Here we sit at the doorstep of 2016. It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone so fast. The end of the year address has become the AFS tradition I enjoy most. It gives me a chance to acknowledge members of our family that have been critical to our success in the previous year; it also gives me the opportunity to look into the upcoming year and share some of the development areas we are working on.
2015 was indeed a momentous year for AFS. We saw the realization of a goal I set upon founding the company—growth with additional locations. The opening of Plymouth was definitely one of the high points of 2015, as it told me our model and our atmosphere could be replicated without any decrement in the quality of service we offer. Likewise, we took many positive steps to ensure we have the infrastructure for future growth; with the refinement of CMS 2.0, the implementation of the video distribution system, and the expansion of our leadership team.
All of the tremendous growth in 2015 could not have been possible without several key people. First and foremost, I need to thank all of you, our clients, who have supported our mission day-in and day-out. We would not be where we are today, without every single one of you. On behalf of everyone at AFS, I thank you!
Although the contributions from every single staff member are critical to our continued development, for the sake of brevity, I will only highlight a handful of staff. Please realize however, everyone that has worked for AFS in this past year has contributed immensely to our growth.
Our Plymouth team, led by Devin (Tarrant, operating partner, Plymouth) has been incredible. Under Devin’s leadership, the entire team took a huge leap into the unknown of this year. They faced and overcame unforeseen challenges, and in the process, solidified AFS as an entity that has tremendous growth potential. Thank you to Devin and your team. Likewise, Nate (Langley, AFS marketing director) has had the momentous task of exposing AFS to a new community. Accelerating the understanding and value of our complex brand in a new community has not been easy. Nate has faced this task with positivity, creativity, and enthusiasm. Thank you to him and his marketing team for all they have done.
2016 will again hold significant improvements to our operating infrastructure and system, to ensure our quality of service grows parallel with our overall company growth. .
On the client side, a number of exciting systems will be implemented this year. The biggest of which will be CMS 3.0 (scheduled to rollout in the spring). CMS 3.0 will replace Mindbody, and will be a completely integrated platform for client and account management. The most significant aspect of CMS 3.0 will be an online billing and scheduling module that will allow clients to make billing changes and schedule appointments online. Other improvements will include:
- Implementation of a more progressive, behavioral-based approach to client management engagement (this includes how we engage clients on nutrition).
- Rollout of an integrated mobile application.
- Accessed centralized educational content provided by the AFS education department (in the form of an extensive FAQ database.
- Streamlined practitioner backend functionality that will allow the practitioners to spend less time on tedious client management work and more time engaging and building relationships with their clients.
- Utilization of new body composition technology that will allow for faster, more reliable assessment data collection. This will give you more time with your practitioner to create a game plan during assessments.
As exciting as all the front-end improvements are, I am personally most excited about the cultural initiatives AFS is undergoing. The leadership team and I are actively in the process of refining our mission, vision, and values, to solidify our corporate culture as we prepare for growth. This is a critical process to ensure the atmosphere and spirit that currently drives AFS is present in every location. Furthermore, we will be placing a heavy emphasis on our employee experience this year. Higher wages, more robust benefits, tools to make client management easier, and schedules that facilitate greater work-life balance are all high priorities that are in various stages of implementation now. These changes will ensure the retention of our current staff for years to come, as well as ensure we continue to recruit the most talented professionals in the industry.
Lastly, two of the biggest changes in 2016 will have significant influence on our growth. First, as you know, we are targeting the fall of 2016 to open Rochester, operated by Jared (Freeman, Ann Arbor General Manager). I am once again incredibly excited to bring our brand to a new community. The second of these two changes is a significant step for me personally, as I will be stepping back from the day-to-day operation of the Ann Arbor facility, and turning those over to a general manager (initially Jared, until he leaves of Rochester). Indeed the time has come for me to focus on growth of our managers, more in-depth training of our staff, and more substantial organizational development. As much as I will miss my day-to-day responsibilities and interactions with clients, this is a much needed progression to continue the growth and development of AFS, as an organization.
In closing, I’d like to thank everyone—staff and clients for making AFS what it is. I truly believe we are revolutionizing the fitness industry and I couldn’t be any happier that all of you are part of that revolution.
Have a happy and healthy 2016.
Yours in Health,