full. Now, as a new dad, I’m not looking to add more work or expenses. I need to ensure that my time is spent effectively between keeping the business running and planning for growth. I want to do good, but it also needs to align with my business goals. By incorporating giving back with my ongoing needs to retain members and grow membership sales, it becomes something I can do with more frequency and greater focus. It’s not something done on the side when there is spare time, rather it’s something that can become central to the business.

One of the most rewarding parts of being a business owner is the relationships you build with clients. The trust they put in you when they choose to do business with you; which makes the work fulfilling and worthwhile.  When members join, I immediately connect with them over their health and fitness goals. Giving back to our community offers me another avenue to help strengthen those connections by partnering with them on a shared purpose.

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