How To Tell If Your Member Experience *Really* Matters To You

By | Building Community, Business Help, Culture, How To, Julie Weldon, Leadership | No Comments

This month in Hub, we are hyper focused on Branding and Delivering an Exceptional Client Experience. How people feel when they sign up, come in, and use your gym are all key factors in your success. If you’re not paying attention to this, they most likely won’t stick around for the long term.

 

If asked today, would your members and staff say they are “known” by you?

Do you take purposeful time out of your day to enter into theirs? Do you recognize special days or events in their lives? Do you celebrate when they are celebrating? Do you know when they are struggling, and why?

The majority of gyms pride themselves on their “community feel”. But, what does that actually mean?

Does every member feel this community, or is it just a core crew that is really connected? Do you have special things in place that make people – all your members – feel like they belong to something greater and bigger than themselves?

In a survey we conducted, 80% of gym owners said what they thought their members valued most is community.

More than coaches and their expertise, almost two times as much as programming, and six times as much as low membership fees.

So, if this is so important to your members, what is your strategy for making sure good, true community is happening for every person who walks through your door?

There are 4 levels of engagement we can tap into with both our staff and members:

No engagement – Just let them find their own way. The “if we build it, they will come” mentality. Birthday? Have no idea when it even is. This is not a super common approach in the CrossFit world.

Automated engagement– Not personal at all, but the thought is there. In a world where way too much is automated, people want/hope for more. Let the CRM handle the birthday wishes, where everyone gets the same “Gym XYZ wishes you a happy birthday”.

Personal engagement– You know everyone by name. You generally remember things that matter. Your birthday wish is handwritten, but it’s simply something like “Happy Birthday, Mary!”

Intimate engagement– Your door is always open. You are approachable. You remember details about important events. You take the time to tell individuals exactly why you appreciate them and make specific moves to invest in their success. Your birthday wish lists out the reasons why you are thankful they are on this planet and how their life makes a difference in yours.

Which level would you want if you were on the receiving end? I can tell you, the ones who give level 4 engagement are the ones who make the biggest difference in someone’s day.

Where does your gym land in how you are engaging on a daily basis?

Sure, it’s a lot of work to constantly land in the levels of #3 and #4, but the investment of your time and care will pay dividends. It doesn’t have to be just you. Train your team to engage on the deeper levels.

Here are a couple of examples of gym owners going the extra mile to create a place where folks belong:
The HillKC, owned by Matt Scanlon, has set up a system that has enabled his Member Experience Specialist to create a Trainer/Member board where they have a featured athlete of the month and people can leave encouragement. Their people love it.
board

Ashley Bascu, owner of  CrossFit 317, has scheduled individual goal setting sessions with each of her members. It has given her 1-on-1 time to get to know each member a little bit better. Because she listens to their desires, needs and concerns, she is able to recommend additional specialty services- nutrition, skill session, Oly, etc. – that can help them reach their goals. In her gym, they have a goals board and the individuals aren’t able to write their goals on it until they sit down for a session. A win-win for everyone.

We challenge you to use these examples to motivate your thinking of how you can create an even more engaging environment. People want to get fit, but what they really want is someone to notice and care. You have the unique privilege to be that person today in your staff and members lives.

The gym owners who go the extra mile are the ones who are remembered.

 

Join us May 4-6th at our upcoming weekend business seminar in Park City, UT for weekend packed with tools and resources to take your gym to the next level and reach your goals.

Not just talk and motivation though, you’ll leave with an actionable plan! If you’re ready to reach a new level of success, or you’re stuck, this will be a weekend not to be missed! Our whole 321GoProject team will be there, ready to invest in your success!!

Is CrossFit All You Want To Offer? Rebranding Yourself.

By | Branding, Branding & Website Advice, Business Help, Don Moss, Marketing | No Comments

This month in Hub, our theme is Rebranding and the Client Experience. All month with our Hubsters, we are focused on what it looks like to go through the process of rebranding, and what it looks like to offer members an experience they want to keep coming back for.

In light of that, Don Moss, one of our amazing 321Go Business Coaches shares his thoughts in this blog post about whether or not you should rebrand yourself.

From Don…

If you own a CrossFit box, there was very likely “The Moment” when you knew you were in love with CrossFit as an exercise methodology, wanted to share it with as many people as you could, and possibly even make a living at it.  

You love CrossFit and you want everyone to share your passion for it.  

But is it the only way to get fit and should it be the only thing your gym offers?  

No.

The discussion of boxes rebranding themselves as “Fitness” or “Athletic” or “Training” facilities grows louder and more common all the time.

That’s because owners who have been in business for a while realize that the world at large doesn’t only want CrossFit, despite what owners hope for.  

The term “CrossFit” has an inherent intimidation factor associated with it. Images of shredded CrossFit athletes doing amazing things are everywhere.

This can be an immediate mental roadblock for the vast majority of those who don’t feel like they’re ready for the level of intensity they see before them. 

