Looking Back at 2010 & Forward to 2011: The Current State of AFS

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2010 has been a tremendous year for AFS! Before we end this year, and look forward to 2011 and beyond, I want take a moment to do two things. First, I want to reach out to all of you and extend my heartfelt appreciation for your business. Second, I’d like to update you on our future plans for enhancing your client experience with us, and highlight some of areas of projected growth for AFS.

To say I am appreciative of your business is a vast understatement, and it doesn’t nearly do justice to how grateful I truly am for each and every AFS client. The Ann Arbor area, and its surrounding communities, is certainly one of the most saturated marketplaces for fitness service providers in the state. I know you have many choices in where you could go to workout, and I am equal parts touched, humbled, and grateful that you choose to do so with us. I really do consider AFS a family — from my staff to each and every one of you — and I thank you for being a part of the AFS family.

More than just being a part of the family, all of you have helped the family expand! As you know, we do very little formal marketing, with most of our business coming by way of word-of-mouth referrals. For all the times you’ve talked about AFS to a friend, family member, or co-worker; for all the people you’ve picked up and brought to class; for all the people you’ve referred — I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without your referrals, we would not be where we’re at today. We realize this, and, believe me, we will not forget it. You are all fit, energetic, walking billboards for AFS, and whether you realize it or not, you are living, breathing, testimonials to the success of our systems and programs.

As we continue to grow and expand, we pledge a continued commitment to the personalized, family atmosphere that has made us successful as a business and you successful as a client. An individualized experience, on every level, is at the very core of our business, and we will go to painstaking lengths to ensure that this is maintained, and even enhanced.

With that said, you’ve no doubt seen some of the tangible upgrades we’ve made to our training facility over the past 12 months. I am a firm believer in reinvesting back into AFS at every level in order to ensure that you receive the best client experience possible. We will continue to purchase new and innovative pieces of exercise equipment to provide you with continual training variety and an enjoyable workout experience. The most sizable improvements to AFS, however, are the things you don’t necessarily see.

The behind-the-scenes development to our client management infrastructure is where we invest the vast majority of our financial, time, and personnel resources. These are systems that allow us to provide you with the individualized client experience you deserve, and these systems have made great strides in 2010, with 2011 looking even more promising.

At their most fundamental level, these systems involve my staff of fitness practitioners, and 2010 saw the addition of two very valuable assets to AFS, Devin and Sarah, both of whom have been great additions to our team. I pledge to continue to aggressively recruit and competitively compensate the most qualified fitness professionals so that we can continue to meet and exceed your needs as clients. In addition, in 2010, we implemented an intricate monthly audit system, which allows me to oversee each and every client managed by a given practitioner, and provide the practitioners with ongoing and constructive feedback on how they perform every aspect of their job servicing you. Lastly, our continued commitment to training and development, both internal and external, will afford my staff of practitioners the opportunity to complete advanced certifications and course work in 2011 to refine their skill sets to serve you better.

From a technological perspective, we are in the process of developing a proprietary software suite to perform all of our client management tasks. This system is unlike any in existence in the industry, applying cutting-edge technology to our time-tested systems. This powerful software suite will streamline client management on every level (assessments, client interactions, food log evaluations, and so on). As this software suite launches in segments in 2011, expect to see a progressively enhanced client experience.

The final point I would like to touch on is expansion, and the prospect of a new space for our current location. First and foremost, I will say that I like our current location on several levels, and although it has some limitations (lack of locker rooms, limited parking at times, etc.), it serves our needs very well at this time. That said, there obviously will come a time when we will outgrow our current space. Our projections suggest that we will need a larger space within 8-18 months. We are aware of this, and the process of preliminary site selection and the discussion of build-out requirements is already underway. Of greatest importance to all of you, I’m sure, will be the location of the new facility. I can assure you that we will not be moving far from our current location. Our goal is to move no farther north than I-94, and no farther south than Michigan Ave. As more information becomes available on our pending relocation, I will keep you informed. Please trust, however, that this move will only serve to further enhance your client experience with us.

Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for working with us. All of you have had a part in making my dream of owning a successful fitness facility a reality, and that is something mere words cannot adequately express. I hope you had a great 2010, and I wish you and your family a healthy, happy, and fit 2011.

Best,
Mike

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