Striving for excellence with an unending passion for self-expansion and consistent growth, Elizabeth Suarez began her academic career by earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Studies before pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management, a Bachelor of Science in Biology and an Associate of Science degree in Nursing.
As a novice mountaineer and athlete, Elizabeth summeted one of the seven summits, Mount Kilimanjaro. She also challenged herself in the world of bodybuilding, when she won an overall NPC Bodybuilding Figure Competition. However, with all her athletic prowess, Elizabeth is most proud of her participation in the Olympic Trials for horseback riding.
Elizabeth’s bold and driven nature led her to the fitness industry and one of the fastest-growing fitness franchises in the world. This particular fitness franchise’s expansion reached the US by 2015, and Elizabeth was one of the first employees hired by the prestigious organization. Rather than accepting a signing bonus, she negotiated for equity within the company. Her brilliant negotiation was used as the instrument for her success in building the means and capital to launch not one, but two fitness studios as an entrepreneur in West Palm Beach and Wellington Florida.
Today, the multi-talented Elizabeth Suarez oversees the management of her franchises with an intense focus on success, and always striving for excellence.
What does your typical day look like at your Fitness Studio and how do you make it productive?
On a day-to-day basis, I help spearhead managing the sales team. We have got a sales team for both studios. I manage payroll and the schedule for all of our trainers. I take care of any inventory, merchandising, or uniform orders that need to happen. I also manage emails, Google reviews, and any customer complaints.
What was the inspiration behind opening your studios?
I used to work for corporate as one of their first United States employees. Instead of taking a signing bonus, I asked for equity which is how I was able to obtain my territories. It took several years for me to build up the means, capital and help from partners to go ahead and actually see them come to fruition before I launched. The initial inspiration to own came from working for the parent company at a corporate level first.
What defines your approach to business?
I would say my approach to business would be defined by being open-minded, aggressive, and always going the extra mile. I don’t think you can ever go too hard or do too much for the business. As long as you love what you do, then your approach to business is more integrated into your way of life, rather than just a job or work. Even when you are your own boss, you still have to love doing what you do, no matter what product, membership, or service you’re offering.
What are the keys to being productive that you can share?
Number one would be organization. I live and breathe by my calendar, as well as Google Drive. I utilize these tools and reminders consistently on a day-to-day basis. I am highly organized, and have systems in place. For example, if I’ve got a to-do list for the day or, I know that things need to get done, I won’t go to bed until they’re all off the list, so that each and every day is a new day. So, no procrastination, nothing like that. I prefer to start each day fresh with a brand new list of tasks and responsibilities.
So how do you measure success?
The easy answer would be in numbers; however, success is more than financial growth. Success is long-term. Seeing consistency and positive results, whether it’s reflected in numbers or how people receive your product or service, both are indicators of success. I think that positive reviews speak volumes of a company’s accomplishments and are a great way to determine what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to customers. I know everybody has different goals, numbers of goals and timeframes that they want to achieve, but are they actually accomplishing them? Or are they procrastinating and just talking about them? It’s essential to continuously reassess your goals on a weekly or monthly basis.
What would you say is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
I would have to say learning how to communicate with a wide variety of individuals on a regular basis. I consider myself a very blunt and straightforward individual; however, not everyone responds well to that communication style. Through my experiences in the industry I have learnt that it’s not always what you say but how you say it. The key is being both open and transparent with employees.
What is the best advice you would give to others who are aspiring to succeed in a similar field?
If they are just starting out, I would say to not get discouraged in the first two to three years of business. It takes time to see growth, and it takes time to see success most of the time. If they just stay consistent, diligent, and focused on the target that they are aiming for and the goal they have set for themselves, they will get there eventually. Some people get lucky. It takes less time for some than it does for others. But, to really get a business established, it takes several years. My best advice is to be patient, be consistent, and stay focused.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
If you love what you do, it doesn’t feel so much like there’s a separation. I would say because I live by my calendar, it allows me to optimize my time. As a visual person having all of my tasks, both personal and professional, integrated in one place helps me remain productive.
What is a piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?
I would have to say my laptop. I’ve also learned to lean on these new platforms that are being offered. For example, I really like loyal snap, which is a CRM for following up with leads which is very organized and user friendly. I am definitely learning innovative programs that I can integrate with my systems. Waiver king is another one. There are so many applications, and it takes a little bit work to learn them and to find out which ones integrate properly with my system and if it is worth the investment.
What has been the hardest obstacle for you to overcome? And how did you do it?
At times, it can be challenging to not focus on what other businesses are doing instead of focusing on mine. The business world is highly competitive, so it’s often tempting to check out what other studios are doing. As a result, I end up questioning my own style of leadership. We all use different platforms, different class schedules, and different pricing. Therefore, I have to remind myself that it is just a snapshot on the outside of what may be going on in their studio, and at the end of the day, I have no idea what their business looks like on paper. I remind myself to stay focused on what I can control and always put my best foot forward.
Another obstacle that has been difficult has been staffing. In the last year or so, post COVID, it has been hard to find reliable employees, especially for front desk receptionists. The workforce has really shifted, so we have had to adapt to ongoing changes.
Who has been a role model to you, and why?
A significant role model to me started out as my business coach, years ago, his name is Roy Asad. He was my business coach before I ever owned a studio. He owns a coaching business, a restaurant, a social media company, and all different types of businesses in his portfolio. He is a role model to me because of the relationships that he has built over the years, through business and through these connections. He is truly genuine, honest, and well received on a personal and professional level. It is difficult to not have any enemies in the business world, especially when you’re involved in so many areas. I really admire how he builds those relationships and more importantly, how he treats people.
What is one piece of advice you have never forgotten?
One piece of advice came from my managing partner. He said, everything about every business is all about culture. When it comes to hiring staff, you have to fire fast and hire slow. When he said it, I laughed, but at the end of the day, he’s right, as soon as you have an employee that might be affecting that environment negatively, you have to protect it, you have to let them go. To avoid the loss of your culture, you have to take your time to assure you are hiring the right people, and fire fast if they are not the right fit.