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Lessons From Franchise Execs: Stacy Anderson, President, Anytime Fitness

Leading a brand re-positioning takes a lot of strength. Hear how the leader of this fitness brand builds trust with franchisees to help them during this process.

By Chris LaMorte1851 Franchise Editor
Updated 2:14PM 10/01/21

Implementing change across an enterprise of any size can be a heavy lift. But for a franchise brand with perhaps thousands of franchisees, each with their own ideas about brand direction, that task can be positively Herculean. 

It’s not enough for a leader to make a logical, data-driven case for a proposed change, says Stacy Anderson, president of Woodbury, Minnesota-based Anytime Fitness, a 24/7 gym franchise with a global presence. You have to also appeal to the heart.

“You’re not just appealing to their minds in terms of a business case, making sure that everybody understands the case for change, the upside, the opportunity,” Anderson said. “You’re also really gathering their hearts and getting them emotionally invested in why you need to evolve and move forward in a different way.”

As Anytime Fitness shifts away from being a convenience-based brand and toward a health and wellness model, emphasizing coaching and holistic health and wellness, Anderson certainly has a lot of hearts to gather: The brand has 1,600 domestic franchisees across 4,000 locations, in addition to 30 different master franchisees across 50 countries. 

Anderson credits the management approach emphasized at Self Esteem Brands, the portfolio brand that owns Anytime Fitness, for helping to achieve the brand’s goals. 

“We talk a lot about CAT here,” Anderson said. “That's communication, alignment and trust.” 

She explains these three pillars involve keeping open lines of communication between franchisor and franchisee, as well as admitting when there’s a misstep, and then working to get alignment between the parties. Ultimately, the goal is to build trust within the system. 

“Trust ends up being that foundation of how you're able to connect and move a system of [our] size forward,” she said.

Watch the full interview above, or click here to watch it on YouTube.