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Play the Long Game

This week's guest post is by Jason Fernandez of CrossFit Rife. Jason has been around long enough to see, hear, and experience it all when it comes to running and owning an affiliate. Check out the post below for some hard fought wisdom!

In Simon Sinek’s new book, The Infinite Game, he discusses the perils of short term thinking and trying to “win” vs playing the long game with the only objective being to “stay in the game”. 

Which one of those mindsets do you bring to your brand apparel?

This begs the questions we should ask ourselves about our brand:
Do you like people associating with your brand?   
Does it make you happy to see a gym full of folks wearing your logo? 
Do you want that to happen without being painful to you or your staff??

Then stop trying to sell 100 T-Shirts when you have 133 members!!!!!

Just so we can talk objectively selling to 50% of your member base would be incredible.  100/133 is 75%.  That is not realistic

You know what is??  30%  And even that is high.

As gym owners we get upset because we don’t know anything about retail, but we do know it is a profitable market.  So, we force the issue.  We put all our hopes and dreams on that one sale, that one design, that one color.  None of which were tested, polled or requested.

This is the definition of foolishness.  And it’s short sighted.

Play the long game.  The long game is to have 80-95% of the member base to have at least one item with your logo on it. 

This means we have to think in much longer time periods.  Not months, YEARS!  This is going to be potentially dozens of designs.

But it will happen, with patience.   People are picky.  They might like the design, but not the color or the color and not the design.  Or they like the design but prefer it on the front and not the back, or they think it would have been better on a hoodie not a T-Shirt.  Then you did put it on a hoodie, but they wanted a pull over and you ordered zip ups. 

I didn’t do well in college, but I know my odds based on all of those personal preferences aren’t anything I would bet on in Vegas.

We have done dozens of designs over the years.  Some were a hit some weren’t.  Some did great, and I hated them.  Who would have thought?

If we want to sell hundreds of shirts, we have to be ok with doing that in smaller increments and multiple designs.  The more the better.  People are picky but most of them like variety. 

We’ve been doing 3-6 shirts a year for the past 3+years.  We have done so many designs that sometimes people walk in with a shirt I forgot we sold.  Cool! 

Smaller orders create novelty.  It gives us more opportunity to appeal to the entire community and lets them know that we will get to them because we are creating another design soon.
All the while we are putting more apparel on our members, creating association with the brand, loyalty from our members and pride in what we do.

Doesn’t sound half bad.