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I live in Charleston, SC. In my humble opinion, it’s one of the most special places to put down roots.

If you haven’t checked it out, I’d highly recommend adding it to your list.

Over the last number of years, one thing Charleston has become recognized for is its restaurant scene.  James Beard award winners, and the aspiring, seem to be moving here in droves.  As in any industry, the gamut of choices spans from the $5 meal deals, to the $400 bill for two.

A new place opened up (as they do every week); however, there never seems to be any cars in the parking lot. So, we checked it out for dinner.  Just because.  Within ten minutes, it was easy to see why no one chose them.

Everything about this place was just so… vanilla.

No ambiance. Pleather booths. Lackluster food. Wait staff left a lot to be desired.  Even the music droned on. The bill was minimal, but, honestly, we didn’t care. Everything about this place annoyed me. And the longer I sat there, the more I found things that very clearly missed the mark. What a waste to spend 40 bucks on, what felt like, nothing. What a waste for them to build something so… unimpressive.

Compare that with the sushi restaurant down the street that is, hands down, the best in town.  On certain nights, your wait time could be greater than an hour.  And what I love is that only locals know about it.  Their wait staff is not the most patient.  They couldn’t care less that you’ve been waiting for a table for 45 minutes.  Just get out of their way.  And they unapologetically don’t do substitutions.  The ambiance is a dive bar.  But, none of that matters to me.  I have never tasted sushi like this, so I’ve got lots of grace to extend to the overworked staff, and to the unimaginative decor.

These opposite ends of the restaurant spectrum can teach us some formidable lessons.  If we are still enough to listen, and really hear their impact, these truths can be game-changers.

  • Be the best at what you do.  Everybody knows this, but incredulously, so few actually are ruthlessly committed to it.
  • Quality matters.  You know where you’re falling short.  Stop making excuses and deliver excellence.
  • Be unique.  The sushi bar is unlike any other restaurant in town.  The marriage of sushi and dive bar makes a statement.  In their uniqueness, they are memorable, and delicious.  I’d drive an hour to experience and enjoy their product.  When you are unique, you are memorable, and people’s loyalty increases.
  • If you can’t articulate what you value, you will be all over the map.  We recently put on a seminar and I was blown away by the number of gym owners who couldn’t readily list their values.  This isn’t just “corporate stuff”, you guys.  Your core values are your very lifeblood.  What makes your gym tick.  What makes you tick. (More on this to come in a subsequent blog post.)
  • More grace is given when people trust you.  We all make mistakes.  We all deliver “less than” sometimes.  The difference is when people trust you, they graciously extend the benefit of the doubt.  And it’s wonderfully humbling.

As CrossFit gyms continue to pop up all across the world, we have frequent conversations with people who bemoan the fact that “my market is oversaturated”.

Well, of course it is.  And, the tough news?  It’s only going to continue to “get worse”.

The barrier to entry is so low to open a CrossFit gym – both financially and business-experience wise – that people are entering every day.  The problem is, many of these new, (and old) places are “just another gym”.  There’s nothing truly special about them.  They’re just like everyone else.

In Charleston, the count of realtors is surpassing 6,000.  Six Thousand.  More than 50% of them sell only one (or less) house PER YEAR.  The barrier to entry is extremely low.  CrossFit is not unique in that.  The challenge, once people become a realtor (or a gym owner), is that the path to success is hard.  And, we often don’t like hard. So, the market is oversaturated for the ones who are killing it.

But, for the top 10%, that is not their focus.  Differentiating themselves is their focus.  Beating the streets is their focus.  Being memorable is their focus.

Every gym owner says, “We’ve got ‘community’”; or “Our coaches are good”; or “We have good equipment”. Honestly, the globo gym down the street can (and does) say the same thing.

Dig deeper. What do you want your DNA to be about? What will make people stop and take notice?  And, then be committed to you, not just for the next few weeks, but for the long-term.

Over the last number of months, we have had the privilege to spend time with Nick Mann, owner of Occoquan Bay Performance in Woodbridge, VA. Here’s what he had to say,

“As an extension of my gym, I am in the process of creating a non-profit organization to provide leadership and fitness training opportunities at a discounted rate or free to under-served or at risk youth. I have already started to provide scholarships to a few kids and I truly believe this is how we can change the world.  Evan, our first scholarship athlete, is 13 and profoundly deaf, I am doing my best to impact him but what I can tell you is that seeing his determination, work ethic and heart has already changed my life. Leaving an impact on these young people trumps what I thought was any change I have seen in an adult athlete after 5 years of coaching in CrossFit gyms.”

This is his “why”. And, it’s beautiful to experience.

What’s yours? Once you figure it out, relentlessly pursue it.

If you’re going to own a gym, it might as well be something that leaves a lasting impression.
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This will be one of the many topics we discuss at our upcoming weekend business seminars. Click below for more info.

321GoFuelSeminarPageV2[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” custom_height=”20″][vc_column_text]aboutusJulie

Article by: Julie Weldon | 321Go Brand Ambassador/Relationship Manager

Julie’s diverse background includes being a cake designer, coaching basketball, traveling to 13 different developing countries to do volunteer work on a year long trip, working in the not-for-profit world for 10 years, starting two businesses, working as a People & Change consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, taking a product to market (and “failing”, only to get back up and do it a second time), and working as a business coach/consultant to small businesses.

Julie has found home in beautiful Charleston, SC. She gets super fired up when helping individuals and small businesses take their success to the next level, and when she gets to hear people’s stories. In her free time, she can be found in the boat or on the beach, hanging out with her Golden Retriever, dreaming up another business idea with her partner, Stacey, or geeking out on yet another leadership book.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]