Smartfit has revolutionized the approach toward exercise in Latin America and has shaped the products and services that people expect from gyms. Edgard Corona is the CEO of Smartfit and a leading figure in the Brazilian fitness sector. He first entered the industry with a single gym called Bio Ritmo in 1996. Previously a chemical engineer who ran his family’s sugar mill, Corona had to learn everything from scratch. He reflects on the mistakes and corrections that he and his company had to make to reach their current success.
Edgard Corona emphasizes the importance of defining the function of his company and focusing on this. At one point, the company had expanded into too many sectors: athletics and athletic fashion as well as gyms. This led to many problems. Little by little, they steered the company toward where it was today, focusing on changing the company’s structure, then its sales, delivery, and customer experience.
Paying attention to what was successful in Brazil, Corona and his team developed their own training plans and enabled customers to get input into fitness routines. The gym thrives on a model of daily attendance, structured workouts, and high-quality service. This increased their members’ conversion rate.
Edgard Corona also notes the importance of delegating to your team. Before 2003, Smartfit had a strict centralized model, with all commands coming from headquarters. This made it difficult to function. They decentralized the organization to allow each location some responsibility and autonomy.
Rather than simply commanding, Corona notes that it’s important for the boss to challenge their team to work, discover mistakes, and find ways to correct them. This generates buy-in and a sense of responsibility from the team. Refer to this page for additional information.