By Gill Stewart at
Join Matt Gibbs a WALX Franchisee to find out what it’s like to run a successful and rewarding outdoor exercise business. Matt Gibbs began his journey as an Instructor and has worked his way to owning a Franchise and managing a team as his club grows.
Over to Matt………………..
A typical day for me involves anchoring myself into the really helpful systems we have available, namely the WALX client booking portal and the linked CRM where I manage sales, and my newsletters etc. I also check my emails, my docs and spreadsheets. An overarching theme for the week is preparing for the weekly bulletin. This keeps me focused on what’s going on this week, and what I’ll be informing members about the next week. It also prompts me for any social media posts I need to make. I am fortunate to have a team of WALX Hosts so we generally have a number of sessions on each day locally, as well as the virtual sessions our members can access from the national group. I’ll check whose on walks, I’ll check members and their accounts and update the system, team members, or our club members accordingly.
My next area of focus is on new enquiries. This involves making phone calls and updating the CRM and spreadsheets to keep abreast of what’s occurring. It takes time to chat to potential new Members as we ant them to join the right WALX, have a ball and get the results they want from day one.
The beauty of all of this though is that I balance all the essential admin with the equally essential movement of myself abd getting outdoors. Delivery of sessions with clients is both rewarding from the perspective of seeing them enjoying themselves and building their health, fitness and relationships, but also on a personal level it keeps me mobile, active, and mindfully present.
Once outdoors I may greet new clients that are about to go on a taster walk with one of the WALX Guide/Host team, deliver a Power of Poles course myslef, or take one of the TBW, Wellness or Explorer WALX sessions. On walks with the team members I’ll let them lead/sweep and I’ll mingle with members whilst keeping an eye on how the team are performing. I may arrange walk and talk meetings with potential B2B clients or partners, or stop at venues such as cafes/pubs and sample their wares and discuss how we can work together to boost mutual businesses
The days are always pretty packed but it’s one of the few jobs that allows you to work, socialise and keep healthy and active all rolled into one. A true lifestyle business.
It’s reassuring to have the Franchise and HQ team behind as they are always available and experienced to help deal with any issues with members or the systems and processes.
Would you recommend joining the Franchise?
Life is changing significantly and positively since having joined the Franchise. The systems, processes, training, and team development possibilities are really coming into their own in allowing us to grow the business and the club membership as well as making running the walks, the team, and the business so much more manageable. The HQ team are always on hand for help and advice.
What have you enjoyed most about being part of the Franchise?
We encourage our local members to build relationships so they feel like they have their new walking “family”. This helps with retention, but importantly helps each of them become more consistent with developing and maintaining their health and wellbeing. Within the franchise we have our own “family” that collaborate and support each other in sharing experience and expertise to help ourselves and our respective franchises flourish. I am really enjoying this aspect of being part of the Franchise.
What have been the biggest challenges?
It has been a relatively smooth transition re-branding from Nordic Walking Preston to WALX Preston and has been received well by our members, certainly in no small part thanks to the efforts of the HQ team. Nevertheless the largest part of our existence has actually been through the Covid pandemic with its lockdowns. Whilst this has proven challenging we have risen to that challenge locally and nationally and created some amazing new resources and opportunities for our members and this has allowed us to strengthen our community and business.
Matt has worked hard to build a great club for all levels plus a motivated team of Guides, he is now at a position where he can continue to grow and maybe take on another territory in the future. His passion for wellbeing, approach to teamwork and attention to customer care are key to his success.