Certainly, you can help diminish this perception through “Beginners Welcome” in all your marketing and images and testimonials of normal athletes at your box just working towards achieving a higher level of fitness. However, the broader you cast your net (additional programs and services), the greater chance you have of catching something (members).  

If you’re a potential member and you go searching for a new fitness home, what would be more enticing… a facility that only offers CrossFit or a gym where CrossFit is but one of several options?

Opening your doors to those looking for personal training, nutrition, bootcamp, Olympic Weightlifting and other specialized programs immediately increases the likelihood that someone will find a program at your facility that is tuned in – at least in their minds – to their goals.  

This is by no means a call to lose your CrossFit affiliation.  

CrossFit is a highly effective exercise program that has, and will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.  But consider making CrossFit just the crown jewel in a crown of multiple exercise programs, all with their own following.

Boxes that have rebranded as fitness, training, athletic or other types of facilities commonly notice an increase in traffic because they’ve opened their appeal to a greater portion of their general community.  

Prospects are more likely to reach out and/or walk in knowing that a “high intensity” program such as CrossFit isn’t the only option you offer.

Then, as your new member becomes involved in the community and sees your CrossFit community, they can start to realize that at its core, CrossFit is about fitness surrounded by support, motivation and inclusion… not who beat who and how bad you hurt. The conversion from one program to CrossFit after a period of time could be significant.

So, now you’re intrigued about the prospect of rebranding. What do you do?  

  1. Check out the “Rebranding Your Gym” section of the Hot Gym Owner Topic Questions in The Hub. There is some great, detailed discussion in there about rebranding your gym and it will help give you a better perspective on the journey.
  2. Ensure you’re offering multiple services, e.g. nutrition, personal training, bootcamp, specialized programs. Remember, offering multiple services is best handled by having multiple staff (don’t jump on the burnout train and try and do it yourself, please).
  3. Consider rebranding yourself as a Fitness or Athletic or Training facility.  You can even be a “XXX Fitness: Home of CrossFit XXX” to keep waving the CF flag loud and proud while still offering more in your name and brand.
  4. Market your gym and it’s programs accordingly. Highlight all of your services in your marketing – both internal and external.

Finally, rebranding your gym is a big decision and, like all good things, it’s something that will take some work to accomplish. 

Don’t enter into it lightly. Know that, in order to do it right, there are a whole host of factors you need to consider…. much more than just changing your logo. Hire a marketing expert who has experience with rebranding CrossFit gyms specifically who can help you make sure everything is covered. We’ve done this for many gyms and would be happy to have a conversation about how we can help. To schedule a call, click here 

If you want to broaden your gyms appeal to a larger portion of your surrounding community and earn the members and revenue associated with it, it may well be worth it.  

Check out Hub – the affordable, online resource designed exclusively with gym owners in mind. 

WARNING! Dead End Ahead…. You Need A Plan!

By | Blog, Business Help, Culture, Financial Help, Jamie Gallagher, Leadership, Starting a Gym | No Comments

This month in Hub we are focused on Branding and the Client Experience. But, before you start focusing on your overall brand and client experience, you have to make sure that you have a plan in place for your business. This week’s blog post is written by one of our incredible 321Go Business Coaches, Jamie Gallagher, who is also the founder and owner of Origin Fitness in Burke, VA.

From Jamie…

The CrossFit gym and micro gym market has provided fitness entrepreneurs a great platform to help people improve their fitness. In fact, we could argue that we do more to help people with their health and wellness than all other fitness professionals combined.

However, I’m not going to talk about the glory of helping others.

I want to talk about the mandate that we must help ourselves first in order to help others better.

I have talked with hundreds of gym owners over the last couple of years.  I have noticed trends in high achieving gyms.  I have also noticed trends in low achieving gyms.  I want to focus on the trends of the low achieving gyms in this blog post because I want to use it as a guide and a check to see if your gym is going down the dead end road.  These trends are not unrecoverable or means this will happen to your gym, but it probably will, eventually.

THE TRENDS

The trends I see in struggling gyms is a lack of a plan, structure, and execution of their business processes.

Any well run company has a plan and structure to it.  High achieving companies have a logical and well thought out structure on client engagement and retention, an organized marketing strategy and campaigns to support this strategy, and a pipeline for employee development and upward mobility.

High achieving does not mean you have to spend a ton of money.  In fact, just thinking through each piece will actually save you money in the long run.

A PLAN

Writing down your plan and executing on it is what separates going out of business from a business that thrives.  Too many owners fail to execute for one reason or another.

Stop reading Facebook and execute your plan!

Who cares what another gym owner thinks about it.  They have absolutely no clue about your business.

Focus on your four walls and execute!

I like to use McDonald’s as the example. The reason I use McDonald’s is that their product is totally repulsive and their business success is legendary. Any McDonald’s you go to has the same menu, same drive thru, same soda selections, same customer expectation. You know what you are getting every time you walk in. McDonald’s also pays their employees.  They don’t trade Big Macs for work.  McDonald’s has a structure.  It has been tweaked over the years but the basic structure and business processes have remained.  Our workouts may train for the unknown and unknowable but treating your business like this is a recipe for failure.  You will PR going out of business!

