Three Affiliates from around the U.S. share their biggest pieces of advice during COVID-19 for the other Box owners out there.
1. Be a leader. These are extremely uncertain times. Your community looks to you as an owner, but more so as a leader. Someone they can trust to guide them through a squat or talk them through a pandemic. This means you need to be constantly staying in contact with them about latest developments and letting them know what you have planned for them when they come back. Highlight certain members for continuing to do workouts. Show encouraging texts on your social media. Have your Coaches post videos about how much they miss everyone. Do little challenges to help take everyone’s mind off of the news. Overall, you need to be present and show your face to your tribe.
2. Take action. When your doors shut, it can be really easy to get depressed and lock yourself in a dark room. Do the opposite. Make it a point to do something for your business and for your community every day of the quarantine. It could be small. Clean and organize something at the gym. Design a “I support my gym” shirt. Get on Instagram and post a 100-rep challenge. Loan out equipment. Text 30 members and ask them how they are doing. Thank 30 members for continuing to pay their dues. Organize a Zoom mindset meeting. Do not let yourself get paralyzed.
3. Prepare for the unknowable. Nobody knows when we will be able to open back up again. Be prepared for just about anything. Know what expenses you will have to cut. Talk to your landlord about rent. Prepare your financials if you need to apply for a loan. Start mentally preparing your Coaches to file for unemployment if you cannot pay them. Figure out what your class schedule will look like if you lose half of your Coaches or half your members. Make sure you at least have a plan and not get caught reacting to future problems.
1. Be singularly focused on applying for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) through your own bank. If used for the right purposes, it’s forgivable which means it’s a grant and not a loan. And, even if 100% is not forgiven, the interest rate on the loan is 0.5%, which is basically free money.
2. Seriously look at also applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and an Economic Injury Disaster Grant (EIDG). This loan includes a $10,000 grant and can be used for expenses not covered by the PPP and only has a 3.75% interest rate, which is still really good. Normal SBA loans carry a 7% or more interest rate.
3. If you have business interruption insurance, submit a claim. It’s not clear insurance will cover a pandemic, but it might. And congress might compel insurance companies to consider the forced closure a business interruption.
1. Communication. We have been transparent with all our members on what we are doing, how we will get through and what they can expect from us. We are really driving our social media content and blog. We are posting multiple times a day with ideas, motivational quotes, nutrition and any pictures of those that are doing home workouts.
2. Equipment. We have loaned out all our equipment to our members. This was a very scary feeling, but we knew it was the right thing to do.
3. Virtual workouts. We have three virtual workouts a day. One of our Coaches leads the workouts and people are really enjoying seeing each other. We also do a challenge every week, and there’s a male and female winner. Last week was the fastest mile; winners received monogrammed YETI mugs. We are also doing weekly virtual happy hours.