Hotpod Yoga Co-Founder Max Henderson: On Launching A Successful Wellness Franchise

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In a little under four years, Max Henderson and Nick Higgins’ disruptive approach to the traditional yoga studio, has propelled them to the forefront of the wellness industry.

Based in 26 locations, across 6 countries, the duo’s inflatable, heated pods have inspired over 35,000 customers to practice their unique and refreshing style of yoga.

Bringing the benefits of yoga to a wider audience has been integral to the company’s commercial success, but behind the scenes, Hotpod Yoga’s franchise operation has had an ever bigger impact.

Helping transform yoga instructors and enthusiasts into business owners; where for £10,000 a pop, franchisees are realising the opportunity to grow a £100k+ a year business, supported by Hotpod Yoga’s infrastructure.

Currently Europe’s largest yoga business, Hotpod Yoga is empowering a new community of yoga instructors, giving them the tools they need to turn a passion into profit. The business model has proven highly effective, but not without its own set of challenges.

As a franchisor, there are a lot of balls to juggle, but if you can keep them in the air, the results can be lucrative and fulfilling.

According to Henderson, building a team to oversee and support your franchise network, while not losing site of your core product are just two of the drivers essential to the success of a wellness franchise.

To discover what else the entrepreneur credits as being key to Hotpod Yoga’s franchise model, continue reading below….

Build a great core team

Franchise businesses work on the premise that the franchisor holds all of the answers, so encouraging franchisees to buy into those answers is one of the keys to success.

Centrally, the core team has to be on top of their game and (critically) has to be made up of people who can engage successfully, influence where necessary and hopefully inspire. Fitness businesses are people businesses, so building good chemistry around great people is essential.

Be prepared for team work (on a big scale)

The peculiar thing about a franchise business is that each franchise launch is the launch of a new startup -– because of this, there’s never room for complacency.

Each franchise has its own challenges and as the franchisor you’ve got a duty to help that franchisee, who has likely put their life savings into the business and needs your attention to help maximise their chance of success.

As the central team, not only do you have to focus on your own business, you also have to be on hand to lead your wider team of franchisees. So, while you may only have a small core team, you’ve got to be prepared for powerful teamwork within a much wider network.

Hotpod Yoga's successful franchise model

Image: Hotpod Yoga

Ensure you’ve got something really unique

To be a successful franchise you always need to ensure that your offering is a step-up from the alternative choice. creating something genuinely powerful and unique may seem like a simplistic way of looking at it, but you need to justify your own existence!

If a franchisee is going to be paying you a slice of their income, you want to be certain they’ll be paying that with glee. The product, support, brand and concept you’ve given them to work with has to be positively life-changing and a cut above what their alternative may be.

Innovate

Having a unique concept is key, but you also have a duty to keep innovating and improving.

As a franchisee you want to see your franchisor leading the way, rather than following. So, even when your processes, technology and concept is strong and performing well, relentlessly focussing on improvement and innovation is key to staying valuable.

Focus on yourself not others

This certainly isn’t unique to fitness businesses or franchise businesses, but I’m very much in favour of getting on with your own work as opposed to focussing too much on others.

You can lose a lot of sleep and waste a lot of energy worrying about competitors, new entrants and the wider industry landscape, but you’re much better off bettering yourself and your own business.

If you have a sound concept, keep innovating, keep engaging well with your internal network (of employees, partners and franchisees) and continue working with energy – you’ll stand yourself in good stead, regardless of what’s happening in the wider market.

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