Do you run your software? Or does it run you?
“Look for software that makes your life easier,” said Brad Longazel, a co-owner of Strong Side CrossFit, a Box located in Louisville, Kentucky. “Having to spend hours looking over reports may make you seem like a true entrepreneur, but if the paperwork is keeping you from caring for members, the system is broken.”
At Strong Side, Longazel refuses to let his gym or software run him, so he has learned the ins and outs of his management systems. The Box utilizes both MINDBODY and Wodify in its daily operations. Longazel said while they started with MINDBODY, it lacked any sort of individual tracking. Wodify came into play to manage athlete tracking, and MINDBODY handles all scheduling and payment processing.
While Strong Side uses two systems to satisfy its needs, CrossFit Hale in Richmond, California, got a bit more creative. Mike Lee, a Coach at the Box, as well as its “Chief Nerd,” has been busy building extra apps, programs and integrations. CrossFit Hale uses Front Desk to do the “core stuff,” said Lee, like class/appointment scheduling, invoicing and purchasing. Plus, he said it’s generally user friendly.
However, Lee has made a few tweaks to how CrossFit Hale uses Front Desk. For example, the business uses Active Campaign for eblasts, but there is no integration between that platform and Front Desk. So Lee built a database that integrated the two.
Now when a new member is added to Front Desk, Active Campaign is able to retrieve that information from Lee’s database and email the member. “As soon as it gets notified there’s a new member that started out, it kicks off another campaign for you,” said Lee.
Plus, Lee has devised a way through his database to create a call list for the staff member at CrossFit Hale’s front desk. The employee can run a report that tells him or her which members haven’t been in for a while, which have birthdays coming up, who has been a member for two weeks, etc.
Lee also built a website for the Box’s nutrition coaching/lifestyle challenge. Ultimately, he looks to have those add-ons make the business more turnkey and improve the ability of the staff to run the gym. “The Coaches can focus on coaching,” he said. “They can focus on making sure the members are getting the benefit out of the program.”
Nick Gecsy also said your software should make life easier. As the current owner of BTB Fitness in Atlanta, Georgia, Gecsy has seen a few transitions of management software at the facility. He went from MINDBODY to Front Desk and is currently looking to move to Zen Planner.
Cost has been a large factor in his moves. Gecsy said he had to pay per transaction while in the MINDBODY system, so he saved money by moving to Front Desk. Now, he believes he can save time by transitioning to Zen Planner due to its available automation integrations.
When looking to transfer between management softwares, Gecsy said he wants to make it as painless for members as possible. When he left MINDBODY, the company encrypted members’ credit card information. “I didn’t have to go to all 350-plus members, like ‘Hey guys. Thanks for everything you guys do for us. Guess what? You need to go spend 10 to 15 minutes to go login to your new account and add all of your payment information,’” he said. “We wanted to make it hassle free for our members.”
Because it all comes back to the members. Longazel said both softwares have helped keep retention up at Strong Side through the use of text messaging, as well as “No Return” reports. “Staying ahead of a member that is starting to fall off for whatever the reason might be and keeping them accountable has been instrumental in our growth,” he explained. “Use a platform or as many systems as you need to keep members and keep them happy. The features that help you care, communicate and track progress are the most important factors in retention.”
And that means knowing what exactly you need. Lee suggested if possible, manage your gym on just a spreadsheet at the beginning of your business. This can help the owner understand what he or she wants to track, and thus, will know what software the Box will benefit from the most.
“What’s the most important thing you need?” said Lee. “Don’t let a software dictate how you’re going to run your business.”