Business Owners of the Year 2013

Posted on: June 19th, 2014 by Rachel Cosgrove

An Interview with our Results Fitness University Mastermind Coaching Group Business Owners of the Year Kari Negraiff & Steve Di Tomaso of Envision Fitness.

 

As some of you may know, last year our Results Fitness University mastermind coaching members applied to become our 2013 Business Owner of the Year. Their stories gave me chills realizing just how far they have come and the power of this amazing group working as a team to change the way fitness is done! Though it was difficult to narrow it down, we were proud to name Kari & Steve, the owners of Envision Fitness (www.envisionfitness.ca) in Canada, our 2013 Business Owners of the Year. We had a chance to sit down with Kari & Steve and talk to them a little bit about their journey.

 

Rachel: Tell us your story. Where were you when you first started your journey? Tell us when you first joined the Results Fitness University Mastermind Coaching Group – where were you?

 

Kari: Well, Steve and I had originally started working at a big-box gym for a company research at the university as kinesiologists and we spent five years doing that in 2009. We had heard Alwyn on a strength coach podcast talking about how to be successful and get what you wanted out of running and operating a fitness business.

 

We were motivated to change what we were doing and we left our current job situation and started off on our own, and in 2010 we got exposed to the Results Fitness Programming Seminar and that sort of led the way. We got fed into the funnel and we couldn’t get enough and started putting one foot in front of the other and putting action into practice.

 

In September of 2010, we enrolled with the Results Fitness Mastermind. Sorry, the Mentorship, and we followed the business strategies to lead us to where we are today in 2013.

You can enroll today for our 2014 Results Fitness Business Secrets Revealed. Click here for more information.

We literally were dependent on our clients’ schedules. We showed up when they wanted us to work for maybe 65 bucks an hour or something like that. We hoped they would pay us at the end of the month. They paid cash or check. Sometimes they forgot. Sometimes they didn’t. We could never go on vacation because it meant not only paying for vacation but taking time off from work.

 

Over Christmas and summer vacation, when our clients were away, we didn’t make any money, and so we were striving to lock down a system where we could make money and get better results. Consistency was something that we were really struggling with because Steve and I were working out of different locations. So it was hard for us to communicate a system between the two of us for introducing results to our clients. And we didn’t seem to have a way to get consistent results between our clients because we were picking exercises that we thought were appropriate, but not in a systematic manner, before we entered into the Results Programming Seminar.

Steve: Our biggest frustrations started with – its consistency and it wasn’t just consistency amongst us. We had similar philosophies in training. But it was just consistency in the industry as well, like my clients that couldn’t come with me to wherever else I was training, after I left that company, had no guarantee that they would get any similar results from another trainer that they would train with there.

 

So that was part of the reason why we started with Results Fitness doing a program design. It’s just that we were going to be in two different locations and we wanted to ensure that it didn’t matter where our clients would train, just that they would have similar results.

 

Rachel: We’ve been able to be a part of your journey and the two of you really holding tight to the vision that you wanted to create. You wanted to have one place where you both were able to create a system and you did that. What were some of the obstacles that came up as you guys started your journey?

 

Steve:  We went through about three kinds of locations that looked promising. Right when we started with the Mastermind group we thought that that year we would get into a location and I think that we were just, we didn’t really know too much about what we’re doing with real estate and zoning, and all that kind of stuff at that time. We thought we had it with our first location and turned out it was just zoned incorrectly, and that was just a simple mistake that you would have made if you had done any sort of research?

 

After that, we really took the time to research. And over that two years, we went through about five different real estate agents, and Kari was really looking for better ways to get the demographic reports and stuff like that. And it was funny when we came down to LA for a one-day and Alwyn took about five minutes then he’s like, “Oh yeah, this is the location you should choose”. And I’m like, “Oh my God!” It was ridiculous.

 

And then that location didn’t actually pan out. We ended up going to a location in Maple Ridge, but were looking at probably for two years. And it was just within about a period of six weeks we found a location after we decided to change our focus.

 

Kari: And basically, that sort of came about is we had literally done, like I sat in front of the computer pulling up municipality websites and manually calculating like census reports and like doing all these graphs, spread sheets, and radiuses on Yahoo and Google Maps, to try to figure out what proximity in the area that I had currently been working would be the best for us. Because when you have the highest earning potential, and when we went down to Santa Clarita and visited you guys for one day the information Alwyn extracted right away was, basically would have spent me a week of trying to practice. But then, he also gave us the confidence that, “Hey, this is the other location we’re looking at where Steve is working,” would it be a possibility for us to setup our business there.

 

So you guys asked us, “How come you hadn’t considered that location?” We just didn’t think it had the earning potential. And you guys showed us the tools of how to evaluate a place within five minutes, whether or not it could sustain our type of business model.

 

And with that information, we were able to explore a whole new area that eventually led to the possibility of us getting a facility – a facility that we’ve dreamed about for the last couple of years. We’ve fought so many battles to get to it. And without knowing that information and being able to evaluate our scenario, without your guys’ advice we never would have been able to find that place.

 

Rachel: That’s why it’s so important to have a coach with outside eyes because sometimes you’re caught up in the middle of it and you don’t see something that someone else might see. Tell us, how did you guys meet and how did you know that you wanted to be business partners? And then we’ll get into a little bit of your advice for others who want to go into partnership.

 

Kari: I think what’s important about the partnership that evolved with Steve and I is that we started with a common goal which was we wanted to be better at what we did. We had a standard of excellence that we didn’t feel like we were achieving even though we are doing a better job in our industry than most people were, we knew that there was more.

 

And so, we are motivated towards the same thing, which I think was probably the most important thing to start with. But then after that, we both have different strengths, so I’ve always really admired the way that Steve’s been able to be sort of an out-of-the-box exercise programmer.

 

Once we got to know one another, I think what has been successful is just kind of learning what each other’s strengths or let each other pursue those domains becaues in times where we…we definitely have had times where we’ve kind of come up against one another and ruffled each other’s feathers. I think if that’s not happening every once in a while, then maybe your chemistry isn’t right because I think even in the best relationships there is bound to be tension sometimes. And that kind of helps you breakthrough the other side. But for us, we talk about what comes up. And because we think differently on situations, we are able to get what I consider a bigger picture so that we can solve problems faster and more efficiently.

 

I think what’s important for people who are going to be pursuing partnerships in the future is to make sure that you have somebody who has a skillset that’s complementary to yours and that you try your best to have somebody who is technically minded and that somebody who is a little bit more business-strategy minded.

 

Rachel: Awesome. And I think when Kari said having that bigger picture, having that same common goal, I think that you nailed it with that. I mean that’s when I see partnerships that don’t work out it’s because they both had a different vision for the company or a different idea of what they wanted to accomplish.

 

Did you guys have trouble with determining different roles in business, different responsiblities?

 

Steve: It’s actually growing all the time, like Kari was saying about the financial stuff.  I’m sure she doesn’t like it as much but she’s just so concerned about it that she will take the time to learn everything about it. And it’s actually been kind of a blessing in disguise that we’ll decrease our fees for accounting and stuff like that.  But it gives us more visibility on everything that we’re doing and it just makes us better all around whereas I will handle some of the more creative stuff, like Kari says, such as the graphics design and marketing stuff. We work together on these things and today we’ve actually got a little board meeting plan in which we’re going to go over some different objectives for the year and what we have planned out.

 

Rachel: What would be your advice to some of the trainers who are getting ready to open their gyms? What’s your advice to navigate their way and get the most out of it?

 

Kari: Some things you have to realize is that jumping into owning a gym, the very first thing you do might not be the most successful step. And I think the big part of why Steve and I have been successful is because we didn’t have to start our journey with $20,000 of overhead every month. But instead, we worked out of ‘box gyms’ where we paid very little overhead and we got exposed to the Result Fitness Strategies for Fitness Business Development. And we were able to systemize our coaching, learn and be masters at our craft, and create a business plan, and our expertise and experience, so that we had a small client base when we started so we actually had some revenue. And from that we were able to move into a facility and start paying bills right away.

