How Zumba became Company of the Year!

I’m currently spending a month in Barcelona at MindValley U. It is a place where they gather the best teachers, business owners and thought leaders to share their experiences and stories with the entire community.

vishen zumba

Today I got to meet and learn from the CMO of Zumba fitness. It is the largest fitness brand in the world valued close to a billion dollars today. Perlman was one of the original founders of Zumba who built it from scratch. I want to share some extraordinary lessons I learned which you can possibly apply in your businesses and life as well.


I want to share how Zumba makes money first and their revenue streams. Currently more than 15 million people from 168 different countries around the world take Zumba Classes every week.

They have 4 main revenue streams. The first being their zumba certification programs. Interestingly they don’t make money from the classes conducted but they do charge a small sum to get people certified as zumba instructors. It costs $250 to get a certification.

This leads to a very interesting point and thought process behind this wildly successful company. Their main interest is to lower the cost of entry to the certification. He said, “Everything we do is to drive people to their classes so they become successful” They have indirectly created thousands of jobs around the world for their instructors.


They have a zumba instructor network where the instructors can choose to subscribe to. On it is access to licensed music and new dance instruction videos which the trainers can use. It costs a mere $30/month for them to have the resources to run their businesses. Currently right now they have 200 000 instructors on their network.


They are also a huge apparel company. They currently generate $100million dollars a year from their online sales alone. Besides that they also sell DVDs and video games which people can purchase and dance from home.


Another very fascinating thing is that Zumba is a huge influential player in the music world as well. The company has commissioned over 500 songs and many of their tracks are downloadable from itunes too. This came as a result of multiple law suits by music companies. They decided to start their own radio station. Today this has also become a huge revenue stream where they give opportunities to rising stars to promote their songs.


These are some of the lessons that I took away personally.


Zumba from the get go had the intention to sell a feeling of belonging and being. Their deepest sense of purpose was to have free electrifying joy in everything they do. In their office is a huge sign, which says, “Ditch the workout. Join the party!” There is no regimen or counting of calories. This workout was designed for you to have joy and a helluva good time!

They modeled Harley Davidson. Harley didn’t sell motorbikes. They sold rebellion, They sold a lifestyle of reverence which the look of rebellion (Big beards and loud motorbikes)

In the journey of building the brand they found out that someone actually tattooed zumba on themselves. They set this hilarious goal of having at least a 100 people tattooing zumba on their bodies. Ultimately what they wanted to achieve was a sense of belonging for their customers and instructors.

They believe that their vision and mission has to be ‘glocalised”. Something which can apply throughout the world such that its scalable.

Their vision is to get a 100 million people off their couches and to start moving. Their mission is to make their instructors super successful. The question they always ask is “is this going to be a win for our instructors?” They stick through with their purpose of having free electrifying joy and don’t get caught up in pirates of their videos and people copying their content or concepts. They focus on having fun and giving their customers a crazy awesome experience.

Daniel kept mentioning this in particular! LISTEN TO YOUR BRAND and what it wants! I asked a question about what he felt the biggest mistake they made was.

10 years ago the board made a decision to roll out a nutrition program just because they felt that was the next step to take as a extension to the brand they built. It turned out to be a complete failure. It was not in sync with their purpose. The market didn’t want it. The investors wanted it so they could milk money from their database.

Don’t listen to them. Listen to what your brand is saying. Don’t make decisions in your boardroom. Make decisions outside listening to your people and your brand!

Zumba was voted as company of the year in 2016 by Inc.
Ultimately it has got there because people deeply identify with the brand. It is where you get to be yourself.

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