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Sean Greeley

Own It to Win It

Sean Greeley and NPE bring leadership skills to the forefront of fit biz growth

By Cynthia Cooperstone

Since his mid-pandemic move to Australia from Pacific Palisades, CA, Sean Greeley routinely wakes up at 4 AM to start his workday. At 7, he’s pulling Daddy duty, getting his son, Bo, fed and ready for the day, then it’s back to the grindstone until 2 PM. Work is followed by fitness, then an early dinner and toddler bath, and bedtime. Then Sean and his wife, Myka, are usually asleep by 830 PM. That happens Tuesday through Saturday, which keeps the NPE Founder and CEO efficiently aligned with US customer workweeks and at the top of his game.

An athlete, entrepreneur, father, and business leader, Sean seems to relish his challenging schedule.  It certainly hasn’t slowed his success in taking his global fit-biz coaching to stellar heights. To date, NPE has supported over 45,000 fitness entrepreneurs in 96+ countries. The company has been listed 8 times on the Inc 500/5000 list of fasted growing companies and has established offices in Los Angeles, London, and Sydney.

A high school track & field star and devotee of downhill skiing and music, the native New Englander never anticipated heading down the international coaching path when he moved to Florida in 1996 to pursue professional wakeboarding. Sean competed for the US Wakeboarding Team in the World Championships in 2001 and the European Championships in 2002. He also earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Business Management from Rollins College while in the Sunshine State. After dabbling in wakeboard and gymnastics coaching, he shifted to fitness conditioning for athletes and adults and planted the seeds for future success.

Sean fondly remembers helping his very first client to overcome injury and gain the strength and mobility to enjoy his life. “I’ll never forget coaching him through some movements one day – in an old stripped-out racquetball court filled with Hammer Strength equipment – when I realized: This is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I discovered that helping someone overcome a problem they were facing, achieve a personal goal, and improve their life was the most rewarding and personally fulfilling work I could possibly do.”

Within 3 years, Sean grew that part-time gig into a staff of 8 coaches at 2 locations serving over 650 clients. Uncertain of where to take his entrepreneurial drive, Sean devoured every book, CD, course, newsletter, and workshop he could get his hands on – from sales and marketing to management and finance. He even tried on an MBA program, but quickly became disenchanted with profs who had never run a business and students who were academics, not entrepreneurs. It was ultimately an abrupt confrontation with his own mortality that truly crystallized his future.

A reckoning

After a casual visit to the dermatologist for a freckle check, Sean received the shocking diagnosis of Stage IV Melanoma. He underwent immediate surgery to remove “a chunk of my scalp” and 8 lymph nodes. Thanks to a great oncology team and a healthy dose of luck, Sean made it through and has since been cancer-free.

“Facing death forced me to figure out what was really important to me and what I really wanted in life,” he says. It was also the catalyst for developing the core values that fuel his own trajectory and that of the business he leads. “The heart and history of the company is intertwined with my own.”

After a period of recovery and regrouping, Sean started consulting for friends who owned gyms and were actively coaching clients, which led to the birth of NPE in 2006. The mission: to empower fitness professionals and business owners with the systems, tools, and coaching they need to grow their businesses, create the lives they want and make a more significant impact in their communities. In just 2 years, NPE grew from $60,000 to $2.4 Million in revenue in just 24 months.

“All problems are leadership problems.”

The words that helped Sean push through his own entrepreneurial challenges and plateaus and have helped form NPE’s core values and drive the company’s methodology. Fit Pro entrepreneurs and business owners learn to survive and thrive by upgrading their mindset, clarifying their vision, charting a path towards measurable goals, understanding the steps required to achieve them, and executing efficiently. NPE provides the tools to “Own it. Lead with empathy. [Choose] Faith over Fear.”

“You have to be investing in your business education development,” says Sean of the central key to success. “Health and wellness is still a growth market. People are passionate about it but need support in becoming the successful business owners they want to be. We [at NPE] stay relevant, we revamp our product line to help businesses grow through multiple stages of growth.”

NPE has a proven, data-driven approach. “We assess a business across five key areas – assess, don’t guess! – to get an understanding of the health performance of a business,” Sean explains. Those scores dictate how to set priorities for strategic and sustainable growth.

The right marketing plan is imperative to generating leads and “making it rain.” In the 80s and 90s, gyms reeled ‘em in with flyers. Then came the age of emails. Today, AI and local search is key: winning top spots in search directories and dedicating tech and effort to SEO and online reviews will enable you to capture inbound traffic from directories.

The personal prescription for future success

“We’re seeing a lot of shifts in bricks and mortar models,” says Sean. “We saw the rise of PT then the shift to… high-volume low-price group training and HIIT methodology and models. Now we’re seeing a swing back to more sophistication in the market.” Today’s customers want more personalized experiences and support and are willing to invest more. That’s why NPE is currently seeing a pivot to a semi-private, small group, more individualized prescription training and coaching services.

“Those models have fared well and grown massively through the pandemic. They attract a better-quality customer who is less subject to churn and volatility, who is going to invest in their health and work out whether gyms are open or closed. They’re committed, stable, usually have a little more income.” NPE is also seeing “massive growth in independently operated space as individual solo coaches launch their virtual service offerings…”

As one of many anecdotal examples, Sean points to Canadian Kate Layer whom he first met in 2018. “We helped her put some great systems in place, and she has grown through Covid. She opened an amazing high-end facility in downtown Ottawa…doing $65K/month and will be at a 7-figure run rate this year. She more than 10xed the business in the last two years. I love giving people the right tools at the right time to ensure growth.”

Fifteen years in and Sean still loves creating scalable solutions and leading entrepreneurs. He is steering NPE into its next growth curve and still gets down and dirty coaching NPE’s pro group coaching. “I will always work with entrepreneurs,” declares Sean.  “I have an unrelenting passion for wanting to serve the market. I want to make a dent in the universe in small business success.”

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Fitness Business Insider magazine was created to support you, our valued fitness business owners, at all stages of your entrepreneurial journey. This endeavor is dedicated to sharing teachings from start-up visionaries and a network of expert business leaders and entrepreneurs who are focused exclusively on providing inspiration, education, and tools for your success. Evolution and education are imperative during this highly competitive, post-pandemic rebuild. We strive to support you, the movers and shapers at the frontline of our industry. Let us help you build back better and stronger!

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