It had been a long day at CrossFit HQ. I was tired after nearly eight hours of talking about business. But this question really perked me up:
“Why can’t you just give us a playbook that tells us exactly what to do?”
It was a surprising question because of who was in the room. We’d been asked to visit HQ and give a one-day business seminar for gym owners around Santa Cruz. But high-ranking seminar staff—including Nicole Carroll—were also in the audience. So I wasn’t expecting a question about a franchisee model.
I answered that CrossFit is a licensee model that combines the opportunities and challenges of a free market. Anyone can start a CrossFit gym. That’s an amazing opportunity to leverage the world’s largest fitness brand for almost zero dollars.
The flip side is that it’s impossible to provide testing, research, data or proven methods for that price. At $3,000 per affiliate per year, there’s simply no budget to test best practices or even to regularly survey owners in a meaningful way to figure out what’s working.
Total freedom means total freedom: no guardrails, no guidance. Just an amazing opportunity to help people.
But the question actually meant something different: “Why don’t you (Two-Brain Business) sell a playbook?”
We’d Rather Teach Than Tell
The person who asked the question knew that we have the playbook.
We have a profitable model for running a box. If we wanted to, we could just sell that playbook, say “do it exactly like this,” tell people which clothes to wear and which ads to run, and then hold them to that standard. That would effectively make us a franchisor.
We could easily charge $150,000 per year per franchise because we can provide more than any microgym franchise out there.
Who else gives their clients 1:1 mentorship? No one. Who else teaches them how to hire and train staff, how to build an internal playbook to run their gym, and how to sell? No one. No fitness franchise teaches Facebook advertising to their franchisees. None teach them how to establish authority in local market or how to retire.
Franchises mostly sell simplicity: “Here’s a 45-minute workout plan. Here’s a color scheme to paint your gym. Here’s the equipment to buy. Here’s a template for your social-media posts.”
For some entrepreneurs, such restrictions are helpful. There are fewer decisions to make and some comfort in using a “proven” system. We actually work with some clients who are franchisees and fill in all of the gaps for them.
But it’s not for us.
Building YOUR Brand
My mission is to make 1,000,000 fitness entrepreneurs wealthy.
I want gym owners and trainers to stay in business forever because they can’t help others if their gym goes away—or never opens at all. Every time a gym goes bankrupt, thousands of people fail in their pursuit of health.
I don’t want fitness entrepreneurs to be beholden to a brand other than their own. I want them to be antifragile. I don’t want them to rise and fall on the backs of trends.
So we let fitness entrepreneurs use our playbooks and data to build their own brand instead of our brand.
You can build Dragon Fitness or CrossFit Greyskull or The Heavy HIIT Club or whatever you want with our guidance.
You can choose your delivery tool for fitness: CrossFit, bootcamp, personal training, Pilates, Barre—that’s up to you, coach. And our tools and guidance will work, because business systems should operate outside the canon of your philosophy.
Heck, people use our methods with MMA gyms, squash gyms, construction companies, tire shops and law offices!
If you discover a revolutionary fitness practice next week, you should be able to pivot immediately without burning your business to the ground.
You should be able to incorporate new technology without losing clients or starting from scratch.
Your business should grow with you, mature with you and grow old with you. It should provide for you in your retirement.
You should benefit from having other similar gyms nearby instead of suffering for it.
And you should own it. Like really, really own it. It should be yours.
Wealth means freedom of income and time. Do some fitness franchises eventually create freedom of income and time for their owners? Absolutely.
But you don’t need to be a franchisee. You can own one gym, two gyms or 10 gyms, all with the brand you created. You can take our stuff and make it your own. After you complete the Two-Brain Business Incubator, you can ditch us (but please don’t because you’ll hurt our feelings).
One of our clients called Two-Brain “the white-label fitness franchise” last week.
That stuck with me.
Which stage of entrepreneurship are you in? Take our 20-question quiz to find out and get the exact steps you need to take your business to the next level.