January was a wild ride for our facility. I can't really remember a month in the previous 7 years that resembled the level of awesomeness that we (a staff of 5 total) shelled out. We added 35 new athletes to our program, started up with 3 collegiate teams for the spring semester, while maintaining the 4 team training contacts that carried through the month.
It was a lot of fun and positioned us well for the rest of 2018, however, it shined a big light on some things that had previously gone under the radar. I want to share those three things with you...
1) As you grow, make sure your systems do too
This was by far the biggest punch in the neck I received. I've always considered myself a 'systems' guy. We dial in everything from how to answer the phone, how to greet new faces at the door, and programming, BUT what I struggled with was how some of our systems started to deteriorate with an immediate influx of bodies coming in to our space. Huge plug here for the crew at Strength Faction, specifically Co-Founder Chris Merritt, who helped me identify what was happening EARLY on to help avoid issues down the road
Our facility was absolutely getting chaotic. This prompted us to immediately put everything under the microscope. Gym lay out, flow of traffic, storage, coach positioning on the floor, when we station a Coach at the desk, etc. It all was being assessed.
This led us to alter the lay out of our gym space, change some of the verbiage when talking to prospects, and also changing some of our session times to better space the traffic through out our day. All have yielded very positive feedback from our members and have kept our staff sane in the growth process.
2) Working with teams is more than providing strength and conditioning
I made a post in the "Parisi Speed School Coaches Corner" private facebook page last fall when we started at Saint Michael's College working with three of their programs. I wanted to reiterate this point - the services we deliver go far beyond strength and conditioning. If you think that is your only role on a team, you are doing a disservice to the players and coaching staff and also discrediting yourself as a leader. After ramping up the spring semester last month, this point has become more relevant with two of those teams going in to their main competitive season.
When you are a part of the team your duties expand to staying in contact with the sports med staff, talking to administration, communicating with alumni who may be on campus, talking to recruits who may in for a visit with the team, referring out for nutritional questions, helping with fund raisers (that pay for your services...) and so much more. When you are a part of the team, you are ON the team, don't take your role lightly.
3) Communication is the glue to your successful staff (development).
In January we started to implement a second 'in-service' day to our weeks. On Monday's we meet for an hour as a staff to talk operations and keep this meeting purely administrative. We cover everything from how to answer the phone, who's a new athlete coming in, injured athletes that may need programming adjustments, how to explain our pricing structure, and tough customer service questions or interactions. We follow that up with a 'Fri-yay' in-service where we talk all things Coaching. Training concepts, programming strategies, industry trends, etc. It's just pure coaching development.
What I think is important to highlight why we do it this way is two things. 1) it separates the two types of 'coach'...emotional engagement and x's and o's. Our staff comes in prepared for the topics on their respective day and can engage better. 2) We doubled the amount of time we spent on group staff development. I meet with coaches privately each week some candid some planned, but as a group we sit down for two hours a week and just focus on getting better as a group. Going back to point 1 on this post, making sure we scaled our staff development to match our growing business is a key priority.
Hoping that these three things help you and your facility thrive as we all jump head first in to 2018!
ALSO- don't forget to check out the '3 Things Podcast' now available for download on iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud!