CrossFit. I can guarantee you at least three things are true as you read this: you have heard of it, you know someone who has done it and he or she has a strong opinion about it. Well, according to Forbes, CrossFit Inc. is a $4 billion brand, so love it or hate it, they are doing a lot of things right.
I joined with the sole intention of breaking up my standard gym routine. Little did I know being a “crossfitter” would teach me much more than how to do a kipping pull up or handstand pushups.
Here are two powerful concepts every entrepreneur can learn from CrossFit.
A clear vision is the fuel that powers every area of business and provides all the stakeholders with the information needed to move forward building, selling, servicing and buying your product or service.
Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, recognized there was a problem in the fitness industry – people were strong but not holistically fit. He set out to solve that problem by building a program that tested strength and conditioning through a combination of running, lifting, mobility and movement that would challenge any elite athlete but could be modified to serve the needs and skills of a 70-year-old grandma. He boiled that vision down into these 14 words – constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement while ensuring it was broad, general and inclusive – and the rest is history.
In my interview with Amy Cosper, former editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, she stated the number one difference between companies that succeed wildly and those that do not is clarity of vision. Creating a vision can be intimidating, but it does not have to be. In his book, Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 years of Less, Cameron Herold, former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and founder of COO Alliance, offers a step-by-step approach entrepreneurs may use when creating what he refers to as a Vivid Vision.
Equip yourself to be inspired.
Most workplaces lack inspiration. In order to create a vision powerful enough for your entire organization to get behind, you need to invest the time to find a location that encourages creativity. After all, if you elect to build your Vivid Vision at the office, you will be interrupted, distracted and become discouraged by the process. Get outside the office.
Get rid of distraction.
Close your eyes, quiet your mind and begin to see outcome you are working toward. Not only do the highest performing athletes in the world visualize their success, but so do the most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. It is time for you to “lean into the future.”
Take an inventory of the future.
Imagine where your company is three years from today. Begin to make a checklist: Who is there? What do you see? What are your clients saying? What kind of culture have you created in your company? Think about every area of your business and what it looks like now that you have doubled your revenue and profit.
Put it on paper.
This is the most important step. After all your vision will become your map. It will empower you to bridge the gap from where you are now to where you want to be. If you do not write your vision down, it will be impossible to share, measure, monitor or refer to.
A clear vision is necessary and powerful, but it is not enough to create sustained success; you need people to rally behind it and live it out.
When I began my CrossFit journey people use to laugh and say “I guess you’ve joined the church of CrossFit.” Initially, the thought creeped me out but after thinking about it, the analogy made sense. When you walk into a Catholic church, regardless of whether it is St. Joseph’s in Capitola, California or St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy, you pretty much know what you are going to get.
The building, language and location may be different but the core elements will be there. The same is true of CrossFit whether you are visiting CrossFit Amundson in Capitola, California or CrossFit di Roma in Rome, Italy. They are in different buildings, different countries and speak different languages but when you step inside you know what to expect. Our experience interacting with other major brands, such as Starbucks or Apple Stores, is also much the same.
How do these incredibly successful organizations create environments where people build community?
Glassman started CrossFit in a 1200 square foot studio in the small beach town of Santa Cruz, California. While he had a vision that he knew had the potential to revolutionize the fitness industry, he focused his efforts on engaging his local clientele and addressing their needs using his formula for holistic fitness. The byproduct of this is a deeper sense of intimacy and understanding of the brand-consumer relationship.
Balance variety with stability.
People do not like change. Why? Life is chaotic enough and someone’s favorite brand changes the menu it can damage the brand and throw off your customer base. In the words of Stephen Covey, “keep the main thing the main thing. Whenever the temptation arises to change something, refer back to your vision to ensure everything is aligned.
If you follow steps one and two, you will be well on your way to creating something people want to come back to again and again. A select few will even inquire about how they can help promote and build upon what you are creating. This is has the potential to become a brand and community multiplier. This is just one way a brand like CrossFit grew so rapidly. Often times when someone would move from one city to another, they would simply open a new CrossFit affiliate.
$4 billion and 13,000 worldwide CrossFit affiliates later, it would be wise for entrepreneurs at all levels to learn from and even emulate these two lessons.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com