Peter Taunton - CEO of Kosama

Date: JUN 5th, 2013

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Peter Taunton has never been one to “think small.” Except for when it comes to fitness clubs. In 2003, Peter Taunton had a vision to give consumers a fast, convenient and affordable workout alternative to traditional "big box" health clubs and entrepreneurs a practical model to run their own business. The result was Snap Fitness, a fitness franchise featuring the same great equipment and workout experience as full service clubs, in locations close to home with no contracts and access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Roughly nine years later, he has grown the company into the world’s fastest growing fitness franchise, with nearly 2,500 locations open and under development in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, India and the United Kingdom. While the company has continued to grow through the years, Peter’s commitment to providing both members and franchise owners with new tools and programs to help them achieve results.

This past year, Peter recognized new trend in the fitness industry and chose to purchase Kosama, a leading personalized group fitness franchise dedicated to helping members achieve a complete body transformation in just eight weeks. Today, the company has over 30 locations across the United States and recently opened its first international location in Australia. Taunton plans to grow the brand to over 100 locations by the end of 2013.

Thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit and incredible drive, Peter was recently named Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year,” in recognition of his vision and dedication to making Snap Fitness the industry leader for compact, state-of-the-art fitness franchises worldwide.

Before founding Snap Fitness, Peter owned and operated five America''s Fitness Centers in Minnesota. He continued to build and expand the business over the next 10 years, adding four fitness centers to the chain, before ultimately deciding to sell his clubs in order to spend more time with his family and pursue new aspirations in the fitness industry. When he's not running his business, Peter spends much of his time with his wife Kristin and children Max, Sunny and Beau. A professional racquetball competitor for eight years - partnering with identical twin Paul - he was once ranked 2nd nationally. He enjoys golfing, travel and giving back to the local community.

BeTheBoss: Tell us about the Kosama concept.

Peter Taunton: Kosama is a personalized group fitness program that helps members achieve a complete body transformation in just eight weeks. Our unique program integrates the principle of muscle confusion with nutrition, consultation, and heart-zone training. We are so confident in the success of our eight week body transformation program that we offer a money back results guarantee!

This franchise is unlike anything else in the fitness space today, making it successful in all size markets, even if there are already other fitness clubs in the area.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with Kosama?

PT: I acquired Kosama in January of 2012. I saw an incredible amount of potential in the concept, both as a standalone as well as a compliment to Snap Fitness. By providing members with a new way to get results, and franchisees with a new potential business opportunity, it was a can’t-miss prospect.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Kosama?

PT: I am the founder and CEO of Snap Fitness, a global franchisor of 24/7 fitness centers. Today we have roughly 1,400 locations and one million members worldwide. Before founding Snap Fitness, I owned and operated five America's Fitness Centers in Minnesota. I continued to build and expand the business over the next 10 years, adding four fitness centers to the chain, before ultimately deciding to sell the clubs in order to spend more time with my family and pursue new aspirations in the fitness industry.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Kosama franchisee?

PT: Kosama franchises on average enjoy stronger member retention rates than the health and fitness industry average. This means you generate revenues from alumni and membership income, along with retail income such as nutrition products, supplements and apparel to boost your bottom line. In addition, our turnkey programs and support systems allow you to become successful regardless of your prior fitness industry experience.

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee.

PT: Our franchisees range in background from former school teachers to farmers and everyone in between. Our processes and systems make it easy for entrepreneurs all background to become successful, as long as they are passionate, enthusiastic and able to follow the program. Additionally, over 90 percent of our franchise owners are absentee or semi-absentee, allowing you to keep your day job.

BTB: Tell us a little about the fitness Market?

PT: The fitness industry is continuing to boom, as society has become increasingly health-conscious. In 2011, Entrepreneur magazine named the health and wellness industry one of its hot trends for the future. As one of the fastest-growing trends in that space, Kosama has experienced tremendous success in a short amount of time.

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

PT: Understand that your customer is looking for the best value for their money. It’s great to provide members with the fundamentals of getting in shape, but it’s important to be constantly looking for new ways to improve on that experience and understand members’ expectations. We’ve always looked ahead and stayed ahead of the curve when it comes to supporting our members as well as our franchisees.

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

PT: My father. He was an entrepreneur himself and taught me the value of hard work and customer service from a young age.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

PT: Do your homework. Look into other concepts and make sure they have a strong support system, good leadership, and a proven track record of success. You don’t just want a franchise; you want a partner.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Kosama would be a great opportunity for someone?

PT: It’s a healthy business that allows you to help people achieve their fitness goals. The rewards – both financial and personal – are tremendous, and the sense of fulfillment our franchisees get is second to none.