We are launching a £1m initiative designed to offer financial support to PTs and exercise professionals in getting back to work after the lockdown.
Vice chair, BMF
What is Mission Active?
COVID-19 has displaced millions of workers and in the fitness sector, self-employed personal trainers have been very badly hit by the closure of gyms – in many cases seeing the loss of their regular income. It’s not possible to underestimate the negative impact of this on individuals and families who are seeing a very real threat to their livelihoods.
In every corner of the UK, when gyms do reopen, they’ll do so with significant restrictions and we anticipate many PTs and fitness professionals will be facing a long period of unemployment. This isn’t something we want to see happen.
Mission Active is an initiative aimed at out of work fitness professionals who want to rebuild their businesses with the support of the UK’s most established outdoor fitness franchise – BMF.
We recognise it will be challenging for some PTs and fitness professionals to reach the investment levels required for them to acquire a BMF franchise territory in the normal way. As a result, we’ve committed to creating a £1 million grant programme to support the first hundred PTs who sign up to launch an outdoor fitness territory with BMF. BMF will provide a £10,000 grant to each successful applicant – as part of the Mission Active initiative – supporting them to acquire a BMF territory of their choice.
In this way, Mission Active will be empowering out of work applicants to become business owners within an industry they’re truly passionate about.
Bear Grylls: "For me, it's all about sharing the positivity of all those involved with BMF with as many people as I can."
Why should fitness professionals get involved?
PTs are passionate about fitness. Very often they have their own personal mission to empower people to transform their lives through fitness.
There’s never been a more important time to create a national movement that supports the ukactive mission to get more people more active more often. It’s time to provide real, tangible support to our wonderful NHS and work together to improve the health of the nation.
Mission Active is a movement dedicated to extending outdoor fitness opportunities to the hundreds of thousands of people who now need to take fitness more seriously.
BMF was founded more than 20 years ago. It has a clearly recognised brand, world-class programming, a network of professionals, and a raving fan base that – even in the period of the COVID-19 lockdown – achieved a Net Promoter Score of 77.
While other operators froze their memberships, BMF trusted in its tribe of passionate members and was rewarded when 82 per cent of members chose to keep paying their membership as we moved our operations online.
This tells us that BMF’s exceptional customer service – with client satisfaction ratings on a par with Apple – is the key to retaining clients and building profitability in the future.
BMF brings all that brand value and support to every BMF franchise business. PTs and professionals will feel the value of the training, peer group support and professional advice very quickly and, more importantly, see the results in their bank balance.
We believe many fitness professionals will be displaced by the pandemic and we aim to create an unprecedented, affordable franchise opportunity that will offer them an income and a means to sustain their passion.
What’s the timescale of this offering?
We’re committed to providing the first hundred personal trainers with the grant opportunity for as long as it takes. The reality is we don’t expect these grants to be around for very long because we expect take-up to be high.
What commercial opportunities do you see for BMF?
BMF has dominated the outdoor fitness market since its inception. It will continue to do so and in the next few years, will extend its footprint internationally.
We have a well developed online learning platform and our at-home programme is hugely popular with our client base.
We see significant commercial opportunity to build a blended outdoor and at-home offer in the years ahead. We’re also working very closely with health professionals in the NHS.
The NHS believes that aiding patient recovery and helping people boost their immune system must take greater priority in the post-COVID-19 period. This means there’s significant commercial opportunity for innovative fitness operators to reach out to the 85 per cent of people who don’t currently use a gym.
We believe outdoor exercise will rapidly increase in popularity when lockdown ends, as it can be socially distanced more easily and brings with it all the benefits of fresh air and community engagement.
Business Development Director
Once people have bought a BMF franchise, what’s the setup journey?
We start with our Enterprise phase, which successfully gets new franchisees into business. This phase includes training, business planning support, marketing set up and pre-sales support.
Once they’re operating within the network, our franchisees benefit from regular training and conference events, along with the backing of a central support team that continues to provide the latest marketing campaigns and business support.
