My Secrets to Position Your Business for Explosive Growth

When I started my business in a parking lot in 2012 with my last $600, I never imagined that Burn Boot Camp would be in a position to gross 80 million in revenue in 2018 and nine figures in 2019. After being around the franchising industry for a few years, I’ve noticed even seasoned franchise professionals chomping at the bit to learn “how I did it.” This sparked an affinity to educate and inspire other business owners and entrepreneurs to dominate their niche quickly.

I’m aware that not every entrepreneur gets off to an explosive start like I did. I’m grateful for the position I’m in and realize that documenting my success could create a blueprint for those who follow after me. There are a handful of fundamental principles that have allowed me to build one of the fastest growing fitness franchises of all time.

Stand Strong For Something

If you don’t take a stance on your product or service, you’ll most likely be a statistic of failure. Did you know that 96% of business entities are no longer in operation just five years after they are opened? The odds are heavily against you.

Finding the unique voice of your company is crucial to being part of the successful 4%. You can’t be everything to everyone. You have to take a strong stance on the problems that the world is facing and be the best in the world at solving them.

Burn Boot Camp offers one service, and we want to be the best in the world at serving it. We still get approached to hold pilates, yoga, or Zumba classes and the answer is always ‘no.’ Being outstanding at one thing rather than being good at many things is an important distinction to having quick growth. Clarity in your mission is the most powerful aspect. Remember, it takes a team, and they are going to need the mission to be clearly and concisely relayed.

Take your stance through creating a mission statement that will be the guiding light to all of the decisions you make. You will need an impactful statement because rapid growth requires leadership to be extremely decisive.

Build Systems For Everything

Scaling fast requires strong leadership, talented people, and systemization. Your job as the leader of an organization is to listen to the company’s biggest problems and create a machine to solve them. One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make is that they build a culture around “what would the owner do” rather than “what would the company do” in any given situation. This can dramatically stunt your growth because every decision is on you. Install the decision-making processes into the fabric of the brand by conditioning your leaders to be guided by what is best for the brand.

I spent the first three years of my journey in the weeds. I was building systems, designing a culture, and skilling up for the next level of growth. When we decided to franchise in February 2015, we absolutely exploded. We’ve since awarded 370 locations across 37 states and are expanding aggressively into Canada. I’m still in the weeds about 10% of the time by design, but I’ve changed my perspective. I want to be on the ground listening to clients, experiencing the gym from their point of view, and constantly refining the user experience.

The goal of starting a business is to “own” it and not “operate” it. My Burn Boot Camp brand in the U.S. has a Headquarters Crew of 34 passionate, energetic people that all believe in the mission and in the company culture. These 34 people lead hundreds of Franchise Partners and their teams to execute the brand mission at the highest standard. I’ve given them a foundation of systems to work from and feel comfortable they’ll make the right decisions because the brand has a set of standards.

Be a Marketing Company First

During my very first week of running my business there were two days when not a single client showed up all day. I was left standing alone in a dark parking lot at 5:30 am questioning my abilities. The decision was to either quit right there or keep moving. I knew I was the best trainer around, but obviously, no one else did. That day, I decided to become a Marketing and PR expert. I knew that I couldn’t help people change their lives if they had no idea who I was. Attention is needed before you can build someone’s trust.

I immediately started building a mega email list of media contacts in the Charlotte area. After an intense search for email addresses and social media handles of local news personalities, I started marketing my abilities. Shortly after one of my blog posts hit home with NBC (WCNC) anchor, Colleen Odegaard, she called me. A few days later, I appeared on my first regionally syndicated TV segment.

The segment skyrocketed brand awareness in my area. I learned to leverage my first segment to gain other opportunities. To date, I’ve been on over 250 regionally/nationally syndicated TV segments spreading my mission. Marketing became my craft. Since then all of my businesses are considered a “marketing company whose product is (fill in the blank).” This philosophy is largely why we’ve gone from 1,000 to 50,000 clients in 39 months.

We now possess a state of the art 5,000 square foot production studio at our Lake Norman Headquarters in Charlotte. We will continue to evolve as a marketing, PR, and advertising company with a powerful message. Looking at your company through the eyes of a marketer is a sneaky way to scale BIG!

No Splits For Me

What may surprise you is that even with our explosive growth, Morgan and I still have 100% equity of the company. We intentionally didn’t seek venture capital or investors because we believed we could do it alone with the right strategy.

To fuel this significant investment, we needed money. Morgan and I are natural-born personal trainers, and we fell in love with mentoring the Head Trainers we employed. We used the capital gains from our first location to fund our second location. This pattern continue until we had five gyms that were all under our ownership. We then turned around and sold three locations to the Head Trainers under our mentorship, and suddenly found ourselves with a large piece of capital. Those sales fueled the next 18 months of overhead to get the franchise system solidified.


Now, we have PE (private equity) firms inquiring about buying equity in Burn Boot Camp on a weekly basis. My advice would be to keep as much equity as you can for as long as you can. I think too many entrepreneurs seek venture capital without seeing past the first twelve months. I would never want you in a position where you are working to earn a fraction of what you are producing. Make the sacrifices in the short term so you can reap the benefits in the long run!

Design Your Experience With Intention

Have you ever heard of the 11-star experience Airbnb uses? The 5-star rating is the most outstanding accolade a hotel can achieve. Airbnb wanted to design the best experience possible for it’s customers so they created the 11-Star Design Process. The idea is to achieve 11-star reviews rather than the gold standard of 5. Essentially, they take their design process to outrageous, unrealistic heights to think of everything a user could possibly want before they scale back to reality. The over-designing of the experience allows a product or service to surpass ordinary expectations and become extraordinary.

I’ve always been fascinated with how powerful the right questions can be. When designing the Burn Boot Camp experience, I never asked, “What could we build that people really like?” but rather, “What could we build that people would tell everyone they know about?”

The answers to these two questions are fundamentally different. We examined our service, much like Airbnb, and wanted to create what we call “raving fans”. We didn’t want customers or clients. Instead, we wanted to build diehard fans and knew that we needed to not only meet their needs, but exceed them at every turn.

The user experience of your product or service is never finished, especially amidst the booming technology market. Listen to your ideal customer, ask them the right questions, and go beyond what other businesses in your space are willing to do. You don’t want to simply satisfy them, you want to blow them away!

For media inquiries, speaking engagements, or to own a franchise email dj@burnbootcamp.com