- Name: Thomas Hampton
- Location: Southampton
- Franchise: TRIB3
- Date launched the franchise: Studio opened 15th January 2022
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?
I worked in finance for 15 years. Specifically Corporate FX Advisory. Very different from running a boutique fitness studio! I was looking to do something more entrepreneurial and fell in love with HIIT training about 4 years ago. So, opening my own studio seemed like a natural progression and a good way to enable my wife and I to move out of London and start something new outside of London.
Can you also tell us about TRIB3
TRIB3 is a boutique fitness company that offers HIIT training sessions in their cutting-edge studios. Classes are typically 45 minutes long and the studio can hold up to 42.
Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the fitness industry? And why TRIB3?
I went down the franchise route because I have never run my own studio before and need help with almost everything!
I chose a boutique fitness studio because HIIT training is something I enjoy, and I can see it being an incredible business.
I chose TRIB3 because I loved the design of the studios and the workouts. I did have an idea for creating my own gym/studio concept, but when I attended the GB Franchise Show, I saw TRIB3 and it was almost identical to the vision I had in my head. So, finding something to meet my ideas on the design front with a wealth of industry knowledge seemed like a good fit.
How did you raise the finance?
I put down capital from my savings, some on a bank loan and then leasing equipment for the studio
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I received very thorough training completed inhouse at TRIB3’s Manchester Head Office in all areas I can think of - sales, operations, customer care, finance etc.
I have had amazing support all the way through. TRIB 3 organised a lot of the financing, helped me find a location, designed the studio, organised builders, equipment…everything basically.
How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee
I am also the studio Manager, so very hands on right now! I am in the studio most of the day every day. I work across all areas except training, but I train daily, so I am living and breathing everything TRIB3 Southampton right now.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
It has completely changed my life! I am now working in a different industry, running my own business in a city I am hoping to move to in the near future.
Running my own business has definitely reinvigorated my work life. I was getting bored in my previous career. Now I live and breathe my business. ‘Going to work,’ doesn’t feel like going to work. I actually enjoy it now and am obsessed with it. I love it.
Also, opening a gym franchise is life changing because, due to certain health issues, being active and working out every day will literally extend my life compared to working in a job where I sit still behind a computer every day.
How do you achieve a work-life balance?
I am currently making sure I have the majority of my weekends clear to do what I want, but in the first few months there are some 11 hour days and 6 or 7 day working weeks if you have an event on Sunday or something. But as work no longer feels like work, I really don’t mind doing 11 hour days. As I own my own business, I am working towards my own goals and benefits.
If you have staff, how do you retain your best staff and keep morale high and productive; how do you incentivise your staff and recognise success?
We have not been open very long, so have not had anyone leave yet. But working in a fitness studio is fun! Coaches are here because they love fitness themselves. I try and keep everything vary varied, eg asking staff to do content for our social media pages, outreach or working with clients behind our desk at reception.
Can you tell us about any community involvement, including any local partnerships, incentives or charity work you are involved in?
We are trying to get involved with local sports teams such as Southampton FC and Hampshire CC to host charity events at our studio. But we are still in the early stages.
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
For me, being part of a franchise is absolutely vital to everything I do. From the critically important issues such as there is no way a bank or financial institution would have given a start up the level of financing (if any at all) during a pandemic, to simply knowing how to restock our protein cupboard; we do everything the TRIB3 way and it works.
Also, when my wife went into intensive care for 20 days over Christmas, having TRIB3 to support me and pick up the pieces to make sure everything still moved forward while I helped my wife was incredible. They kept everything on track when I couldn’t. I don’t think anyone could ask for more from a franchise partner in a time like that.
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Someone who is open to doing something in an already tried and tested way and who is willing to put in the time to make it work.
What are your plans for the future?
Once I have this site open and running well, I am looking to open another couple so watch this space!
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Not do it during a pandemic!