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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 08-11-2010, 12:15 PM   #1
Jennifer Lopez
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Smile Affiliation

I have submitted my application for affiliation and want more than anything to open my gym by the end of next month. I have enough equipment to start but am a little nervous on how to approach new people coming in and firing questions at me. I have little teaching experience (only w/ friends) so sometimes I find myself getting tripped up on my words. I don't want to seem like I don't know what I am doing. I am willing to try anything and everything to make this work. Does anyone have advice? Is any of this covered in the Biz materials? Where can I get information on programming? Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:49 PM   #2
Aushion Chatman
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Re: Affiliation

If you've only trained a few friends is that all the training you've ever done...you may want to slow down on opening up in a month...Lots of things to consider first.

For programming, the Crossfit Journal is a good place to start, especially the older "newsletter" issues...$25/yr...well worth it for any affiliate, it should really be mandatory if it isn't already. There are many other resources to get involved in but it sounds like you need to start there.

Get more practice training friends/clients, most of your training eye and cues come with experience you just need more sounds like but you can consider:

1) Slow down, teach at your own pace, it is your gym...

2) Write things out before the trainee(s) get there, this will help you organize your thoughts before the clients show up, and if you write it on a white board it will help you stay organized as you run training sessions/classes, (key points of performance, what the WOD is going to be, any lecture notes...etc can all be written out beforehand.)

Definitely don't over look the business side of things, are you good with the city (permits)? Are you opening in your garage, or renting a space? do you have waivers? Accounting ready (especially for income tax purposes)?
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Last edited by Aushion Chatman : 08-11-2010 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:34 PM   #3
Jennifer Lopez
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Re: Affiliation

Well, I am almost done with my business plan and have gotten a lot of help with the business/financial side of it. I do have waivers. Right now I am just waiting on my application before I purchase liability insurance and get my LLC. I already found the perfect space to lease. I'm ready to move in. I guess I'm just overly excited about opening and getting started. I think you are right, I just need to focus on training as many people as I can round up, so I feel more comfortable and the rest will fall into place. Thanks Aushion!
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:28 PM   #4
Jonathan T Fisher
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Re: Affiliation

Hi Jennifer,

I am not an affiliate, but I am a member of an affiliate. If you are concerned about the questions you are going to be asked by new people coming in you should plan for the potential questions you are going to be asked. The most common questions I've heard people ask our trainers are:

-What is Crossfit?
-Why does it cost more than a regular gym?
-Why is this program better than... (doing a regular weightlifting/cardio workout at a gym, P90x, etc.)?
-I'm just a beginner, isn't this program just for advanced athletes?

If you know what you are going to say to the common questions that you will be asked it will make it much easier to respond in an intelligent manner and show people that you know what you are talking about. Perhaps some of the affiliate owners could give you some other popular questions they are asked by prospective clients so you could plan for those as well. You will make mistakes at times by saying the wrong thing or not knowing the answer to a question, but don't consider those interactions as a failure but as a learning experience. There is no way to anticipate every possible question when you are starting a business, trial and error will be a big part of your education.

Good luck,

Jonathan
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:47 AM   #5
Bob Holman
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Re: Affiliation

Hi Jenifer -

Been thinking about your concerns/questions and even though I am not an affiliate, I been working in start-ups my whole life so I thought I'd add my two cents.

Would it be possible to shadow a coach at another affiliate or even hold off on opening and coach at another box to learn the ropes. Running a business is super hard and then adding on the stress of being a new coach and trying to attract customers and build a community may be a recipe for failure.

I'd much rather put the dream on hold for a little while and get all the experience I could to ensure I'm able to fulfill the dream .

I know Crossfit Vancouver offers business seminars and affiliate programs - given the number of people interested in opening a box, it would be great to have regional boxes that would have shadowing programs.

Whatever you decide - Good Luck!
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:39 AM   #6
Brian Strump
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Re: Affiliation

Is it me? As great as CF is, and readily available they make info, and ease to become an affiliate....I am curious to find out how many affiliates open with absolutely no clue about training, or business, and simply flat out fail.
Don't get me wrong, I love with CrossFit represents, but I think some people think they can just pool together their retirement fund after working years doing god knows what; and lose it all.

To the OP; those are concerns that you should have addressed LONG ago, BEFORE getting to where are you now in terms of your business.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:58 AM   #7
Aushion Chatman
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Re: Affiliation

Whatever you decide Jennifer GOOD LUCK! Let us know how it goes...

In my opinion (which means nothing), you should train regularly for a good 6 months...In that 6 months though it needs to not just be the same people with the same movement ability you are training...

You need to have a mix of people coming in, some naturally good movers, some not, different personalities too, some that ask you to yell at them to be motivated, some that will cry if you yell at them.

Why not start your affiliate, not as an affiliate, but as a free workout once/week at a local park? Let the friends and family you are training now know that they are free to invite 1 person...and keep growing from there, just don't overwhelm yourself with class size if you get a good response...It's difficult to train a large class, especially the less experienced you are.
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:17 AM   #8
Jennifer Lopez
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Re: Affiliation

Thanks again everyone for the advice! I am going to work extremely hard at getting more experience these next couple of months and see how I feel after. I think I will just know when the time is right. I have the determination, the drive and the passion to want to make myself succeed no matter what it takes. I believe in myself 100%. I'll keep you updated...
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:52 AM   #9
John Stone
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Re: Affiliation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer Lopez View Post
I have little teaching experience (only w/ friends) so sometimes I find myself getting tripped up on my words. I don't want to seem like I don't know what I am doing.
If you aren't an effective communicator you are going to have a lot of problems. That holds true in almost any business, but it is especially true in fitness. If you can not communicate to potential clients why they need to use your box instead of globobox, they won't come. If you can't communicate to your new members how make progress in CF, they won't make progress.
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Old 08-15-2010, 05:21 AM   #10
Michael L Schaal
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Re: Affiliation

The advice of shaddowing at another successful box in the area is on point! That's what I did before setting out on my own, not to mention visit about 20 other successful affiliates across the country. The knowledge that I gained by talking to other owners and coaches was extremely helpful in figuring out how I wanted to run my box and how I would approach answering the typcial questions you get when first starting out.

Good Luck!
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