There’s no doubt that owning a CrossFit gym is difficult.

You wear every hat imaginable – coach, janitor, friend, bookkeeper, and Chief Marketing Officer. Often times, your days get so busy you don’t have time to build a growth plan for your business. But with a little direction and consistency you can build some momentum, focus on the important stuff, and have a plan going forward.

I’d like to introduce you to three gym owners who have seen some remarkable results over the last year and the principles they used to get there. Each of these gym owners have joined hundreds of others from around the world to execute on growing their business using educational courses and templates from the Hub as well as accountability through M3 Mastermind Groups and the 321Go Think Tank Facebook Group.

Meet Dave: 300% Profit increase since 2016

“…since the close of 2016, CrossFit Spero has increased gross revenues 39% while operating expenses have only increased 9%. We have gone from a gym that was just barely in the black to a thriving business with big plans for our future.”

How’d he get here?

Principle #1: Know Your Starting Line

As small business owners, it’s easy to get the “shiny object syndrome.” We scroll through some posts in a Facebook group or forum and grasp at straws to find that “one thing that works.” Unfortunately there is no “One Thing.” Just consistent, constant improvement through focused effort.

“I think the tool that has been the most directly helpful is the ‘Business Check-Up.’ When I started I was somewhere in the low 20s for the basic assessment. I re-did the checkup in late March and I am now 37/42”

By having some objective rubric, you’re able to knock out the important things first as you scale your business. For example, if you don’t have a rock-solid interview and onboarding process, what good will a marketing strategy do?

Principle #2: Know Your Numbers

Often times, we believe that more members is the answer. Seems reasonable, right? More members equals more revenue. More revenue equals more equipment, space, coaches, and free time right?

I’ve unfortunately seen a lot of gym owners fall into the trap of chasing more members. More members not only means more revenue but it also means more expenses. Instead of chasing members, we’ve seen a ton of gym owners find amazing success finding the right members that fit into a sustainable profitability model.

“The finance and accounting modules led me to the Profit First model which has helped me be more diligent with my accounting and keep my overhead down. Which I think was huge. And I plan to continually leverage those ideals so that I can maximize profit.”

By knowing your numbers and maximizing profitability per member, you’re able to grow sustainably while keeping expenses low. In order to sustainably grow you must know your numbers – both your starting point and your target profit margins.

Meet Mel: Increased membership by 61% and revenues by 47% in 1 year

“I had to run the numbers multiple times because I thought it was wrong. I’m excited, motivated, and so thrilled to learn what I need to do to not only grow this business, but make a much bigger impact in health and wellness!”

How’d she get here?

Principle #3: Know the Path Forward

Just as important as knowing your starting line is knowing in which lane you’re running. This involves setting realistic, attainable goals over the next month, quarter, year, and years to come.

“Truly, we don’t really know where we’re lacking as business owners unless we have a way to measure where we’re at, and where we SHOULD be headed.”

Armed with your starting point and your profitability numbers, it’s time that you identify your path forward. For some gyms, this may NOT be growth but actually a reduction in membership with an increase in prices. For other gyms, it absolutely means a growth in membership.

Without a careful examination of your own goals, lifestyle, and schedule you’ll never have a clear path forward.

Regarding the “Setting and Crushing Your Goals Challenge” – “THIS started me off, learning how to set goals, accountability, and gaining momentum, (even grace when I failed).”

Principle #4: Know Your Culture

“I really love all the courses, but, one that helped substantially is: Creating a Contagious Culture

You can’t be everything to everyone. Some of the most successful gyms we work with have a clear identity, screen potential members, and even ask people to leave who don’t fit in with the culture.

By identifying exactly who you are, who you serve, and why you do it you’re able to attract the ideal clients that will be with you for the long haul. After all, you got into this business to help people – not spin your wheels with members who don’t fit in with your community.

To start off building your culture, I challenge you to write down the names of your top 10 clients. The ten people you’re excited to see everyday; the 10 people who routinely refer their friends to your gym. Now, sit down with each one of them and get to know a little bit more about their lives – where they live, where they work, what they do in their free time, and why do they love your gym.

This is your ideal member. Your member persona. You’ll need this when you build your marketing strategy.

Meet Nicole: 25% Increase in Membership and New Gym Marketing Extraordinaire

“I’ve also written our marketing event calendar and I’ve shaped a ton of events to fill out the “dead” times I’ve seen. We are well on our way to my goal of 50 members by August.”

How’d she get here?

Nicole is a new gym owner with a super-clear vision, GREAT processes, and impeccable organization. She is also an extreme go-getter. She’s not afraid to try new things, evaluate the results, and keep what works.

Principle #5: Take Action

Planning and knowing is great. But, at a certain point you have to bite the bullet and try something new. You must hit “play.” After you pull the trigger, look back and evaluate what worked and what didn’t.

“I finally got my stuff together and did some athlete videos last night. These are ROUGH, but I’m proud of myself for finally pulling the trigger on these.”

We all know that you need to create video content. Super-scary, I know. But, you’ll get better and more comfortable after you get that first one out of the way. By your 100th video, you won’t think twice.

“I’ve also written our marketing event calendar and I’ve shaped a ton of events to fill out the ‘dead’ times I’ve seen.”

By building out a plan and actually executing, you’ll increase your confidence in marketing, events, and business development. The hardest part is getting over the initial fear of execution. But – I promise – the second time you take action, you’ll improve upon your previous attempts and feel more confident in your abilities.

The takeaway

While these principles may seem simple enough, their consistent application is not easy. Just like you tell your athletes – getting in shape is simple, but not easy. The same is true in your business. Simple principles, applied consistently over time, will yield incredible results.


“By incorporating the lessons learned via 321GoProject’s Hub platform since the close of 2016, CrossFit Spero has increased gross revenues 39% while operating expenses have only increased 9%. This means we have seen a growth of unrealized profit of over 300%! We have gone from a gym that was just barely in the black to a thriving business with big plans for our future.”

Revenue Jan – April 2016 was 22,127.09
Revenue Jan – April 2017 was 32,655.53

Matt Scanlon is the owner of CrossFit Memorial Hill in Kansas City MO.

He is also the founder of TheHillKC and co-founder of BUILD: Functional Fitness for Cancer Survivors. He hosts the 321Go Podcast and is a content creator for Hub.