In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn about Mayweather Boxing + Fitness from its CEO, James Williams.
Franchise Chatter (FC): How did Mayweather Boxing + Fitness get its start?
James Williams (JW): Floyd is the most successful boxer of all time and, during his career, he not only dominated the sport of boxing, but the business of boxing as well. He disrupted the economics of that sport and carved his own path to earning nine-figure paychecks.
As he defined his legacy in boxing, he was also thinking ahead to creating his business legacy outside of the ring. One of Floyd’s great friends, Burrel Wilks, was an advisor to a number of businesses I have played a role in over the years. Burrel introduced me to Floyd, and the three of us started working on a few projects together, developing great friendships and a strong business relationship.
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Floyd wanted to create something that was truly authentic to him, and that he was truly passionate about, so about five years ago, we starting developing the plan for the Mayweather Boxing + Fitness business. We spent a couple of years refining the strategy, developing the programming, and cherry-picking the best talent in the industry, and then right before the Conor McGregor fight, we announced the launch of the business.
FC: Tell us about your professional background? What led you to the franchise industry?
JW: After undergrad and law school, I started my professional career as a corporate lawyer in London and New York. I wanted to get more into the business side of things, so I left to join the management consulting firm, Bain & Company, developing corporate strategies for businesses such as adidas, Aston Martin and De Beers.
During my eight years at Bain, I got my MBA from Wharton, before starting my own venture and consulting firm, building out businesses with and for athletes and entertainers. I worked with Beyoncé for four years on her various ventures, including her Ivy Park clothing brand, and co-founded a performance lifestyle company, called XPT, with Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece.
When we started developing Mayweather Boxing + Fitness with Floyd, we knew that fitness is such an attractive market, and we loved how franchising is such a fantastic way to build a business infrastructure – where a powerful brand, experienced team and smart processes can support exceptional growth for passionate entrepreneurs.
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FC: What makes Mayweather Boxing + Fitness an attractive franchise opportunity to invest in?
JW: We have paired an experienced team, incredibly simple and effective process, with arguably the most dominant athlete in history. The team behind the concept has been in the industry for 20+ years, with strong backgrounds in every facet of fitness franchising. We were able to take our understanding of the studio space through the eyes of franchisees, and build a support system that provides everything a franchisee needs, delivered in a very simple package.
The Mayweather brand is also of course a huge asset. Floyd spent 21 years dominating the sport of boxing and his fitness regime is second to none. We have a household name brand that is a world-renowned leader in fitness, and we are building the next chapter in that legacy. The brand awareness, authenticity and credibility that our franchisees enjoy is like nothing else in the industry. That’s what will enable them to establish their business, acquire members and grow faster.
While the Mayweather brand and the workouts are attractive, it’s the easy-to-follow systems and processes that we have developed for our franchisees that make running their business simple and profitable. We are so committed to the success of our franchisees that from day one they are constantly working with an in-house franchise mentor throughout their onboarding process to opening and beyond. We are setting the gold standard in franchising – and providing franchise infrastructure and support unlike what’s typical in the industry.
FC: What qualities does Mayweather Boxing + Fitness look for in a potential franchisee?
JW: Being an experienced and proven business operator is obviously a prerequisite; however, experience in fitness is not required. We are looking for motivated people with a driving passion to change lives through fitness with a program that has been developed by the world’s most famous boxer. Give us someone who is motivated, has a great attitude, is willing to learn and apply their business acumen to what we have developed, and we will give them our magic formula and road map to success.
We are accepting franchisees who love to be part of an industry that makes people healthy and happy, who are excited to be part of such legacy brand, and who relish the prospect of getting in at the ground level of the fastest-growing new brand in the fitness industry.
FC: What support does Mayweather Boxing + Fitness offer its franchisees?
JW: With no corporate studios, aside from our flagship location, our corporate team focuses its full attention on supporting our franchisees. Our executive team has helped build some of the most successful fitness franchises in the world. We picked our operations team because they have been multi-unit operators in the exact same shoes as our franchisees, so they know what support they valued most and what support they had always wished they’d had.
Right from the start, our intention was to “over-support” our franchisees. In addition to our franchise mentor program mentioned above, which to my knowledge no one has such a robust program in the industry, we are side by side with our franchisees from the moment they sign their franchise agreement, moving through the process, sharing our experience, and educating them along the way.
We do not subscribe to the belief that once a franchisee has signed on to leave that franchisee alone. Instead, we have teamed up with some terrific companies throughout the country to help our franchisees with everything from finding space to building out, opening and promoting their studio.
Floyd’s dad laced up Floyd’s first pair of boxing gloves for him when he was six years old, and he was in the ring during his last fight. He has had his family by his side throughout his whole career, and that’s the same philosophy and culture we bring to our franchise program.
FC: What is next for Mayweather Boxing + Fitness?
JW: As of July 2019, we have over 100 franchises in development. Keep in mind this is all within our first year of franchising, so our initial growth has been pretty staggering. We will continue to bring on exceptional franchise operators – and we are also now getting demand from experienced multi-unit franchisees from other systems and private equity firms looking for larger development deals.
We are unique in that we have a world-famous celebrity driving the business that further enhances our franchise program. We are looking forward to opening locations all across the country this year, having some fantastic media coverage and enjoying our opening events with Floyd and our franchisees.