Time is a finite resource. The question you need to ask yourself is, “do you want to spend your time building the best club possible, or work on things that will not have a dramatic impact on your bottom line?” While the answer seems easy, the actions of many club owners and managers do not seem to support it. I remember that a former boss of mine used to tell the management team in our weekly meetings that we needed to spend more time working on the business — not time working in the business. His point was that so much of your time can be consumed with clogged toilets, scheduling issues, broken equipment and staff drama, that you eventually lose focus on the big-picture activities that will grow your business.
Quality systems and club management software can help standardize and simplify manual procedures that would otherwise steal hours from your day. I recently worked with a club that would allow its members to sign a slip and charge items to the member’s EFT. The office manager would collect the charge slips throughout the month. At the end of the month she would race to enter every item sold into each members’ EFT. Wow! What a lot of extra work! Management software with an integrated point-of-sale system should allow your members to charge items directly to their EFT, eliminating the need for additional manual entries.
As an owner or club manager, one of the first things you need to decide is what consumes the majority of your time. After that has been identified, ask yourself, “do I need to be doing this myself, or can someone else handle it?” A lot of entrepreneurs feel like they have to do everything. This mindset can actually be preventing your business from being even more successful. By working with others to accomplish your goals, you are not giving up control — by giving directions, setting guidelines and checking in periodically, you will free up your time to work on more crucial matters.
Club owners I’ve spoken with tell me a large amount of their time and their employees’ time is spent entering member information, creating his or her billing file and chasing down members that owe money. Good management software will offer different levels of service that will allow you to do most of the work yourself, or outsource a lot of the functions. Things like entering new member information, posting POS transactions, creating your EFT billing file and managing your returns, are all things that could save you a tremendous amount of time.
Being able to multi-task is like a badge of honor in many industries, including the fitness industry.
As a club manager, I did not feel like I was working hard enough if I didn’t have at least four different projects going on at once. Studies show multi-tasking could actually increase the amount of time needed to finish a project by as much as double. Every time you go from one project to the next, it takes your brain time to shift gears and adjust to the new project. Focusing quality time on one project leads to much greater productivity than multi-tasking between several.
Here are a few more time-saving ideas:
- Online joining and paperless contracts: Less staff time needed in the sales process should allow for decreased data-entry redundancy.
- Time clock: Should keep employee hours totaled by the different departments they work in, making the payroll process quicker.
- Contact manager: Systems that can help you keep track of previous and future contact with prospects and the sales management process.
- Series sales and redemption: Reporting that tracks the number of sessions left, redeemed, expired, etc.
- Mail merge and email blasts: Customize messages, statements, etc. to send to members, thus decreasing the amount of time and cost spent to get information out in a timely fashion.
- Scheduling program: Book, redeem and track appointments, classes, tours, tanning, etc. Tie pay rate/commissions for trainers and instructors to appointments.
As Aldous Huxley once said, “Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored.” The fact is that time is a finite resource. Spend it wisely. Set up systems and use your management software to handle anything that you do not need to be doing directly. Focus on increasing revenue and moving your business forward.
By Rick Hersom, a sales consultant for Twin Oaks.