February 1st marks our tenth anniversary at CrossFit FUNCTION. It’s a special day.
They say that 20% of small businesses fail in their first year. 30% of small businesses will fail after the second year. After five years, 50% of small businesses will fail. And stunningly, after 10 years, 70% will fail. Arguably, with the year the world has had as of late, these numbers are probably a lot higher. I am proud to say that CFF will not fit into these statistics. Despite a year of COVID and restrictions, CFF is stronger than it’s ever been.
I’ve hummed about this blog post all weekend, trying to think of how I would phrase my thank-you this year as I have done, year after year. 10 years is super special, so naturally you want the words to replicate that. So I figured I’d take a different spin this year. With the pivotal year CFF has had, there’s been a lot of lessons along the way, and I wanted to share them with you.
Here’s what 10 years of experience has taught me as a small business owner.
Have A Clear Path Ahead
We talk a lot about this concept with our membership. For them, it means having goals, developing a plan of attack, routinely revisiting that plan to make sure you’re on the right track, and revamping it if it’s not. For us as a business, it meant having clear direction on what type of client we could best help, what services we could offer – and offer really well – to help said client, and what we would do as a team to ensure we were always working down that path.
In the past year, we sat down and redefined who it was we could help best. When we looked at that, we were then able to restructure our services to best help our clients. And once we had that final step, we built our staff development around that to back up the services we knew we could do really well.
The end result meant our clients saw more success, and greater results.
And for the first time in 10 years, I knew we had nailed it. The pieces came together, and our most all-encompassing program had finally come together. I’ve been trying to do this for many years, I just didn’t know how to get all the pieces to fit.
Know Your Values, And Stand For Them
When someone starts a business, most times they’ll have a Vision & Mission statement to work off of. Most will develop Core Values because they know they need to – it’s a step of developing a Business Plan when you first decide to embark on this. But aside from that, most companies forget about them, and never come back to them. We were guilty of that, 100%.
Another thing we undertook this past year was redefining our Vision & Mission, and realigning our Core Values with the direction we were headed. The intention was always to help people change their lives, but how we mapped that out had changed shape and looked differently than when we began ten years ago. It became our Vision to constantly improve the health, fitness, and therefore quality of life of our clients in an environment that is fun, caring, motivating, and inclusive. We would get there by being a family-friendly organization that promotes a lifestyle of health, fitness, and overall well-being; to provide an inclusive and safe community from the chaos of everyday life.
Knowing our V&M, we had sight of where we wanted to go, and what we were trying to do with every obstacle we encountered. Our Core Values had changed from where they originally began, and it was necessary to refine them to provide us with a structure that we could base our every decision off of.
Every decision moving forward, every problem that would arise, new staff that we would hire, each new idea that we wanted to start all revolved around these 6 Core Values:
- working together as a team, and being a contributing member of that team
- everyone being equal in all ways
- we are selfless and mature, without the need of the spotlight
- honest and trustworthy in all ways that we conduct ourselves
- and fully committed to each other, and the betterment of others
Because we now had direction and a set of standards to uphold and operate within, everything was aligning and weaving together stronger.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
I didn’t get here alone, and neither did our clients. All these years behind me, most of the time it was just me getting in my own way thinking I knew how to do everything, or that I’d figure it out along the way. While many of my years were spent making mistakes and learning from those experiences, the greatest and most rewarding things that have happened when I have asked for help. Some of those days it meant asking for help on a weekend to clean the gym when I just didn’t have it in me anymore, or getting accounting help from my bookkeeper because math is not my strong suit. Some days it meant asking my staff to help cover classes so I could go out and share our message with our community. There were many hours spent talking with my mentor, someone who I knew had my back and my best interests at hand. There’s been many people involved in this journey along the way – both good and bad. All of these individuals have had so much to teach me. You are nothing without the experiences of your past, even the bad ones and the mistakes you might have made.
And I use this same experience and journey in my conversations with new clients as they sit down for their No Sweat Intro with me. It won’t be easy when you first begin. You’re going to make mistakes, and you’re going to stumble. You might try to do it alone, thinking you can figure this out better on your own. But your greatest accomplishments, and your most success, will come when you ask for help.
There are people out there who want to help you for your own benefit, not theirs. Genuine people, ready to help. They have vast knowledge and vast experience that you can take advantage of. Sometimes it might cost you a little bit of money, but it’s an investment in yourself that will pay off down the road. You just have to trust the journey, trust the process, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Make mistakes. Look back on them, learn from them. Take that experience with an open mind and an open heart, and continue to keep moving forward.
The Greatest Teacher Is Experience
There’s many other things that have come along the way over these 10 years, but I am most grateful for the experience. Not many people embark on a journey such as mine when they’re only 20 years old, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, not a single part of it.
While a journey like this sure brings its dark days, it brings along really bright days, too.
Over ten years I have met so many incredible people. Most come to us in a vulnerable state, desperate for change and unsure on how to go about it. They pour their trust into our program, hoping it will be the answer they’re looking for. When they open their mind and truly invest their entire being into the program, the community, and all things that this place has to offer aside from just the workout posted on the board, the change that happens before our eyes is something that never gets old, and is one point we’ll never forget.
I have watched countless people come through my doors the very first time, broken and worn down from poor lifestyle choices, high-stress work and home environments. These same individuals are the ones you begin to notice carrying their chins a little higher, their shoulders pulled back, smiling and laughing with others. They begin to gain confidence not only in their abilities, but themselves, too. They get promotions at work, their relationships get stronger, or they gain the confidence to exit out of tribulating situations in other areas of their lives and open up a whole new world of opportunity for them professionally and personally.
That’s what I do this for. That’s what we do this for.
Those moments where, “I didn’t think I could do that,” are the first words they speak. They didn’t think they could do that pull-up, lift that weight, make that hour of their day scheduled as a priority into their family-life. They didn’t think they’d ever get that promotion, or escape from that bad situation at home. They didn’t think they’d get off the medication that has been with them their whole adult life, come out of depression, or they didn’t think they’d ever be able to bend down and tie their shoes again. Who knew that some fitness and nutrition work, and surrounding oneself with the right group of people would enable someone to do that? I did, because that was me 12 years ago when I first found CrossFit.
Success looks very different for every single person, but when you see their hard work inside here pay off in the real parts of their lives outside of these doors – that’s when I could sit back and feel fulfilled. That’s when I knew I had achieved what I had set out to do, ten years ago.
That’s an incredible feeling that I hope you get to experience at least once in your lifetime.
I’m lucky enough that I get to experience it every single day, multiple times a day.
Thank you to every single person who has been a part of CrossFit FUNCTION in some way, shape, or form for the past 10 years. Thank you for being a part of this with us, and contributing to the cause we are working towards each day as we open our front door.
This is singlehandedly the most incredible thing I have ever done in my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“Rising tides raise all ships.”
Here’s to many more years ahead.