In this week’s edition of Built to Sell News, we’re covering five ways to transform a lifestyle company into a valuable business including how to:
- Master your craft on someone else’s dime.
- Think like Nobu.
- Hire for EQ, not IQ.
- Teach your employees through osmosis.
- Broadcast your expertise.
Ian Fraser, a former professional golfer, has assisted some of the world’s top golfers in finding the appropriate clubs as a master club fitter for TaylorMade Europe. (Listen Now)
When Fraser launched his own club fitting business, he quickly realized the necessity of teaching his club fitting expertise to his employees if he aimed to elevate his company beyond a lifestyle business.
By implementing an innovative hiring process and utilizing a creative teaching approach, he succeeded in expanding TXG to a team of 14 employees, developing a YouTube fan base of over 200,000 subscribers, and generating revenue exceeding $3 million.
In 2022, TXG was acquired by Club Champion, the largest club fitting company in the United States with more than 100 locations. Here’s how Fraser transformed a lifestyle business into a multi-million dollar exit:
- Master Your Craft on Someone Else’s Dime
Before founding TXG, Fraser had already dedicated most of his professional life to golf. He began playing at 15 and within three years, he had become a scratch golfer. He then spent eight years at TaylorMade Europe, working in various club fitting roles where he collaborated with some of the biggest names in the PGA in Europe, including Colin Montgomerie, Gary Woodland, Eduardo Molinari, and Chris Wood. In his final role with the company, Fraser designed and operated the TaylorMade Performance Lab at Scotland’s world-famous Turnberry Golf Resort.
In this week’s edition of Built to Sell Radio, Fraser described himself as underpaid while at TaylorMade, but he was content to accept a below-market wage because he had a vision for the company he wanted to start. He knew the insights he was gaining at TaylorMade would assist him in building TXG.
- Think Like Nobu
Fraser drew inspiration from Nobu, the five-star restaurant chain partly owned by Robert De Niro. Fraser argued that when you visit one of the 50 Nobu restaurants worldwide, you never question who the chef is that night. Nobu has established the benchmark for five-star dining, so you’re assured that regardless of the chef or location, you will have a fine dining experience.
Fraser utilized the Nobu example to communicate his vision to his team of club fitters.
- Hire for EQ, Not IQ
Fraser aimed to establish a customer experience company that happened to fit golf clubs, as opposed to a golf fitting business that offered good customer service. That’s why he prioritized EQ over IQ when hiring TXG staff. “I can teach you to fit a golf club,” Fraser argued, “but I can’t teach you to be a good person.”
Fraser implemented a behavioral interview question to identify the right candidates. He presented potential interviewees with a scenario that offered two choices: one that would benefit the client and another that would provide short-term gains to the company at the expense of the client. Candidates who opted for short-term profit over doing what was right for the customer were eliminated from consideration.
- Teach Your employees Through Osmosis
Most golf fitting studios are private offices where the fitter works one on one with a player. Fraser, however, wanted to observe his apprentices at work and wanted them to learn from his interactions with clients. Therefore, he designed his location with three open-concept bays. He worked from the middle bay so his apprentices could overhear his client interactions, and he could listen in on their client conversations as well.
Fraser contended that being physically close to his Employees accelerated their learning curve more than any other technique he had tried.
If you’re not able to teach your employees in person, leverage VidGuide. It allows you to create video-based tutorials for your employees which are organized and tagged in one central library for new employees to access. Grab a free, 30 day trial.
- Broadcast Your Expertise
Fraser established a YouTube channel where he provided club fitting advice for free. The channel amassed 216,000 subscribers. Fraser understood that only one percent of his subscribers would ever step foot in a TXG store, but the channel reinforced TXG’s reputation as the world’s best club fitters. Additionally, it transformed his marketing strategy from a cost into a profit center, as the channel generated over $300,000 per year in advertising revenue, which Fraser reinvested in growth.
When asked if he was concerned about divulging his “secret sauce” in the YouTube videos, Fraser referred to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. He reasoned that Ramsay shares his recipes in cookbooks, but this doesn’t make people any less likely to visit his restaurants.
📽️ Clip of the Week
In this clip, Fraser reveals how he successfully transferred his expertise to his team members, ensuring his business could thrive without him.
📣 Quote of the Week
“I made an open concept so I could always fit my clients with my two trainees on either side of me so I could talk to my clients while listening to them.”
– Fraser shares how he meticulously designed his inaugural location to enable effective training for his employees.
🏆 A Trophy for the Avid Car Enthusiast
To commemorate his win, Fraser treated himself to a 2022 BMW X6 M Series. Hear him tell the story at the 1:07:26 mark of the episode.
If you know a founder who has successfully exited their business and has valuable insights to share, we encourage you to nominate them.
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This Week’s Contributors
Colin Morgan, Executive Producer of Built to Sell Radio, John Warrillow, Host of Built to Sell Radio, Daphne Parsekian, Copy Editor, and Denis Labataglia, Audio Engineer.