As part of our ongoing Affiliate advice series, Tina Ramon, the owner and founder of CrossFit Boston Iron and Grit, shares her experience and three pieces of advice on keeping your Box’s community together during this time:
Tina Ramon: Honesty has to be at the center of everything we say and do. I’m not here to preach to people, but rather to support them during this incredibly difficult time. Our message has been consistent since we closed: workout every day for the sake of your health, sanity and family.
With my staff I have asked them to step-up, and they met the challenge. I had two interns at the start of March, and I threw them into the turbulent waters and told them they had to run classes on Zoom. I didn’t know what would happen, but both of the young Coaches are running their own programs on Zoom. I think the Coaches that have had the hardest time adjusting are those who have been with us for a while and had the “norm” turned upside down.
My life partner, Brian, and I both coached regularly in the gym and the changes we had to make deeply affected us the first two week. We are in our 50s and don’t like social media, but if you saw us now you wouldn’t know it. Not only did Coach Brian get his Instagram game on point, he is also an excellent Coach on camera. Who would have thought?
My communication to my team has been as clear as possible. I’m here for you and we all have to continue to deliver to our members the best hour of their day if they show up to your Zoom class. So far, it’s working and we continue to improve every day. It’s not perfect, but the Coaches are willing to try and that is a blessing. I am proud of this team.
Honesty with myself. This was a tough one and in Week Three I struggled with this because I asked myself, “Do I want to continue to run my gym in this environment?” There are so many unknowns. I let myself sit with this for a week, and after many tears I decided yes, I want to try and keep this business running, but more importantly keep this community together. It may not work in the end, but I am going to give it everything I’ve got.
TR: This is important, and every owner has to be ready to pivot with a plan and be ready to change that plan in a day. This is where I have been tested the most as an Affiliate owner. The plan I had six weeks ago is very different than the three-month plan I have now. We didn’t know what would happen in mid-March. Everything I read indicated gyms would be closed longer than two weeks, but I wasn’t sure. There wasn’t any data giving a clear picture of what was going to happen in the near future let alone the rest of the year.
In 2019, we pivoted our business and we were poised to have the best financial year in 2020. That is not going to happen. I had to shelve all those plans and rethink my business model. Currently, I plan week to week, and I have a short-term plan for reopening. The reopening will be determined by the state and city regulations, which are unknown at this time. We are living in the unknowable and we have to be ready to pivot again. I think if we are going to survive COVID 19 as a community we have to be ready to pivot.
TR: Now more than ever, you as the Affiliate owner have to know why you are doing what you are doing, why you started a CrossFit Affiliate and why you want to continue. The values that led you to open are more important now and I have gone back to them, and this is what I communicate to my members and my staff. They are as follows:
We continue to be led by our vision, we are grounded in our mission and we live by our values.