Episode #326: Julian Barnes, CEO & Co-Founder, Boutique Fitness Solutions

Episode #326: Julian Barnes, CEO & Co-Founder, Boutique Fitness Solutions

Julian Barnes


Pete Moore: This is Pete Moore wanted to officially announce the release of Time To Win Again: 52 Takeaways From Team Sports To Ensure Your Business Success. I wrote this book over the last year. I think you’re going to love it. Good to great meets wears Waldo pick ’em up for your team. Time to win in 2022. Happy to come to your club, your studio, your company, and talk about ways we can optimize business and win going forward. Go halo.

Pete Moore: This is Pete Moore on HALO Talks, NYC. I have the pleasure of having a good friend of yours and a good friend of ours. Julian Barnes BFS. We are going to talk about the studio market, the resurgent, and how to educate, support, and empower started with BFS. Julian. Good to see you again,

Julian Barnes: Pete. Great to see you again. Great to be back second, the time around. Super excited to be here.

Pete Moore: Awesome. So look, you help people get through a short 24 months. So thank you for your service. Talk a little bit about what you know, some of the lessons learned over the last couple years and how you kind of turned all these, you know, obstacles and, and trouble spots into, you know, the ability to set up a business where you’re really in the education and best practices now.

Julian Barnes: So, you know, today, Pete is the two year anniversary of the world health organization declaring COVID a pandemic. Does it feel like two years? It feels like 20 yes. And two weeks. Same time. Exactly. look, we know from ERSA that 30% of the studio market is closed. And I think it’s safe to say that the two primary reasons studios closed were one. They had a landlord who wasn’t flexible and two, those studios are probably struggling in the first place. I’m not aware of many studios that were profitable pre COVID having closed the studios with strong management teams, the studios with SOPs and KPIs, the studios that weren’t excessively de on third party aggregators, those studios didn’t close. So what are the lessons? Multiple revenue streams build your own community, take care of your community.

Julian Barnes: What we’ve learned in the last two years is that studios need to have multiple revenue streams. They can’t be excessively dependent on third party aggregators. They need to invest time in building a community, building a relationship with the members of their community who pay them directly. They need to have two or three different ways. They’re generating revenue, whether it’s from nutrition, coaching physical therapy services private training, small group training rentals of their facilities. There has to be multiple, a revenue streams. One studio owner I know had a yoga studio, a retail business and a yoga business. And when the yoga studio was closed during the pandemic, she focused on the nutrition business and the retail business. She pivoted from the part that was closed to the part that was open. So I think less than number one, multiple revenue streams, lesson number two, when it comes to surviving a pandemic, I’m going to quote McKinsey and Darwin here it’s make the best decision you can as quickly as you can, no time to Loder, no time to wait and, and, you know, test the marketplace, see how things are going.

Julian Barnes: The studios I know that did an excellent job in survival SLTs of the world, fitting rooms of the world. Physi 50 sevens made decisions in 48 hours may not have been the best decision, but they acted decisively. And many people quote Darwin, but they stopped quite through the quote. He said, it’s not survival of the fittest, but survival of the fittest and most adaptable, most adaptable. So we have all done things with our businesses that we never imagined we would ever do. We were forced to do it. And those people who are flexible and, and not beholden to sacred cows in their business, those are the survivors. Those are the 70% who survive, flexible, adaptable, made decisions, decisively and quickly.

Pete Moore: Yeah. You know, the, a lot of the takeaways from our end is, is the groups that really decided that hibernation is, is an okay put place to be as well, you know, do your digital, you know, keep your outreach to your community, but you know, right. You know, like a squirrel in long island, you know, you get your, you just want to get through the winter. And I feel like, you know, finally it’s been, you know, I say it’s independence day was Monday, you know, with the masks off. You know, as you look at, at advising clients and say, Hey, look, this is probably the most severe, you know, trauma. You are going to experience with your business and now you, you, you, you’ve got your summit set up. And, and the, and the 28th, 29th event with the academy, talk about what people would expect by going to this event, what they’re going to learn. And also, you know, the, the understanding that, Hey, now it’s not to focus on the, on the, on the elements of the business. It’s not time to focus on, Hey, let me show you how to go sign another five leases. Let me show you how to, you know, bring on growth equity. Like, Hey, we’re open now. Let’s fine tune this machine so we can get this thing going again.

