Andrew Burton, founder of ABC Gym, is an incredibly likeable guy with his own, very personal story. After signing as a professional footballer, Andy was released from his contract at Middlesbrough FC, which led to an incredibly low time in his life and a battle with mental health that was sadly coupled with further health difficulties.
But Andy used this experience to his advantage when it came to setting up a business unique to him and, in itself, this has become his unique selling point.
Andy’s realisation was around the importance of learning about the mental and psychological side of exercise, as well as the physical side. It was this personal insight that gave him the inspiration that led to the foundation of his business.
“Looking back at my life it was fitness that helped me through personal struggles. Everything in here is from my own personal experiences, which makes my business completely original and unique.”
When it comes to passion for what he is trying to achieve, Andy has it in spades. He genuinely wants to help his clients change their lives and has dedicated his life (working 5.30am – 10pm all day, everyday) to help them do it. Andy doesn’t want to be a millionaire, he doesn’t want to start the next Virgin Active, he just wants to help people learn and not experience what he did – and you see this in every single part of his business.
“Our gym is not your standard commercial gym – we are looking to actually do what we say in changing lives both from a lifestyle and mental health point of view. We are all about giving them direction. The aim really is to change people’s lives.”
But having such close links between your personal life and your business can bring its own challenges.
“Of course stuff goes wrong, but I lie awake at night knowing I am notonly the person that cares the most about it, but the only person really responsible for fixing it. Each day you’ve got a purpose, you know why you are there, and you stick to that and once I can see the real change in people, looking back, that’s when I know I am a success.”
What can marketers learn from ABC Gym?
Marketers need to understand this passion and this raw ambition to build and create something that is unique to the person – it’s the biggest example of where generic, rational and corporate messages just won’t get the time of day.