In the franchising industry, a good leadership is a hard term to define. However, it can be recognized through the excellence of a long term plan or by good franchise relations. A good leader can also be identified by his/her willingness to make sacrifices, respond to challenges, or discover new horizons. Leadership in the franchise business thus is the rare blend of tangible and intangible qualities that make others want to follow in the leader’s path.
A good franchise leader must lead a new franchise company toward growth and profit, and understand and internalize a customer-centric philosophy. Moreover, he/she should—have a clear vision, understand the business thoroughly, be accessible, embrace change, and build a strong core team to ensure the business thrives amid the increasing competition. Today, franchising is gaining ground across the globe due to its numerous advantages. Subsequently, numerous franchise leaders are emerging in the market.
Jordan Meinster and Casey Meinster (Founders at PickUp USA) are a prime example of the evolving leadership in the franchising arena. The duo is the torchbearer of PickUp USA –the nation’s first full-service basketball-focused fitness club concept. Jordan – a graduate from the University of Southern California with avid experience in the banking sector, along with his wife Casey – has been instrumental in growing PickUp USA as one of the best sports franchises across the country.
Our team of Mirror Review had a captivating conversation with Casey about the company’s journey to proliferance. Here are some of the snippets from the conversation.
How was PickUp USA established? What pushed you towards stepping into the franchising industry?
PickUp USA is essentially the place that my husband Jordan wanted ever since I have known him. He has always wanted a place where he could play basketball and not have to worry about the typical hassles that occur while playing pickup basketball. Over the years, he continued to talk about those hassles and shared his different business ideas – until he reached a point when it just blended and he had the idea of starting PickUp USA. I shared that dream with him once he verbalized the idea.
With the success of our first location in Irwindale, we were sure that our concept made sense and solved a problem based on the feedback of our early members. We always intended to grow whether it was company-owned or franchised. It was just deciding what the better way to scale was, and it seemed that franchising was the way to do it.
What services does PickUp USA primarily offer?
We founded PickUp USA with an aim to create a better way for people to play basketball. Our clubs are full-service basketball gyms. They offer services such as group and private basketball training, pickup basketball games with referees, and full weight and cardio rooms. Furthermore, with a relentless focus on customer service, our gyms offer a true plug-and-play, simple operating model. Our services cater to a massive potential market of basketball and fitness enthusiasts. With over 30 million annual participants, PickUp USA Fitness is shaping the future of basketball.
How do you aid your franchisees?
PickUp USA Fitness franchisees receive industry-leading support, guidance, and resources during all phases of development. We are nationally recognized for our industry-leading programs and world-class support. From the day you sign a franchise agreement, you will have a dedicated team at our corporate office supporting you during every step of your journey. Additionally, our comprehensive training programs ensure that you and your team have all the tools to maximize your club’s financial and operational performance.
Being at the helm of the company, what are your prominent roles and responsibilities?
In the initial stages, I worked a lot with Jordan to pull everything off and get our business started. Over the years, as barriers have come forward and more people got involved, I supported in a way that helped us focus on the basics of the business. Jordan always wanted a place that is accessible, equitable, and reliable. I just kept a pulse on making sure that those were always an option. Like a true founder, I ensure that the company’s vision is properly executed.
What impacts did the COVID-19 pandemic have on PickUp USA? How did you manage to combat this unannounced crisis?
The timing of this outbreak has been particularly tough. Our brand had extraordinary momentum at the start of 2020 and we were witnessing great progress at our stores and collectively as a system. However, when the pandemic struck, we went from flying high to most of our stores having to suspend operations in just over a week. We learned several lessons during these times. We implemented processes and procedures that have helped us not only survive but thrive in the crisis. We are also learning to manage the pandemic challenges at our stores and collectively as a system.
What are your views on remote working? How has it influenced the productivity of the employees?
Productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with our employees working remotely. Historically, there was a perception in many organizations that if employees are not seen, they were not working – or at least not as effective as they would in the office. In most cases, this forced experiment around remote working as a result of the pandemic has shattered those perceptions to prove that most employees can actually be trusted to get their work done from home.
Where do you see PickUp USA heading in the upcoming years?
The fitness industry is growing, and demand for PickUp USA Fitness is at an all-time high. We are awarding franchise opportunities for our basketball-focused fitness club in select markets around the country. We envision ourselves to be a nationwide brand operating in all 50 states and possibly beyond.
In your opinion, which is the most important quality an aspiring entrepreneur should inculcate?
Perseverance! You think it would be easy to build and grow a model, but it is really challenging. There are many systems, people, and barriers. Moreover, the model sometimes seems easy to implement, but it is hard to develop. So I think someone who aspires to be an entrepreneur must have a passion for developing a model and the perseverance to go through all the waves and barriers.
Read full issue: The 10 Leaders Transforming Franchise Business 2021