Julian Barnes: So we’re super excited to be producing our fourth ever summit in New York city on April 28th and 29th. As you know, we started in 2018 and this would be at the Western times square. And the day April 28th is education four different programs. The CEO summit is our invitation only summit for the best studios, the most profitable studios, the studios that have a growth mindset and are trying to determine how to scale their business or prepare for an exit that will be 150 of the best studios in the industry will be attending the CEO summit. It is invitation only via application. The focus of that day is developing a growth strategy or these businesses starting off. It features six sessions. My business partner in te tuck will lead the first session on growing personally, because we believe you can’t grow your business. If you’re not growing personally and professionally, then we have executives like Chris Schreiber from go saga.

Julian Barnes: Who’s going to be talking about franchising and licensing. And we have Amanda Freeman talking about the corporate owned business model, and we’ll have other executives talking about the virtual only, and the hybrid or omnichannel model. The point there is in two and a half hours, we’re going to discuss the pros and cons the advantages and disadvantages of the five most prevalent business models for growth franchising, licensing, corporate own omnichannel virtual. Only after lunch. We have the CMO from rumble. Rochelle deja is going to talk about marketing your growth strategy, and then we have a financing, your growth strategy. And we end the day with a preparing for your exit succession planning. So in one day, people are going to learn how they can grow professionally, which business model is best for their growth strategy, how to market their growth strategy, how to finance their growth strategy and preparing for an exit.

Julian Barnes: That’s the CEO summit. While that happening. Those studio owners can enroll their managers in one of our BFS academy trainings happening, same building. So Emma, Barry’s going to be leading the training on member experience. You know, she wrote the book building a bad ass boutique has never had the opportunity to deliver that class in person at the United. She’s going to make that debut at our BFS academy. I’m going to be leading these sales operations training with the support of my good friends, KK Hart, Connie Holand Corey, Angela, and Hensley Ella face one of your friends. At the same time, we have a third training on studio ops that our head of ops Jessica chance is going to be leading. So basically in seven hours, your managers or an inexperienced studio owner is going to learn. I won’t say everything, but a deep dive in sales ops studio ops member experience, while their bosses are upstairs at the CEO summit, figuring out how to grow their business.

Julian Barnes: And that’s just Thursday, Pete, we have a cocktail party that night, private invitation for the CEO summit attendees, and then Friday, check this out NT. And I start with our state of the industry as always followed by boom keynote speaker, number one, Sadie Lincoln bar, 376 locations. Last time I interviewed her last spring, she had 160 locations. So during the pandemic, she added 16 new locations. How amazing is that? Then we’ll have multiple fireside chats, panel discussions, lunch partner, pavilion, keynote, number two, Jay Guzo flywheel north castle. Now with club sports group commitment to open 300 F 40 fives. I just interviewed Jay the other day. And I asked him, why are you so bullish about the boutique fitness industry? He said, because people coming back, it wasn’t broken before the summit. And before the pandemic, it took a global pandemic to lead to the setback, but it wasn’t because the business model was broken and he’s, he’s so bullish.

Julian Barnes: He left the comfort, the comfort of being an investor, and he back in the operating chair and oper operators model, and he’s committed to opening 300 new locations. So that’s our keynote speaker. Number two, while all that is happening, we have recruited 20 of the best studio consultants in the country. Who’ll be providing onsite one-on-one business coaching to some of our attendees. So if you’re not digging the panel on omnichannel or the panel on talent acquisition, you can go downstairs and talk to people like some of the, some of the instructors KK and Corey and Glenfield who’s Chris beer Chris beer, a who’s who of coaches. So in some, in two days in New York city, there are some intensive trainings on sales studio, ops member experience. There’s a CEO summit for the best studios that want to focus on growth. There’s a full day of general sessions featuring Sadie Lincoln, Jay za fireside chats panel discussions, all focus on the theme of the summit is the path forward.