Home » Episode #449: From Employee To Owner-How Jacob Thomas Secured a Deal to Own Razor Sharp Fitness

Jake Thomas began his career in the fitness industry immediately after college. With a background in athletic training and a strong passion for working with kids and training athletes, he joined Forward Fitness and Parisi Speed School. Here he tells the story of how he went from Fitness Manager to proud Owner! After gaining valuable experience, he moved on to MVP Sports Clubs in Michigan, where he spent five years overseeing sports performance programs within the clubs. Wanting to return home, he found Razor Sharp Fitness and joined as the fitness director in 2013. Within a year, he was promoted to the role of General Manager, which he held for eight and a half successful years.

He takes us through his journey of inquiring about the future plans of the business owners and their gradual inclination towards selling the building and the business. It's a great story of curiosity, candid conversations, and unexpected opportunities. There's also an important takeaway regarding the involvement of Jacob in lease agreement negotiations, where he had the chance to understand the impact on profitability and manage the business effectively. He also strongly highlights the importance of seeking professional advice and hiring a lawyer to navigate unfamiliar territory.

Jacob's story provides tons of valuable advice (and should be required listening!) for anyone thinking about striking out on their own.

On having the owners "open up the books" he states, "After about 5 or 6 years, they really opened the books to me. We had year end discussions of what that looked like, but it really was the stepping stone in regards to . . . building the trust between us. It was probably the number one starting point for me to make the negotiations go much smoother."

Some key moments: 

  • Lease discussions informed by inside information; hired lawyer to understand lease terms.
  • Attitude, honesty, dedication, great questions asked.
  • Hired CPA, discussed acquisition numbers with owners.
  • Improved trust and decision-making with owners.
  • Club owner empowers team to grow people.
  • Let go of personal feelings in decisions.

A few key takeaways:

  1. Jacob recounts his conversation with the owners of Razor Sharp Fitness about their future plans and the potential sale of the building and business. He expresses his initial hesitation about becoming an owner but shows interest in understanding the process.
  2. Pete raises a question about the involvement of Jacob in lease agreement discussions and potential changes to maximize the value of the real estate.
  3. Jacob mentions his awareness of other lease agreements in the building and his need to hire a lawyer (as well as bring on a new CPA) to understand the new lease agreement.

Click here to download transcript


Razor Sharp Fitness: https://www.razorsharpfit.com/ 
REX Roundtables: https://www.rexroundtables.com 
Jacob Thomas: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacob-thomas-86b50049/ 
Eddie Tock: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eddietock/ 

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