Fitness Space Emerging Franchisor of the Year Award

Berkshire business Fitness Space is shortlisted for prestigious national business award

Fitness Space, a fast-growing, boutique fitness concept developed by former Olympic 400m athlete Tim Benjamin, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Emerging Franchisor of the Year Award in the prestigious annual bfa HSBC Franchise Awards 2018.

Run by the British Franchise Association (bfa), these widely-respected awards recognise both franchisors and franchisees who have demonstrated outstanding business acumen, innovation and achievement. Franchising is the granting of a licence by one person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee), which entitles the franchisee to trade under the brand, taking advantage of the systems and support offered by the franchisor.

Fitness Space joins two others on the shortlist for the Award for Emerging Franchisor of the Year category, which is an award for franchisors who can demonstrate they have built the strong foundations to create the infrastructure necessary to sustain growth and tackle the challenges that can occur in infancy.

Fitness Space provides support and guidance to all franchisees, but franchise owners are empowered to make their own choices which affect their business, from territory selection, through to designing the layout of the studio.

The fitness industry has grown exponentially, and whilst more trends emerge, Fitness Space continues to differentiate itself by creating a supportive environment and tackling ‘gymtimidation’. This significantly increases the potential customer demographic that might be interested in Fitness Space.

Having built a successful business and brand, Tim was keen to look at ways to grow quickly and a fortuitous meeting with now Managing Director, Chris Wright, led to the first Fitness Space franchisee.

Following a successful pilot, the team implemented an Operations Manual, putting in place the systems and processes that would ensure the right infrastructure and supportive environment for a franchise-model business, as well as Naranga, management software, which provides end-to-end support, from selecting a franchisee to operating a studio.

Having the right people in place to deliver the model is key to Fitness Space’s service-orientated environment, and so the franchisor provides a comprehensive training and development process, and has even created a Head of Training position.

Their ethos is ‘Never Train Alone’, so every member has a dedicated Fitness Coach and access to a state-of-the-art studio, where technology is integrated into every aspect of their fitness experience. Through a customised app, members can track their fitness results, whether they train in the studio, at home or on the go. Fitness Space also works with partners to help offer preferential rates on gym equipment and set-up.

On being shortlisted, Tim Benjamin, founder and CEO, said “As a fast-growing franchise, we are excited to be recognised as a finalist of the ‘Emerging Franchisor of the Year’ award. We focus on providing a supportive environment for our franchisees and have a partnership approach so that franchise owners feel empowered to run their studio.

The British Franchise Association has provided invaluable support as we have grown, and to be recognised as a finalist motivates us further to provide the best support and business investment opportunities for our franchisees.”

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa, said, “It’s over forty years since the bfa was launched specifically to develop ethical franchising in the UK, and I am proud of the way the sector has grown in that time, with the industry’s turnover exceeding £15bn – that’s 1% of the UK’s GDP!

“I am particularly delighted to see such a strong field of businesses in the Emerging Franchisor of the Year category as it highlights the importance of building strong business foundations to be able to sustain growth and tackle challenges while the business grows for future franchisors. I would like to congratulate all three shortlisted finalists in this category and wish them the best of luck at the Awards ceremony at the ICC Birmingham on 28th of June!”

Andrew Brattesani, UK Head of Franchising for award sponsor HSBC, said, “HSBC is delighted to be once again supporting these franchise awards. Franchise businesses are often the hidden engine of business growth in the UK and it is essential to highlight the important contribution both large and small businesses make to our economy. It is also important to showcase to people that they can run their own businesses and if you don’t want to go it alone, or haven’t got a strong business idea of your own, you can still be successful and become your own boss.”

All the bfa HSBC Franchise Award category winners will be named at an exclusive black-tie ceremony held between day one and two of the bfa Annual Conference, on 28thJune 2018 at the ICC in Birmingham.

The three finalists for the Emerging Franchisor of the Year award are:

· Angela’s Swim School – a family-run business whose teaching methods are based on decades of results, established by former Team GB swimmers

· Fitness Space – a fast-growing, boutique fitness concept developed by former Olympic 400m athlete Tim Benjamin

· We Love Pets – a family business set up nine years ago to help pet owners balance work pressures, holidays and busy lifestyles with the care of their pets

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