THE PROBLEM

Struggling gyms have little to no plan or structure.

They don’t pay their coaches which hurts the consistency and sustainability of a well trained staff.  The owner can never feel safe to go on vacation or take time off because there is fear that unpaid coaches may leave or miss a class for some B.S. reason.  The client experience is hurt by a constant carousel of half-hearted coaches who keep running through their gym and have no connection to the community.  Or you have to fire a coach who was a member and now you are down a coach and a member.  Again, the client suffers.  Paying employees is what every legitimate business does, just like McDonald’s.

They have no on-boarding process.  What does the client life cycle look like?  How are you setting up the relationship building process between your staff and the new client?  Can your coaches describe it and execute it?  If not, your gym is losing out on making money when you are not there. Does McDonald’s lose out making money when the owner or manager is not there?  No, it does not.

Their classes suck because of the lack of structure.  There are gyms who do not formally warm up or prepare their athletes for the work out.  They merely say we will begin the workout in X amount of time.  This is negligence at its highest order.  In my opinion, gyms that do this need to resign their affiliation today.  They are part of the problem that gives CrossFit a bad name. This is why they can’t charge a premium for services and are always scared about losing members.  If a gym is not providing high level coaching and touch points throughout the entire class or personal training experience, that gym is doomed.

Their internal and external marketing is all over the place.  Constantly jumping from one gimmick to the next is not a marketing plan. And I’m seeing far too many gym owners doing this. It needs to be laid out over the course of a year with specific goals in mind.  Backwards planning on how you will achieve those goals is where the real magic happens in terms of learning how to connect with your target market.

A word of advice: focus more on the people inside your gym than those you are trying to attract.  Those inside your gym are already bought in. Upsell them on specialty courses, personal training, and other add-ons.  Soon enough your members will have an average client value of two people!  Again executing on your marketing plan is what will separate you from those who don’t.

If you opened your gym solely because you love CrossFit and you want to help people, you are are probably struggling. If you opened your gym to jump on the “CrossFit wave of cash”, you are probably struggling, too.

The gyms who are excelling want to help others AND make money!  They see this as a business, not a hobby.

Owning a gym is too hard to make it a part time thing and be successful.

Having a plan from day one will automatically set you apart from the jokers down the road and make you profitable faster.

Essentially, these owners who make these mistakes are athletes who love coaching exercise and have put zero effort into their business skill set.  This lack of planning will most likely kill their business.

THE FIX

I may have killed a few dreams or upset a couple owners out there.  Good. I have your attention.

Let’s think about fixing your business.  It all starts with, you guessed it, a plan!

Opening a gym should include a business plan that includes everything you will need to be successful on day one. Things like…

  • What are your coaching, marketing, and equipment budgets?  How are you obtaining financing?
  • What is your working capital? Hint: if it is not at least three months of operating expenses, you need to rethink your plan.
  • Who is your competition?
  • What is your strategic advantage (why would people choose your business)?
  • What services do you offer?
  • What are the financial projections after a year (be conservative in your estimation)?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How will you market to them?
  • What is your onboarding process?
  • What does your coaches development plan look like?

These, amongst many  others, are questions a business plan will help you flush out.

You need a thorough business plan before you even open your doors.

For comparison, my business plan was over 100 pages long.  It took me nine months to build and I had a business coach.

Even though my business plan was thorough and well thought out, some of it went out the window almost the day after I opened.  The second month we were open, my members were clamoring for a CrossFit Kids program.  Well, in my business plan, I hadn’t planned on a kids program until at least month six!  What to do?  I pivoted quickly and started the Kids program.  I could do this because my underlying structures were in place. I already had the staff who could run it (so I wouldn’t have to).  I had the money to buy some of the equipment necessary to start a great kids program.  I was only stressed because it was new program, not because of structural deficiencies like man power or finances.

This may sound like a no brainer to some, but to many gym owners this scenario could cause a breakdown of systems or financial hardship.  The pillars of my plan were in place to give me the freedom to make sound business decisions.

SO WHAT NOW?

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, I’m screwed.”  You might be right.

Lacking a plan and structure is not unrecoverable. But, you must put in the work times two because your business is already operating and you need to fix it as it goes.

My best recommendation is to find a business plan coach. Most counties and cities have some sort of Small Business Development Center with free or discounted help. Look them up and see how they can help you.

The second step is to get yourself a business coach for your gym. Yes, this will cost you money. If your business is worth it to you, it is worth the cost.

We ask our members to pay top dollar for coaching. Are you too cheap or hypocritical to do the same?  This is a mirror test. You must look into the mirror everyday and know you are doing everything you can to make your gym successful.

If you are not, the hard truth is… it might be time to close up shop.

 

If you want and need help developing your business skills, Hub is an affordable resource and community of gym owners that will give you the tools to grow your gym.