Successful CrossFit affiliates have a few things in common, and we’re going to go over each and every one of them in this guide. If you’re wondering what it takes to get the most out of your affiliate status, you first have to focus on what your clients can get out of you.
Give value with reckless abandon, and that value will come back to you in due time, like a high-interest rate. It’s like reinvesting profits in a business, only with your habits that will make you a better CrossFit affiliate.
These 6 different traits of highly successful CrossFit affiliates can be replicated with relative ease and some habit-building. If you want to rise to the top, this is where you have to start.
Successful Affiliates Stick to Their Mission Statements
Your mission statement is your lifeblood. Your gym rides and dies by it, and if you can’t stick to your mission statement, there’s a fundamental flaw. In a recent post we talked about how your mission statement can skew slightly depending on the subcategories of CrossFit athletes you’re serving.
If you’re mostly serving a few niches of customers and that’s your target demographic, your core values and mission statement should align with their beliefs as well. Mission statements don’t change much: they keep the same core values, but they may add more in the future to make sure they help include the groups that they service.
You live by your mission statement. If you change it, it can’t be to remove anything, otherwise what good is an editable list of mission statement core values?
Here’s how you can make sure you stick to your core values:
- Teach Your Staff: Your staff should know the core values of your CrossFit affiliate gym front to back, sideways and upside down. It’s a critical part of how you operate your business on a daily basis, and it matters so that they know how to treat your staff.
- Read Them Back: You open your gym, and you’re focused on operations. What if those core values start to slip, and you don’t even realize it? When you start your day by reciting your core values and what they mean to your business, they become a part of your day.
- Lead by Example: If one of your gym’s core values is kindness, make sure your staff, trainers, and clients can see you being kind in front of everyone. If one of your gym’s core values is inclusivity, make sure that it’s reflected in your staff and hopefully in your clients. Embody what you hold dear, and watch how fast you impress everyone.
Sticking to the core values of your mission statement sounds obvious, but it’s really something that people forget over time, and then they wonder why their gym starts to tank. Hold these values tight and practice what you preach.
Successful Affiliates Create Amazing Customer Experiences
Customer experience is one of the key parts of running your business. It’s alarming, but many users (across numerous verticals) said that all it would take for them to quit something, whether it’s a subscription or a service. You’re always just one mistake away from losing a long-time valued customer, so stay on your toes.
Creating customer experiences means you’re going to utilize your gym culture to create an X factor for your gym. Something your customers can’t get anywhere else, giving them more of a reason to stay even if you two run into a bit of an issue.
- Don’t Jack Up the Prices: It’s normal for prices to rise over time, but let’s take the working class condition into account. It’s already expensive to maintain a CrossFit gym membership (certainly more expensive than it is for other gym types), so your gym is already making more per client than other gyms are. Let’s find a way to compromise and keep a consistent price for your client’s entire duration. Once people lock-in and begin paying a specific price for a specific product, they don’t want those prices going up for no reason. They barely notice their monthly expense on their account because they made the decision to buy-in at one point in time, and you haven’t given them a reason to opt out yet. Unnecessary price hikes are that reason, which leads us to our next point.
- Make Sure They’re Getting Value: If you have to drive up prices at one point, which you inevitably will, bring something new to the table. Not to distract, but to show you appreciate the value of your customers. It can be a one-time gift as a thank-you for being understanding and being a client for so long, or it could be the addition of a new section of your gym. Add rock climbing, an outdoor yard with new machines—whatever it is, give value and a reason behind your price increase. Whatever you provide may cost you in the short-term, but it will be infinitely valuable to your business in the long-term.
- Improve the Product: Gym memberships increase, so you want to add more value and a better experience to your existing clients. Take a product, such as classes, and improve them. Add a larger number of people per class (opens up availability for busy times), offer discounts for upfront bulk class purchases, and find a way to scratch their back while the increase in their price scratches yours.
The point is that you can tie-in customer experience with the cost of doing business, and that way you can both benefit even when a change comes into play.
Successful Affiliates Understand and Implement Organic Sales and Marketing
Success comes in many forms, but the chief among them is how much money you can make for your business. A good affiliate owner will drive sales through powerful marketing.
Notice we said marketing, not advertising. There’s a difference. Advertising costs are increasing, and typically people see thousands of ads per day. The chance that they’ll stop and look at yours while avoiding the others is slim, even if you hire a good production team for your ads.
