Hunched over with my hands on my knees and sweat dripping down my face, I slowly looked up as I tried to catch my breath. And all I could think was, “What just happened?”
Only one hour prior to my state of total exhaustion, I was walking into a new gym known for its intense 45-minute workouts. Since fitness has always been a big part of my life — I played sports in high school, was a lifeguard in college, practice different types of yoga and workout regularly — I was excited to try something new to up my game.
Admittedly, I was a bit nervous after hearing about the intense workouts one can expect from the crew at Slash Fitness in Delray Beach, Fla., but I’m always up for a challenge. I could hear the rock music blaring before opening the door. And when I walked in, the energy was palpable. Joe Ardagna, one of the owners, must have read the uneasy look on my face because he rushed over to introduce himself and walk me through what to expect during class. Once I saw weights, yellow and black ropes, TRX straps, balls and various pieces of equipment all over the room, I realized I had no idea what I was in for.
While the first class was definitely brutal, I went back for more. By class number two, I was hooked and have been slashing for almost a year. Not only do I love the crazy workouts that have helped me get into the best shape of my life, but after getting to know the owners — Joe, Austin Brock and Andy Sziraki — I became a fan of their savvy business sense.
Small garage, big dream
These sharp business owners know fitness, but they also know what it takes to hire the right people, build a community and thrive. “We’ve definitely made some mistakes along the way,” Andy says, laughing. “But we learned from them and were able to improve our processes. From hiring the right team to finding better solutions to customer service issues, we’re always making improvements to strengthen our business.”
Like most entrepreneurs, things didn’t always work out the way they planned, but giving up was not an option. From funding issues to potential lawsuits, Slash Fitness’s owners did whatever it took to push through the burn and come out on top.
They understand the importance of making their clients number one. They’ve incorporated technology to maximize the customer experience — including a website at www.slashfitpro.com and a Slash Fitness app their clients can use to sign up for classes, review their history and check out what new and fun things are happening.
“All of the tools we invest in are for the purpose of serving our clients,” Austin says. “We are all about adding value to our product and making it easy for our customers to interact with us.” For example, they send out daily motivational text messages. From tips on what to eat to inspiring quotes, the Slash team provides resources to help keep their clients on track.
Staying connected with fans regularly is easy with their social media strategy. As Joe explains:
“Social media continues to be an important part of our overall marketing strategy. It allows us to interact with our clients while at the same time showcase visually how we are different from other gyms in the area.”
Slash Fitness has an active presence on social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram. From the Instagram videos on how to squat properly that fitness instructor Josh posts, to fun pictures that Andy and Matt take during class, it’s clear the entire team loves interacting with their #slashmob.
While building Slash Fitness hasn’t been easy, the passion these guys have is undeniable. As I’m sure you can tell, I am a huge fan and after watching this short interview with them, I believe you will be, too.