Chris Cooper: (00:02)
“Whoa. It’s like you just threw a grenade into the audience, Chris.” That’s what I heard from CrossFit’s legal advisor the last time I presented in France. Hey, it’s Chris Cooper from Two-Brain Business. And today I’m gonna talk about serving gyms that are outside the US. How they’re different, how they’re the same, and if you’re in the US or even Canada, how you can use the lessons that we’ve learned from coaching hundreds of gyms overseas and apply them to your gym too.
Chris Cooper: (00:32)
So I started with this story from 2018. We had this whirlwind tour where over a two-week span, I had mentors speaking in Sweden, the U.K., Germany, and France. And we all kind of came together in Bordeaux at Daniel Chaffey’s gym. And there were hundreds of affiliate owners there. And from the stage through a translator, we were talking about value and what a gym should be charging for their services. And when we started talking about some of the rates that we were charging, people in the audience got really uncomfortable. Noticeably so. They started talking to one another, moving around, because at that time charging $200 a month was something that they had never heard before. And three years earlier than that, when we were talking about how to charge your true value in the US, we would get the same responses. So when I would go and teach these seminars, 2013, 2014, 2015, and I would talk about retention and ARM and client headcount and how headcount wasn’t the most important metric, you would get this same reaction, like a bomb had just gone off.
Chris Cooper: (01:39)
And so talking with some CrossFit HQ staff, which they’re all gone now, by the way, this is a different leadership group now. But the response that they gave me was, “Chris, on average, Europe is about three years behind.” They didn’t mean that gym owners in Europe are three years dumber or they’re quicker to catch on. It’s just that, that has been the spread of their brand across the world. That, you know, CrossFit Ireland was founded a little bit later than some of the original affiliates in the U.S. And, you know, CrossFit France. I don’t even think that’s the real affiliate name, but like CrossFit affiliates in France spread after that, et cetera. And so while a lot of the stuff is not always spread as fast, and while some might even feel that affiliates or gym owners outside the U.S. are behind, I have a counterpoint for you.
Chris Cooper: (02:33)
This counterpoint was COVID. And COVID lockdowns happened first in Beijing. Well, we have a gym in Beijing and we learned from them exactly what was happening. And then during the lockdowns, we started seeing things spread to, first Italy. And we were talking to gyms there about what worked. And then we were talking to gyms in Spain about what was working. And then we saw the lockdowns rolling west. And by the time U.S.-based gyms were forced into lockdowns in early 2020, we already had a working system that had been tested and proven overseas. And so by working with dozens, hundreds of gyms outside of North America, we get this worldwide perspective of what is working where, and right now it’s not always the same thing. The things that are working and popular in the U.S. are not always what’s working in Europe. It’s not always what’s working in Australia.
Chris Cooper: (03:28)
In fact, you know, Australia’s laws around hiring staff warrant kind of a different model than what we would do in Canada, for example, where it’s easy to hire subcontractors. So here’s what we do. Right now, looking at TwoBrainBusiness.com/map will show you where we have gyms that we’ve worked with. And what you’ll see are a few dozen gyms in the U.K., about half as many in Ireland, but you’ll also see several gyms in France. You’ll see many gyms in Germany. You’ll see some from Switzerland, many from Italy, Spain, Slovakia. I see some from Berlin here, Munich, Austria. I can scroll around. Here’s a gym in Romania. I can even find gyms in Asia. I can find a ton of gyms in Australia, New Zealand that we’ve worked with. So here’s what we do. First of all, we track data separately. So when people come in and they’re using the Two-Brain App, we automatically convert their numbers into our primary currency, which is U.S. dollars because we wanna compare apples to apples.
