Sammie Kennedy CEO and creator of Booty Camp Fitness Inc.
Location: Toronto, ON
For an extended profile of Sammie Kennedy, click here.
Former couch potato Sammie Kennedy struck gold in the super-competitive fitness field, in large part by taking the scare factor out of group exercise classes. While many of Booty Camp’s direct competitors follow the hard-core, military-style boot camp model, Kennedy built the company by creating a mutually supportive and fun atmosphere in which women can break a sweat. The firm’s classes tend to foster serious devotion among attendees, so much so that several have gone on to become Booty Camp trainers or senior managers. And since instructors operate as well-paid licensees rather than employees, they’re far less likely to decamp to the competition. “When they make money,” Kennedy explains, “we’ll make money together.” Her commitment to changing peoples’ lives extends beyond the company’s classes; a line of ancillary products, such as a book and exercise DVDs, further engage clients and differentiate the brand. So do philanthropic efforts, such as her leadership of the Booty Camp team as it raised $50,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Run for the Cure in 2010.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
To roll with the punches. Things are ever-evolving and challenges will always arise. Meet them with calmness and logic and you’ll overcome all obstacles.
What is your best advice for young entrepreneurs?
Figure out your own vision, then seek advice from valued and selected advisors. Too many hands stirring the pot can be a very poor thing when it comes to figuring out the direction you would like to take with your own vision.
What can governments, institutions and other businesses do to better support young entrepreneurs?
I think that financial institutions are very hesitant to lend to young entrepreneurs, as we have very little assets or credibility backing us. I have personally made it without having to borrow funds, but even with my company’s great success, I would have difficulty obtaining bank loans for the company today. It would be ideal to have more financing options for young entrepreneurs, especially after a couple of years of proven sustainability.