Staying Committed to the Future: The New elitefts.com

TAGS: strength and fitness industries, re-investment plan, site launch, apology, the New elitefts.com, business plan, feedback, team elitefts, strength athletes, powerlifting, dave tate

When we launched our new website at the end January, we did so as part of a larger re-investment plan for the company. As I wrote previously, in today’s hypercompetitive strength and fitness industries, companies must evolve or die. To progress you need to continue to grow; you must keep pace and stay responsive to consumers; and you have to anticipate your customers’ future wants.

Since launching the new elitefts.com, we’ve received overwhelming feedback as well as numerous questions regarding our vision and long-term plans for the company. Our purpose is to remain the industry’s top information and equipment destination for strength athletes or anyone who makes training a high priority in life.

Today, I want to publicly address the feedback that we have been receiving and take personal responsibility for not doing this sooner.

From day one, we have put readers in direct access to world-class strength athletes, coaches, and trainers and our company’s accomplishments over the past 17 years stand on their own: 

  • More than two million products and a customer base of nearly a quarter million people.
  • The widest range of free educational resources available anywhere — more than one million pages of free content (7,500 articles, 14,000 videos, 800 exercises, and reaching nearly 100 podcasts).
  • A successful track record of more than 150 complete weight rooms to date and products that can be found in gyms and training centers around the world.
  • Countless elitefts innovations (from the Prowler, Band Pegs, and Monkey Chin Bars, to Training Grenades and Rack Arch braces) brought to market — products now used by virtually everyone in the industry.
  • A longstanding partnership with Total Strength and Speed (A Williams Strength company), designing and building the best strength and conditioning equipment in the industry — completely customizable, American-made products that exceed customer demand with best-in-class quality, timely development, exceptional function, and longevity.
  • Products that are “field tested” by the world’s strongest athletes, in real-world applications such as extreme load-bearing and repetitive use (anyone can build a rack that can support 500 pounds. But few can deliver one that meets the extreme demands of a professional weight room, with daily, non-stop, repeated use).
  • A variety of world-respected seminars, events, and original elitefts experiences that grow each year. In 2014 alone we have debuted The elitefts Sports Performance Summit and The elitefts Powerlifting Experience, and intend to further develop our unique variety of services in the coming months.
  • Company contributions reaching nearly a quarter-million dollars to Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana, Central Ohio Region to help bring hope to children diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.
  • Team members that have gone on to achieve great things and developed successful careers in a wide variety of areas. Team Elitefts’ alumni work at every level in the industry—from becoming successful business owners, university and professional coaches, and athletes, to private trainers, equipment makers, and beyond.

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The company’s entire lifeblood has been its committed to service excellence by providing a simple, accurate and memorable experience coupled with deliveries and installations that are complete, professionally managed, on-time, and fully supported.

When I first created elitefts.com, my goal was to inspire readers to maximize their own training and personal development while empowering them to acquire the knowledge, tools, and information that are needed to achieve the best possible training results. Our success has been built on these basic principles. And, we make learning fun. I am willing to bet that elitefts has helped break more PRs than any other site online — ever.

We empower readers by also showing that we are all human. Who else can post articles on autism, addictions, block training, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and PTSD (or even Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Oreos) — and it all “fits?” This all has been a result of our attention to readers and customers, while staying true to our vision to live, learn and pass on.

We’re not perfect.

When it came to putting readers first and communicating about our new website we missed the point. And for that, I am truly sorry. As CEO, I messed-up. I wanted to launch the new site as soon as we possibly could. And, after nearly a year of planning and development, I pulled the trigger knowing very well there might be bugs and issues. It is amazing to me how often business correlates with training and vice versa. Similar to not communicating with your training partners and expecting them to read your mind, I wasn’t transparent about what we were doing before launching. I simply never communicated to readers what we were doing.

As a company, we should have made it known that the new site would launch in transition mode, and then agile changes during a several-month test period would occur. We should have communicated our roll out on regular basis. In training, you can’t just do your own thing and then expect feedback or help without some sort of ongoing dialogue. It’s like showing up to a meet after 12 weeks of training alone and expecting your helpers to call your attempts.

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An ever growing team of professionals, Elitefts is passionate at helping people make a measurable difference in both their training and life by investing the necessary resources to professionally manage an ever growing group of like-minded individuals with the shared goal of providing you with the best possible strength-training and related information available. In a similar vein, elitefts also continually seeks to expand its team of like-minded people on the professional side. From finance, business planning and human resources, to marketing, PR and legal, we have steadily build a services side of the business that works behind the scenes at making sure the company remains strong. The common thread with all of these individuals, however, is that they “get it.” They are one of us. They live and breathe the lifestyle. And, they all know the difference between a squat bar and a deadlift bar (even the lawyers). This is an absolute must for us — relationships with people (athletes, employees, and partners) that are not only the best in their fields, but also place training at a high priority in their life.

Now that we have finished the most grueling phase of our new website — the overall infrastructure and structural foundation — we are rapidly moving through the fine-tuning stage. From that point, we then will begin looking ahead and seek to further expand our team of professionals. Looking forward, we are no longer at a technology ceiling. In fact, we are in the basement and have more room to grow than we would have ever imagined. The possibilities are endless.

We soon will be expanding to our team, professional partners in the area of front and back end web development and marketing . We will seek long-term relationships with people to assist us in the ongoing refinement and development of our site — a never-ending process for any company.

If you haven’t been to the site in awhile, I invite you to come back and see the work that has been done. I also want to offer you three pieces of content that we initially planned to make into e-books:

Because of your support over the years we have decided to post these as articles on the site (as always—no cost and no login required).

Our goal is to provide you, the customer, with the best purchasing and educational experiences in the industry. Going forward, we also promise to communicate better.

Dave Tate

Founder Elitefts.com

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