“I completely fell into the fitness industry.”
PowerPlayer Alexandra Anasson didn’t ever intend to own a fitness studio. With a background in musical theatre, Alexandra lived and breathed singing, dancing and acting, until she became a client at a Vision Personal Training studio in Sydney (to get muscular for a role) and fell in love with the franchise. She’s now the co-owner of (soon to be) three Vision Personal Training studios, with a turnover of more than $1 million a year. We caught up with the Melbourne-based PowerPlayer to find out how she swapped show tunes for squats.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love creating opportunities that otherwise would not exist. This might be for a client, who before coming to one of our studios couldn’t kick a ball with their kids and can now participate in a fun run. Or for a staff member that never thought they would have a long-term career in the health and fitness industry and we can provide that for them. Or taking people overseas to participate in races and achieve goals they never thought possible or have an overseas holiday that is focused on healthy pursuits rather than unhealthy!
What have been your biggest challenges in business? How did you overcome them?
Our biggest constant and ongoing challenge is finding and retaining great staff. The fitness industry has an appalling retention rate of personal trainers (current lifespan of a personal trainer is thought to be somewhere between 3-6 months), and although our company has a much higher average stay, it is still a struggle. Our businesses thrive when we have great people working for us, and right now we are very fortunate to have absolute rockstars making up our teams, but we just constantly need more of them!
Before opening the business, I worried about getting clients. Now I know the clients will come, but we just need amazing people on our teams to succeed. We haven’t quite overcome this yet, but every day we are learning something new in this area, to serve our people better and become more attractive to potential candidates. If we look after them, they look after the clients, and then we all win, and we can continue creating more opportunities, which for us is what it’s all about!
How important is exercise for entrepreneurs?
It is a necessity! I constantly work with entrepreneurs who put everyone else ahead of themselves (especially female entrepreneurs who have families). I believe you are actually doing your team and your family a disservice by not looking after yourself. You are a better leader when you are healthy and fit (from every great leader I have known/worked with, and they have always looked after themselves regarding health and fitness). Not only does it add to your physical longevity, but it also helps your mood and your stress levels. Coupled with great nutrition, you can take on the world if you move more and eat better!
How do you prioritise exercise?
I schedule my training sessions in my calendar like a meeting. A great leader I used to work with once said to me ‘would you knowingly double book a meeting or just cancel a meeting without reason? Well, the same goes for exercise. It goes in your calendar and is just as important as any meeting on there. So you get it done!’ I’ve always thought that was a great way to think about it! Obviously, you might miss some days or need to reschedule (just like a meeting!) that’s natural and normal but if you see it in your calendar as a meeting and treat it that way, you will learn to prioritise it, and it will soon become a habit.
What has being a PowerPlayer done for you and your business?
I have loved PowerPlayers for a different reason from why I came to it in the first place. I came thinking that we would be pitching or selling our businesses and what I have found is a group of women, with the same struggles, who share the same values and are at all different life cycles of business but bring something fresh and new to the table every time. The group has probably done more for my personal development as a leader than any tangible metric in my business, and I have loved that.
“I don’t even think the word networking comes close to describing what happens in a Power Players Pack meeting or event.”
I had also expected to be treated like “the young dumb one” in my pack as I haven’t been in business for a long time. I’m a bit younger than the rest of my pack, but the respect shown for my experiences and the kindness shown to me by these women has blown me away. I am very proud to be a member of our pack. It is a completely different form of “networking.” I don’t even think the word networking comes close to describing what happens in a Power Players Pack meeting or event.
What would you say to a friend thinking about becoming a PowerPlayer?
Go for it! I would never have guessed how much I would learn both personally and professionally at the start. It’s been a worthwhile investment for me as a leader.
What are your Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) for 2018 and beyond?
I am a strong believer in the power of goal setting (most of the business is built around it) so have BHAG’s all the way up until I die! Ha! My main ones are: Complete the New York marathon in November under 3.30, have our third studio in Melbourne open by early 2018 (we are in lease negotiations currently!), have our travel company We Run the World Travel completely up and running with the first 3 trips organised and booked, complete a full Ironman in late 2018/early 2019. And the biggest BHAG of them all: we want to own 10 Vision studios in Melbourne and the UK by 2025 opening them with our staff as business partners.
What’s one thing no one knows about you?
I can still belt out a mean show tune and do the splits!