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HOTWORX Grows From Zero to 500 Open Locations in 6 Years

As I sit in front of my Mac and write this blog article on this beautiful Friday evening in New Orleans, I am reflecting on the past 6 years and a labor of love I know as HOTWORX Franchising. Just 6 years and three months ago we opened the very first location in Oxford, Mississippi on February 13, 2017. We opened with just shy of 100 members recruited from our first location pre-sale. With that humble beginning we launched the innovative franchise into the marketplace.

We began with, and we continue with a fanatical effort to deliver the best customer experience and workout results possible to our customer base.

We launched into uncharted territory in many ways. It was the first fitness studio to offer hot yoga 24/7. It was the first fitness studio to use what would soon become the patented HOTWORX infrared workout sauna. It was the first to create and promote the 3D Training Method. It was the first studio with the motto, MORE WORKOUT, LESS TIME. It was the first studio to connect a consumer app to the calorie burn and the after-burn for multiple workout types at any given trip to the gym.

Now, six years and four months later on this Monday the 19th of June, we will open the 500th HOTWORX franchise location. As I write this blog, we are not sure the exact location that it will be, but on this Monday we will find out, and we will let everyone know.

I have to brag on our franchisees and the corporate team that supports what they do for a moment. Not only have we managed to have such explosive growth, but we have posted increasing average profits for the franchise locations every singe year since we started. This has been possible due to the maniacal focus of the franchise on the fitness studio experience for our customers that begins with the marketing message and continues through each and every virtually instructed workout. Without our customers, we would be nowhere! Their health and fitness results is the reason we go to work every day. It is our passion! As we continue to grow the brand, we want to be world class for our customers and the best franchise in the business for their fitness journey.

The 500 location mark is an incredible milestone for a franchise company to reach, and we are ecstatic to cross that threshold this week!

Here are a few franchise facts worth noting:

“Only 16 percent of U.S. franchises have more than 100 units, and a mere 4 percent have 500-plus locations.” (1)

“Not everyone is national. Regional brands, those in 11 to 34 states, account for 34 percent of brands, while those in fewer than 10 states account for 50 percent of brands. National brands, those in 35-plus states, account for 16 percent.” (2)

HOTWORX continues to grow at a rate that has outpaced several other well known fitness brands. One of the reasons for this is the franchise’s marketing strategy. As is true in most cases, simplicity is more effective than complexity. The HOTWORX marketing strategy is simple. We laser focus our message to reach a 30 year old working female who wants to discover her inner warrior, period. We welcome everyone, include guys, but we have gone to great lengths to create a serious workout environment that inspires our target audience when she walks into the studio.

I hear from our customers all the time who feel that HOTWORX has a very encouraging vibe. This “vibe” speaks to the target customer. When a boutique fitness studio has disciplined messaging tailored to the ideal customer, magic happens. The base of the studio membership is built on the messaging and while the average age will range in the 25-40 year old center of the target, all of a sudden, that focus ripples out to and resonates with more people who are drawn to the culture as well. These folks range from 18 to 80+ years old who also want to discover their inner warrior. I always like to say, you have to focus on the “one” to sell to the “many.” You have to focus on the one to build the right energy, an energy that, from a business standpoint, will result in the highest closing percentage possible for membership sales.

We call our ideal customer “Eileen.” Sometimes it is difficult to teach new business owners the importance of target marketing. Of course, targeting is a marketing fundamental, but it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everybody, which is a recipe for disaster. When entrepreneurs try to do that for a boutique type of business they can flood their business with people who have a much lower probability of actually purchasing a membership, and who will, when they join, disrupt the culture of the membership base. Chipping away at the power of your ideal customer base is not good. The focus has to be on adding to the power of the ideal customer base through stellar customer experience!

The messaging of the business creates the culture of the business. Every detail matters in business, especially the detail of the studio culture. This is NOT an anti-inclusiveness tactic. Of course, everyone is welcome and the HOTWORX brand very much believes in the power of diversity as well as inclusiveness to all walks of life, but the messaging is laser focused to the fitness needs of the target audience we lovingly call Eileen. She is incredibly diverse across the marketplace and our messaging pays great attention to that reality. Our job is to keep her in a state of fitness experiential bliss with fast and effective workouts, period.

The marketing strategy has been incredibly successful in building studios that have increased in profits year over year since the beginning of the brand. It is also a strategy that has resulted in the explosive growth from 0 to 500 studios in 6 years!

It is with great pride that we welcome HOTWORX to the 500 Club for franchises!




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Stephen P. Smith, MA
CEO and Creator of HOTWORX, Author, Former National Collegiate Bodybuilding Champion and Arena Football Player, Certified Professional Trainer


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