Err on the Side of Generosity

Err on the side of generosity.I was recently having a conversation with my business coach, Chris Cooper, from the about the value of a business coach. Last month, they sent out a survey to gym owners and had nearly 1,000 Affiliate responses. We were discussing the idea of perceived value and used the price of a new rower as the gauge. Some owners thought a business coach was worth less than the price of a new rower, some about the same and some said it was worth more.

With the help I’ve received from him, and the difference we’ve experienced working together to transform my gym, I fell into the camp that thought a good business coach was worth more than a rower. I wouldn’t have said that a year ago. I had no idea of the value his input would have on my business. I couldn’t quantify it. As it turns out, over the last year, I’ve given the 321goproject the price of at least four rowers, and I’m convinced that they’re the ones getting the short end of the stick.

What is your gym worth? Can you put a value on the experience of your average member? Can they?

Are you charging $200 per month, and only delivering $100 in value? Is it the other way around? How do you know?

The problem with applying objective numbers to subjective values is that it’s ultimately unquantifiable. The true value of a dollar will differ from person to person; so what one person thinks is an incredible value, will to another seem like a rip-off.

At CrossFit Regeneration, we make it our aim to err on the side of generosity.

We try and get a feel for how our members perceive the value of their experience here, and whether they are getting more than what they are paying. Are people renewing at the end of their agreements? Are they spending a long time in deliberation when considering a purchase of one of our services? Do they try and haggle? If people are jumping at opportunities, we take it to mean that they see value in the offer. If not, then we seek ways of improving that service so that the value is evident.

I want to encourage you to think creatively about your business and how you can increase perceived value to your members. But, to help get the juices flowing, here are some things that we’ve done that have been very helpful.

1)   We use a stratified pricing structure. This means that members only pay for what they want to buy. People who just want CrossFit don’t have to pay extra on their memberships to be part of our barbell club or do the new moms’ classes, and new moms’ don’t have to pay for CrossFit if they don’t want to do CrossFit. However, people often can and do buy both. We just want to ensure that they don’t feel nickel and dimed by being duped into buying something they didn’t want.

2)   In every class, we teach. We were lazy for a long time, and merely hosted a workout. We basically facilitated a class, and corrected technique, but we wanted to be better. So we made it a point to explain the “Why” behind the workout. Why this modification? Why that exercise? What is its benefit?  What is the goal of this workout? We’re educators, not facilitators.

3)   We offer personal training. CrossFit originally started as personal training and somewhere along the way, it was thrown out the window. Our classes are great, and our Coaches do an excellent job of teaching. However, our members occasionally need more help than we can give them in a class setting. It’s great for them to have additional options for progress.

Other things that we’re doing that have added value to our members include leveled programming, specialty classes, social outings, childcare, cleaning services and others. Ultimately, our goal is that our members would experience world-class service that far exceeds the price tag.

Finally, one of my members came in my office five minutes ago and let me know that he and his wife were cutting out items in their budget in preparation for their first baby. He was telling me that they were cutting out their cable service and cell phones, but said there was no way that they would cut out CrossFit.

CrossFit is growing. Raise the bar with me. What is exceptional service now should eventually become the expectation. “More” will always be a subjective reality, and some people will be impossible to please, but make it your aim to err on the side of generosity.


Charlie Sims was the owner of CrossFit Regeneration in Louisville, Kentucky.