Reopening Panel Discussion Takeaways

reopening panel discussion

On May 28, Box Pro Magazine and HSN Mentoring presented a panel discussion with owners and experts from the industry. Here are the top takeaways from some of the questions discussed:

Panel

  • Nicole Aucoin, the founder of HSN and HSN Mentoring, and the owner of CrossFit HSN.
  • Keven Beamon, the owner and CEO of CrossFit Mt. Lebanon, 5 Borders CrossFit and Mecka Fitness.
  • John Briggs, the owner of CrossFit GSL and Incite Tax, and the author of “Profit First for Microgyms.”
  • Patrick Cummings, the co-founder of Again Faster Equipment, the co-host of the Chasing Excellence podcast, the producer of the Open Gym podcast and the creator of Functional Branding.
  • Jack Green, the founder of CrossFit Liberate.
  • Nick Reyes, the chief happiness officer for PushPress, and the owner of KS Athletic Club.

1. What have you done during the shutdowns that you plan on continuing once you reopen?

JG: The YouTube Channel CrossFit Liberate created during the shutdown has been used for posting videos on the flow of the daily workout. Green said they will continue it, as it’s not only a great prospecting tool but also adds value to members when they are working out at home or traveling.

JB: While virtual classes have quickly died off since opening, Briggs said one thing they did during shutdown that will stay was hire a full-time general manager. He didn’t have one prior, and running multiple businesses meant the gym was put on the backburner during the pandemic. With a manager, it’s now getting the attention it needs.

KB: Online content was posted for not only members but others as well. In fact, Beamon said it was being shared around the world. However, they did start charging for the online platform — $9.95 a month — so the members who continued to pay membership through the shutdown wouldn’t feel taken advantage of. And in terms of operations, Beamon said it was key during shutdown to provide for his eight full-time staff, buy them lunch and survey the members on what they would like to see changed.

2. What are you changing when you reopen your facility to cater to your clients’ needs?

JG: There is constant cleaning now, which includes spraying down the facility. Class size has also been cut down from 20 to about 14, which is something Green says will stay for the long term in order to give a better-quality product.

NR: Classes require reservations currently and will continue to do so moving forward. Reyes said his staff likes it as they are not packing people in and they know who to expect in class. Plus, they’ve enjoyed the 12-by-12-foot squares. It has allowed for easy set up and tear down. 

3. How are you spreading out cash flow?

JB: Of course, Briggs recommended reading and implementing “Profit First for Microgyms.” He also said he looked at bringing back only the most highly attended classes when reopening. And he said it’s key to keep in mind there will be a buildup time to pre-COVID revenue.

KB: In the middle of a $850,000 construction for two gyms, Beamon said it’s been a wild time. However, he’s done some things with spreading out cash flow. The biggest is they identified those consistent members who stuck with them. He gave them all $100-$150 gift cards to say thank you. It’s better than simply giving a month of membership away as they won’t all use the gift cards at the same time, helping the gym’s cash flow. What led to the idea to give members gift cards was Beamon’s 21 Day Challenge in which his gyms raised $5,000 for local businesses. Members had to complete 18 out of the 20 tasks assigned, and if they did, they got a gift card to a local business. 

4. How has your branding changed over the past eight weeks?

PC: Your business’ brand is often tied closely to the individual who runs it. Thus, you need to look at your core values, who you serve and what content you produce. However, Cummings said one key is to do an honest audit of how you responded to the pandemic. Ask, “How can I respond better next time?”

NA: It’s key to look at the website language and the content you are putting out to see if they are current to the times. Then, you need to talk about it often. However, Aucoin said it starts with first communicating with staff, then telling members about it before posting your messaging on social media.

KB: Remember, the brand is you first, but it is also driven by the community. Do what is best for the community as a whole.

5. For gyms who have not yet opened, any advice?

NA: During quarantine, Aucoin did a 28-day Challenge. One member lost over 20 pounds. As such, she said you need to ask how you can keep members engaged. She divided up members between her Coaches, and they had a system of red-flagging clients. When they reopened, Aucoin went to those clients first in hopes to keep them on. It has been about showing appreciated to those who have stuck with your gym throughout all of this.

PC: You need to look at your website and determine if it makes sense in the current climate. Think about how you can position your service as an investment in prospects’ own safety and security. Consider where you can build and take advantage of not only lead generators, but also virtual nutrition offerings.

NR: Through PushPress, Reyes has found some interesting data. Those owners who have had a steep revenue decline saw themselves at simply a physical space for members to come workout. Owners who saw a revenue increase during this time viewed themselves as accountability Coaches, not just a room for fitness. So, you need to think and communicate through the lens of coaching and accountability.

6. For gyms who are opening soon, any advice?

NR: In the first week of reopening, Reyes saw a 50% return of clients, and the percentage increases each week. He recognized there might be a need to increase prices in the coming months, but all in all, it comes down to leading with positivity.

JG: Communication is key, which looks like meeting with your staff and setting expectations.

NA: With an eye on growth, Aucoin is bringing in new clients but limiting them to classes that are not busy. As for members who are in the system and currently reserving spots in class, she is asking those with flexibility to go to other not-as-busy class times.

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