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Columbia Business Monthly

#14 - 9Round Franchising, LLC

Dec 18, 2018 10:30AM ● By Kathleen Maris
Year Founded: 2008
Founders: Shannon and Heather Hudson
Headquarters location: Greenville
Number of other locations: More than 750 locations across 42 states and in 12 foreign countries 
Number of employees (start): 2
Number of employees (present): 88

Co-founded in 2008 by professional kickboxer Shannon Hudson and his wife Heather, 9Round is a specialized fitness center that brings boxing and kickboxing fitness training to the average person in a convenient, affordable, 30-minute, full-body circuit format. The program is developed around a proprietary and copyrighted system of nine challenging workout stations developed by Shannon himself.

Today, there are more than 750 9Round clubs open and operating throughout 42 states and 12 foreign countries, with many more in various stages of development. The company continues to open an average of 12 locations per week. 
 
What trends and innovations do you see down the line for your industry? 
Shannon Hudson (CEO): The multi-billion-dollar fitness industry is booming, with new fitness trends being introduced regularly. I would assume that new innovations and trends will continue to arise in the same way that 9Round began. We saw a workout technique that worked, and we wanted to bring it in the most convenient and effective way possible to the masses. Since our original 9Round idea, we have adapted to make our membership portal as easily accessible as possible via online and mobile platforms. We’ve incorporated advanced heart-rate technology with 9Round PULSE, which monitors an individual’s workout effort in real-time. While I may not be able to see into the future to tell exactly what is next for the ever-evolving fitness industry, I do know that 9Round will be able to adapt to whatever comes its way.  

What word of advice, if any, has shaped your career and who gave it or where did you read it? 
Everybody gets knocked down sometimes. It’s the mental “stress muscle” that must be developed.  As we grow, we face new challenges that stretch our “stress muscle”. But as we push through, we get stronger every year. 
 
What are you doing to make sure your company sticks around for the long haul? 
As much as our company has grown over the years, we still make it our mission to be as involved at the grassroots level of our studios as possible. Heather and I still personally interview potential franchisees to make sure anyone who joins the 9Round team truly is the right fit. We sit eyeball to eyeball with every single franchise candidate prior to them signing on the line. We make sure it’s a win-win, and we are all “eyes wide open” as to what’s expected from both parties. And then we continue to be invested in the training of any and all new franchisees. 
 
How important is continued learning to your success and if so, what do you do to ensure that you are always learning about your industry, your company, and yourself? 
You ought to see my library at home. It’s filled with books and programs on sales, marketing, fitness, other franchise disclosure documents, etc. Also, attending fitness shows and keeping my foot in the kickboxing world is important as well. One of our core values is “kaizen,” which translates to “always improving.” 
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