If you own a fitness studio or gym, it’s safe to say you’re probably busy. Not only are you running a business, but you’re also in a profession that requires you to move around all day. When your days and evenings fill up with classes, the old adage “time is money” rears its ugly head.
There are a few time- and money-savers you’ll want on your side to manage your day-to-day. These powerful tech tools are worth the initial investment, giving you more control of your studio environment and your business at large. Read on to discover smart ways to harness these new tools and optimize your business.
Create a smart studio with IoT devices
From fridges to sneakers, these days it’s hard to find an everyday object that hasn’t been enhanced for the Internet of Things (IoT) universe. While cloud-enabled or wifi-powered fixtures and devices might cost more at the outset, they can save you hundreds in utility costs throughout the year, also cutting down on the time you spend fiddling with them.
With a smart thermostat like Nest, you can control your studio’s temperature from your phone. That means you can turn the heat down even after you’ve closed up shop, or even better, start up the heat an hour before you arrive the next morning. Same goes for smart light bulbs, which allow you to control and schedule lighting from your device or via a voice assistant integration. Some can even change colors, helping you achieve an underground rave scene for spin class or a soft pink glow for evening yogilates. If you have a smaller space, you might even benefit from a voice assistant like Echo (plus a few Echo dots), or smart sound system like Sonos for a low-effort way to play music in different rooms of your studio.
Automate marketing tasks for better customer relationships
Nothing can replace a face-to-face conversation with a customer, but there are lots of apps and platforms that will help you maintain your customer relationships from afar. Hands down the biggest time-saver is a social media platform that lets you schedule content. Social media has a huge impact on brand awareness, but posting on each of your channels everyday can easily eat up an entire morning. With a scheduler, you can plan posts weeks in advance; many apps also come with an analytics dashboard so you can see what’s working and which channels deserve more attention. Try Hootsuite, or Later if you’re big on Instagram.
Once you have social media covered, the next biggest channel to tackle is email. Scheduling saves time on routine sends like newsletters or monthly early-bird specials. With an email service like MailChimp, you can build a template and simply switch out the copy and images when it’s time for the next send.
If you’re really ready for optimization, see where IFTTT takes you. An acronym for “If this, then that,” this crazy powerful tool helps you create connections between apps and devices, causing an action in one place to trigger an action in another place. For example, every time a new user tweets at you, you can have a notification sent to your phone so that you can respond quickly.
Upgrade routine business tasks with powerful tech
If you’re still managing class sign-ups and cancellations via the phone, it’s time to invest in an online booking system. Not only will this free up you and your staff to focus on bigger things, but it will also improve customer experience – no waiting, more options, and zero phone interaction. Many booking platforms will fill out class rosters for you, and when someone cancels it can even manage the waitlist so you maintain full capacity. ClassPass integrates with a number of booking platforms, for a completely seamless experience. Use the same approach to staff scheduling with a tool like Sling, so you’ll never be down an instructor.
When new customers arrive at your studio, there’s a flurry of paperwork you have to manage: contracts, questionnaires, waivers, disclaimers, etc. Ideally, you can get these forms out of the way early and online (many booking apps will also manage this). But, if you’re still on paper you’re best move is to invest in a smart scanner (like a Doxie) that lets you scan directly to the cloud in a matter of seconds. Paired with a sensible file naming system, you can save yourself hours spent looking for documents in a file cabinet.
Lastly, using ClassPass tools like SmartSpot, ClassPass’ automated spot management technology, helps studio partners strategically allocate unused spots on the platform. SmartSpot looks at a studio’s reservation history to understand how they typically fill classes and makes real-time adjustments to add or remove the number of spots released on ClassPass — all while protecting the spots filled directly with studio clientele and saving you the manual work.
Make amenities and supplies a no-brainer
To fuel your studio, there are some essentials you need to keep stocked, like TP, cleaning supplies, and printer ink. Save money on these unavoidable purchases with fast reordering, like Amazon’s Dash Buttons, or a subscription feature, like Amazon’s Subscribe & Save. It feels like magic when the supplies appear at your door and you didn’t have to lift a finger.
There are also a few common amenities that you can elevate, and even go green on. As more of your clients opt for reusable water bottles, consider investing in a bottle filling station. These energy-saving stations can reduce costs spent on free water bottles and keep those plastic bottles out of a landfill. Similarly, if your staff or client base is hooked on fizzy water, you can invest in a carbonated water machine. The bubbles taste the same, but these appliances save money and the environment in the long run.
Time is money – these tools make more of both, allowing you to take control of your studio. Don’t forget to subscribe to After Class for tips about optimizing your fitness business, marketing and more! Reach out to learn more about ClassPass.