Weights and lady
Debbie Hancock

Debbie Hancock

Owner of Southbourne Accountancy & Business Services

How can gym management software help your business grow? 

 

Whether you own a fitness facility or are considering opening one, choosing the right gym management software is key. Gym management software is not only for gyms but also, fitness studios, clubs, PT’s, dance studios, yoga studios, personal trainers etc.  

 

It offers an all-in-one software solution to run your business efficientlyAs a fitness entrepreneur you often end up wearing many hats – marketer, accountant, sales person, administrator and everything else in-betweenAs your business grows you will find these hats harder to juggle, so why not let the software do some of the heavy lifting. 

 

Typically, you would expect the software to have features such as membership management, class bookings, payment processing and provide useful reports and insights. Some fitness businesses will start with a spreadsheet but this will quickly grow messy and can result in a poor member experience. If this sounds familiar then now may be the time to consider the benefits a gym management software solution offers, it can save you time, reduce your stress levels and improves customer satisfaction and importantly retention! We all know that customer acquisition and retention are the bread and butter of growing a successful fitness business.  

 

When deciding on what features the software needs to offer, it is important for you to assess your business needs, ask yourself: 

  1. What is my 5-year plan for the business – is it to grow?  
  2. Do I require my system to integrate with other software solutions such as video sharing, accounting systems, payroll systems, payment systems, email marketing systems?  
  3. What could improve my customer experience? Do they want an app, ease of payment, ease of booking? 
  4. Do I need it to manage staffing levels? 
  5. Do I need it to assist with client retention and acquisition? 
  6. How much time does it need to save me? 
 

Make sure that whatever solution you go for it solves YOUR businesses problems and propels your business forward. Don’t be dazzled by the features that will not help your business, focus on your needs and if the software offers that.  

 

Potential features of gym management software: 

 

Get cash into your bank: 

 Integrated payment processing: 

By having flexible payment methods such as direct debits, credit cards, cash…cheques…. you will reduce the friction points for when a member wishes to pay, this will result in more sales.  

Integrations into payment systems GoCardless and Stripe will reduce the need for you to spend time chasing payments each month. This saved time can be spent building the business.  

 

Chase up payment: 

You may find it embarrassing to call up members to chase payments or even to send the email, so why not have this automated. The software will email or text the member and you could even include a link to the app so they can pay via their phone.  

 

Automated payment reminders will also reduce the need to chase up late payments, the software will notify members when payment is due, if they are not on direct debit. 

 

If a member is behind on payments some software will give them the option to use the app to make one-off payments.  

 

It is all about getting the money into your bank account, after cash-is-king and without it you will not have a viable business.  

 

Spend more money: 

Members may be able to store card details against their account which means that your members don’t have to bring their card when they come to your facility! 

 

Marketing 

 

Marketing emails: 

The software will aid you in managing prospects, current members and members who have left. If you have a newsletter or a special promotion you can categorise contacts into groups and target them with specific emails.  

 

Social media integration: 

The software may include a social media integration such as a facebook pixel so you can understand where leads came from and how you can re-target similar people 

 

Retention 

 

Which members may leave: 

Data collected by the software will enable you to automate your retention policy, by understanding which members are not making the most of their membership you can contact them and help them understand the benefits so they do not leave.  

 

Celebrate milestones: 

Data in the system will allow you to automate reminders for things such as birthdays, membership “birthday” etc so you can send them an automated birthday email/text/or app message or even get a reminder to send out a birthday card in the post 

 

Renewal: 

If a member’s membership is due to come to an end, you can send them an automated email to remind them to renew and reduce the risk of them leaving.  

 

Customer 

 

Ease: 

Reduce the friction for the member at all points of the customer journey, software and apps can ensure that members can join online 24/7, book classes easily, check how busy the gym is, make online payments and ultimately make the process seamless. If you enhance the member experience, retention is likely to improve and referrals may increase.  

 

An app will also allow you to keep in contact with members on the go. We are a nation of phone and app lovers so take your customer journey to where the customer is.  

 

Digital integration 

Make digital classes look more professional with integration to apps such as Zoom. The member will log in via the app which enhances your brand and increases that seamless customer journey. 

 

Brand 

From your website to the app, your brand is at the forefront of the customer experience so you will want to ensure that whatever software you select it can showcase your brand. 

 

Legal 

 

GDPR: 

This important regulation is about the safe keeping of personal data, you need to make sure that your clients’ data is processed lawfully and consent must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous.  Your gym software should allow you to store and easily access by member, digital sign-up, waiver forms, PARQ’s and T&C’s. By having this all in one place if a member was to request access to all the data you hold on them (this includes emails) you will have a single source of truth and be able to handle the request quickly and efficiently. This will ensure the member is happy and GDPR regulators are happy. 

 

The member should be able to easily unsubscribe to your marketing emails, again by having this in one location and not having to maintain two records you can ensure you are not outside the law.  

 

Stock 

One way to increase profit within your fitness business could be to sell other items such as drinks, exercise clothing, snacks etc but it is important to understand the level of stocks. This assists your accountant and ensures that stock levels are never too low or becoming obsolete. Some software providers will have an automatic re-order feature which you can set to different levels on each item type.  

 

Staff management  

Some software providers will allow you to put rotas on the system, so you can manage staffing levels, keep staff informed of any changes and then link through to payroll systems for accurate payment to staff.  

 

Information to grow business 

The software should provide a user-friendly dashboard which makes it easy for staff to use and provides valuable insights at a glance. Such insights could include, employee costs, membership retention numbers, sales numbers, attendance rates etc. These important numbers will give you key information for growing your business and where you should focus your attention, making changes before it’s too late.  

 

By linking into your accounting system, you will have a reduce admin burden and your accountant will be able to provide value information such as which services are most profitable, forecast tax and advise how much money you can take out of the business. These financial numbers can then be used to ensure the smooth running of your business 

 

COVID-19 safe 

 

Access to the facility: 

Your software should aid you with the current plans to re-open indoor fitness facilities. Of high importance is making sure members feel safe to return to your facilities and one way of doing this is having a non-touch entry system such as a QR code or barcode card.  

 

Number of people safely using the facility: 

Your software should be able to track how many people are in the facility at any point in time, this is so you can ensure people are able to social distance. Some software providers will also allow members to understand how busy the gym is right now and on certain times or days. This will allow members to plan their visits without worrying about their safety.   

 

In Summary  

 

Some things to consider when comparing software: 

  1. Costs – Are there set-up fees? Support fees? Additional transaction fees? 
  2. Ease – Is the system easy to learn? Will it be easy for members to use? 
  3. Brand – Does it show case your brand? 
  4. Security – Is the system secure for members details plus payments. 
  5. Features – Does it have all the features you need? 
  6. Growth – Can it grow with your business ambitions? 
Do not be dazzled by shiny features that you do not need and simply increase the cost of the subscription, focus on your business needs and find the best solution to fit those needs. You will need to have an understanding of your business’ future plans, what you want to focus on and therefore what features will really help you move forward.  

 

Without assessing your business needs, it’s more likely that you’ll make the mistake of picking software for the wrong reasons (shiny object syndrome).  

 

If you would like more help on understanding your business needs please get in touch.  

2. Download our free guide on “stopping your fitness business running out of cash”  https://southbourneaccountancy.co.uk/fitness-ebook/  

3. Download our free Coronavirus support guide: https://southbourneaccountancy.co.uk/coronavirussupport/  

4. Connect with me on social media:  

 

 

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