Most business owners have a few things that are constantly on their mind.  Towards the top of that list is the question, “How can I grow my business?”  Whether you are a fitness professional, nutritionist, chiropractor or other medical professional, this is a real challenge.  Luckily, we have put together a list of our favorite tools to grow your business.

There are two categories of tools for growth.  

Direct Tools to Grow Your Business

First, there are direct tools that help with the functioning of your business.  Some areas that you may use these tools are writing a business plan, scheduling appointments, or staying in contact with your clients.  The goal of these tools is to directly and positively impact how your business runs. These tools will help things run smoothly which your clients will absolutely notice. If setting and changing appointments through an online program is easy, your clients will appreciate it.  Likewise, if contacting you is complicated and inconsistent, they will also notice and they will be more likely to leave for another professional who promises more.

Indirect Tools to Grow Your Business

The other category of tools is indirect.  These are tools that help you to improve yourself and the services you provide which will organically increase your business by keeping your clients engaged and attracting new clients because of your reputation.  This category includes reading books, attending seminars, following leaders in your industry and absorbing all the information you can. The goal is to equip you to create an incredible environment at your facility (or online community), to continue to improve in your field and to offer your clients and patients the best possible product or services. 

Direct Tools to Grow Your BusinessTools to Grow Your Business

You will need both types of tools to grow your business. Today we will be talking about direct tools and will post our favorite indirect tools soon.

If you haven’t already, you can read our recent post: Starting A  Business – A Step by Step Guide for Health, Wellness and Fitness Professionals.  This post will give you a solid foundation for success…so you start strong and then grow stronger.

Business Plan Tools to Grow Your Business

If you are just getting started, or if you never created a business plan, you should make this a priority.  A business plan is like a road map for your business with a clear destination and the path you are planning to take to get there. You don’t want to start a trip without having a plan.

Many professionals have a vague plan in their heads, but creating a comprehensive plan with everything written out will provide more structure as you move forward.  

LivePlan

LivePlan is an easy to use online program that helps you to formulate your business plan even if you aren’t sure what you are doing.  You answer questions about your business and your financials and LivePlan calculates everything for you. You can also reach live help via phone or chat or you can access the sample plans and tutorial videos.

With this program, you can have a one-page business plan composed in less than an hour!  And LivePlan doesn’t just help you get your business plan composed. They also have tools for goal setting and measuring progress to help make your business plan work.  

Features of LivePlan include:

  • Step by step process
  • Online and over-the-phone support
  • Automatic financials
  • Financial and sales forecasting
  • Secure sharing
  • Dashboards to monitor your progress
  • Access to business and legal forms
  • Many professional styles to choose from

Learn all about it on their website at www.LivePlan.com

Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business

One of the most important steps to growing your business is to develop a marketing plan so you can reach your target market and turn them into customers.  This can be an enormous task, especially if you don’t have experience in the marketing field.

The goal of marketing is to promote and sell your product or service.  This includes market research, advertising, social media engagement and more. Your marketing plan is what shapes your sales strategy, it creates the value, presentation, and materials that your sales team will need.  So it’s really important that you have a great plan in place. Creating a comprehensive marketing plan takes time and experience. Unfortunately, most small businesses can’t afford to have a marketing professional on staff (at least, not right away).  

Your options include choosing to outsource to a marketing company that specializes in your field (including MyFitBrand) or you can use a program to help you create and implement a marketing strategy that is focused on growth.  Like all business decisions, you have to decide what is best for you. For some businesses outsourcing to a marketing company is a no-brainer because of the time it saves. For others, using a program to help them is the right amount of support.  If you aren’t sure what is best for you, one of the marketing experts at MyFitCoach will provide you with a free consultation with zero obligation, just contact us.

Sales and Marketing Pro

From the same developers as LivePlan, Sales and Marketing Pro offers a robust system to plan and implement your marketing plan.  You will have the ability to create materials, implement a sales strategy and forecast your sales efforts.

Sales and Marketing Pro was created through a partnership with marketing guru John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing.  So you know the guidance you are getting is proven.  It includes detailed step by step instructions and examples throughout which make it easy to follow. You can draw inspiration from the library of existing marketing plans and customize as much as you need.

Features of Sales and Marketing Pro include:

  • Expert guidance is built right in!
  • Create Professional Marketing Plans
  • Sales Forecasting Tools
  • Sales Planning and Budgeting Tools
  • Complete Marketing Toolbox including Social Media, Email Marketing, and Print Marketing, Public Relations.
  • Turn your Plan into a Professional Presentation

See all the details at www.paloalto.com/sales_and_marketing_plan_software/

ProFit GPS

ProFit GPS is a web-based program is designed to make marketing simple for fitness professionals.  It includes everything a gym owner would need to create a marketing plan.  And a good marketing plan will help you get new customers and retain the ones they have.  There are two different levels of membership that offer access to an online hub with marketing tools ready to go.

