Anytime Fitness could not have happened at a better time for franchise owner Greg Martin, an ex-Air Force major with a knack for reinventing himself.
Last summer, Martin left his decades-long military career to follow his own version of the American Dream, 3,000 miles away from his home state of Maryland.
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“I just totally reformed my life, pretty much,” he says.
After a friend told him about the fitness chain, he quickly snapped up a Spokane, Washington location along with three territories.
What drew Martin to Anytime Fitness was, in essence, autonomy. At signup, members are given a chunky access card so they can always drop by and slip in a workout — 24/7, 365 days a year. That flavor of freedom is the same thing Martin was looking for after leaving the military.
“I couldn’t rely on someone else to take care of me,” Martin says. “I had to make my own way.”
For Martin, the path to business ownership meant satisfying a deep urge to improve people’s lives.
“I needed to do something where I could help people and feel good about it, too,” says Martin.
At Anytime Fitness, Martin does just that, for both his members and his teammates.
“In today’s society, it feels like employees are expendable. It’s not right.” Martin believes the most important part of his job is providing for his team. “I’m here for them.”
Since the gym just took off, Martin has had to temper his desire to expand with his newbie status on the fitness scene. Growth takes time, he admits, but he’s hopeful that it will happen quicker than he thinks.
“I just know it will,” he says.
So how does Martin train for growth? With his team of experts at BookKeeping Express.
“I need someone who knows what they’re doing and knows me. And I found that.”
When looking for an accountant, there were two main qualities Martin had his eye on: knowledge and affordability, both of which BookKeeping Express exemplified.
Martin appreciates how the firm understands the issues he’s going through and then communicates solutions to him directly. He also likes how they pull reports, provide clear snapshots of his finances, and send him tax updates he should know about.
“They don’t mask anything,” he says.
In fact, Martin describes the experience as “kind of like being on autopilot,” something an ex-Air Force officer would know a thing or two about.
When Martin started working with BookKeeping Express, there was a learning curve while trying to understand the lingo. But once he and his accountant got into a groove, “a really solid view of what [his] finances were like” began to materialize.
This was especially important while Martin was trying to secure a loan so he could open up a second spot. BookKeeping Express enabled him to give the bank a snapshot of his financial situation so he could get the capital needed to launch more locations.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do all that myself,” says Martin.
Along the way to Anytime Fitness fame, Martin has picked up a few pointers.
First, he says, small business owners should try to develop a strong relationship with their accountant.
“Look at specific lines together, drill down into things, get on the same page.”
Improving that relationship will also help you get a handle on your finances earlier in the game, not just when you need to. Martin also believes in the power of patience.
“I was hungry and overconfident when I started. I thought it would be more of a slam dunk.”
Instead, he says, take the time to absorb as much knowledge as you can and then make changes accordingly.
“Don’t expect to see improvements in the first couple of months — it takes some time,” he says.
So what’s next for Martin and his collection of fitness facilities? Expansion, and eventually, security for him and his crew.
“I’m more confident with the way the gym is heading now. We’re on an uptick.”