As a gym owner, I know what it feels like to get so wrapped up in running my business, day-to-day, that I sometime lose focus on what the goals are for my gym. Honestly, it’s so easy to do. Waking up at 4:30 am to coach the 5:00 am and 6:00 am class, update our social media accounts, write a blog post or two, write the programming for the next week, answer emails, return phone calls, follow up with personal training clients and all the other crazy things that happen each and every day. So many things are happening, sometimes you forget to eat!
We expect our clients to set goals to measure their progress in our gym. How many of us set goals for our gym to progress in business? For most of the affiliate owners I consult with, that’s one of the first questions I ask “Who do you want to be when you grow up?”. I explain further, “What is your vision for your gym?” “What type of lifestyle do you want to live?” “What is your revenue goals? Membership goals? Income goals?”. Surprisingly, this is the part of the conversation that takes a little bit of time to work through. For some, their answers are clear and we can develop a plan to get them there. For others, we have to figure out exactly what they want, then how to get there.
Enter Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning is crucial for any business, but in my opinion, incredibly important for CrossFit Gyms. It provides the foundation and road map for building a successful long-term business.
So what is strategic planning? Simply, it’s a way for you clearly identify your mission and objectives while analyzing your strengths and weaknesses against potential opportunities and threats to establish key result areas. This allows you to formulate specific goals, strategies and actions, implement, evaluate and modify.
Outside of owning CrossFit COMO, I lead the strategic planning process for a large $30MM year entity. Our strategic planning process takes approximately four months and has input from about two dozen people and focuses on the next two years of business. Fortunately for most of us who own CrossFit gyms, the process should take just a few days to few weeks, involve your staff and plan for the next 1-2 years.
Components of a Strategic Plan
Here’s an effective outline for strategic planning that you can use to implement in your gym.
1) Overview of your Business
In this section, write out a brief overview of your gym including your mission, vision and values, and key metrics/performance indicators(read more here) of your business. This is so you can understand where you are currently. Include in this section items such as programs and services, number of members annual revenue, average client revenue, and income.
Example: CrossFit XYZ is a CrossFit and Personal Training Gym a 3200 sq/ft facility with 75 member-athletes located in Anytown, USA. Our mission is to provide our member-athletes an unparalleled fitness experience to change their life. Our vision is to be known as the premier CrossFit gym and Training facility in Anytown, USA and we plan to accomplish this through our values of integrity, virtuosity, humbleness and respect. Our average client revenue is $110 per month and our last year sales were $115,000 with a blend of about 86% memberships and 14% Personal Training.
2) SWOT Analysis
The SWOT analysis compares internal Strengths and Weaknesses with external Opportunities and Threats for the purpose of defining and identifying strategies for accomplishing organizational goals.
– This is what you do really, really well.
– This is where you could do a better job.
– Trends and areas that you aren’t involved in (if you aren’t making higher than 15% of your revenue from Personal Training, there’s your first opportunity and weakness).
– External to the organization, beyond your control.
Remember, this is an important piece to develop the next section of the strategic plan. Take time to really think these through. Focus on 3-5 in each area.
Continuing our example:
Strengths: Small Class Size/Low coach to Athlete; Professional, Highly Credentialed and Experienced Coaches; Results Driven
Weaknesses: Limited Programs; Low Average Client Revenue; Limited Class Times; Marketing and Communication; Part-time Coaches that want Full-time pay.
Opportunities: Branding; Referrals; Diversified Revenue Streams – High School Athletes, Personal Training, Stay at Home Moms, Bootcamps
Threats: Rural Economy in Anytown, USA; Negative Media
3) Key Result Areas(KRA’s)
An analytic comparison of internal strengths and weaknesses to external opportunities and threats highlights strategic points of focus. This is the focus of Key Results Areas.
You can develop your KRA’s by focusing on these four types of strategies.
Opportunity-Strength Strategies – Use your strengths to take advantage of opportunities. These are in your wheelhouse.
Threat-Strength Strategies – Use strengths to avoid threats. While you can’t control threats, your strengths can help minimize them.
Opportunity-Weakness Strategies – Overcome weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities. If there’s an opportunity that will improve a weakness, this may be the right focus for you.
Threat-Weakness Strategies – Minimize weaknesses to avoid threats. If your weaknesses are tied strictly to threats that you can’t control, you may need to spend some time here.
Continuing our example:
Knowing about CrossFit XYZ, I’d focus on Opportunity-Strength and Opportunity-Weakness Strategies. I’d set my KRA’s as:
– Programs that Support our Mission/Vision and Increase our Average Client Revenue while supporting our coaches
– Tell our Story through focused branding, marketing and communication
– Client Experience
Once you get through this peace of the planning, you need to focus on which of those strategies you came up with to focus on for your strategic plan. My recommendation is to focus on 3-5 of these.
4) Establish Goals, Strategies and Actions
Once the KRA’s are developed, you need to determine strategic goals to accomplish them. This is where you establish S.M.A.R.T. Goals to measure your success.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound
Goals – What we want to achieve
Strategies – Our planned efforts to accomplish our goals
Actions – Step by Step how we are going to get there.
Using our example
Goal 1 – Grow Revenue by 20% and create 2 full-time coaching positions by Fall 2015
Strategy 1 – Develop Bootcamp Class with higher Average Client Revenue per Month to attract non-CrossFit fitness enthusiasts
Strategy 2 – Increase PT to 25% of Gross Revenue
Strategy 3 – Create Running Club and start a health movement
Goal 2 – Communicate the Story of the CrossFit XYZ Brand
Strategy 1 – Publish Client Testimonials regularly to website and social media channels
Strategy 2 – Highlight Coaches
Strategy 3 – Establish a Public Relations Strategy
The Strategic Planning Process
Strategic Planning lets you look at your business from a high level view. It is meant to provide guidance, focus, strategy and action. However, it shouldn’t be a document written in stone, but living so that you can make adjustments as the market/climate changes. Include everyone on your team in this process, it’ll create ownership and allow them to contribute more to your gym, thus improving the overall client experience.