“We knew we were really good Coaches and we knew we had a great community, but we had no idea how to actually run a business,” said Jason Jared, the owner of CrossFit Folsom Lake, about the beginning stages of opening the Box.
And instead of trying to educate himself on a subject matter he didn’t know much about, he partnered with a mentoring service, Factory Forged, to help him learn how to run a Box business.
Because the business of CrossFit is unique to the fitness world, Jared admitted he didn’t have anywhere else to look besides experienced Affiliates. His personal mentors are John Swanson, the CEO of Factory Forged, owner of CrossFit Fast Factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota and founder of The Granite Games; and Chris Thorndike, the president of Factory Forged and executive director of CrossFit Gainesville in Gainesville, Florida. “These guys have successful gyms, they’re way beyond anything I’ve ever even touched and I consider myself fairly good at this. And these guys have already doubled what I do. They double my best month ever on a regular basis,” said Jared. And that experience is something he looked for when seeking mentorship.
Jared meets with Swanson and Thorndike once a week, via video chat. Through those meetings, they discuss programming, if members are progressing and ideas for the Box. But they also dive into revenue, numbers and reports through their Zen Planner software.
He admits it was a learning curve when he first started talking with Swanson and Thorndike about his numbers and the success of his gym. “It was weird in the beginning. Because when you talk to other owners, there’s kind of a [competition] thing going on. But … my core values and what I believe in as far as being an individual, align with these guys at Factory Forge. When you do that, you’re much more comfortable with the person who is your mentor and you know they have your best intentions,” said Jared. And, he said, aligning core values makes him much more comfortable sharing his numbers with Swanson and Thorndike.
Aligning core values, according to Jared, is one the key aspects to look for when choosing a mentor. When that happens, he said there’s no animosity, no competitive-feel and the mentors will have you and your business’ best intentions at the heart of their advice.
Factory Forged has also helped Jared execute programs at the Box, such as Boot Camp and Friday Night Lights during the Open. Both programs, Jared said, has led to a tighter community. And because members and outsiders are invited to events at CrossFit Folsom Lake, it has helped get the Box’s name out to the community, which, of course, has led to more memberships.
“I can’t stress enough you need to find somebody that aligns with your core values. Who you are as a person and what facilities you want to run [should align with] the people you want to reach out to. For me, that was 100 percent Factory Forged,” said Jared.
Before choosing a mentor, Jared said he encourages Affiliates to try a free introduction with a programming service, in order to ensure the core values of the mentoring service aligns with your Box.