Meet Dan Newton, the chief executive who is transforming 24-hour fitness chain Snap Fitness

Dan Newton has been the chief executive of Snap Fitness Australia for around nine months.

In that time, he’s made it his mission to transform the company’s internal processes and expand its offering to ensure it remains a healthy business for years to come. 

Snap Fitness has around 180 clubs across Australia, each turning over on average $700,000 a year – the equivalent of $126 million combined. SmartCompany caught up with Newton to find out how he manages the business, and why patience really is a virtue. 

I follow my passions.

I love the concept of bringing fitness and wellness to people. The industry became an obvious choice for me.

I became a personal trainer and operated my own studio. 

I then worked in big business, Fitness First and Gold’s Gym USA. 

It’s exciting when you’re changing and taking on new opportunities.

Snap Fitness is a perfect example of that. They saw the changes and the way I approached things. It’s what the business needed.

My job is to add systems and processes to a business that was running off the interest and organic growth of the 24-hour fitness sector.

When you’re tapping into a market continuously, you need to know there’s some things you can do that lead to an ongoing result.

You need to develop a management model that can be understood and replicated. But that’s becoming harder.

Things are changing through the commodification of traditional health clubs.

More of the same is popping up everywhere and price is becoming a very important factor. People are having to drop their prices continuously.

Then there’s this whole movement to boutique styles of training, so people can feel like they belong to something. They haven’t had that from traditional clubs.

What’s interesting, though, is people are willing to pay for these things.

On one hand you’ve got this price-driven approach, and on another hand, you’ve got the boutique experiences. So people have that choice now. Then there’s lots of things happening with technology as well.

I think we have an opportunity to open up to more people that wouldn’t have joined a gym before. That’s why we’ve approached things differently, with yoga and 9Round, to drive new participation.

My first job here was to simply everything back down to something very easy to understand. Our vision is to be Australia’s trusted workout.

It’s been a real mission everyone can get behind. It’s about daily, weekly drumbeating. Social media and internal communication is a constant effort.

We’re in a people business, an emotional business.

We’re dealing with improving people’s lives and from a franchise side they’ve bought into this business with high expectations and put a lot on the line.

On the best days, people respond well and on the toughest days they don’t. It all comes down to managing the good days to navigate the bad.

Allow yourself to accept that some days, not everyone is going to agree. But when you create understanding, that’s what gets greater compliance and everyone comes along with you.

Patience is the most important thing in business. You can’t change everything at once.

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