“Fundamentals” Change leads to big Growth at CrossFit 7 Mile

Carl Brenton decided to make a drastic change in the way he ran his business at the end of 2015.

Brenton, the owner of CrossFit 7 Mile in the Cayman Islands, decided to switch his group fundamentals program for new clients to one-on-one personal training. The change meant raising his rates from the US $99 a head he used to charge—to coach a group of 5 to 10 new clients through 6 introductory sessions—to US $899 for 15 private one-on-one personal training sessions.

When he ran the plan by his coaches, they were skeptical.

“Our coaches were terrified to ask for $899,” Brenton said.

But what happened surprised his coaches. Brenton explained people immediately recognized the value they received from personal training and were willing to fork out the cash. It surprised everyone who easy it was to sell personal training.

In his first month, Brenton has signed up 24 new members for personal training and has seen a huge increase in both revenue and profit. This January, he grossed $50,000 Caymen dollars (US $62,500) compared to last January, where he generated $19,000 Caymen dollars.

His business is happier now than it was just a month ago, and more importantly, his coaches are on board with the new system. (Pretty soon, Brenton’s plan is to start paying them a percentage of the revenue they earn, and he said his coaches can now see how their salaries have the ability to increase once they get paid based on revenue earned).

Not only has switching to one-on-one personal training helped his bottom line, and that of his coaches, it has also helped his clients, Brenton explained. He and his coaches are finally able to properly help new, inexperienced members learn the technical movements, as well as address and tend to their weaknesses and limitations, way more effectively in a one-on-one environment than his group fundamentals ever could.

“Our coaches were terrified to ask for $899,” Brenton said.

And the most telling part is how his current members reacted when they witnessed one-on-one training going on in their gym. Suddenly, they, too, wanted personal training. Ten of his current members have added personal training to their group class memberships in the last few weeks, he said.

Brenton is convinced his new system is going to help with client retention in the long run (something he admitted he has struggled with in past years) because his clients will get the one-on-one attention they need.

“We started 2015 with 102 members. In 9 months, we added 212 members, yet our membership number was 150. We had lost 170 people, despite having an awesome community, great coaching bla bla bla…that everyone thinks they have,” Brenton said.

“The most important thing in all this is that I figured out that the old fundamentals model didn’t work,” he said.

Brenton’s story isn’t out of the ordinary. His experience with switching his fundamentals to one-on-one personal training is basis for the 2nd Law of Gymmin, which states:

  1. The longer you keep an athlete in personal training/fundamentals phase,
  2. The better the coach-to-student ratio (one-on-one is optimal), and
  3. The more money you charge him/her:
    • The better the client does (measured by less injuries, better movement patterns and retention)
    • The better the coach does (measured by $/coach hour, total monthly pay, job satisfaction)
    • The better the business does (lower churn rate for clients and coaches, higher lifetime client value, revenue, profit, burnout)

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