When Jen Hamilton opened her first location in 2011, she wasn’t thinking of franchising. The company grew rapidly, and soon, people were clamouring to get on board. In 2014, she took franchising off the market for 11 months to focus on system development.
“To think, it was an idea and a concept we kicked out of the park, and now all these people have the opportunity to do this. With the positive impact it has on people’s lives, honestly, I feel grateful,” says Hamilton.
With fitness trends constantly evolving, the name Oxygen Yoga and Fitness allows the company to introduce fresh new concepts in addition to yoga as others become passé. “It allows the business to continue to flourish, and allows us to be creative and in tune with what our clientele wants.”
With 60 locations across British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, many franchisees were once members who fell in love with the program and realized that it also made sense financially.
After an initial 30-minute phone meeting, franchisees delve into due diligence and a SWOT analysis to determine if the opportunity is a good match. Once on board, Hamilton approaches franchise training with a mom-and-pop shop mentality. “Our training is about creating relationships and a healthy environment and culture that is warm and welcoming for everybody.”
The restructure helped to redefine roles and responsibilities to further foster franchise success. “It was an amazing piece that’s created a lot of predictability and success within the system.” With five-year franchise terms, Hamilton says her first franchisees are in the process of re-signing and adopting additional locations. “I want to give the franchisees the opportunity to have more. It’s about communication, responsibility, and working together.”
Hamilton says that ultimately, success boils down to communication. “If something is not being executed properly, it means I need to find a way to communicate better and have the right people on my team to execute deliverables and find success. We each have a reason to serve our members and ensure that they are beyond satisfied. If they are just satisfied, we are not doing our job.”
She advises franchisees to create a place where they feel they have a positive influence. “Yes, there’s a sense of hierarchy in the business, but there are many intelligent people working in the system who bring knowledge and expertise, and have collectively brought ideas to the table. Creating a melting pot of ideas has allowed success.”