The administrative work has been the largest challenge for a former real-estate agent turned franchisee.
Paula Beiger, a former real-estate broker, bought a Curves franchise in Lawrenceville, N.J., in 2001 with her husband, Jack. They bought another unit across town in regards to a year ago. Ms. Beiger sat down with StartupJournal to speak about owning and operating her Curves gyms.
StartupJournal: What made you choose to buy a Curves for Women?
Ms. Beiger: Five years go, nobody had have you ever heard of Curves within NJ. I was among the first members of a specific Curves, and I saw how quickly the membership grew. I went home to Jack, and I said, ‘You should observe how fast this thing keeps growing.’ We went online, we checked it out, and we liked what we saw, so we bought a franchise.
SJ: How has owning two Curves gyms worked for you personally?
Ms. Beiger: I don’t consider it as though I’m competing against my other Curves. I felt that I had to place one over here, because other same-type women’s 30-minute workouts were opening around the region, and I didn’t want to reduce my members I already had who lived over here.
SJ: What did you rely most to gain your visitors?
Ms. Beiger: Person to person. One woman telling an other woman. We’ve a buddy-referral system, in order that if they do bring a pal in, there’s an advantage to them.
SJ: Are you at, or desire to reach a point where one can hire a manager to perform your business?
Ms. Beiger: I possibly could have been at that time from day one. I love being hands on. I believe the members like seeing us there, and since we appreciate it so much, there is absolutely no reason to.
SJ: What has been your preferred part about running a Curves?
Ms. Beiger: It’s seeing the results. I’ve a book at each of my Curves for when someone arises if you ask me and says, ‘My blood circulation pressure has truly gone down, and the physician really wants to take me off the blood-pressure pills.’ It is rather rewarding. I knew it had been likely to be fun, because I was an associate, but I didn’t realize I’d start to see the improvement of peoples’ lives that people experience.
SJ: What do you want to see improve?
Ms. Beiger: Communication. Everything is via email now. I believe it’s just me, because I’m a dinosaur, because their communication is okay if your computer-oriented. Whenever we first opened, I possibly could pick up the telephone, and, for my age, that worked for me personally. I like the non-public touch, but I’m not getting that anymore. Let me select the phone and speak to [founder and leader officer] Gary Heavin, and I used to manage to do this.
SJ: Have you got any advice for anybody thinking about opening a Curves?
Ms. Beiger: I believe you should know this is a thing that you will definitely like and enjoy, and it won’t look like a job for you.
SJ: What’s the most difficult facet of running your two Curves?
Ms. Beiger: The administrative work will be the most difficult for me personally, but I give it to Jack. It generally does not bother Jack. For the reports we must send them, they make it as simple as possible to perform. You just need to enter in the info on the forms and email it over there.
SJ: That which was your biggest surprise when you initially began?
Ms. Beiger: The largest surprise was just how many people walked through our door that first year. We were surprised how popular it had been. We expected it to be good, but we didn’t expect it to be fabulous.
SJ: What would you do differently in the event that you could start again?
Ms. Beiger: I don’t want to state we did everything perfectly, because we didn’t know very well what we were doing, business wise, whenever we first started; the administrative work, for instance. The one thing I’d did differently is I’d have opened this second Curves quicker (laughter). I hesitated for a couple years opening the next one.
— Mr. Caverly can be an intern at StartupJournal.com.