The Techno Club: Club Management Solutions and Next Generation Software

Technology is moving fast. In order to be successful, you’ll need club management solutions and you’ll need to utilize effective software features that are now emerging in the fitness industry. Every business owner is always looking for new ways to make their business more profitable and to manage it effectively. One of the most overlooked areas that owners should be looking at is fitness management software.

Detailed below are 10 great features to look for in Next-Gen management software for the fitness industry.

  1. Digital contracts: The old way to handle membership or service agreements at a gym is to have the client physically sign a paper contact. The gym will need to store the physical contract somewhere in the gym. A better way is to have the contract digitally signed in the system utilizing a digital signature pad. The contract will now be securely stored in the software system becoming easily accessible to your staff.
  2. Door access: Secure access to your facility using access control from a door can reduce staffing costs while delivering 24/7 access to valid clients. The important point is that your fitness management software integrates with your door access system so you are not managing multiple databases. Based on the types of memberships you offer, you can control access to locker rooms, swimming pools, tanning machines, daycare and other locations throughout your facility. This enables club owners to efficiently offer their members safe, round-the-clock access to your health facilities.
  3. Fingerprint access: A great way to check members in is by way of fingerprint scan. This makes it easy for the member since it’s pretty hard to forget his fingers on the way to the gym. It also creates the impression that your facility is cutting edge and will make you stand out when compared to other gyms.
  4. EFT – Electronic Funds Transfer: Consistent monthly revenue is what many successful companies look for. NextGen EFT software should provide two very important things for your business. First, provide the ability to process credit cards and eChecks (bank debits) inexpensively. Very good rates to look for would be about 2.1% for credit cards and $.25 for an eCheck. Any rates substantially higher than that Are not cost effective for your business. Secondly, you should look for the ability to bill, on a monthly basis, memberships and services (such as training and massages). The fitness management software should provide the ability to handle this entire process in about 15 minutes every month. The important point to note is that you should have the ability to control this yourself each month with the option to run this as many times as you want without any additional charges.
  5. Auto emails: Sending automated emails to your clients or prospects based on certain actions is one of the most effective ways to continue to grow your business. For example, having an email automatically sent when a member has 2 sessions remaining on a training package will increase the probability of them purchasing more sessions to continue their fitness program. If this task is left up to your staff, they will sometimes forget to do this. Having your fitness management software automatically send this out for this scenario, or other types of scenarios, will generate more revenue for your business.
  6. Collections: Spending time chasing clients who won’t pay you is costly and time-consuming. A great software feature to have is the ability to quickly find delinquent clients and electronically send this file to an effective collections company from your fitness management software.
  7. Member web access: Providing your members with web access to various services and personal account information is becoming very important to your members during this internet revolution that we are now living in. Your fitness management software should be fully integrated with this feature. Great services that can be offered to your members would be videos on how to perform exercises, ability to prescribe weekly workouts, viewing fitness assessments, making purchases, registering for classes and registering for training appointment based on trainer availability. Many of the features described can be offered in a way to generate additional monthly revenue. For example, you can offer a Gold membership for an extra $10 per month. This will include access to instructional videos and weekly prescribed workouts that will help them achieve their goals. If you get 25 members to do this, you will generate an additional $250 per month. This concept will typically be able to pay for the software. In other words, the software used to run your business will not be an expense, it will be a profit center !!!
  8. Videos: With the strong emergence of YouTube, videos are an easy and effective way to communicate with your members. NextGen software should provide the ability to easily create and link to a member’s account for easy access for a member. You can create personalized workouts and/or messages that a member would be willing to pay a service fee for to help them achieve their goals.
  9. RSS feeds: RSS is a technology that dynamically creates updated content on particular subjects. For example, you can have RSS feeds that produce health and fitness articles for the member login Area. A member can login everyday and he or she will be able to view new articles about health and fitness. This will encourage them to login each day to see what is new in health and fitness.
  10. Web-based system: The most important feature regarding NextGen software is that the system is web-based. This will provide many opportunities for your business to take advantage of the power of the internet. With an internet based system you can monitor your facility from anywhere in the world. You can offer services to your member s (see #7: Member Web Access) that will generate revenue. Your valuable business data will be secure and backed up daily by professionals that are in the technology business. If you have more than one facility, you will be able to view valuable information from one report that will enable you to see all the revenue produced from all facilities for any time period.

The greatest value of NextGen software is having ALL of the functions needed to run your business packaged together in one club management system. Providing that along with making sure the system is web-based will provide an owner with a much better chance of operating their business most effectively. This will help the owner of a health facility achieve the goals of what most are looking for: making many and helping people achieve their fitness goals. What a great industry we are all in. Great NextGen software will help you to excel in this industry.

Larry King is the Founder and CEO of Shape.Net Software. He can be contacted at 800.381.2082, or by email at sales@shapenetsoftware.com, or visit www.shapenetsoftware.com.