This journey to where CrossFit Ex Animo is today has been a rather interesting learning curve. One which I would not have wanted to learn any other way. Opening a Crossfit Box in South Africa has been one of the best experiences and daunting challenges of my working career.
I have always loved training, I have loved what it gave to me as a person and how I felt after every session. I would walk off of the track, out of the gym or pedal into the coffee shop with a sense of accomplishment and with my thoughts already on the next session or the event I was preparing for. It was a feeling and singular perspective that I can honestly say consumed me.
With my own training playing such a big part of my life and creating such a sense of self that I would eventually want to share that with others, I have always gravitated to wanting to teach and coach, it is something that has followed me from a young age. Teaching my brother to jump off a roof with an umbrella is an early example of good lessons to give vs. bad ones.
All that being said there are some great lessons I have learnt in opening a CrossFit Box and some to help guide decisions in opening businesses around your passions. Below are three lessons that I believe are important.
The right people are everything
This is not a statement of the obvious, about the business partner you choose or the quality of coaches you hire, or beg to join so you can get you up and running.
Its the understanding that your box will not suit everyone! In our initial mad rush to get clients we were always perplexedwhen experienced athletes would not stick.
That would have been a terrible thing for us on our journey if they did. They brought a sense of we know better which intimidated newbies and they tend to want to take over and impose the will of their previous boxes on you. We were a new box and new to the local Craighall and Parkhurst suburbanites and 90% of our members had never ever heard of CrossFit before, let alone the chaos it brings in a workout.
We would have also not served the more experienced athletes well whilst we developed our up and comers. We have learnt over the past year how to create that balance and give more experienced athletes the attention they need in a confident manner whilst still fully supporting our newbies. Both are able to get the quality of our box without us feeling we are inadequate.
It’s taken 18 months to develop a culture we enjoy and that is a confident reflection of the owners. We are still a very young box with plenty of learning to come in a very challenging industry. Bring it On!
You will make mistakes
Simple, thats it! It is what you do with them that matters. There is ample opportunity to listen to your members to figure out what the problems are and fix them, damage control and move on. Do not bury your head in the sand on this one, step up and learn and don’t make them again.
I am by no means done with the lessons, which brings me to my next point.
You do not know everything and you never will
There will always be the daunting client who is better read and a better athlete. Embrace the opportunity to learn and be challenged. It will keep you on your toes and you will have to make sure you are up to date with the latest information. Remember however, those athletes are there because they see value in what you offer. Stick to your guns, brush up your knowledge and coach them. They need it just as much as the new clients.
We continue to strive to be the best facility we can be, because its the best way we can help people change their lives.