Geographic information systems helped develop a franchising dream reports the Sydney Herald.

The average Australian mum struggles to find time to exercise but thinks he has a solution in the form of Contours, a franchise scheme in which operators set up small gyms where women do two circuits of a set of fitness machines.

He also knows the best chance of success for the average franchisee comes from knowing where to establish their business. That is why David Hundt, CEO of Australasia Franchise Group, turned to geographic information systems to assess the right places to locate the gyms. It is also a good sales tool when signing up prospective sites, he says.

A Contours workout takes just 29 minutes, an amount of time geared to the needs of working women. The small scale also appeals to potential franchisees with an interest in the fitness industry but worried about operating a full-scale gym with all the complexity of hiring instructors and operating large locker rooms.

That simplicity is important because franchising is a crowded marketplace. The Franchise Council of Australia represents more than 600 operators, employing thousands of people in more than 45,000 workplaces that account for more than 10 per cent of the nation’s GDP. Most franchisees are aware of the strong competition for their fees and seek proven concepts and franchisors.

New software from MapInfo helps Contours choose potentially successful sites. They prefer sites with a large amount of foot traffic in a mortgage-belt suburb. They acknowledge that a franchisee needs a population of about 25,000 in their territory to succeed.

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