Before they invested in a Stepz Fitness franchise, Nariman and Homeira Karimi’s day to day could not be more different.
Nariman worked the boardrooms of countless corporate companies; meanwhile his wife Homeira was a creative.
“I held roles as a chief information officer at a number of multinational corporations in Australia, South East Asia, South Africa and a number of other countries for 30 years,” says Nariman.
“Immediately before this franchise, I was an independent consultant and my wife was a painter/artist and ran our home office.”
LOCAL BRAND, SIMPLE CONCEPT
The pair chose Stepz Fitness because the rapidly emerging health and wellness services market interested them.
“We preferred the services rather than products market as it involved less logistical and stock management complications.
“The franchise concept offered simplicity. The critical components – modes of operations and suppliers – were already identified and proven,” Nariman says.
They saw Stepz Fitness as a suitable investment option for three key reasons:
Low establishment costs
The fact that Stepz is a local brand was particularly appealing, says Nariman. “It meant that we got to know the master franchisors personally and found that we got on.
“Being local also meant that the concept was always appropriate to the markets that they operate in, and in fact, could be adapted.”
A CLOSE WORKING RELATIONSHIP
Dealing with the franchisors directly has made their experience with brand more personal, and the pair doesn’t feel as though they are simply another number.
“The ideas and objectives behind the operations were transparent and open to review, and we built a great deal of trust and mutual respect.”
He says Stepz Fitness genuinely cares about its franchisees, whether that be via the provision of extensive support or making every effort to keep costs down.
“We found that they are committed to the long-term success of the business and very sympathetic to keeping the start-up and fit-out costs low,” he says.
“They proved that regardless of the size of the problem, we can count on their time and contribution. They helped with all supplier negotiations with tangible results. We have open and frequent discussions and there are always options on the table.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE
While the pair still has much to learn about franchising and the fitness industry, they are well aware the franchise model is all about learning to operate individual businesses under one cohesive brand.
“The biggest contribution is the ability to understand the brand and concept as the big picture and being able to effectively evaluate and contribute to operating options within the overall framework,” Nariman says.
“We understand brands and customer service and the importance of a consistent and sustained style in delivering our offering.” Nairman adds he also has experience in hiring staff and developing strong management teams to manage his two gyms, which are located in Benowa and Arundel on the Gold Coast.
TRUST THE MODEL
The pair initially struggled to trust the Stepz Fitness franchise model, yet the stronger their relationship with the franchisors became, the easier it was to trust them, Nariman says.
“[You need] to trust the model and follow it one step at a time, rather than spend months and years testing and understanding the whole picture before committing to action.
“It all comes back to the personal trust in the ability and objectives of the master franchisors at a personal level. It worked for us.”
Today, the pair is so confident in the model they are currently on the lookout for a third gym, and they have plans to open several more.