Recently there was a giant uproar in the sandbag fitness world. When we announced our NEW Ultimate Sandbags, people freaked! To take the next evolution of sandbag training was officially announced and the response has already exceeded my own expectations. People may wonder, why more evolutions? If it can be done better we always take action, just like training. If you can learn strategies to get better results you would be crazy not to do it! That is the same approach I have taken with our program, if we can make it better, we do it!
Some of these ideas have been inspired by books I have been reading about how even the most successful companies strive to do better. One of those books is “Onward by Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks. In the book, “Onward”, Mr. Schultz gives explicit detail to the journey of Starbucks, mostly their almost demise in light of recent competition, distractions, and econonmy. I saw some erie similarities that I thought were very appropriate for this moment in time for our company.
Inspiration: In “Onward” Mr. Schultz describes his trips to small Italian coffee shops where coffee was so much more than coffee. It was about the experience people had when visiting these spots. These small coffee shops were a part of people’s lives and neighborhoods. There was a close interaction with the staff and the customers and a genuine “caring” of the experience the customers received.
I can see a parallel in our Ultimate Sandbag world. It was my own desire to provide people with a real solution to fitness and performance. Something was exciting, dynamic, and capable of being used by any fitness level. I personally had seen such a difference in my own struggles that I wanted others to experience what it felt like to really get results and to have “ah-ha” moment that inspired all of this.
I didn’t seek out a business plan, mock up models for months or years, just dove head first into developing this program very unsure if anyone would really be interested. In fact, a top coach told me that there would never be a market for what I wanted to provide. Funny.
There wasn’t any model to follow, NO ONE was talking about sandbag training or giving a blueprint on how to make them. I have always come from the coaches angle and that has helped me continue to make everything we do better. That is why you see people want to try to copy what we do, but because they will never have the same passion or innovations we stay not one, but several steps ahead.
Focus: It is easy to get distracted, very easy! Mr. Schultz describes one of the major problems of Starbucks was losing focus in regards to what they were really about, the coffee! They have ventured into so many other arenas such a music production and even movies that remembering what got them their success was being lost in so many ways.
Since we grew so fast, so quickly it was easy to get tempted into losing our own focus into doing many other “things”. Numerous times I would be presenting at conferences and people would come up to me and say, “Josh, you should really make this or that, you should do this or that”. However, we weren’t about just knocking out a whole lot of “sorta like this” products. It has been evident that while we have been teaching this program since 2005 people are still learning our system and the power of Ultimate Sandbag training.
We didn’t want to build a whole line of equipment that was like other things because we believe we have something so unique that we want to not only keep our focus on developing exciting new programs and evolutions of our Ultimate Sandbag for our loyal followers and those seeking real training advice. That’s why at the end of the day we are still the ones that create programs, education, and innovative exercises. Speaking at conferences for fitness professionals, strength coaches, and military groups, I KNOW what we bring transcends even sandbags!
Integrity and Perfection Are Not the Same: There is something comforting reading about how such a large corporation like Starbucks had failures in products and ideas. Most people are so afraid to fail, but this also of course never leads to innovation. It would be easy to focus on the failures, but Starbucks instead would focus on how to make certain things even better and while there were failures, it is always how you handle them.
We grew fast, no I mean, REALLY fast when we began. In fact, I was completely unprepared for the excitement that quickly surrounded our program and products. Both our manufacturer at the time and ourselves didn’t know how to handle the situation. Our company was badly understaffed and the manufacturer struggled to keep up with the demands. Well, let’s say it lead to many sleepless nights and stressful times. It kept mounting and while we did the very best we could at the time, I realized that it made us look less than professional.
Fixing this problem required going through to find not more people, but the RIGHT people that would ensure the passion and quality that I wanted to be known for in our programs. It also meant evolving how the Ultimate Sandbag was made over time and finding manufacturers that shared our same values.
Success Does Not Equal Greed: I’m going to go in reverse order this time. I know how it could seem that those are successful are greedy and money hungary, of course that usually stems from the jealousy factor that so many unfortunately experience. I hope that our announcement of even BETTER Ultimate Sandbags with no price increase shows our dedication to doing it bigger and better while watching out for our customers.
I have a confession, not using canvas is NOT new! So, why would I make such a statement now? Well, for most people to go into all the details that go into making our Ultimate Sandbag seems irrelevant. For years we have constantly made evolutions, some easy to see, some far more difficult to notice but would make a great impact. Our hope has always been that we have built trust with all of you that we would do the absolute best for those that trust and invest with us.
We have always stood behind our products and yes have had moments of not being perfect, but have always been open and honest with our customers. Something almost unheard of in this day and age, taking accountability.
Many companies would have said, “this is good enough”, but as I approach training with a desire to constantly improve and evolve, so does our Ultimate Sandbag. To me, there is no such thing as “good enough.” The question is always is this the BEST we can do? Over the years I have found that the answer can sometimes depend on who you speak with and who you decide to work with.
I see Starbucks in a similar light. “Onward” speaks a great deal about the improvements Mr. Schultz demanded even if it many in the company upset. Sure, these changes would largely go unnoticed by the public, media, and others, but Mr. Schultz knew how these small changes and innovations would maintain the positive and powerful experience he demanded of his company.
What’s The Point?: These were some of the really interesting lessons and parallels I got from “Onward”. It wasn’t an opportunity to debate whether or not you like Starbuck’s coffee, but rather learning how a major corporation went from the brink of possibly selling itself off to posting it best quarter during one of our country’s worse recessions. It wasn’t due to tricky marketing, wild new products, or anything of the such. The resurgence of Starbuck’s was about making sure they were the VERY best at what they did and the experience they provided.
We are no where near the size of Starbucks which makes it many ways easier to maintain those qualities. The people we have within are passionate and dedicated not to just our program, but to you, those who invest in your hope of making your lives better through fitness or others’ lives better. I hope we can also model the idea that our focus will always remain on the little things. Whether it is the constant improvements we make to our Ultimate Sandbags, or the way we deliver incredibly powerful training program.
The old Jackson Browne quote, “our character is what we do when we think no one is looking” is one of our core foundational principles. In a day and age when EVERYONE is looking, it is what you do and say when you think no one is, it is how you handle adversity and when you make the tough RIGHT decision. Even as I was in the middle of writing this post I received a very angry out of the blue email from a copycat threatening me about their desire to “crush us”. Something odd strikes me about writing such things to people no matter what the circumstance. Especially in light of the fact we are helping more and more people every month change their lives for the better. Maybe the most valuable lesson I have learned is not to attack others (never will be our style), rather be more vocal about the small and important things we do week in and week out to make everything you do better!
Some may still find it hard to believe we have your best interest at heart. Maybe it isn’t the almost 300 FREE Youtube videos we put out with constantly new material. Maybe it isn’t the in-depth weekly posts giving instruction and thought provoking posts. Maybe it isn’t the fact that we constantly are improving even our FREE items for the hope in a small way we improved some aspect of your life.
I promise this style of post to be very infrequent, but every once awhile you need to clear the record and remind people that character and integrity do matter in business and all aspects of life. Parents love to say that :friends are a reflection of you”, and I believe who you do business with is also a reflection of you, make sure you know who you are doing business with! Now back to the training…..
A sneak peek of our NEW Ultimate Sandbags, again setting a new standard in the fitness industry! More pictures and details to come soon!
Starbucks and Ultimate Sandbags?! is a post from: Sandbag Training
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