We have had the great pleasure of getting to know Josh Bunch, of Practice CrossFit, these past few months while helping him with their new website and have realized this guy has quite the CrossFit following.
Not quite sure how he comes up with so much interesting insight day after day, but his blog/website is an absolute plethora of information. Josh has a successful affiliate and is doing some great things out in Ohio. We asked him to share some advice for other affiliates.
321Go: Tell us a little about your history with CrossFit. How and when were you introduced and how long have you been affiliated with CrossFit?
Josh: We are approaching four years of affiliation. My partner and I stumbled on CF while training at a big box. I have been training clients for over 10 years.
321Go: Where did you start your affiliate? (park, garage, warehouse, etc.)
Josh: We started in a retail environment with 3000sq feet. We quickly found that was worthless and soon moved to a warehouse of the same space.
321Go: When you decided to affiliate, what was the single most important step you took to prepare?
Josh: We never stopped. I approached, and was turned down by 6 banks. The seventh said yes. No matter what, we would never quit trying.
321Go: What did you look for when looking for space to rent/ lease?
Josh: We were silly and took a big box upbringing to CF. It doesnâ€™t work. Now I would ensure we had wall space, lots of floor area and tall ceilings. I would now go as big as I could possible find, and currently am looking to move.
321Go: How much equipment did you buy when you first started?
Josh: Way to much bullshit. We started with machinesÂ as we were going to cater to CFers and regular gym goers. We gave that up immediately and sold our equipment three months in. An expensive mistake. Our second box found us stoking the place for under 10 grand.
321Go: How did you acquire your first clients?
Josh: I was training about 25 or so one-on-one clients prior to opening our box. Oddly only about five of them are with us today. The rest came in with a friend.
321Go: What types of classes did you want to run (open gym, sign up, one on one, etc.)
Josh: We have classes, open to all.
321Go: What is unique about your affiliate? What sets you apart from other boxes?
Josh: We love nutrition, writing, and building other businesses and trainers. I feel we should saturate the world with CF trainers because of the good we can do. Not only have we built over 20 trainers at our box, but 2 of them have traveled out to open their own CFâ€™s. Plus, we now have several cooking, and other businesses that have grown just from CF. Everyone finds what they love, and we support that. As far as eating. We are Nazis and have been since we opened. We provide diets and believe a healthy human must be all in…We donâ€™t accept half assed effort.
321Go: What has worked for you to increase membership and what has not?
Josh: Marketing does not work externally. We do what we love, and hopefully people come. Plus, I write all the time so my true nature is out there for all to see.
321Go: Please describe one particularly troubling challenge you encountered in running your own box. How did youÂ resolve it, or what was the lesson you learned?
Josh: The biggest challenge is money. I want everyone to play, and sometimes people donâ€™t have the money. We end up taking the brunt and have found ourselves hurting for income before…but God has always pulled us through, and always will.
321Go: How do you cater to the diversity of your clientele?
Josh: You donâ€™t. We are all humans, and everyone is on the same chopping block with the same baggage. I could give a shit if your old, young, black, female, or whatever. Your 100% is still 100%. Give it, and I will never leave you.
321Go: What has been your most successful marketing? And Worst?
Josh: Our website is the only thing I would consider marketing…everything else kinda brings the wrong people.
321Go: What is the single most important piece of advice you would give a new or potential affiliates?
Josh: Your tribe is your net. If you truly love them and what your doing then it is safe to lean on them when you need to. Ask for help, and never let anyone tell you different when you know the truth.
321Go: What advice do you have for an affiliate that is not growing?
Josh: If your focusing on growing, you should quit. Focus on training, on the athlete in front of of you. On making their day better because you want to. I donâ€™t even know how many members we have, or how much we bring in…I know we can pay the bills, and I know I love my crew.
321Go: How do you plan for future growth; both clientele, equipment, and space?
Josh: If there is money in the bank, we buy new stuff.
321Go: Where do you see CrossFit going in 2-5 years?
Josh: We will be hated because we are right. We will create a line in the sand that is much, much bigger than it is today. Thats what happens when freedom fighters fight. Those on the side of freedom, will die for it. Those looking to abolish it will cling to their way afraid to change. The louder freedom cries, the bigger the opposition will become. CrossFit has laid a masterful foundation that will be attacked more and more everyday, thankfully CrossFitters everywhere are the support to that foundation, and those of us that truly care will never let anything happen to our art, our passion, our life.
We would love to hear your comments on Josh and his No BS approach!