With literally no official supporting facts to back this statement up – except for the hundreds, if not thousands, of Affiliate owners I’ve interacted with – I believe the following to be true:
“The vast majority of Affiliate owners began this journey as a customer and consumer of CrossFit and then transcended the line into ownership by opening up a gym.”
If you’re one of those individuals, then this article is for you. There are some serious advantages and disadvantages that stem from this path, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you regarding each:
Everyone learns from his or her experiences, especially as consumers. We learn our own value paradigm, what “service” means to us, why we align ourselves with certain brands and companies over others, etc.
Most of this goes on hundreds of times a day to the average person, unconsciously being downloaded into our mainframe of purchasing decisions and behavior. Every gas station, coffee house and product at the grocery store we consume tells us about ourselves as customers.
This, my friends, is a huge advantage when you decide to harness that experience and create a service offering around it. It’s at the moment you undergo your entrepreneurial seizure and decide you can offer a fitness service better than what’s available in the current market that you need to reference your consumer brain for ideas — how to market, where to set up shop, how to sell, what products and services to offer, what will the client experience feel like, and how will the consumer identify with your brand.
By originally possessing the consumer lens, it allows you to think with your consumer brain.
Re-harness these emotions and thought processes to use them to help direct your business. I assure you, your CrossFit experience is very typical and there are hundreds of individuals within your market looking for that same “ah-ha” moment you experienced.
In the same token, if your first experience as a member was a poor one and that’s what sent you down the path of opening your own business, embrace it, remember it and learn from it. As the microgram market continues to expand, the quality of facilities is going to average out. Be above average by remembering the bitter taste your initial experience left you with and make it your mission to ensure it never surfaces within the walls of your gym.
The customer-based experience you had probably lends itself well to the following hypothesis: “You don’t possess a thorough academic or business background in health & fitness.”
Coming from someone who has hosted many L1 and L2 certifications for CrossFit HQ, I feel I can speak accurately when I make that statement. The majority of L1 cert holders know that weekend experience as their first formal education in the world of fitness. They have all the knowledge of a consumer who wants to offer a better product, but not fluent enough in the academia side and certainly not experienced in coaching large cohorts. Not to mention, owning a business is probably something they have never experienced before.
In my opinion, this is the genesis that sets most Affiliate owners up for failure in their entrepreneurial efforts.
If your storyline runs something like this,
“I was a member at CrossFit ABC for two years, but hated the way the owner did business. So I decided to take my L1 and started the Affiliation process. A year later we opened our doors as a brand new small business in the marketplace.”
Then it may also continue like this,
“So we’re a little over a year into business and our growth has been stagnant at best. I’m coaching five classes per day in addition to all of the other business aspects and cleaning the gym every night myself. We are barely profitable and the pressure is starting to build. Am I ever going to make this business a viable means of livelihood?”
And the reason that scenario has played out so often is because you missed a step. You went from consumer to business owner immediately. Or perhaps you spent some time coaching part time for a gym to master your craft. But how much time did you spend preparing yourself for owning a business?
The same journey I think gives an owner the strategic advantage of creating his service offering through the lens of a consumer can also bite him/her when it comes down to being able to run a business. Any chink in the armor in terms of basic fitness academia, lack of experience working with large groups of people or immaturity as it relates to building a profitable business can potentially lead to your downfall.
So if this scenario has resonated with you, I advise you to do the following: