Quick-Fire Questions with
Greg Gardner, Founder of FITSQD
FITSQD is new to the startup scene and launched by Greg Gardner in May 2020. I am the self-confessed “guy trying to launch a business during the middle of COVID-19, the global deadly pandemic!” This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. People turned to cycling and walking to keep active outdoors during the COVID-19 crisis. According to Sport England, 63% of people across the first six weeks of lockdown stated that exercise was important for their mental health. Others were seeking home workout solutions, and FITSQD had the answer.
Hi Greg! What inspired you to start the business and how did you get started?
Hi! The reason I launched FITSQD was a process that developed over 9 months. As much of a cliche as it may sound, it started with me realising there was a gap in the market.
Every year, my five closest mates and I all start New Year Resolutions focusing on getting fitter and building a better physique. In 2019, we decided that instead of approaching this all independently, why not enter into a friendly competition? The idea of this would be to fuel motivation, increase accountability, have more fun and ultimately get better results.
We had two competition titles; Overall Best Physique & Best Transformation.
It was at this point I searched for a platform to host our competition. I couldn’t find anything (other than professional competitions such as IFBB Pro which was far too extreme for us). We settled on using WhatsApp to submit before, progress and after photos, and use it to communicate.
This proved not to be very suitable as the platform is not dedicated to this! Photos soon got lost in waves of other photos (guys WhatsApp chats can contain interesting things.) Soon the conversation moved away from motivating each other and keeping fit, to general chit-chat.
So why not build an app myself out of frustration? Why not build a group messaging chat on a fitness app that allows its users to share workouts, share progress photos, set bespoke competitions or challenges, let each other know you’ve just checked-in to the gym/finished a workout and chat with one another. Easy right? This formed the first feature; SQUAD CHATS.
In addition to this, I looked for trends in the market that I could leverage. I noticed 2 things:
1) Peer-peer content sharing has become the norm and is significantly growing
2) Consumers are spending more & more on personalised fitness/workout analytics
This set me on the task of building a hosting platform with THE mission to become the Home Of Workout Sharing.
FITSQD aims to add an element of community to workouts. Can you tell us a little about this?
Sure! Our philosophy is that there are many creative and knowledgable individuals, working hard to achieve their fitness goals. They aim to connect people to share these ideas and help others be inspired and motivated. They want to provide a platform providing access to others’ fitness journeys.
With FITSQD, everyone can be a fitness influencer. We encourage keen fitness individuals to join the community, learn from others, and share their creativity. Fitness influencers can grow their personal brand, increase their following and monitor their clients’ progress all with FITSQD. These contribute to our huge database of free workouts.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
As we launched in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, our biggest challenge was navigating this new landscape we found ourselves in.
It was potentially a disaster, with grave risk for FITSQD before we had even launched! Prior to launch, the entire product and strategy was built around gym-access.
We had to completely adapt our marketing plans to meet our new environment, stripping it right down and solely focusing on social media digital marketing to reach prospective users in their home.
With the help from our marketing agency, we were able to launch a marketing campaign within 2 weeks from scratch, with our own 30s digital advert and relevant messaging. This has performed exceptionally well, gaining below industry-standard CPI within the first month.
In addition to this, we had to alter the promoted use-cases of the app from in-gym workouts to at-home workouts. Basically, we had to make it obvious to our users that they could access, upload and share home-style workouts on the App – not just in the gym!
Our new strategy has performed very well with FITSQD being ranked in the top 100 UK Tech companies 2020 by TechRound and over 115 workouts shared by the community with over 400 workouts being followed – all since launching at the end of May 2020.
How do you see the business expanding and what’s your vision for the future of FITSQD?
Now that we have ironed out the product performance a lot and added in some awesome new features requested by our squad (community) our immediate focus is on going from 2,000 unique user downloads to 10,000. This requires a combination of sales, marketing and product improvements.
Currently, FITQD operates in a very lean way, so there is also a focus on hiring some core team members who are experts in growth within their respective fields.
As FITSQD is ‘open-source’ and community-focused, it is about accumulating a large user-base so that there are always fresh workouts provided by our Workout Creators for our Workout Conquerors to follow.
In addition to this, I want to focus on gaining some strong brand partnerships within the supplements, clothing and obstacle categories so that both parties can benefit from brand and product dating, and leverages each other’s customer base.