This will make you want to simplify your business…
What’s up Gym World?
This year I fulfilled my lifelong dream of starting the #3 business news podcast in Sweden.
To commemorate that achievement and take a shot at the #2 spot, I invited Swedish gym owner Oskar Johed to come on the show.
His two CrossFit gyms have 400+ members. 40-50% of their revenue comes from personal training, and they generate over $110k/mo with a 20-30% profit margin.
Very few affiliate owners are putting up these kinds of numbers.
So what makes Oskar special?
Struggling affiliates love blaming their problems on CrossFit
It’s no secret that there are a lot of struggling affiliate owners.
A recent post in the CrossFit Affiliate Owners Only group asked:
There were 100 responses and almost every one of them was a variation of “selling my gym was the best thing ever.”
It bummed me out, and I asked Oskar why so few affiliates are able to make a decent living and have a work/life balance.
He said there is a huge difference between CrossFit affiliation and the CrossFit methodology.
Oskar believes the methodology is the best system for getting people fit and that little has changed in the methodology over the last 20 years.
Affiliation is a different story.
When Greg Glassman was approached in 2002 about starting a CrossFit gym, he charged $500/yr to license the CrossFit methodology and the CrossFit name. It came with no business model; the gym owner was free to package, price, and serve however they pleased.
This was revolutionary.
Rather than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to start a gym, people could open a CrossFit gym for a few thousand dollars. This created a new career path for independent trainers and people passionate about fitness.
The low barrier to entry fueled CrossFit’s growth. The downside of a low entry barrier is that many inexperienced and undercapitalized fit pros opened gyms, struggled, and ultimately failed.
At no point in CrossFit’s history did HQ guarantee any type of business result from affiliating. Affiliation means you are qualified to teach the methodology and use the CrossFit name.
Oskar is proof that CrossFit gyms can make a lot of money and provide the owner with a good work/life balance. He feels that if a gym owner is struggling, it’s not because of CrossFit; it’s because of a deficiency in the gym owner’s skill set.
That said, Oskar dedicates his time to mentoring other gym owners in business through Two-Brain Business and improving CrossFit coaching by being on the CrossFit Seminar Staff.
Here’s what gym owners can take away from his business:
Build a good, replicable business model.
Most gym owners overcomplicate their business by offering too many services, packages, discounts, etc. A commonality amongst successful multi-location gym owners like Oskar is that they keep things simple.
To optimize his business, he focuses on three key areas:
1. Having one reliable marketing channel
Oskar gets clients through challenge-based marketing, which he’s been doing since 2014.
Much like gym owner Jack Wheeler, this tactic has been Oskar’s primary source of marketing for almost 10 years. He markets a 6-week challenge and says he doesn’t need to use social media to get leads.
💡 The 6-week challenge is still the best marketing play for most gym owners.
2. Becoming a role model for coaches
Every gym owner wants to build the best team and hire “A-players.” But to attract the best, you need to be special.
Oskar is obsessed with coaching and is a long-time member of the CrossFit Seminar Staff. This means he travels to different gyms to train CrossFit coaches.
That gives him a competitive edge. His staff gets to learn from an expert. So to them, he’s not just an owner—he’s a mentor who has a shared passion for CrossFit.
💡 Out of Oskar's 27 team members, seven have an L3 certification, and some are also on the Seminar Staff.
Oskar believes that coaching is the product, so he invests a lot of time in developing them. He believes better coaching leads to better retention, which provides the owner with a better financial result.
What’s also unique about Oskar’s gyms is that you can’t drop weights, take your shirt off, or do 10’ wall balls because of the ceiling height.
Therefore, it’s not the right fit for hardcore CrossFitters, even though it’s staffed with some of the best coaches in Sweden. Oskar’s gyms cater to the general population, and that is working well for him.
3. Performing goal reviews
Data from Two-Brain Business shows that the best gyms perform goal reviews. This is where you meet with clients every quarter on a one-on-one basis to go over their fitness progress.
Oskar’s team sits down with 50 clients each week and:
- Reviews the client’s results from the previous quarter
- Celebrates wins
- Sets goals for the next quarter, &
- Sells supplemental services that can help the client reach their goals faster
(Two-Brain calls this The Prescriptive Model.)
Advice for gym owners
Having a simple business model doesn’t guarantee success, but it certainly increases your chances.
For the last 10 years, Oskar has been simplifying his business.
It’s so much easier to do one thing well.
So if you want to run a more successful fitness business, Oskar suggests:
- Use one marketing channel
- Be someone good people want to work for
- Meet your clients once a quarter to set goals
Until next week,