Profitability - What I Learned from CrossFit® Affiliate Owners

Before launching Camp TimeOut, I spent weeks interviewing CrossFit® affiliate owners.

I wanted to know how I could build an experience that would add to the CrossFit community. I thought that if I could understand the NEED or DEFICIT that affiliate owners had, then I could build a relevant experience.  What problem were owners facing that my business could help to solve?

I spent time thinking about how to elicit authentic responses about pain points – remember, some of these CrossFit affiliate owners I knew, but most were strangers.  I asked each CrossFit affiliate owner a series of questions, but the following question was the most useful:

“If you had 20 extra, magical hours each week to spend on your CrossFit box, how would you use those hours?”

I’m glad I asked.

I thought gym owners would get into the nitty-gritty of social media marketing, of formalizing HR policies, of hammering out partner agreements.  I was wrong.  More than 50% of the CrossFit affiliate owners answered with the following:

“I’d spend more quality time with my athletes.”

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Versions of this answer included:

  • “I wish I could take a different athlete out to breakfast every week and really get to know them.”
  • “I’d use the 20 hours to plan “extra-curricular” activities and community events for my CrossFit members.”
  • “I’d like to do more WODs with my CrossFit athletes.  Not as much to get a workout in, but because I want to know my members better.”

For me, the most important part of the interview was when I asked affiliate owners, why….

Why that answer?  Why spend more time with athletes?

Consistently, CrossFit® affiliate owners reported that a healthy community makes for a profitable business. Forming deep relationships with their members was integral to business success.

I was floored.  It is an intuitive answer, but not what I expected.  I thought I was going to hear about Groupon offers, and conversion rates, and content creation, but it was more simple than that.  Be authentic.  Form relationships.  The viability and profitability of a CrossFit box is often a reflection of the vibrancy, health, and organic growth of its community.

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Therein, we found our charge for Camp TimeOut.  Build an incredible experience that helps CrossFit athletes to get to know one another, their coaches, and owners.  Build a camp experience where athletes can get to know one another, connecting with nature and the people around them.  Ultimately, doing so helps CrossFit athletes to thrive personally, and CrossFit owners to thrive financially.