You’re in this industry because you’re passionate about fitness, health and helping people—not because you love accounting and payroll. You may not have gone to business school, but there are still plenty of opportunities to boost your own business knowledge. The best way to do so is to take advantage of the many resources around you. Here we take a look at some of the best low-cost financial tools out there that will bring you up to speed and help your business work better.
BACK TO SCHOOL
If you’ve spent more time studying plyometrics than economics, you might consider enrolling in a business course at your local community college or university for a nominal cost. Going back to school might not sound fun, but neither does going into debt. By immersing yourself in a classroom setting, you can learn the basic tenets of business with other beginners, in a safe zone where there are no stupid questions. The bonus is that you’ll have access to professors who can likely give you real-time advice when it comes to your business.
We recommend researching courses in your local community college, at the library, or recruiting the help of family, friends or clients who may know a thing or two to share with you. With 15 campuses worldwide, General Assembly offers classes for adults seeking to further their education in a variety of specialized areas, including marketing, data analysis, business and design. Online resources like Skillshare also offer remote options.
WORTH A LISTEN
You live and breathe fitness, but business models? Not so much. We get it, your education and training has been hyper-focused until now, and it’s impossible to gain business acumen overnight. A quick step in the right direction is to download a few super-successful business podcasts that you can listen to (and absorb) while you’re running, driving, making dinner or going over budgets in the office.
A great place to start is The Tim Ferris Show, where the best-selling author interviews celebrities, billionaires, pro sports figures and more about how they achieved their successes. Next up we recommend EntreLeadership, where author Dave Ramsay discusses how to build a business empire, and the management practices that will get you there. Lastly, the StartUp Podcast is a must for any entrepreneur, as it follows a new start up every season through financing, pitching to investors, balancing work-life and more.
When it comes to accounting software, QuickBooks is the industry leader for good reason. In addition to being able to manage payroll, inventory and sales, QuickBooks keeps track of the money coming in and out of your business, and of what you owe and what you’re owed—and details it all in easy-to-read graphics like pie charts and graphs. Great for accounting beginners, this is the ultimate tool that will prove especially helpful around tax season.
The days of credit cards being inaccessible to small businesses is over, thanks to Square. Founded in 2009 by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, the company is accessible via an app that allows vendors to accept payments via a small square-shaped credit card reader that plugs into smartphones’ headphone jack. Small businesses can use the readers in place of check out systems—and it work with Apple Pay as well. (Learn more about the ClassPass and Square partnership here.)
If you’re looking for a one-stop payroll solution, the Gusto app (formerly known as ZenPayroll) is your answer. Capable of withholding taxes, processing payroll checks, paying contractors, year-end W2s and 1099s, new-hire reporting to the government and setting up direct deposit, the app’s best feature just might be its low price—$39 a month, plus $6 a month for each additional employee/contractor.
If your studio is expanding, or thinking of expanding, Fuze will be your best resource for keeping staffers connected. The web conferencing app not only provides HD video and audio, but also 1 GB of cloud space for presentation materials like documents and videos, and virtual whiteboards for presenters to jot down and share notes in real time. The company’s Free plan lets you host conferences for up to 25 attendees for free—and includes access to the aforementioned tools—and the Pro plan for $10 a month allows for 125 attendees.
If you haven’t downloaded DropBox yet, do so now. With more than 500 million users, the platform and app allows you to easily store, share and collaborate on large-sized files like videos, slideshows, documents and more. The basic plan is free, and businesses with more than five employees can enroll in the Business plan for $12.50 a month.