1851 Magazine Features Workout Anytime’s COO Mark de Gorter

Posted on May 11, 2017

 

1851 Franchise
PEOPLE

08:00 AM • 05/10/17
How Making Time for the Unexpected Allows Mark de Gorter to Open the Lines of Communication Between Franchisors and Franchisees


As the COO of WORKOUT ANYTIME, de Gorter’s goal is to make the brand the most admired in the fitness industry.
BY: CASSIDY MCALOON CONTENT PRODUCER
When Mark de Gorter accepted a position as WORKOUT ANYTIME’s COO in 2015, he realized that it was the culmination of his diverse background and extensive career.
Having been in the health and fitness industry for over 35 years, de Gorter has worn a lot of hats within the increasingly popular segment. He first started out on the advertising and marketing sides of the business, where he worked on a health club account for the brand that preceded Bally Total Fitness. It was that opportunity that ultimately inspired de Gorter to switch over from the agency to the client side—the brand offered him a position as its head of marketing and advertising. And the more he got involved on the client side of the business, the more he recognized that it was where his personal passion for fitness and professional experience in communications intersected.
Since then, de Gorter has been growing alongside the booming fitness industry. He eventually became COO for Velocity Sports Performance Franchise Systems LLC, which introduced him to the franchising business model. He also served as the president of Power Plate Americas, which provides commercial fitness equipment and programming, before becoming the executive vice president of strategy and development for Performance Health Systems, LLC. And according to de Gorter, he’s bringing everything that he’s learned so far to the table in his role with WORKOUT ANYTIME.
“By the time I got to WORKOUT ANYTIME two years ago, I had spent my entire career in sports and fitness. That’s why I’ve been able to take a lot of what I’ve learned—especially as it relates to franchising—and apply it to our brand,” said de Gorter. “The health and fitness industries are only getting more popular, which makes this an incredibly exciting time to be a part of a brand like WORKOUT ANYTIME. We’re growing at a rapid pace, and I’m looking forward to continuing that trend down the line.”
After launching its first 50 locations over the course of nine years, WORKOUT ANYTIME opened its next 50 in just two years. And now, the brand is on track to open the next 100 within another two years. That type of momentum is rare in the franchising industry, but according to de Gorter, it’s possible when franchisees and franchisors are working together.
“The good thing about franchising is that it’s one of the only industries where your goals and objectives are in complete alignment with everybody else on your team. Even though there’s a productive tension that can sometimes exist between franchisees and franchisors, at the end of the day, everyone is working together to move a brand forward and grow profitably,” said de Gorter.
That drive to take WORKOUT ANYTIME to the next level is what guides de Gorter in his day-to-day tasks. While he rarely experiences a typical day at the office, all of his actions are based off of four key pillars. The first is ensuring that WORKOUT ANYTIME’s system and offerings are unique and innovative. The second is making sure that the brand resonates with customers, with the third pillar representing the brand’s ongoing training and education programs. Lastly, de Gorter works to enhance WORKOUT ANYTIME’s business systems, ultimately setting all of its franchisees—and their customers—up for success.
In order to give all four of those pillars an equal amount of his time, de Gorter operates by one simple rule: never allow yourself to be overbooked.
“One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t overschedule yourself, especially when you’re a part of a senior leadership team. There are always going to be things that pop up that you can’t predict, and you need to be able to adjust your schedule around that spontaneous activity,” said de Gorter. “A major part of my job at WORKOUT ANYTIME is to provide necessary leadership management and communication to address those things that bubble up outside of our normal work flow. That’s why I make an active effort to keep a good part of my day open—I want to be able to handle any unexpected business that comes my way.”
When de Gorter isn’t dealing with unforeseen events, the rest of his time is spent making improvements to WORKOUT ANYTIME’s model. In order to be successful as a brand on the national level, franchisors need to be willing to adapt. And according to de Gorter, the most important thing to address is the support and systems that are being made available to franchisees.
“Over the course I’ve my career, I’ve found that issues only arise between brands and their local owners when they don’t see the value that they’re getting in the proven system. That’s why we’re constantly looking for ways to take WORKOUT ANYTIME’s model to the next level—whether it’s being featured in a major movie like “Mother’s Day” or providing unparalleled support, we want to ensure that we’re bringing something to the table that our franchisees wouldn’t be able to access on their own,” said de Gorter. “Our goal isn’t to be the biggest fitness brand in the industry. Instead, our goal is to be the most admired. Everything that we do as a corporate team on a daily basis is designed to create a culture and environment that becomes aspirational for others to want to be a part of.”

 

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