In a world where technology advancements occur so rapidly, it can be challenging to keep up and know what's best for your business. There is little doubt that, throughout human history, technological advances have brought innumerable benefits to our lives.
One of the primary ways contemporary gyms can achieve success and maximize business potential is through the effective use of gym management software. This technology has evolved far beyond merely checking members into the gym and processing membership dues. Now, it serves as an essential tool general managers use to manage all facets of the business.
The capabilities of contemporary gym management software will, very likely, far exceed what you will need, but knowing how to use them effectively brings your business significant benefit. The following strategies are not all-encompassing, but each addresses ways in which you can get the most out of the technology in critical areas of your business.
Strategy #1: Membership Management
Anyone who has spent time working in the health and fitness industry knows that the business's life-blood is building and sustaining membership. Using gym management software effectively allows you to market your business to maximize new member acquisition and retain members you worked so hard to attract.
Attracting prospective members to your gym is simple in theory but not easy in practice. Constructing state-of-the-art facilities and assuming that people will automatically flock to it is a recipe for disaster. Your gym does not function like a vending machine into which people pour money. Attracting and acquiring new members takes purposeful planning and exemplary execution.
One of the key ways to acquire new members is to use your gym management software to capitalize on generated leads and prospects. While placing phone calls to prospective members serves to connect with them, it has lost its effectiveness over the last few decades.
Using your gym software to send automated communications, such as emails, SMS, or push notifications, allows for maximal efficiency. Further, your gym software can allow you to "drill-down" even further to communicate directly with your target market or ideal market segment. This type of communication will enable you to market free trial memberships, reduced or zero enrollment fees, and/or special pricing when a "call-to-action" occurs.
Another effective way to acquire new members is to reduce the “barrier-to-entry” by having either an online enrollment option or an in-club, self-serve kiosk. Working with your gym management software provider, you can embed their software platform on your website, thus allowing you to conveniently sell to prospects without them having to visit your facility.
In effect, this digital service provides prospective members with a quick and easy way to enroll. Further, an in-club, self-serve kiosk would perform a similar function by allows prospective members to complete liability waivers, enrolling in a free trial membership, or enrolling as a full-fledged member. Using your gym management software in this way allows you to capture new members without the expense of dedicated membership counselors or advisors.
While acquiring new members proves essential, member retention is even more critical. The reality is that acquiring new members is significantly more expensive than retaining existing members. Far too often, however, general managers lose sight of engaging existing members in the pursuit of acquiring new ones.
Clubs must take great care to cultivate relationships with each member to ensure they are actively using the gym and participating in club events. Enrolling new members and hoping they do not use the facility could not be more short-sighted. Members that fail to use the gym quit their membership long before they cancel their membership.
An effective way to effectively manage and engage with existing members is to provide frequent, but not obtrusive, communication about club goings-on while putting your members in control of their gym experience. Your gym management software allows you to interact with your members by keeping them apprised of club events, such as fitness challenges, member appreciation parties, and member referral programs.
Additionally, giving your members access to their account through a software portal or dedicated app gives them the ability to manage their membership and payment details, schedule personal training sessions, and set reminders for group fitness classes and appointments.
It should be noted that, while the benefits of this technology are manifold to (re)engage your members, nothing beats good old fashion interpersonal connection. Remember that your gym management software augments the building of long-lasting relationships and should never replace efforts to make loyal customers through high-quality member service.
Strategy #2: Operations Management
Besides building and sustaining membership, general managers are charged with effectively managing expenses to ensure more top-line revenue flows through to bottom-line profit.
Using gym management software effectively allows you to stay on top of significant cost centers, such as employee staffing and inventory management while streamlining payment processing, scheduling, and payroll.
Staffing and Scheduling:
Beyond rent and utilities, labor costs are one of the largest expenses general managers must manage effectively. Gym management software takes the guesswork out of the process by providing robust dashboards that display an hour-by-hour visual snapshot for each business area.
From this, you know exactly how to deploy your workforce (i.e., front desk representatives, membership counselors/advisors, personal trainers, etc.) to maximize efficiency and minimize waste while giving you the ability to address your member’s needs.
Effectively managing in-club inventory, such as protein powders, ready-to-eat treats, and/or sports drinks takes precision. Like other profit centers within your gym, the goal here is to maximize sales and minimize shrink or theft.
Your gym management software allows you to create unique product identifiers (SKUs) and customize product categories as part of the point-of-sale system. Within the system, you can establish "minimum thresholds" for each product that keeps product displays full while minimizing back stock. It also allows you to generate and download detailed reports, thus allowing you to make precise, data-driven decisions on reordering high-velocity, quick-selling products, or closing out slow-moving items.
General Managers tend to express concern for how payments will be processed and collected. Using gym management software allows the gym to bill members regularly (one-time fees are also an option), such as membership dues, personal training, childcare, etc., at various intervals throughout the month. In many cases, the gym management software provider facilitates this process using an SSL-secure platform, and the gym pays a percentage or royalty for this service.
This saves the general manager considerable time, which can be devoted to managing gym operations instead of performing administrative duties. Further, the gym management software provides robust reporting that allows the general manager to assess trends on the business's financial side.
Another function gym management software provides you is to process payroll timely and accurately without having the additional expense of hiring an external payroll processing service. Once you set up compensation for salaried (exempt) employees, direct deposit for each employee, state and federal tax rates, FICA contributions, and benefit deductions (i.e., health insurance, 401k, etc.), processing payroll is as simple as entering hours worked for hourly (non-exempt) employees. In many cases, no manual entry is needed for hourly employees, as the software pulls data from digital timecards. This is a significant benefit, as it makes the payroll process easy and seamless.
From selectorized resistance training equipment to functional training protocols to exciting group fitness experiences, the health and fitness industry has embraced the inclusion and use of technology and disruptive innovations.
Given the competitive landscape of the gym industry, it would seem that having access to and using all available tools and resources serves as a way to be successful and gain a competitive advantage.
Gym management software is one of those tools, and using the capabilities it provides can help you differentiate your business from the competition. When selecting the most appropriate software, there are many options, so do your research, be deliberate, and good luck!