Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Forget Where You Started!

Spend enough time empowering and managing people and you’ll quickly appreciate those who do not forget where they started.

My business partner Jeff Sharpe & I started our business adventure 17 years to this day. We had just graduated and were on separate post grad vacations before we would convene, load up a Jeep YJ and drive from BC to Ontario to open shop. The reason for starting the business in Ontario was because we couldn’t get a job personal training in Vancouver. At that time, it was not yet mainstream in Vancouver. Having been introduced to the personal training world by a classmate Steve in 1990-91 @ Fitness 1on1, I was hooked from the get go & knew this would be my eventual career path.

We would arrive in Toronto with nothing, take a few odd jobs courtesy of Murray and begin to carve out our futures. With a handful of previous training contacts; Rob, Mario, Brock, Peter, Franchesca & Jeff we would quickly establish ourselves as the new celebrity trainers on the block growing from a single customer to 2-4-8 all the way to 40hrs each over the span of 3 months. It was at that capacity, we would have to take a calculated look at our next steps. Open a facility in Toronto or return to where we both eventually wanted to be and take the risk in Vancouver?

Enter Stewart who would introduce us to his network in Vancouver. The idea was one of us would return to Vancouver to assess the market readiness of a personal training only TEAM company while the other remained in Ontario to build the brand in case we were not successful. Through Stewart’s contacts we would meet Elaine (customer #1 - who still trains with us today) & Andrea, perhaps the most generous person on the planet. Eventually, with the help of our old class mates and new hires we would bumble and stumble our way to assembling a training team. At the pace we were growing Jeff & I decided it was better to have both of us in the same province rather than be split and he returned to Van in 96 and through the advice of appreciative customers Hector, Patrick & Lukas and the financial support of Dudley & Andrea, we received financing for our 1st personal training facility. It was a dream come true. A dream only able to happen with & though the support of the people above and some of our unbelievable customers; Sidnee, Maja, Lucia, Marina, Douglas, Tom, Elaine, Ross, Rick & Lela, the Bacci’s crew, Mary, Nancy & Mark to name a few. Two years later, we would open our 2nd facility in West Vancouver, largely through the support of Peeter and our existing (but small customer base) Sharlene, Julie, Tiffany, Gino, Don & Bonnie, Kim, Sharlene, Bob & Nancy, Heidi & Hiedi to name a few and the rest as they say... is history. Success would beget success, great trainers would help scale our movement and great customers would share their victories.  

Today, Innovative is proud to have 11 franchises in two provinces across Canada and we've been in and out of the USA. The legacy is deep, the alumni are strong and the impact on others lives has led to many a self actualization. Most importantly, along the way, we have never & will never forget those who helped us get our start. We are happy to report to those people that we’ve not forgotten their impact and have paid it back by paying it forward to new, young entrepreneurs like ourselves with the hope that these valuable life lessons keep blossoming into future success.

Don’t forget where you started. Don’t forget those who helped you get there. And Don’t forget to pay those very lessons forward across all facets of life. 

No comments: