One of our primary objectives for 2019 is to figure out a way to further professionalize our coaches at SLSC.
Unfortunately, the business model of operating a CrossFit gym does not facilitate paying salaries at a level commensurate with the expertise needed to be a high quality coach – or at an amount of money necessary to live a full adult life in a large urban environment. (I have some thoughts on why this might be for a future e-mail…)
In order to fully professionalize the coach, coaches need to be able to offer a significant skillset in personalized services.
While it is very difficult to make a living just coaching CrossFit classes (and to make it work you often have to work at two or three different gyms), it is quite possible to make a living as a CrossFit coach who does personal training, nutrition coaching, or individualized program design.
These custom services facilitate a large enough fee that, when combined with some more consistent income from coaching, can actually create a stable, professional career.
From the client perspective, many people want more individualization. They want a faster path to their goals. They recognize that they’re stuck and frustrated in their progress, and that an outside perspective would increase their rate of progression.
Plus, the accountability of having someone actually checking on you always helps.
And, for a lot of people, the price of more personalized coaching is a mere triviality if the value is there. They value their health, their performance, and their results much more than an additional few hundred dollars per month.
From the perspective of the business – in this case SLSC – adding more options for higher ticket personalized coaching gives us two major benefits:
1. By being able to offer more opportunities and professionalize our coaches, we are able to get dedicated staff who want to grow in the coaching profession and develop the skillsets necessary to provide premium coaching services – and actually make a living doing it.
2. Membership growth plateaus at a certain point based upon churn. If you churn a certain percentage of your membership in a given month, there will be a settling point for how many members you can realistically maintain based upon the influx of new people – which really has more to do with the population density in a given area and the presence of competition than it does with too much else. Besides, there is also a point where the density of people inside the gym starts to detract from the quality of the product – thus resulting in further churn. So, a better option is to diversify the services offered so that there is a percentage of membership that is paying a higher price point, thus allowing the overall revenue to the gym on a monthly basis to grow without having to fight the mathematics of churn.
All of that said, I think we’ve done a decent job of developing the skillsets of our coaches – now we need to do a better job of making it clear to our new and current members that we do have people around who can offer more individualized guidance to achieve specific outcomes.