 

We had the expertise to create results and we had enough time to build some awareness in our community about what we were doing to allow us to be successful. I think where maybe people get a bit ahead of themselves is worrying about rushing into a facility right away and they end up with expenses before they know how to create the ultimate product.

 

And so, we can only speak from our experience. But being able to apply some of the business strategies, and programing, and systemization that the Results Team recommends prior to having the stresses of owning your own business and running a facility, and paying employees I think really paid off for us. And I would recommend it to other people who had the opportunity to do that and that they can with as little overhead as possible.

 

Enroll today for our 2014 Results Fitness University Business Secrets Revealed and get your business on the path to success!

 

We ended up with some really exciting and exceptional opportunities with education as a result of our affiliation with Results Fitness because we were kind of able to name-drop a little bit. “Oh, we’re part of the Platinum Coaching Group,” when there was a seminar coming to town or a big name was going to be here or we’re traveling to somewhere else. In conversation, we were able to casually mention we are part of Rachel and Alwyn’s group, and all of the sudden people would pay attention to us and we kind of got elevated to another level. I think we’re the type of people that deserve to be in conversation with the best in the business. But having an association and affiliation with yourself and with Alwyn allowed us to participate in those conversations because now we weren’t among the rest of the people. We were looked upon as people that were invested in what we’re doing and that we are moving in the right direction.

 

And as a result of that, we now have networked with some of the best in the industry, and we’re on their Top-to-Call list for, you know, when people think of Vancouver, Canada, they think of Steve and Kari. And that ranges from people like Michael Boyle, Mike Robertson, and Stuart McGill.

 

Steve:  It’s exciting for us too because now, we have the opportunity to bring these people here in Vancouver, and we actually have I think 12 different fitness coaches that train out of our facility and they’re on board with the continuing education we put on. So we don’t even really have to market too far outside of our own gym to get people to show up to seminars. We’ve got TRX now wanting us to be the host facility for Vancouver, and we’ve got some other stuff going on as well. We just hosted a DVRT cert. We had Chad Waterbury come down here, or “up here” I suppose. So it’s exciting.

 

The next step for us I think is education as far as changing the way fitness is done because then we have a bigger outreach, were not just changing our member lives, which is really cool, because doing that is having an impact on other businesses around here as well. And so I’m getting oh, off topic, that’s what I get…

 

And so, a lot of the other clubs that are in town have changed their offerings as far as what classes they have. They’ve changed their price structure and they’re kind of looking at us as kind of in the lead.

 

Rachel: Anything else you guys wanted to say before we wrap-up?

 

Kari: Maybe just to business owners out there is something that’s kind of helped me hang on in this journey is just – remember what got you started and why you are passionate about what you do. There is going to be challenges that come across your path and you’re going to have to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your entire life to get what you want, but following the strategies that you guys have put out for us has really kind of been a red carpet path. Just never lose sight of why you started that process when the going gets rough, the tough get going. So just never lose sight of your mission.

 

Steve:  I would say that sometimes you just have to take that leap. It’s a little bit scary, but you can’t be afraid of failure because I think you learn something from it if you did. I know Kari and I have different perspectives on failure and I think that’s also what’s makes us successful.

 

Rachel: Yes. A saying we often say is, “Jump and the net will appear”. Sometimes you jump and sometimes you feel your stomach up in your chest and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, when is the net coming?” And it’s scary, but the net will appear eventually. But you have to make the jump. You can’t just dangle your toes over the edge. There is a point where you just got to go for it. You guys did that and you’ve done awesome, so congratulations!

Make sure you check out Envision Fitness at www.envisionfitness.ca. They are truly changing the way fitness is done! If you are ready to take your business to the next level, join us for our Business Secrets Revealed Mentorship September 9th-11th. We will be accepting application to our Results Fitness Mastermind program during this event. Until then make sure your tuning in to ResultsTV and signed up for our weekly emails for inside tips, and Keep Changing the Way Fitness is Done!

 

Related posts:

  1. Our Business Owners of the Year
  2. What is the most important thing you do every day to drive your business?
  3. New Year, New You, New Rules
  4. One Year Ago…