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About Stephen Tharrett

Stephen TharrettStephen Tharrett

Steve Tharrett and Mark Williamson are veteran club business executives and Co-Founders of ClubIntel, a consulting firm serving the industry worldwide.

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Email: stevet@clubintel.com


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The Fate and Fortune of the Health and Fitness Industry
Part II

May 2015 - The health and fitness facility industry is an evolving entity, both domestically and internationally. While it is more of an accepted part of the American culture and lifestyle than it was 40 years ago or even a decade ago, the industry remains somewhat susceptible to the whims of evolving global demographics, trendy popular culture and macroeconomic conditions. The fate and fortune --or destiny if you like-- of the health and fitness facility industry, is now being influenced by these evolving cultural, demographic and economic forces. Read Article...

The Fate and Fortune of the Health and Fitness Industry
Part III

June 2015 - The health and fitness facility industry is an evolving entity, both domestically and internationally. While it is more of an accepted part of the American culture and lifestyle than it was 40 years ago, or even a decade ago, the industry remains somewhat susceptible to the whims of evolving global demographics, trendy popular culture and macroeconomic conditions. The fate and fortune, or destiny if you like, of the health and fitness facility industry, is now being influenced by these evolving cultural, demographic and economic forces. Read Article...

The Financial Fuel Behind the Fitness Industry's Growth in the 21st Century
A Primer on Private Equity for Fitness Industry Professionals - Part I

March 2020 - In 2019, the global fitness industry generated an estimated $94 billion (U.S.). This represents 38% growth over the past decade. During this same time period, the number of fitness clubs grew by 72% and membership by 56% (See Figure 1). If we narrow our perspective to only the U.S. market, 2019 revenues were an estimated $35 billion, which represents 84% growth over the past decade. During this same decade (2009 to 2019), the number of U.S. fitness facilities grew by 32% and membership by 37% (See Figure 2). Read Article...

The Financial Power of The Crowd
Part I

August 2015 - Raising capital has never been an easy task for entrepreneurs, and for most entrepreneurs, launching a business raising capital can be the "straw" that often breaks the camel's back, the challenge most likely to derail their business vision. Until recently, raising equity for a business venture, be it start-up capital or growth capital, was comparable to a soldier navigating a minefield without a mine detector. Read Article...

The Financial Power of The Crowd
Part II

September 2015 - In Part I of this 2-part series last month, readers where introduced to crowdfunding. In addition, Part I provided an overview of donation-based and reward-based crowdfunding. In Part II of our series on crowdfunding, we will introduce readers to the newest crowdfunding mechanisms; debt-based crowdfunding, often referred to as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending; equity-based crowdfunding and royalty-based crowdfunding. These three approaches to crowdfunding are considerably different than donation-based and reward-based crowdfunding, being founded and structured along the principles of more traditional capital raise approaches (e.g., angel funding, venture funding and bank debt). Read Article...

The Fitness Industry's Response to COVID-19
Insights into the Collective Improvisation, Innovation and Resilience of Global Fitness Operators

May 2020 - It came out of nowhere, and within just a few months, fostered a level of business disruption never experienced by the fitness industry. In just over a month, the COVID-19 pandemic forced over two-thirds of global fitness operators to temporarily close their doors, and in the U.S., had fitness clubs and fitness studios in 46 States temporarily shuttered. Fitness companies large and small, franchises and independents, clubs and studios, all found themselves in unchartered waters without their motors nor a compass to guide them. Read Article...

The Pricing Game
Part I - Determining What to Charge and How to Deliver It

October 2018 - Ron Johnson, former CEO of JCPenney said of pricing, "Pricing is actually a pretty simple and straight forward thing. Customers will not pay literally a penny more than the true value of the product." Based on his quote, one might assume that how you price your fitness offering is quite simple. In reality, that simplicity can get extremely complex, and for operators of a fitness business, how you price your value proposition may be the single biggest determinant of whether the business succeeds or fails. Read Article...

The Pricing Game
Part II - Determining What to Charge and How to Deliver It

January 2019 - In Part I of this article series focused on pricing, we provided some historical perspectives on the industry's approach to pricing, along with an in-depth discussion of pricing itself. In Part II, we will focus primarily on industry delivery models or how our industry presents its prices and value to the marketplace. Furthermore, we will take a look at what the future may bring in respect to price delivery models. Read Article...

The Year Ahead
Ten Predictions for the Health and Fitness Industry in 2017 - Part I

January 2017 - On the eve of each new year, industry experts and prognosticators hunker over their computers, studying industry benchmarks and trends to extrapolate nuggets of wisdom in order to forecast, or at least predict, what will happen in the New Year. For these individuals, the goal is to be the voice of the near future, to provide a degree of clarity on what might be expected in the upcoming year, or as T.S. Eliot so eloquently said, "For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice." Read Article...

The Year Ahead
Ten Predictions for the Health and Fitness Industry in 2017 - Part II

February 2017 - On the eve of each new year, industry experts and prognosticators hunker over their computers, studying industry benchmarks and trends to extrapolate nuggets of wisdom in order to forecast, or at least predict, what will happen in the New Year. For these individuals, the goal is to be the voice of the near future, to provide a degree of clarity on what might be expected in the upcoming year, or as T.S. Eliot so eloquently said, "For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice." Read Article...

Trend Watching May Fuel A Visionary Growth Strategy
March 2014 - In a recent article published in the New York Times, the author brought forth one of the more interesting economic phenomena that have occurred as America and the world have risen from the bowels of the recent economic recession (2008 to 2012). The author indicated that, since 2009, when the recession hit rock bottom, inflation-adjusted spending by the top echelon has risen 17%, compared with 1% among the bottom 95%. In broader terms, this means that 90% of the overall increase in consumer spending from 2009 to 2012 was generated by the top 20% of households based on income. Read Article...

Trend Wisdom
Why It's Important To Be Part of The Dialogue in 2018

September 2018 - Trends are one of the quintessential truths of mankind and one of the core truths of capitalism. Trends influence how we think, what we want to believe or not believe, how we act and how we react. From a business perspective, trends can inform us of where the market is headed, what competitors are doing, what consumers are embracing, what business leaders are thinking and what opportunities there are for the taking. Jason Canton summed this up nicely when he said, "Those who are ill informed will be at risk for a rough future." Read Article...

Twelve Enlightening Business Insights for the New Year
January 2015 - Winter is upon us, and we've just finished being immersed in the season of merriment involving gift giving, feasting and celebrating with friends. Our business persona was engrossed in the details of juggling a variety of business loose ends, including making sure the business year ended on a strong note, budgets and plans for the New Year were finalized and hoping our business embarks on an enlightened beginning to the New Year. Consequently, at ClubIntel, we wanted to bring forward business insights that we believe could help make 2015 a great year for your business. Staying with the theme of the just-passed Holiday Season, we've put together our list of 12 key insights for the New Year. Read Article...

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