October 18, 2022 @ 7:40 AM


Auto dealers belong to an auto dealers association.  Subway and Burger King restaurants belong to a restaurant association.  Membership in an association is how small businesses pool their voices to be heard and aggregate their numbers to qualify for pool discounts and services they could not afford on their own.  It is how they increase their clout in negotiations and raise their voice when needed for protection.

Just to be clear...  The BwP association does not compete with Rock Steady Boxing in any way.  We are passionate supporters of the RSB programs and our founder has multiple RSB locations.  BwP members balance their desire to help people with Parkinson's with the needs of running a sustainable business.

Currently a small group of about 50 to 75 active affiliates use the RSB Facebook coach’s forum to compare notes and vent.  There are several problems with this:  1) RSB is the sponsor so there is a limit to what affiliates can say without putting their relationship with RSB at risk,  RSB reads everything that is written.  2) participating affiliates are writing/reading as individual affiliates.  They are not collaborating, strategizing and speaking with one voice.  3)  Many affiliates and coaches do not respond fearing damaging their RSB relationship.

My experience might be similar to yours.  When I call RSB, they are there to help.  However, in 5 years, I have never received a phone call or email asking how I'm doing.  Or have they sought my opinion, feedback or expertise on any topic.  I think there were 2 times when I received an invitation to participate in a national RSB survey.  Which I did both times.  And I never heard a word back.  For everything they do great, communication and field support is lacking.   

Opportunity 1:  RSB has boxing tunnel vision.  Boxingvision.  Understandable.  Our members don't have have  Rock Steady vision or Parkinson's vision.  They have client vision.  A focus that drives them to put the client first, not one specific program.  For Joe, it may be boxing.  Ann needs Yoga or Pilates.  Sam needs boxing, Tai Chi and biking.  Our members can do this.  RSB cannot.

Opportunity 2:  The BwP Marketing Calendar is an example of association resources benefiting your business.  Every month the association plans to provide a marketing campaign and materials to leverage a market segment to promote your programs and recruit new Boxers and build referrals.  This program will begin when we have enough members to form a Marketing Council.  Learn more.

Opportunity 3:  RSB is in transition and I am very excited about the changes and directions I hear about.  But, RSB affiliates want a voice.  We are very smart and we have direct in-the-field experience they don't have.  They have 300 boxers, we have 30.  They have more square feet in their gym, more equipment, more coaches and more volunteers.  They charge half what I have to charge just to break even. And they use nonprofit fundraisers to subsidize their gym operation.  They need to hear from us about what it is like to be a RSB affiliate.

Opportunity 4:  On the issue of for-profit vs. nonprofit.  What if you could do both?  Operate your gym for-profit and at the same time, become a 501c3 Boxers with Parkinson's Chapter to accept grants and donations?  We are working with our tax accountants to be able to provide a non-profit chapter status to BwP members under the BwP 501c3 umbrella.  Details to follow.  No promises yet.  Another example of how your membership in your association can help you succeed.

There is a difference the attention my voice alone will receive compared to the attention a BwP RSB Council would receive if 100 or 400 of us speak with one voice.  RSB is working on new affiliate contracts.  What will be in them?  Will it be take-it--or-leave-it?  RSB is working on new affiliate qualification requirements and a recertification process.  It would benefit us to have insights into their thinking and have input from the field.

Here are some additional areas where we need a voice.

Opportunity 5:  RSB just authorized a RSB affiliate just 3.8 miles from one of my locations and they did not notify me.  I have heard of new RSB locations as close as 2 miles.  It is naïve to think being a RSB affiliate is not a business subject to traditional business and pricing pressures of competition.  Territory protection is a serious issue.  We need some kind of territory protection.

Opportunity 6:  In the agreements we have already signed, on Page 7 under Confidential Information, Section C, the agreement says:

“Affiliate acknowledges and agrees that if Affiliate develops any concept, process, design, service, or improvement in the operation or promotion of the Curriculum, RSB will be deemed to own the improvements and may use them and authorize other RSB Affiliates to use them without any obligation to compensate Affiliate. Any such Improvements will also constitute Confidential Information. Affiliate shall, at any time requested by RSB, execute assignments or other similar documents of all such intellectual property to RSB, including but not limited to, worldwide copyrights, moral rights, patents, right to obtain registrations, renewals, and reissues, and any and all such other rights of whatever kind now known or hereafter devised.“  

Essentially, anything you have thought, said or done related to a Rock Steady workout... is theirs.  An issue to address in one voice.  

Opportunity 7:  Affiliate qualifications will be part of the new agreement.  Historically, anyone who could pay their way to Indianapolis could become an affiliate.  We certainly welcome a change in this area.  But, we want a voice to make sure it is reasonable and to insure it is fair to those of us who are already invested.

Opportunity 8:  Affiliate and coach recertification.  We agree with the need to maintain quality, professional coaches throughout the RSB network.  However, requirements and cost are important to us.  We want a seat at the table.

Opportunity 9:  Pool our purchasing power.  Many of us have equipment or service needs beyond those RSB offers us.  AS the association matures to 400 or 800 members, we represent a desired marketing base for companies.

Opportunity 10:  RSB needs some protections too.  As an example, the non-compete clause.  Once an affiliate has been trained, downloaded everything from CMS and has a year's experience delivering classes, why do they need to keep paying the annual fees?  Beyond the ethics of it all, RSB has much to protect as well.  Through a BwP RSB Council we could provide valuable feedback and solutions.

Opportunity 11:  BwP's RSB independence allows us the independence to provide services and tools beyond what Rock Steady provides.  One example is PARS, our all-new boxer assessment and research system.  And coming-soon, the new exercise optimizer tool for people with Parkinson's.  These two pieces of technology will help you stand out by providing exceptional proprietary services to your clients.  

The long term survival and success of your individual business unit is critical to your boxer's fight against Parkinson's  and RSB, Inc's long-term success.  Your Boxers...  You...  RSB.  Win.  Win.  Win.