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AWATfit CEO Rich Decker Sees Opportunity Amidst COVID-19 Crisis

Nick Powills and Charles Internicola are joined by AWATfit CEO Rich Decker to discuss how the fitness brand is navigating this challenging time.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many businesses to pivot, if not altogether cease operations, and the franchise industry is no exception. Franchise brands of all sizes, across all segments have been affected by COVID-19 and state-mandated shutdowns. Franchises are locally owned and operated, which means franchise owners must stay up to date on state and local laws and find ways to stay afloat during the pandemic. 

1851 Franchise publisher Nick Powills and Charles Internicola spoke with AWATfit founder and CEO Rich Decker about how the mobile fitness brand is navigating the crisis. Long story short: Decker, who is a 30-plus-year fitness business industry veteran, is very excited about this time and the changes the world will now see take shape. 

Here are some of the key insights from their discussion.

The Advantage of a Mobile Model

As a completely mobile fitness gym utilizing trucks equipped with 25 workout stations, AWATfit is able to remain operational throughout the pandemic. 

Decker has no regrets about leaving the brick and mortar world. He says there can be a honeymoon phase in the beginning of opening a brick and mortar gym, but owners will need to contend with lease renewals, be subject to local ordinances and face other constraints. 

Organic Advertising

Thanks to their distinct trucks, AWATfit benefits from organic advertising. The truck becomes its own marketing tool and begins the conversation between franchisees and prospective customers.

Overcoming Fear

One of the biggest fears for entrepreneurs is the fear to pull the trigger because they do not possess business acumen, so they sit back. That’s the benefit of getting involved with a franchise. The franchisor can set the franchisee up with marketing support and more. You do not get this support if you run a mom-and-pop enterprise. 

For Decker, the only definition of failure is not trying. 

Looking Forward

Everything is changing and everyone is in a transformation stage. This is a global pandemic, and there will be a lot of innovation coming out of this. 

During a time like this, everyone is looking for something new. They’re not going back to the old. Take this time to be imaginative and creative. The only way to get through anything in life is with positivity.