Ken Fearer | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Ken Fearer

Background:  

Scottsdale-based TruHIT Fitness combines personal, group training and workouts, customized meal and nutrition plans, and high-intensity training. The locally owned gym started with 150 members and has grown to over 1,000 members. TruHIT has just opened new locations in Ahwatukee and North Phoenix.

The Mistake:

The biggest mistake I’ve made is trying to do everything myself. As an entrepreneur starting a new company, I tried to wear all hats, as far as hiring, marketing, systems for the business and franchise sales. I think taking on all of those things myself in the space of three years has been the biggest eye-opener or mistake. 

In turn, I hired a franchise company to help create our franchise and to come up with all the documents and manuals, which was great. But instead of turning it over to them to start selling the franchise, I was doing it on my own. Being the founder of the company, I was the face of the sales process and the point of contact for everything.

Having five locations open and a sixth one about to open, I realized that can be both good and bad. I’m the founder, and I’m actually doing the sales transactions with the franchisees, being everything for the company. That makes it tough because they’re coming to me with all the questions, all the stuff that’s probably written down in our manual. I was the point of contact, instead of having the sales team take that on.

Even though you’re the founder and it’s your idea, you can’t be everything.

The Lesson:

If I had the sales team take that on, we might have 60 locations today, instead of six. It was a matter of me being the owner and founder and not doing the right sales process. When you’re the founder, you always talk a little bit too much because you’re passionate. But there’s actually a systematic way of doing it and executing it. 

It’s hard to be everything for your company. Hiring great people to follow the systems you have in place is key, and that’s what I’ve really learned. 

In January, I hired a marketing director. I hired a PR person. I’m turning over the entire sales process to our consultant so we can take our company to the next level and realize our full potential. 

The lesson is: Even though you’re the founder and it’s your idea, you can’t be everything. Let people that are experts in their field execute their positions to help grow the company. That allows me to focus on the most important things, which are growing the company, customer service and making the systems that run our business even better. That should be my job, instead of putting out all of the fires and being the front man for everything. 

Follow TruHIT Fitness on Twitter at @truhitfitness.

Photo courtesy of Ken Fearer

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