To an outsider, the CrossFit Games must seem strange: People from around the world gather to watch some seriously ripped men and women work out for several days.
But to those within the community, it’s the climax of the year and one heck of a good time if you go.
For me however, the Games are a challenge. Going as a business resource for Affiliates, I have to seek out Box owners amidst crowds of competitors and dedicated CrossFit followers. I can’t tell you how many Affiliates I asked if they were going, only to be told not this year — for a mire of great reasons mind you. Still, when you want to connect with Box owners, that makes it slightly more difficult.
This year, I did get the chance to attend the Two Brain Brunch at CrossFit Recursive. Alongside Chris Cooper and some CrossFit HQ staff — including the new CEO — there were a couple dozen Affiliates from around the U.S. It was great meeting some new faces, as well as shaking hands with several owners I had only ever chatted with over the phone.
And it was my chance to pick their brains on the industry. Some key business takeaways for you from my weekend in Madison:
That is the name of the game it seems. More and more Boxes are asking how they can add it into their gyms, realizing it’s an essential part to member success — and thus, business success. In fact, I got to meet Olivia Leonard, the executive director of the CrossFit Foundation, and a head-honcho on nutrition initiatives. CrossFit it seems is taking a huge step forward to bring nutrition — an essential part of Greg Glassman’s 100 words — to top of mind in the world of Affiliates.
Yes, I was at a Two Brain Brunch so of course mentorship was a key factor, but I can’t stress it enough. Mentorship is key in my own life, and everyone I’ve talked to who has a mentor couldn’t agree more. Even TJ Belger at TJ’s Gyms shared about having a mentor in the latest Box Talk episode, and he’s been in the industry since the 90s!
Know your value and ask for it. Brian Alexander, the owner of CrossFit Illumine, said this is a huge pain point for Affiliates. In fact, many of the owners I talked to mentioned having to right their mindset first and foremost in order to grow as a business. You need to ask for what you think you’re worth, Affiliate.
A few times, people mentioned using space effectively. At CrossFit Recursive, the gym where the brunch was held, they have a 600-square-foot room that the owner Nikole Gessler is trying to figure out how to best use. Matrix actually came in that morning and set up some equipment, showing how to utilize those small spaces to generate more revenue. I’m sure other Affiliates out there have nooks and crannies they can utilize to build business. Maybe it’s bringing in recovery tools like Compex or Theragun — both who were rocking it at the Games — and charging members to use them. Whatever it is, start looking at how you can benefit from those small spaces.
The overall summary was to just do it. Simple as that. Start treating your business like a business. Don’t pigeon hole yourself. Look to adapt, or die. Become a professional Box owner in this industry, or you’re going to be swimming with the fishes.