Chris Cooper: (04:34)
Now they can still see all their metrics in their local currency, wherever that is in the world. So if you’re tracking the British pound, that’s fine. If you’re tracking euros, you will see all of our dashboard metrics happen in euros. Then what we do is we look at, what are the best trends worldwide? And we publish those leaderboards, but we’ll also say, what are the best trends right now in English-speaking Europe? From there, we’ve got a good data set that we can use to help gyms around you if you’re in Europe or China or New Zealand. And we also hire mentors from around the world. So while our mentor team is about 40 strong, over 15 of those mentors live outside of the U.S. There are a couple from Canada. There are several from Sweden. There are some in the U.K. I know, sorry—Ireland is different from the U.K. I get it. There are some from Sweden—sorry, Sweden I said already. Australia, New Zealand, and we bring these people together, but we also make sure that they are on top of what’s happening in their home country. And so while a new gym coming into Two-Brain doesn’t necessarily have to work with a gym coming from their country to benefit from mentorship and data, it sometimes helps to have somebody in their time zone or somebody who speaks a different language. And we frequently get requests for mentors in French and in Spanish and in Italian, et cetera. Our RampUp program has subtitles for a lot of other languages. We have bilingual mentors and we have mentors who are natives of different countries, too. So we do work with a really wide variety of gyms successfully around the world.
Chris Cooper: (06:14)
What is the same across all these gyms? The general principles. The principles of value, the prioritization of retention, of building a client-centric business, of some of the strategies like mapping a client journey, having an on-ramp. These are things that work and the bonus is, they work anywhere. And if you’re in a place that is quote-unquote, “three years behind the U.S. in market exposure,” you will be the first adopter of these things. You’ll have a massive head start. And so while you do get a bit of a head start being the first CrossFit affiliate in Italy, you get a dramatic head start being the first good gym business in Italy that’s using the CrossFit method as a tool. So the big principles stay the same worldwide. The strategies differ. So I mentioned some of the tools and tactics like client journey, No Sweat Intro, but the reality is that a lot of the actual delivery looks the same.
Chris Cooper: (07:16)
What might be different? Local price point, absolutely. Valuation of local services, but also expenses, what you’re paying for rent. And these things usually scale together: what you charge and what you’re making in revenue versus what you’re paying out in expenses. The value of mentorship is still the same. And I would even say it’s heightened if you’re in a place in the world where business coaching and mentorship are not common yet. You have that first mover advantage. It also goes the other way. So there are places right now in the world where you really have never seen gyms before. Okay? Like United Arab Emirates. There are places where people have never had to even pay for fitness before, because the last generation was a generation of laborers. Their economy was still an industrial economy that we moved out of 50 years ago. They’re just moving outta that now.
Chris Cooper: (08:09)
And so this concept that you need to go somewhere else to get exercise is brand new. So what happens? Tons and tons of easy leads coming in the door. They need extra things like filtering. And we can learn from that. If you have a hundred leads coming in the door every month, what’s the best way to filter and qualify those leads? And we can teach that back to gyms in the States. And so often when you attend our Summit or you start working with a mentor at Two-Brain Business, you’ll encounter somebody from another country who has seen something slightly differently than you have, but their lessons are brought into our curriculum if it will help you. So the final piece of this, and if you wanna see, you know, where are the gyms that we work with? Go to TwoBrainBusiness.com/map. The final piece of this, this, I talked about general principles working.
Chris Cooper: (08:57)
I talked about strategies working. I talked about tactics being slightly different by market, but the filters also work. So if you’ve got a gym that’s absolutely killing it in Las Vegas. And they’ve got a new marketing system. We’re gonna test that system across the States first, then we’re gonna test it in Canada. Then we’re gonna test it in Australia, Europe. And if it extrapolates to everybody, then we’ll adopt it and teach it. But if it doesn’t work outside that one little gym in Las Vegas, we’re not gonna teach it to anybody else. And that is the power of data. Data does not know boundaries. It does not know languages. It does not know local customs. It does not know local perceptions of what pricing should be. You might think that everybody in Canada is cheap or that everybody in New Zealand knows one another, those things aren’t true. We can prove that with data. And data and mentorship will help you grow your business no matter where you are in the world. If you’re not in North America, it will give you an extra little bonus advantage because nobody around you will be getting this type of coaching. Hope that helps.
Mike Warkentin: (10:07)
Wherever you’re listening around the world, hit subscribe. Now, Coop’s back with another way to stay in touch.
Chris Cooper: (10:12)
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