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Future of Fitness

Dec 2, 2020

Jim Crowell is the Founder at JWC Advisory Group, Founder and Investor at Boost Capital, and former CEO of Opex Fitness. He is a board member of The Brand Q Method. Jim is a strategist who loves to learn and help others improve.

How did Jim get to where he is now? (1:35)

  • Jim went to Penn State where he played tennis for them. 
  • Jim had been an athlete his whole life and loved the idea of training and fitness. 
  • He enjoyed training tennis because it had been his college sport and he enjoyed going to tournaments and competing. 
  • He loved the idea of getting better at things.
  • Being a hedge fund trader had taught him how the world works and how money flows etc. 
  • Towards the end of that career, Jim felt that he wanted to be a part of the health and wellness industry. 
  • Leaving the hedge fund business, Jim opened a CrossFit gym with a friend of his in Pittsburgh.
  • They did well and opened a second gym. After 4 years Jim sold the business to his business partner at the time. 
  • Gym moved to Arizona to work with Opex Fitness. He worked himself up to the role of CEO and helped them build a global coaching education, a gym licensing business, remote coaching, and one on one sessions. 
  • Jim left Opex in 2020 and has been advising and investing typically around the fitness and wellness area. 
  • Jim loves the idea of being a part of the evolution of fitness because he believes fitness is a very immature market in many verticals. 

What does Jim consider to be a mature market? (4:00)

  • Setting COVID aside, consider going to a restaurant. 
  • You have a good idea of what type of restaurant model will work. 
  • Technology is being put into restaurants too. We are seeing this now especially because of COVID. 
  • People are eating from home a lot more but in terms of successful restaurants, considering COVID lifts and the vaccine is out, people will want to go back out to restaurants. 
  • Restaurants have a fair amount of competition and the restaurant owners either have competitive advantages or they have to run extremely efficiently to survive. 
  • There’s an efficient market in fitness right now. You are seeing so many new things come out and you are seeing brand new markets that do not have competition yet. 
  • A lot of legacy brands like Equinox have immediately shifted to an online ecosystem. 
  • So where people thought there was no competition there is now becoming competition.
  • We are seeing jockeying for who is going to take the lead in the big categories. 
  • Jim believes in the big categories there are always a few that win and by win he means they get higher margins because they have competitive advantages. 
  • It’s the companies who create sustainable competitive advantages that have the most likelihood of success.

What should an investor be looking at in 2021? (40:50)

  • Once you put investors on your LinkedIn profile, you will get a whole bunch of stuff coming through to your profile. 
  • Some of them might be interesting but a lot of it won’t be worth looking at. 
  • Jim’s friends like to invest in early but not launch products that have shown traction and can scale. 
  • These are not highly competitive markets unless the product has shown that it has better traction in a significantly large market. 
  • Looking at the technology side, it is where most investor’s minds are going.
  • You have to differentiate and you have to be simpler and more valuable.
  • If you are brick and mortar in terms of gyms, investors are only looking at you if the price is depressed and they think they can get a return based on that. 
  • A lot of investors are looking to buy into franchise concepts, corporately owned concepts out of bankruptcy right now. 
  • Technology obviously has scale. It is where people are going.
  • There are opportunities for the investors to get into companies that just got obliterated by COVID but still have good assets on the book. 
  • You have to know what you want and what your return profile will look like. If investors aren’t direct experts in the industry they need to have conversations about what real value and real barriers are. 

JWC Advisory Group

At JWC Consulting they offer you a complete service in Compliance which includes but isn't limited to Food Safety, Health and Safety, Human Resources, and Internal auditing to enable you to perform better and safer. From creating systems of excellence conforming to international standards ensuring product and process safety to training your people to work in a safe way, assessing how you’re doing, and helping you perform even better in the future, they are there to assist you at every step of your safety journey.


Connect with Jim: LinkedIn

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