Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Opening a Franchise: An Interview with Founder Steve Butts

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This interview was originally published in Authority Magazine on April 7, 2024. Please visit the link for the full interview.  

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Opening a Franchise

An Interview with NinjaTrix Founder Steve Butts by Cynthia Corsetti

The world of franchising offers a unique blend of entrepreneurship and established business models. However, navigating the franchise landscape can be daunting, especially for those embarking on this journey for the first time. There are lessons to be learned, pitfalls to avoid, and success stories to be inspired by. 

Steve Butts is the President and Founder of NinjaTrix, with over 35 years of experience in crafting engaging and enriching experiences for kids and families under his black belt. Steve developed NinjaTrix to fill a crucial gap in traditional children’s physical extracurriculars. The unique program is not just about getting kids moving; it’s about shaping their physical and mental development through a carefully curated blend of movement, challenge, and valuable life lessons. Steve was interviewed by Cynthia Corsetti of Authority Magazine as part of their interview series about franchising. 

What are your “Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Opening a Franchise”?

1 . Community is Paramount

Fortunately, I learned this early on. We actively participate in community events, sponsor local teams, and host family nights and awards banquets. This not only builds brand awareness but also fosters a sense of belonging. We’ve seen families who initially came for a birthday party end up enrolling their kids in our programs because they felt such a strong connection to our community.

2 . Build It AND Market It

The old “if you build it, they will come” adage does not work for business growth. You can have a really great class and core fan base, but if you do not invest in getting the word out in the community about what you’re doing, you are severely hurting your growth potential.

3 . The Importance of a Strong Team

Life throws curveballs. By investing in building a strong team with cross-training opportunities, you will be able to pivot without losing momentum.

4 . Choosing the Right Landlord

While site selection is crucial for your success, finding the right landlord is also very important as they become a long-term partner. Thankfully, the NinjaTrix franchise offers guidance and support throughout the site selection process, sharing experience and best practices. Ultimately, however, the responsibility of securing the ideal spot and negotiating with the landlord will fall on you, the franchise owner. Dedicate the time and due diligence to find locations that meet your specific needs and have landlords who understand the demands of the business.

5 . Numbers Are Important, But So is Adaptability

Financial projections and planning are vital. However, things rarely go exactly as planned. Learn to be adaptable, make quick decisions, be willing to say you’re wrong, and pivot again. Being open to adjusting your approach allows you to navigate challenges and achieve success.

As your franchise has grown, what have been the key drivers of its success? Looking forward, what strategies do you plan to implement to ensure continued growth and sustainability in an ever-evolving market?

Our franchise’s success can be attributed to several key factors, the most important is the people. The team you have in place is a critical driver to any business’s success; we have the right team.

Our standardized curriculum is also paramount to our success. We’ve meticulously documented and videoed our curriculum, creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), allowing for flexibility and adaptability. If a key team member needs to step away, others can seamlessly step in and maintain program quality.

We foster a continuous learning environment for both coaches and students. We provide ongoing training opportunities to stay informed of industry trends and develop their skills. This translates into engaging and effective classes that keep students and staff excited and motivated.

We are constantly evaluating and adapting our offerings to meet the evolving needs of the market. Examples include summer camps for busy families and online Zoom classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This responsiveness ensures we remain relevant and provide value to our community.

Looking forward we plan to expand our digital marketing efforts, develop new strategic partnerships, continuously refine our curriculum by incorporating new trends and feedback from instructors and students, and exploring the potential for new program offerings that cater to growing interests and demographics so that we can continue to thrive in the ever-evolving market while bringing fun and fitness to our communities.

Learn more about how NinjaTrix is revolutionizing the kids’ fitness industry and how you can become part of the NinjaTrix Franchise community. Click here to get in touch with a member of the NinjaTrix team.