What are the key benefits of being a BMF franchisee?
BMF is the fastest growing outdoor fitness franchise in the UK and is now launching into various international markets. We’re passionate about delivering the best outdoor workouts in the world.
From iconic urban areas to incredible green spaces, we train anywhere with everyone. With low capital investment requirements and a quick to market set-up phase, our franchisees get into business and become profitable quickly.
Our franchisees come from a range of backgrounds – what binds them together is a passion for helping others on their fitness journey.
Our training systems and support provide everything needed to deliver a great customer experience – we also provide a recruitment service to match investors with operators and instructors.
What kind of people does BMF attract?
Our members come from all walks of life and all fitness backgrounds. What connects them all is the strength of our local communities, bound together by passionate instructors.
BMF may have military in its title but the programmes and workouts are designed for everyone. We’re here to get members fit for life, just like the military train to be fit for action.
We use our military training strategies to get the best from people and help maintain motivation. It’s these unique strategies which set us apart in an industry where members struggle to find somewhere to belong. Young, old, sedentary, or athletic we welcome all into the BMF family and they tend to stick around. Many of our members have been with us since day one, over 20 years ago.
What other insights would you like to share with potential franchisees?
We’ve already grown a brilliant network of franchisees stretching across the UK from Glasgow to the South of England. What’s exciting about our business model is the number of locations available.
We’re unrestrained by the need for bricks and mortar sites and operate in outdoor spaces in urban and rural environments. This means there are thousands of locations for our franchisees to operate from and the low number of members required to operate a profitable location means even the smallest of rural towns and villages can make a great BMF territory.
Chris St George
What makes BMF exceptional?
We’ve been working with industry body, ukactive, to develop standards that meet government guidelines on outdoor exercise, as they get updated.
We know members will be keen to get back out into the parks to exercise safely soon, and our COVID-19 workout delivers all the social distancing and safety features required.
We believe the pandemic will spark a revolution in outdoor fitness. Doctors across the world are imploring people to get fitter in order to resist the impact of such viruses now and in the future.
There’s something about working out in the fresh air, experiencing the seasons, embracing a discipline to work out in different climates and with different intensity. The rewards in terms of mental and physical fitness are exceptional. BMF members can train anywhere. We expect to treble our outdoor workout locations across the UK by the end of next year.
We have huge global ambitions. With Bear Grylls as co-owner we have exceptional reach into countries such as the USA, China and India to help drive this. We also have the most affordable franchise operation in the world
What convinced you to invest in BMF?
I worked as an instructor with BMF 20 years ago and there was something very special about the relationship between me and the 300 members who regularly turned up in all weathers to work out together.
Local ownership with a passion for improving peoples’ lives is at the heart of BMF’s decision to build a global franchising operation. The company is very well funded and we have the resources to build a brand that franchisees can be proud of.
We also want to do the right thing. Our decision to launch the Mission Active campaign, which will put £1m support into the hands of 100 personal trainers and fitness professionals, is extremely timely.
We believe many fitness professionals will be displaced by the impact of the pandemic and we aim to create an unprecedented, affordable franchise opportunity that will offer them an income and a means to sustain their passion.
At the same time, Mission Active will take outdoor fitness to hundreds of communities across the UK.
Where will BMF be in three years time?
We have huge global ambitions. I already have the experience of taking a small company and building it into a global brand, with 5,000 employees across 30 countries.
With Bear Grylls as a co-owner and partner we have exceptional reach into countries such as the USA, China and India to help drive this.
We know we have the most affordable franchise operation in the world – we also know that safe outdoor exercise will become increasingly popular globally.
It’s not hard to get excited about taking a tried, tested and proven fitness formula into new locations – rapidly. After all, this expansion will improve health and will take pressure off overstretched health services across the world.
CLAIM YOUR SHARE OF THE BMF £1M SUPPORT GRANT