CrossFit is a business. It’s super fun and changes lives, but still, it’s a business. The goal of every business is to make money. You gotta eat! I realize some people simply rent a warehouse, get their CF name and are successful overnight. However, the brand is expanding and those days are numbered. There’s a reason that some boxes have over 400 members while some struggle to see their membership grow. It doesn’t matter where you’re located, there are steps you can start implementing today to take your box to the next level.
Most people will glance over the five bolded steps and move on to the next article. If you’ve made it this far, you’re already a step ahead of the game. The next thing you must do is take action on these steps. Don’t just think about them every month or try to implement one or two. Create a plan, write it down and have steps in place to check your progress. Hold yourself accountable and success will follow.
1. Results are Priceless
The single biggest reason CrossFit has spread so fast without any advertising is results. That’s why boxes grow like wildfire. Do you think anyone would care what their neighbor is doing if they didn’t look like a chiseled Roman statue? Results are what people want.
There are three things that must happen in your box to achieve this: Attendance, programming, and nutrition. People must be there to get results, this is obvious. Now let’s touch on the second two. Programming in CrossFit is a conversation that I won’t take on in this article. The main point I want to get across is intelligent programming. Don’t do a double Fran just because it was on the main site. Do a double Fran because you want to work on capacity, focus on thrusters and pullups and are just coming off a long 20 min AMRAP the day before. The absolute best litmus test for this is for the trainer/owner to actually take the class and do the programming themselves. This might make you rethink doing Filthy Fifty every week.
Nutrition is an obvious topic that must be discussed. Let’s be honest, we are given minimal nutrition advice at our cert and a week later could potentially be responsible for 25 people in a class. Do your research, invest in certifications and seminars so you can bring knowledge and experience to the table. Provide resources for your clients, hold seminars at your box and expose them to the benefits of proper nutrition.
2. Invest in Every Member
Take an active interest in every member that joins your facility. This is particularly important when you’re just starting. Once you have a staff, be prepared to train everyone on the importance of member services. Greet everyone as they walk in the door and make them feel welcomed.
Next, find out why they’re coming to your box. They just gave you a reseaonable amount of money for 30 days access to a run down warehouse with spray paint on the wall and huge rubber weights. Why? What are their goals? Every client should write them down and be taken through an initial assessment. If you help them reach their goals you’ll have a client for life. Some people want to jump higher, other people want to deadlift 500 pounds. With your coaching, programming and support, you will help them reach their specific goal.
3. Invest in Excellent Trainers
As you grow, you will eventually need to take on trainers. There could be a whole article written on how to hire and educate your trainers. Let’s boil it down to the most important qualities.
They must CrossFit. They have to actually do the workout. Members will not look up to someone who doesn’t go through the WODs with them, unless you’re Coach Burgener and have a crazy successful background and a super loud voice. Along with participating, they should be involved in the community, keep up with the Journal and local competitions in your area.
They must be genuine and excellent communicators. Communication is important because they need to be able to lead. If they have no presence and cannot correct movements, it will be a long frustrating road for your members. Being genuine is not a fluff quality, it is extremely important. You want people who take a sincere interest in your facility and your members. Fake people attract fake people and your members will see right through someone who is full of it.
4. Focus on Form
I might be stirring up the pot with this one, but form must come first with new athletes. Ben Bergeron wrote an article for the CF Journal called “Think like a Bumblebee, Train like a Racehorse”. This article is about training elite level athletes that are going to or have been to the CrossFit Games. If you are at that level, I agree form might not be first, but in your box, with most of your athletes, it should be.
Start people with correct form and instill that philosophy in them and it will spread throughout your gym. Remember your goal is for your athletes to accomplish their goals. They cannot do this if they are injured. I have no statistics to back this up but with the amount of affiliates and people CrossFitting today, I’m willing to say that someone gets injured every day doing CrossFit. We’ve received a terrible rap in some publications for hurting people. It all comes back to form. Make this an emphasis at your box and you will minimize injury and keep your athletes coming back for more.
5. Create an Ideal Experience
You, as the owner or the trainer create the experience every time someone walks into your affiliate. How do they feel? Welcomed or intimidated? Ready to work or blah? How do you create the ideal experience?
There are tons of ways to create something special. In the end, it’s all about how you treat the people at your box. After they sign up, do you walk them through the gym? Do you schedule a foundations and give them a packet to take home and look over? We could go on for days with strategies on how to create an ideal experience.
Use this simple question, how can you make that person’s day better? Relate to your clients. Know where they work, what 5k they just ran and how their training is going. Ask them about their results, are they happy at the gym? What gains they have seen? Forge elite customer service every single day at your facility and you will create something special.
Now you have the tools you need to build a successful affiliate and drive in more members. The major focus of this article is about building from within and putting the focus on your current members. Outside advertising strategies and social media tactics are great, but before you tackle those make sure you are taking care of the members that are currently paying the bills.