For Peter Taunton, it all started in a small Minnesota town.No one expected him to be a 9-figure entrepreneur. “When you start with nothing, you’re fearless because you know what the bottom feels like, you live there,” Taunton stated.
Peter Taunton left college to play racketball, for some time he neglected to tell his parents and continued to live in the dorms. Though he was one of the top competitors in the nation, the racquetball world left him looking for extra income.
Gyms had always been a natural place for the athletically gifted Taunton. So, naturally managing a gym seemed like a great fit.
A Formula for Growth
The first gym he took over was to save it. The club was nowhere near profitable, but he put belief in the staff and quickly turned it around.
He took out a loan and opening 7 more fitness clubs, quickly turning them into profit. After nearly 20 years he sold them for a small profit and expected that to be the end, retirement and the next steps in life. However, Taunton found himself bored in retirement and was quickly looking for the next venture.
The SNAP Fitness Franchise
In 2003, he had a vision for Snap Fitness: to create an affordable, 24-7, results-driven gym differentiated from the impersonal, expensive big-box experience. A former employee approached him for help in opening a gym, he agreed to help but wanted to do it fast; they sold out an entire year of memberships in a matter of days — he had the formula for a franchise on his hands.
By 2007, Peter was opening more than 1 location a day, thousands of locations and a global brand. It all started with a single gym and college drop out with nothing to lose.
Today there are Snap Fitness franchises in 2,500 locations in 26 countries. And Taunton, CEO of Lift Brands, didn’t stop there.
Taunton learned a valuable lesson: Success is for those that are willing to work for it.
“The first seven years I had the one Club. That I was just trying to turn around and I did. And as soon as I got the debt to where it was half, at where I had 51% equity.
I went right back to the bank and I said ‘I would like a loan, I want to build another club.’ They looked at me like I was freaking crazy, but it’s a good thing I tell you. But as I tell you When you start with nothing, you’re fearless because you know what the bottom feels like you live there, right?
They gave me a loan I opened another club over the next 15 years. I built seven that were, full-service club with climbing walls, Child Care, racquetball courts, big clubs.”
Creating Entrepreneurial DNA
To Taunton, the team that he leads is vital. He leads with infectious enthusiasm, which attracts prospective owners from all over the world. He provides them affordable financing, world-class support and an easy turnkey process. That same enthusiasm extends to his desire to impact the world through his charitable work.
Taunton’s accomplishments have been well-recognized by the business community. In 2010, he was named an Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year.” His companies have also been featured for six years running in such prestigious industry lists as Entrepreneur 500, Inc 5000, Top Global and Franchise 500.
Peter Taunton sits down with me, Jeremy Ryan Slate, on the latest episode of the Create Your Own Life.