Why the Numbers Don’t Lie

numbers don't lie

Imagine never tracking your progress as an athlete. You just show up to the gym, lift what you think is a decent amount of any given weight and then leave. You don’t write down what you do, and you keep this trend going through every workout. You never see progress because you have no idea where you started.

While you would never encourage an athlete to live out this mentality, neither should you as a business owner. Numbers are an unbiased way to figure out what is going on in any aspect of your Box. As an Affiliate, you should be checking your software data and financial standings to better understand where your business was, is and where it’s going, because numbers don’t lie.

Jeff Licciardi, a co-owner of CrossFit Amoskeag in Bedford, New Hampshire, said they find the absolute truth of their financial situation by checking their bank account once a month.

“We only use our bank account as the true north reporting platform or system,” said Licciardi. “We pull from the information on there on a monthly basis. I look at how much is coming in and how much is going out. Very simply, that is the most important thing you can do.”

John Prescott, the head Coach and manager of CrossFit Exchange, has found a monthly report is the best time frame for his business as well. At the start of each month, they pull the previous month’s data from MINDBODY. They use the software for a point of sale for retail, class tracking, contract sales and a payroll log.

“This information is critical for not just month over month growth or decline, but annual trends in attendance, which helps me project coaching needs,” said Prescott. “In addition, it gives me retail projections for ordering of apparel or supplements.”

Licciardi said while they do offer punch cards and drop-in prices for athletes that would rather take that route of purchase, neither is necessarily a good indicator of revenue when looking at financial reports. Plus, they don’t aim to be actively growing that number. So while it is great to know people are using that mechanism to visit the gym, it isn’t going to tell you much.

“We start by looking at how many unlimited monthly members we started with that month,” said Licciardi. “Then we look at how many new unlimited members we brought in for that month, how many people got billed for the first time. Then we figure out what the average rate per unlimited member is – that is my guaranteed revenue. Our goal is to always be having that average number per person creep up, because over time we raise our prices. If it ever goes the opposite direction something has happened; we have started to lose newer members.”

That number decline has been found consistently at CrossFit Exchange from December to February, picking back up during the summer months. Because Prescott keeps track of this information, it gives him the ability to control marketing strategies that aim at finding new sources of revenue during the slower months.

“As we entered the winter months this year, we offered a CrossFit kids program,” explained Prescott. “It was a great way to generate revenue within the gym without working on completely new memberships. Some facilities might offer a winter boot camp or CrossFit Lite program as an option.”

Both Box owners attest to attendance being a huge indicator for how the business is doing at any given point of time at the gym. Licciardi said he uses his attendance numbers to make staffing decisions quite frequently.

“We know how many people went to the 5:30 p.m. class on Tuesday over the last four weeks,” said Licciardi. “We know how many come to open gyms on Saturday. We want to have the same ratio of Coaches to students in each class if possible, because it isn’t fair for someone to get more attention just because six people are in their class as opposed to the person in a class with 25.”

Just as Licciardi likes to know the numbers of attendees in each class, Prescott takes it a step further and identifies the demographics of the attendees. For a while, CrossFit Exchange was composed heavily of athletes in the 40 to 55-year-old age range. As that range slowly changed to a 20 to 35-year-old crowd, it impacted how Prescott and his staff handled their marketing.

“Our gym more recently has been using Instagram as a marketing platform whereas two years ago, a lot of our members did not use social media as actively, so we relied more on an email and referral system,” said Prescott. “Ultimately, the bigger picture tells you a lot more about who your athletes are and what makes the most sense for how to gain new members.”

Kaitlyn Clay
Kaitlyn is a staff writer for Peake Media. Contact her at kaitlync@peakemedia.com.
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