Top Tips for Madison Affiliates Prepping for the Games

Madison Affiliates

Are you an Affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin? Are you ready for your first Reebok CrossFit Games in the city?

Forrest Jung of CrossFit South Bay in Carson, California, has had a lot of experience from owning a Box in the previous host city of the Games. He shares a breakdown of prep leading up to the Games and what Madison Affiliates need to consider:

June: The Planning Month

  • “Order inventory. This means that you need to plan what you normally order for FitAid, Kill Cliff, SFH, shirt, socks, water bottles, etc. To give you an example, we typically sell about $3,500 a month in merchandise; during the Games we sell an average of $6,000 per WEEK. You need to have about 200 to 300 shirts in one to two different designs. Use 99 Designs to get a few good designs. One to two colors works, and the more simple the better.
  • Get your management software (MINDBODY, Zen Planner, Front Desk) cleaned up so you are streamlined to sell.
  • If you don’t have a front desk person from open to close, it is time to hire one and start training them. You will need someone to greet people at every single hour you are open. Start hiring and training now.
  • Take an inventory of supplies you need on a monthly basis and double that for the Games. Paper towels, cleaning spray, wipes, Lysol, printer paper, ink, pens, clip boards, Post-it notes, business cards, trash bags, gym chalk, tape, toilet paper. You don’t want to run out of toilet paper. Trust me.
  • Create a list of a reliable handyman, plumber, electrician, etc. You will have three to five times the amount of traffic coming through your gym. We had a toilet clog one year and it was a disaster. Get everything in working order.
  • If you were planning on ordering more equipment now is the time to do it. You will need it. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment for Games athletes to drop in including sleds, yokes, sandbags and fat grips.
  • Train your Coaches to be efficient with the classes. Our average class size increases from 14 to 38 during the Games. Make sure your Coaches know the logistics with running large classes.
  • Start training your Coaches to be as awesome as they can be. You will have CrossFitters from all over the world coming to your gym. They are going to be critical of your coaching so make sure your Coaches keep classes fun, engaging, welcoming and safe.
  • Write some template emails that you will be able to respond quickly with. You will start getting emails and calls about six weeks ahead of time. Try to make it as easy as possible by getting your waivers to be electronic, having people purchase class cards ahead of time, and providing them with a list of surrounding attractions and healthy places to eat. You are basically a concierge for all of the visitors.
  • If you planned on taking time off, now is the time.”

July: The Practice Month

  • “Pretend as though you have four times the amount of members you have now. Small things like an accessible toolbox, stocked first aid and cleaning supplies are crucial so you don’t spend time trying to locate these things when it’s busy.
  • Start prepping your members to be warm and welcoming. Your members will be inconvenienced a bit during the Games because of the high traffic. Start putting a spin on things by telling them that they represent the gym and to be welcoming and help the visitors.
  • On the flip side, make sure to let your members know that if Games athletes stop in, they need to respect their space and only ask for photos after their workouts.
  • Put a visitor’s section or banner on your website that explains all of your procedures and rules with drop-ins.
  • Receive your entire inventory into your management software. Make sure it’s labeled and/or easy to determine what is what.
  • Create a FAQ for visitors along with a training FAQ for your Coaches and front desk. This means you need to know how to answer, “What’s the best place to eat?” or “How long have you guys been around?” or “How do you guys do your programming?”
  • If you don’t have a policy for Open Gym, you need to create one now. A lot of visitors are also following a separate program. Make sure you can accommodate them.
  • Figure out your pricing. Our most popular was a drop-in plus shirt for $30. We also did class packs of three, five and 10. Price them so they are reasonable.
  • Get your Instagram on point. You want people to start tagging you and you need to respond. Also make sure your staff knows your IG handle as you will get a lot of questions. Post pictures of visitors on your feed and make sure to use the hashtags. Last year we had Ben Bergeron, Katrin Davidsdottir, Cole Sager and Mat Fraser come in to do a workout. I posted it and then Greg Glassman and crew came in. We ended up getting swamped after that.
  • I can’t urge enough the more you get people to fill out digital waivers ahead of time the less of a cluster f*** it will be at your front desk. I one time had 40 people standing in line to pay.
  • Have a backup computer for your front desk handy. This will allow for two people to be checking in and ringing people up.
  • Organize your backup inventory — like shirts — into easy, accessible and organized bins. That way you don’t spend time searching for sizes.
  • Be prepared to work 12-hour days for three weeks, including the weekend. Your job as the owner will be to walk around and shake hands. Ask where people are from and thank them for coming and let them know if they need anything to come to you. This allows you to not only be a second helper at the desk and in classes, but gives you a great chance to give your gym a great reputation.
  • Your busiest week will be the week leading up to the Games. Make sure to have open gym available all day the Saturday and Sunday before, during and after the Games. Your busiest day will be August 5 of the Games between 7 a.m. and noon. Your next busiest day will be Saturday, July 29.”

This is Part One of a two part series. Look out for the second installment next week as Jung breaks down the specifics of shirts, space and equipment.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.