CrossFit Gym Owner Hierarchy of importance

If you own a CrossFit affiliate or are a coach you have, presumably, come across the hierarchy of athletic performance. Each step is designated as a foundational element in an athletes progression. Missing one step can hinder the progression and success of the athlete. As small business owners, we too must consider a hierarchy of needs to ensure the longevity and quality of our businesses.

Here is the CrossFit affiliate owner’s hierarchy of development.

Security / Lasting Business

Marketing, Social Media

Community Development / Member Retention

Staff / Team Development & Culture

Product- quality control — assessment and retooling of the product

Mission — collective vision of the affiliate

  1. Mission — Before the CrossFit boom, I think having a clear mission statement was not a major concern for an affiliate owner because the market was so limited. At one time, believe or not, many affiliate owners did not open a gym with the thought of profits or notoriety; we did it out of love. We possessed a passion to share a training methodology that changed our lives and we felt compelled to find the first warehouse that was available on the block to share our findings. Think about what you stand for, and what you are trying to accomplish. This statement will be your identity and the driving force behind your decisions. Further, your mission will be what sets you apart from other affiliates.
  2. Product — To some degree, our product is CrossFit itself, but I don’t think it is our main one. Our coaching, customer service, and overall experience within the gym is the true product. We are in the customer service business and CrossFit is the manner in which we promote fitness to our customers. Refining your craft is essential; coaching is the art of empowering the individual with knowledge and the methods to improve upon a given element. Hold yourself and your staff to a high standard. Spend countless hours not just coaching, but studying, learning, perfecting your craft through extra education, experience, and self reflection.
  3. Developing team and staff culture- Once you are fortunate enough to hire a coach or office manager you need to put time into developing them. NO ONE will ever love your gym like you do, so realize that initially. But, if you can get them working together as a team, understanding your mission, and lead them to being more vested in the gym emotionally you will benefit greatly. Create an atmosphere of trust and idea sharing that is conducive to systemic growth, not individual accolades.
  4. Community- Display great pride and enthusiasm towards your community because they are the nucleus of your gym. Nurture the bond with your members by inviting them to give suggestions and feedback. Reward them and celebrate them through signs of togetherness. This does not necessarily need to be a huge party; however, they are fun (OCF does a winter formal, and a huge summer party). People appreciate these gestures, and it allows for a greater buy-in from each person. Take time to know everyone’s name, what they do, if they’re married, kids etc. Listen to them and let them know they are appreciated every chance you get. Stay late and show someone a movement. Do a personal training session for free, write some extra programs. Your community allows you to eat; NEVER forget that. We work for them.
  5. Marketing & Social Media. This is the vehicle you use to get #1–4 out to the world. Without those being in place there is not much content to push. Look to develop good relationships with businesses in your area. Barter services, customers etc. Bartering is such an amazing, yet uncommon used currency in this day and age. Social Media is a whole other topic in itself. Bottom line is this, find out where your people are and engage them. Provide clear, positive information regarding your mission. Let the world fall in love with your truth.

If you truly take each step one by one and not skip steps your gym will be successful. Notice I didn’t mention anything about rogue competition bumper plates, Ski Ergs, or weightlifting platforms. Those things are great, but not until 1–4 are gelling and in order. Save your money for seminar, a coaches dinner, or a community event. The ROI is much greater. Good luck out there, the competition is fierce and only getting more and more each day. Get these down and you’ll be on your way to running a successful affiliate.