Remember the days when management software was a suggestion?
Now, it’s an absolute requirement. “Without a business management system in place, you are more likely to lose money, lose business and ultimately, misunderstand the health of your business in both the short term and long term,” said Jake Buchholz, an account executive of Pike13.
Where software used to be just a tool used for billing and scheduling, it has evolved into much more. Buchholz said it can now streamline business through various integrations in areas like marketing, liability, merchandise, etc.
In fact, Kinnick McDonald, the director of marketing at Zen Planner, said your management software should be able to cover three areas: business management, community growth and athlete retention. McDonald said what really matters is how the software helps the business owner run an effective business to keep a thriving community.
“It’s the core business needs like reporting, payment processing, automation, lead generation, nurturing and retention tools that make or break a Box,” said McDonald.
Another thing that’s changed with software is its role in building community and member engagement. Evan Bartus, the director of marketing at TRIIB, said items like member education, support and happiness have made their way to the forefront of importance.
“Using software means you’re not just getting an organized and clear view of how your gym is performing as a business, but you’re committing to a great customer experience,” he shared. “Integrated member apps, easy sign-ups, point of sale kiosks — these are all member-focused touchpoints that improve the overall experience between you and a member.”
In terms of the biggest mistakes made by Affiliates when it comes to software, several stood out.
“The biggest mistake we see is Affiliate owners not taking advantage of the full breadth of the software,” said McDonald. “There is so much you can do and so much you can automate, but the focus tends to come back to the basic needs.”
“Choosing a software option just because it’s cheap,” said Buchholz. “Having a business management software should not be looked at as a short-term fix; this is a long-term investment for both your business and your clients. The name of the game is providing your clients with the best possible service, period. If you give your staff and your clients a sub-par platform to use on a day-to-day basis just to help you save a couple bucks, in the long-run you will have issues and no one wants to have to completely switch software six months down the road.”
“People try to do too much too fast. Many management platforms offer a lot of features and tools. Many folks dive in and haphazardly set up bits and pieces across the system without taking the time to build something out with a strategy,” said Bartus. “A second mistake is not tracking the right numbers. Know the numbers you’re tracking month over month, quarter over quarter.”
Ultimately, the benefits of using software in your gym point back to saving time. “Freeing up more time allows Box owners to do what they are passionate about and change the lives of those in their community,” said McDonald.
Buchholz agreed. “No gym owner wants to sit at their desk for hours trying to run payments or track down missing money,” he said. “That’s not why you started your Box. Having a solid platform in place allows you to streamline your admin duties and spend more time teaching your clients how to squat below parallel.”