Simply for Life - Founder & President, Bruce Sweeney

Date: APR 16th, 2014

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Results speak for themselves. Even through trying economic times, Simply for Life (SFL) continues to experience growth. People have realized that the only thing that really matters is their health, because without it you have nothing. Clients trust Simply for Life to provide safe, balanced meal planning coupled with the motivation and accountability they need to succeed. During 20 years of coaching athletes, Bruce, the man behind the Simply for Life vision, realized that there was a fundamental flaw in the way people approached their health. All too often, they relied on gimmicks, “magic” pills, fad diets, or sporadic exercise to control their weight and enhance their health.Passion and determination lead Bruce on a seven year journey to create a customized nutrition program. His quest for optimal health led him around the world to international conferences where he networked with physicians and leading researchers. He took the time to discuss his observations and confirm his insights and is still doing it today!Because he was so good at educating and motivating clients, Bruce and his wife and partner, Claudine knew that the key to expanding Simply for Life was to find people like Bruce who cared deeply about nutrition and health. They created a network of Certified Nutrition Consultants who educate and motivate clients during weekly consultations. They hand picked each Franchisee to form a network of experts who offer a very positive and supportive environment for people to adopt small changes that make a big difference in their health. Together, they have opened over 35 Clinics across Canada.

BeTheBoss: Tell us abut the Simply for Life concept.

Bruce Sweeney : In 2001, based on extensive research, I developed a program that combined a multitude of nutritional indexes and key data to enable each person to receive the right balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. I knew, through many years of research, that with the right foods, eaten in the right portion, at the right time of day, it was possible to achieve optimal health. We all have different biological needs, there is no one-size-fits-all. It''s about keeping clients accountable, creating an awesome relationship, educating, and most importantly, doing something that's sustainable. Our philosophy is to find the ultimate set of tools for our clients. It's simple - eat real food. Don't count calories. Don't count carbs. The 41 countries that I've researched so far that have the best quality of life, greatest longevity, and lowest incidence of chronic disease, just eat real food.

BTB: So how and when did you become involved with Simply for Life?

BS: I started getting involved at the age of 13. I had a vision after an early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease – my whole family suffers from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Many haven’t made it to age 48. I grew up in a family plagued by chronic disease related to lifestyle and I didn't want to suffer the fate of so many in my family. I believed that there had to be another alternative to controlling these chronic diseases with drugs. What about using nutrition, exercise, sleeping, and lifestyle?

I became fanatical about searching for the right path. I knew, even at age 13, that one day I'd be helping people the same way I'm helping myself. I saw myself in the field of nutrition. I was healing myself and inspired to help others.

BTB: When did the business start?

BS: I studied dietetics and in '92 I didn't believe in the dietary guidelines so I challenged the Dietetic Association. I no longer wanted to be a dietitian because I didn’t agree with the low fat stigma. That’s when I started researching holistic nutrition, natural medicine and met Dr. Andrew Weil.

I was offering advice for free to my clients at the time. My wife, Claudine and I knew we needed to charge fees in order to maintain a business from this knowledge, so we created this program. Claudine is the business minded of the two of us and ran the business side. We wanted to help change people's lives. Our company was initially called Simply Fit but the name didn’t resonate with me. When you eat food to take care of your health, you have to do that for rest of your life, simply for the rest of your life. Simply for Life.

BTB: What are some of the advantages of being in a Simply for Life franchise?

BS: The biggest advantage is that Simply for Life will always be cutting edge. We keep evolving. The truth today about nutrition might not be the truth tomorrow. We’re 5 to 10 years ahead of everybody right now and we plan to stay out front.

We deal with chronic disease. We're the only ones that really deal in reversing disease right now. Why would you want to manage diabetes when you can reverse it? Cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and so many conditions can be managed and so many can be reversed.

Another advantage is that we’re not a one size fits all - we work with people that are vegan, vegetarian, [paleo], meat eaters, body builders, and athletes. We deal with all the chronic illnesses and complete health management. We attract a much broader repertoire of people looking for the life long solution that we provide.

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?

BS: The ideal person is somebody that, first and foremost, wants to improve their own quality of life, wants to make a drastic change, wants longevity, and wants to reduce or prevent all chronic disease because these people become contagious. 80 percent of my team of franchisees have had some sort of chronic disease or weight issue – they understand the struggle of their clients. They really know where you're coming from. And, of course, a franchisee has to be financially stable, mature, and have a strong work ethic.

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you've learned in growing the franchise?

BS: If you're consistent, and you have perseverance, the recipe for success is simple - but you have to be persistent. Things don't happen overnight. Today, Simply for Life is a multi-million dollar business annually, but that didn’t happen overnight.

Growing your franchise successfully uses the same recipe as losing weight successfully – don’t be afraid of working, keep pushing forward and really stick to it. There isn't any magical pill, but if you keep working at it and never give up, you will succeed. It won't defeat you. It’s as simple as that.

Our network of franchisees has become more like a family. We've become very tight.

BTB: Do you have a mentor, and is there someone you use for inspiration?

BS:My mentor is the father of integrated medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my professors. I used to spend a week with him every year. He changed my life. He’s humble. I love that about him. Our quarterly discussions have as much influence on me as if I talk to him every day.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Simply for Life franchise?

BS:Have a strong work ethic, be loyal to yourself, and be good at creating relationships. When you create relationships, you'll have your followers. And those followers are not just followers; they're your soldiers that help grow your business.

The most successful people I've met do what they do because it’s right from the heart, they don't do it for the money. I've always told my franchisees, don't worry about the bills, the monthly rents or a wage. Just worry about your clients’ needs. If you connect with them, you’ll help them, and they'll come back, tell others and everything else will come.

BTB: Why do you think Simply for Life would be a great opportunity for someone?

BS:Healthcare is on the verge of collapse. It's costing us more per capita than ever before. Government won't be able to keep up. We're at the tip of the iceberg. The insurance companies are at the forefront and they know the costs and the financial burden of healthcare. People who have metabolic syndromes, obesity, blood pressure issues, high cholesterol, liver enzymes, you name it, they'll have less drug coverage. When it comes to paying out of their pocket for these drugs, paying Simply for Life to help them live a healthy lifestyle instead will be cheap compared to having to pay for all those medications! And Simply for Life will be recognized as more than just a weight loss centre but as a place for reversing and managing chronic disease.

We do a fantastic job helping people with blood pressure issues, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer prevention, but the motivation for more people to take control of these health issues will improve when it starts hitting their wallet. They'll be motivated by money, and they should be motivated by health.

This is when Simply for Life will become a trademark for a better quality of life and increased longevity. We help with disease prevention, quality of life improvement, risk factor reduction, and reversing chronic disease.