Interview with Mike Tan, National Sales Manager for Orangetheory Fitness Canada.
Like most who competed in sports, I started training in the gym at a young age. That said, my journey into the fitness industry was a coincidence! A part-time gig to transition to University and ease my mother’s concerns embarked me on a journey I am forever grateful for.
I was shopping for a new gym membership and waited 15 minutes in the lobby to meet with a membership rep. Needless to say, I left. As I was driving home I spotted “Mansfield Athletic Clubs”. It turned out to be a beautiful gym catering to a corporate crowd. As I was filling out the membership documents I thought to myself, maybe I could give them a few hours a week and save myself from paying the membership. If I liked it, it would be a great part-time job during University, and my mother would approve. I met with the club manager & started working a week later.
I received a request to meet the new CEO of the Mansfield Clubs as I was finishing my bachelors abroad and getting ready for Investment Banking interviews. I convinced them to let me manage one of their locations once my semester was over. We turned around the location within a year, and I was asked to do the same at their flagship. That’s when it all came together.
The owner of the chain was Leonard Schlemm, Co-Founder of 24 hrs fitness. He and his wife Annick-Isabelle (CEO of the Mansfield at the time) gave me the opportunity to be entrepreneurial with the clubs.
Leonard and Annick-Isabelle took me under their wing and introduced me to many successful industry people in Canada. Having employers who care about your future is critical. The CEO was not hands on in daily operations, which forced us to fill the void. And so we did – which was a blessing!
Having my own company/being self-employed from 18 to 21 was a big learning experience. Learning how to sell, manage your hard earned capital, staff & most of all FAIL, are part of the journey. That’s easily transferable to anything you do.
I came into a leadership role with a team I previously worked with. That was very helpful in gaining trust.
Being accountable to others was something that I needed to learn how to do properly. That took time. I used to do “everything” on my own. I quickly learned that being accountable to my team doesn’t just mean doing what I say I will, but ensuring they thrive. I’m accountable for my teams mental, physical and emotional health.
With one club, you can be Kobe Bryant. If Kobe had to play 2 games at once, things wouldn’t go so smooth. The same goes for managing multiple locations. You need to transition from “Superstar” to “Head Coach”, and some people can’t deal with that. They like to be in the limelight.
I needed to learn to trust that people could do as good of a job as I could, with my guidance. If I find myself doubting someone on my team, I look in the mirror. Either I didn’t set them up for success or simply brought on the wrong individual.
National Sales Manager – Orangetheory Fitness Canada
I oversee the growth of studio revenue through sales strategies & franchisee support. Our clients are the franchisees. We strive to help them become the best fitness studio operators possible, so we can change more lives.
I’ve proven I can execute at the club/studio level. I’ve proven I have the ability to analyze historical data, create a vision & have people rally behind it. I’ve also made sure to build strong relationships with people who could help support and push me towards a national accountability. I was recruited by Paula Comfort to meet with David Hardy, one of the Partners at Orangetheory & Master Franchisor of Canada. The stars aligned and here we are today. I am forever grateful to both of these individuals.
Learn the industry, not just a function (i.e: personal training).
If you’re in sales, learn the fitness, tech and business side of our industry. Fitness is going through it’s biggest period of change in my opinion. Consumers have the shortest attention span we’ve ever seen and are quick to jump to a competitor (across the street or an online platform). Digital is creating new opportunities each day. Billions of dollars are being deployed in acquisitions to create a hyper connected world.
If your aspirations are to build a successful career in this industry, curiosity will go a long way. In order to lead the teams that will succeed in the future, you will need to “understand” more than ever before.
Mike Tan is the National Sales Manager for Orangetheory Fitness Canada, one of the fastest growing franchises worldwide. He is responsible for revenue growth, operations and studio compliance. With nearly 10 years of industry experience, he has been involved in funding, development, growth and turnaround of fitness ventures