Posted: June 29, 2015 by Jaime Stenning
Name: Ceri Smith
Job Title: Commercial Director
Business Name: Eze Fitness Limited
Eze Fitness was established in November 2001 by Nautilus Sweden. In March 2008, Sean Thornton and Ceri Smith carried out a management buyout. Today they are the sole owners of the company.
Eze Fitness has a current portfolio of 8 fully operational fitness sites with an annual turnover of £2.4 million and operational EBITDA of £400k/annum.
What does your business do?
Our business philosophy is based on:
We deliver what our industry promises yet very rarely delivers. This allows us to compete directly with the major fitness chains in the market and out-perform them in terms of member experience and retention.
No of Employees/ staff/outlets/turnover*
80 team members and 40 subcontractors and partners, 8 outlets responsible for a turnover of £3m+ (before Council/partner splits).
Lancaster, Southport, Liverpool, Scarborough, Derby, Redditch, Northern Ireland.
We are the first fitness company in the UK to offer fully flexible memberships to our members based on THEIR requirements.
We are the first company in the UK to have the new X-Force line of strength equipment installed (at our Derby facility).
What gets you up in the morning?
One day I will be able to stand up in front of our industry peers and proudly explain how Eze Fitness have led the way for our industry to deliver what it promises to our clients. Our industry will be seen to be professional, offer value for money and be an essential every part of people’s lives instead of being considered as a luxury!
Business High Spot
Our management takeover in March 2008 and having the balls to do it on our own!
Business Low Spot
Realising that we had under-funded a project which put the company, its team members and our passion at risk. However, it is our belief and our passion that drives us through the low spots and we come out of them stronger!
What would you do differently if you were to ‘start-up’ again?
Keep the vision and ethos of the company at the forefront of all we do… Read more, learn more and take advice from outside of the industry.
Biggest challenge(s) in the next 12 months
Time Management – we want to achieve so much so soon.
How would your colleagues describe you?
Enthusiastic and passionate with an air of realism!
What is your most endearing feature?
I will do my utmost to never let you down and deliver what I have promised!
What is your least endearing feature?
My straight talking can sometimes be seen as being too blunt towards certain personality types and I am known occasionally to let my emotions get the better of me. I certainly benefit from walking away from situations for 24 hours and coming back to them rather than leaping in straight away.
Name an organisation that you see as a perfect one and why?
Virgin – customer service screams at you from every corner of this organisation and every person or partner involved.
Which entrepreneur(s) do you most admire and why?
Richard Branson – started from scratch and kept on building despite the adversities he faced.
Robert Craven – has the balls to cut out the fluff and offers straight-talking business advice, based on experience which everyone in business needs at some point.
Paula MacArthur – gathers inspirational people and facilitates them to share and benefit from each other’s ideas.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Write down what you want to achieve, work hard to drive it forwards with passion and it will happen!
If you could give the Prime Minister one message what would it be?
Focus on educating people towards health and fitness instead of making food manufacturers reduce the calorie content of food – they just fill it with sugar instead and people wonder why they are still overweight!
Also reduce VAT on Fitness Club Memberships – health and fitness is an essential contributor towards the prevention of illness and should not just be used after the event for rehabilitation / cure.
What are you currently reading?
The 4 Hour Working Week – Tim Ferriss
Favourite Business Book(s)
7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
What is your greatest achievement?
Being where we are today with a happy family and a growing business!
What is your biggest mistake?
Letting doubt creep in when I should believe in my convictions.
Four famous people you would invite to a dinner party…
Richard Branson – he is making it happen.
Will Smith – never feels like he goes to work because everyday feels like a holiday / will bring the comedy too.
Barack Obama – achieved what everyone thought would never happen.
The Queen – she is so diverse.
What makes you laugh?
My husband, my daughter and Modern Family on Sky 1.