Marketing is different. It’s explaining the benefits of your business without having to shove witty jingles or forcibly viewed messages down someone’s throat. This is how you market to create organic sales without going overboard.
- Leverage Social Media: Your audience is on social media, you just don’t know it yet. You can market by making social media pages and learning about SEO. Make Facebook groups, Pinterest boards with photographs taken during your classes, and a Twitter for updates on gym activities. It’s free to market this way, you just have to take a little bit of time to learn how.
- Free Video Content: You should be making marketing material as often as possible. Content marketing is where you post content that helps people without selling them a subscription page at the end of the post. You give away value for free, and expect absolutely nothing in return. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some invisible trust that you can’t measure, and that will lead to sales in the future. All it takes is someone to say, “I’ve watched three of their guides now” to realize that you obviously have a lot to offer, and then they’ll check out your website. Content marketing is a long-form game, but how long does it take to make a video on your phone, apply some YouTube SEO, and post it?
- Email Newsletters: Social media owns your audience, but with an email list, you’re the master of your own destiny. You control your audience, you provide content directly to them in their inboxes, and you can use it to market without begging. It could be a simple informational newsletter with no sign-up, and that same effect will take place where they begin to trust you as a recognized brand. Again, you can get away with making most email newsletters for free, so the cost is mostly just time in the beginning.
Successful Affiliates Manage Finances Like an Experienced Accountant
It would be great to just throw money at a problem until it vanishes, but your money is in limited supply. You have to know how to fix problems strategically without spending a lot of money, not paying an excessive amount for necessary services, and making sure every single paper trail has a spot where it starts and ends in the books.
You’re essentially a bookkeeper and money manager at the same time. Accounting is a difficult part of the job, but it’s something you should get familiar with. When you eventually have the capital and trust to hire an accounting freelancer, you can worry about that bridge when it’s time to cross it.
Even though it’s tough, you should always at least know how to do each job in your gym. In the event that someone quits, there’s a strike, or you just have to put out fires on those really busy days, having that skill set in your tool belt will come in handy.
Successful Affiliates Lead Teams, They Don’t Micromanage Employees
Micromanaging is one of the most infuriating things to deal with as an employee. In some cases, managers will micromanage because they feel anxious about a situation and can’t see the way out, so they off-put that anxiety onto their staff. This isn’t a good way to handle it.
Good leaders don’t micromanage. You’ve trained your staff, they know what they’re supposed to do, and they do it. If something new outside of their normal realm of responsibilities pops up, you can inform them and add it onto their list, but don’t come in and micromanage what they’re doing at the moment.
- Delegate: Delegate tasks without micromanaging. Whether it’s verbal or in a written list, your staff can handle tasks without you walking them through every little thing.
- Stick to Your Lane: Your staff has their tasks, so what are you doing overlooking them? Get back to what you’re doing, otherwise delegating is useless in the first place.
- Allow Decisions to be Made Without You: You may be the one to handle big decisions, but train your staff in a way that they can be confident tackling small-scale problems on their own. You trained them for these situations, so put them to the test, otherwise they’re never going to get better at it.
In general, save critiques for the end of the day or performance reviews. If an error is made that’s critical to customer care or it breaks policy, take them aside and explain it right then and there, but do not micromanage. Successful entrepreneurs don’t waste their time micromanaging.
Successful Affiliates Create and Adhere to Systems and Best Practices
We don’t have to figure out every single solution from square one. We develop systems. As affiliates and entrepreneurs, you have to have a system in place to help you deal with problems and make fixes.
In fact, everything you do should be filtered through some kind of system. These help you delegate your own tasks, while also organizing your day. You make up to 35,000 small decisions over the course of a single day—systems reduce your mental fog and help you focus on what matters.
Best practices can be defined by the “rulebook” (in this case, the CrossFit Affiliate Playbook), or you can find out what works through experimentation and then turn that into your best practice. In most situations, you’ll want to try the latter so it works for your specific demographic and situation.
Systems help you organize problems that lead to best practices as a solution, or at the very least make the path to a solution much, much easier.
Be the Success Your Gym Needs
Nobody can lead your gym like you can. Now that you know what goes into success, how are you going to replicate it? What systems are you going to put in place to make sure you’re always on the good foot?
Well, we have more posts to help you with that as well. Remember that PushPress is your co-pilot when it comes to starting your own CrossFit affiliate gym.