Keeping Your Business As Fit As Your Clients
Too often trainers are stretched thin between keeping clients healthy, providing moral support posting class schedules, collecting payments, communicating with clients and managing their businesses. Many trainers are experts in mental and physical health and do wonders for their clients… but often at the expense of running a smooth business operation.
In simpler times, with smaller client rosters and fewer classes, it was easy to manage things with a phone, a spreadsheet and email. For some trainers this may still be the case, but for many trainers its getting more difficult to balance personal time, client time, workout time and still manage to put in time to keep your business running smoothly. Things can get very complicated very quickly.As with workouts, there are tools that can help you manage your business and keep it healthy. Email is a wonderful tool and a great way to stay in touch with clients as last minute details may change, but how do you handle 4 or 5 classes with 20 clients in each class, with some who haven't paid yet, some who have, some who want to cancel, new clients that want in on a class that's full? Add to that updating your website, collecting payments, knowing when to issue a refund or not, juggling discounts, passes, health registration forms. Keeping your business running smoothly can eat up any time you have left!
Luckily, there are tools available to trainers that can help. Here are some things to look for;
Posting classes online
How do you let current clients know what classes are available? Post them online. Web developers are expensive, and when class times change, it can cost a bundle. A service that lets you post your own schedules is your best option.
Letting clients signup and cancel classes online
With busy schedules running classes, who has time to take phone calls and get clients signed up for classes, reschedule clients, contact clients to remind them of a class, etc. A good service will allow your clients to sign up or cancel online directly from your website. Automatic class reminders are imperative as people these days have more on their minds and less time to remember previously made commitments.
Look for a service that will provide a way to limit how many clients can signup for a class. You can't be effective if you have too many clients to work with at a single time. A service that provides a waiting list for full classes is a plus.
Accept payments online
A super convenient way to manage client payments. A good tool will provide a way for you to let clients pay for classes online…right into your bank account plus keep track of which clients paid for a class, which owe you a payment and how much they paid.
Email is a great way to go. Look for a service that keeps track of which clients are attending which classes so you can easily email the right attendees with late breaking announcements. Better yet, a service that sends automatic email to clients to remind them of classes they signed up for, classes that you may have to cancel is even better.
How many class signups have you had this month? How about a list of clients that have signed up for classes but haven't paid you yet? A service that provides you with reports will let you know how well your business is doing and if it's growing.
Before anyone can signup for a class, it's important to have them fill out a health registration form. Whether you provide a downloadable form for clients to fill out, or an online form that they can fill out before you allow them to signup for a class is a very important feature for any service.
When clients need help they come to you as the expert. With any service, expect support when you have trouble or need a new feature that will help you. The best services provide free support.
Keep in mind that any service will cost you. Look for services that you can afford given your monthly training income. Be aware of costs such as development fees, monthly subscription fees, hosting fees, hidden service charges, setup fees, technical support fees, etc.
These "hidden" costs should be taken into account before you signup for any service.
In short, any service you might use to help manage your business should easy to use, be flexible, and provide all or some of the above features at a cost you can afford.
Peter Kelly is a freelance writer based outside of Seattle, WA. While working with the owners of the website MyClassPro.com, Peter developed an interest and general understanding of difficulties Personal Trainers face while running group circuit classes and fitness boot camps.