Or the alternate title: How did we ever run our business without Mindbody Online?
Robb and I have been sorting through our closets, taking items to the Salvation Army and generally tackling all of the standard spring cleaning duties. One of the items on my list of To Do’s was to go through several boxes of old business items to separate out items we still need to keep and determine what could be tossed, shredded or burned in our chiminea
Oh my goodness the things that I found! The thing that really struck me was the thought that there is no way we could operate the business we have today if we operated as we did back then, if we didn’t use MBO or some similar business management software.
Here are some of the items I unearthed from NorCal memory lane:
Sign in sheet for clients to manually sign into classes. I found stacks and stacks of these sign in sheets. We had folks sign in, but there was no analysis of visit history without a laborious manual accounting process. We use the visit history function of MBO constantly. We can easily run a report to see who hasn’t been in the gym in the last week and then send out emails to check on folks. This would be nearly impossible if we were still using paper and pen and a standard manual sign in list.
I found handwritten lists from our trainers that listed their clients and associated private training payments. The trainers would submit this along with the dates of their sessions so that I could manually calculate payroll. Fortunately at that point we only had 2 trainers. There is NO way with 7 trainers we could operate with this system. It makes my head hurt just thinking about it. MBO makes calculating payroll as simple as running a report. I wouldn’t think about running a fitness business today without this ability.
I also found stacks of photocopies of client checks with associated bank deposit slips stapled to the top. In the early days we had no real billing system…no method to handle recurring payments and no simple method to accurately track when clients had paid or were due to pay. Everything was done manually and was therefore quite clunky and inefficient. Clients would pay by check or cash, I would check off the list that they paid for the month and then I kept these copies as a way to account for each bank deposit (probably completely unnecessary, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time). With MBO all client payments are tracked in their account history and payment history. I can see how many visits a client has remaining from their package of private training sessions, and I can see when their next monthly membership payment is scheduled. I can see when the client came in for their very first visit, and I can see what classes and what days the client typically trains. And I don’t need to save any paper to track any of this!
And I also dug up quite a few examples of our horrible attempts at guerilla marketing…some embarrassing flyers that amazingly actually did attract a client or two. I highly recommend finding someone with some graphic design expertise to help you with your guerilla marketing efforts!
Post spring cleaning….Robb and I have spent the last two nights burning all of this old stuff in our chiminea!