Why throw a competition?

I’m not going to lie—competitions can be a ton of work. They can exhaust your staff and members, distract you from your core business, and drain your bank account if not done right. So why in the world would you do it? There are several reasons, but I was reminded of the most powerful one at our most recent competition. As with all competitions there were some amazing moments, but the one that brought me back to the real reason why we do these things involved one of our own members who we will call Bob.

Bob is a young man in his mid 20s. He is quiet, polite, and nice, but struggles with mental development issues that impact his social skills. Bob walked through the doors on competition day with a nervous, but happy smile.  His father was in tow and I knew Bob was excited to show off his new athletic abilities to his dad…or so I thought.

In the first event, Bob was scheduled for heat 3 but was so excited he started setting up for heat 1. We reigned him in until finally it was his time. At the call of “Go!” Bob went to work. He methodically worked through the workout, pushed himself to the limits, and finished with a big smile on his face. His performance itself was amazing, but the real beauty was when the day was over. All the athletes were in various groups talking with each other, throwing down much earned beverages, and recounting the day…including Bob!

At one point, Bob was standing by himself, looking around with a big smile on his face. I didn’t even have to ask why. Sure, he was proud of his performance that day but that’s not why he was smiling. He was smiling because he found a place and a broader community where he belonged!

I continued to watch Bob and saw countless athletes walk over to engage him in conversation.  I then saw Bob walk over to other groups without hesitation because he knew he was with “his people”.  Then it clicked with me. Bob didn’t bring his dad to show him his new athletic skills. Bob brought him to show off his new social ones.

It was that moment that reminded me why all the work and preparation was worth it—it gives all of us a platform to further our purpose to inspire and change the lives of others!

1 – It Can Further Your Purpose and Passion to Inspire!

Although the details vary, nearly every affiliate origin story is based on the owner(s) fulfilling a purpose and passion. There was some calling to inspire and change lives that could only be met by opening a box. It’s clear from my story above, that a competition allows us to further that mission. Think about it..because of that competition, Bob found where he belongs. Because of yours, someone might have a renewed commitment to train, meet their significant other, or finally gain the confidence to take that risk they’ve been thinking about. Who knows the impact your work will have…just know that you WILL INSPIRE! Inspiring people is why we do what we do, but fear not, there are some very distinct business reasons to throw competitions as well.

2 – It can extend your brand.

Two of the more well-known coaches in the CrossFit space are Ben Bergeron of CrossFit New England and CJ Martin of CrossFit Invictus. Each has a laundry list of athletes both individual and team that have made or won The CrossFit Games. They are programming masterminds, but they are also incredible branders.

Ben built on his reputation by offering CompTrain for athletes around the world that want to make CrossFit their sport.  Via the East Coast Championship, he furthered this brand by creating one of the largest competitions in the world with top-tier talent.

Similarly, CJ posts several levels of programming for the world to use and offers one of the largest online competitions in the world.

I have no doubt these competitions are inspirational and they probably even generate(d) direct revenue. But I can guarantee you the number one reason they created these competitions was to build their brands. It further elevated their status as programming authorities which yielded more opportunities in the way of athletes, members, and for those guys…even books! Job well done, gentlemen.

Most of us aren’t as high profile as CJ and Ben, but we DO have a brand…whether we know it or not. Throwing a competition is a great way to build that brand that can yield many long-term benefits.

3 – It generates decent to substantial revenue.

Let’s be clear. I’ve seen several competitions actually LOSE money! There are a ton of reasons why that we will discuss in a another section, but if run right you can generate revenue…and a lot of it. A properly run competition should generate at least 30% profit margin, so with some pretty basic math you can arrive at $3k-$5k profit with an average sized competition.

That being said, if money is your ONLY reason for doing a competition, outsource the hell out of it and direct your own effort somewhere else.  Actually, as you will see – we recommend that to most people anyway. The reason to throw a competition are quite compelling.  The real question is—are YOU the right person to do it?