This year, health and fitness were in the top 5 of all small business industries. While it has always had a presence, more and more people are establishing their own fitness business, whether it’s a yoga studio, a traditional gym, or anything in between. If you’re one of the many people who are contemplating starting your own business, you’re going to need to find the best fitness business software for you.
Related: Mindbody Review | Mindbody vs Vagaro
These days, there are so many fitness business software packages out there. You can find big ones like Mindbody and Vagaro or more niche packages like Zen Planner. Frankly, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the options available.
Because there are so many fitness business software packages available, we’re going to shift the focus in hopes to give you some guidance and peace of mind. So, instead of diving into several business software packages specifically, I’m going to share the distinct features that I feel are essential when shopping for them! Hopefully, this will guide you in your decision if you’re getting ready to take a leap of faith and start your own fitness business!
1. Cloud Based
Cloud-based software is pretty standard for many of the best fitness business software packages. If it is cloud-based, it means that users can log in and access the software and their data through the Internet (on a tablet, mobile, or on a computer).
As a small business owner, you want to be wherever your clients are. You want them to have unlimited access to information about your business, the schedule, and all the other amazing features your fitness business software offers. This means that you want (read need) it to be cloud based so that they can access it anywhere they have access to the Internet!
2. All-in-one Solution
Ideally, it would make your life a great deal easier if you found one amazing fitness software that could do it all. There is so much technology in running a business these days. You’ll need a software package for marketing, one for finance and payroll, and another for booking classes, and more.
There are many software packages out there that provide a menu filled with different options that range from what I listed above to automated emailing and even allowing customers to track their past class history and fitness.
So, as you’re shopping for the software that is just right for you, I’d suggest finding one that provides the features you deem most important in one solution!
3. Marketing Integration
As I mentioned above, it will definitely make your life easier if you go with fitness business software that is a one stop shop! One of the best features that your software can have is marketing integration. This includes things like the ability to send marketing emails, text/SMS messaging, advertisements, and more.
Depending on the particular software subscription, you can even find some that go as far as automating everything for you. Again, your goal with choosing the best fitness business software is that it will make your life easier so that you can focus on your clients and growing your business!
4. Scheduling Capabilities
This is a MUST! Scheduling is such an important feature that the best fitness business software packages have this built in by default. It’s incredibly important that the software you invest in has solid scheduling capabilities. Your customers should be able to log on, book and schedule classes with ease. Likewise, you should be able to log on, see your sales, sign-ups, get an understanding of your potential attendance, and schedule your employees accordingly.
If the software you’re considering doesn’t have amazing reviews for its scheduling capabilities, then you should run! There’s nothing worse than spending all this money for your clients to become frustrated by the software’s scheduling feature not acting right or just not working at all.
5. Automation Features
As mentioned above, the best fitness business software packages have automation features like online bookings, student self check-ins, email and text class reminders, and more!
Depending on the software you choose, the automation feature may be a little more expensive and some may even have it as an “add on”, but it would definitely be worth it if you become overwhelmed with all the aspects of running your own business! As your business grows, you definitely need to consider this feature even if you can’t quite afford it from the start.
6. Customer Service Based
Because you are in the fitness industry, you are very much dependent on your customers and keeping them happy. Likewise, it’s important that you find a fitness business software that shares the same values.
Keep your customers in mind when you are picking out the software. This includes, but isn’t limited to, making sure the software is user friendly, has features that will allow your customers to search for classes, book and pay for your classes easily, and find the support they need with ease if they ever run into issues with the software.
7. Book and Pay for Classes Online
Simply put, gyms just work differently these days. In the past, you’d show up to the gym, peruse the class schedule, and make your decision. But, now it is a completely different ball game. Customers want to know what to expect before they even step foot into the gym. Everyone is busy, and they want to workout at a place that values their time by allowing them to sign up and pay for classes online. Some of the best fitness software packages allow their customers to do all of this through an app or even straight from Facebook and other social media platforms.
If you’re looking for the best fitness business software, and it doesn’t have the above features, you’re going to have a tough time staying afloat in this day and age!
Fit Active Living recommends Mindbody software (which has all of the above seven features) for fitness centers, gyms, yoga and dance studios.