Features of ProFit GPS include:

  • Pre-made social media content including a posting schedule to keep you in front of your followers on facebook, twitter, instagram and more…you simply download the recipes, tips and workouts and post them as your own.
  • Offers designed to get customers in your door
  • Marketing strategies to keep your current customers engaged, increase referrals and per-client revenues
  • Facebook group and Messenger Bot Marketing Strategies
  • Lead Generation and Retention Strategies

See package details and pricing at www.profitgps.net

Scheduling Tools to Grow Your Business

Many chiropractors and medical professionals use a program that has scheduling built in.  But many other professionals in the health and wellness field do not have a tool for this.  We see so many massage therapists, personal trainers and even gym owners using a planning book to schedule. While this approach may be easy for you, it is not easy for your clients. And many of your competitors are using online programs that make it simple for clients to schedule, cancel or change a training session.  This eliminates back and forth calls or text messages. And clients love it.

If you are still scheduling with a daily planner, it’s time to get an upgrade.  There are several options and most include more than just scheduling tools.

Acuity Scheduling

Our first choice for scheduling is Acuity Scheduling which makes it simple for clients to schedule or reschedule with you.  This eliminates the frustration of back and forth calling, texting and emailing.  Clients can access your schedule, choose their appointment time and even make payments with the mobile app. Accuity will automatically send a reminder email or text for you. The clean and simple design makes using their system a pleasure and they offer top-notch customer support as well.

Features Include:

  • Multiple schedules for different staff and locations
  • Can be embedded into your existing website
  • Syncs with Google Calendar, icloud, Outlook, Exchange, and Office 365
  • App is customized with your logo and colors
  • HIPAA secure feature is available
  • Accept payments and deposits through PayPal, Square, Stripe, Braintree, or Authorize.net
  • Offer classes, workshops, or group events
  • Easy upsell clients with check-out add-ons
  • Advanced reporting about appointments, no shows, & performance
  • QuickBooks, Freshbooks, and Xero integrations for invoicing and accounting
  • MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and MadMimi integration for bulk e-mailing

For details and pricing visit: www.acuityscheduling.com

EZFacility 

EZFacility offers more than a scheduling system.  It is an all-in-one web-based software that can manage all of the business needs of your sports or fitness business.  EZFacility manages scheduling, management, and membership. Like Acuity, clients can access your schedule and make payments via the mobile app.  Beyond scheduling, EZFacility also offers systems to organize locker and equipment rental, front desk check-in, league scheduling and management, employee time clock and more.  

Features include:

  • Facility Scheduling & Management
  • MemberMe+ – Branded Mobile App
  • Trainer & Instructor Scheduling
  • Membership Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Package Sales & Attendance
  • Rentals & Special Events
  • Invoicing & Payment Tracking
  • Locker & Equipment Tracking
  • Front Desk Check-In
  • Access Control
  • Photo ID’s & Player Passes
  • Employee Time Clock
  • Fitness Assessment
  • League Scheduling & Management
  • Extensive Reporting
  • Registration Management
  • Marketing Tools
  • Member Self-Service
  • Point of Sale
  • Merchant Processing with Constellation Payments
  • Payroll & Commission Tracking

Acuity and EZFacility are our top recommendations, but we also like a few others including Pike13 and MindBody.  You can read more about these options at www.pike13.com or www.mindbodyonline.com.

Payment Processing Tools to Grow Your Business

Whether you need to accept payments on the go, or if you need an in-house payment terminal, you have options for accepting payments.   In today’s fast-paced world, clients want to be able to make payments quickly and securely. We have listed the details for a few of the major players so you can compare features quickly.  Tools to Grow Your Business

Square 

 www.squareup.com

2.5% + $0.10 per tap, dip or swipe

Payment Methods Accepted:

  • Credit and signature debit cards
  • Electronic Invoices
  • Pay with Square

Ways to Accept Payments:

  • Mobile Readers
  • Stand
  • Register
  • Digital Invoices
  • Over the Phone Virtual Terminal
  • On your ecommerce website
Stripe Tools to Grow Your Business

 www.stripe.com

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

Payment Methods Accepted:

  • Credit and signature debit cards
  • ACH (debit and credit)
  • Alipay
  • Bancontact
  • Electronic Invoices
  • EPS
  • Giropay
  • iDEAL
  • P24
  • SEPA Direct Debit
  • SOFORT
  • WeChat Pay
  • Wire

Ways to Accept Payments:

  • On your ecommerce website
  • Digital Invoices
  • Terminal
  • Mobile Reader
PayPal Tools to Grow Your Business

www.paypal.com

2.7% per swipe, keyed payments are 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction

Payment Methods Accepted:

  • Checks (yep, you may still get them, and only PayPal supports)
  • Credit and signature debit cards
  • Electronic Invoices
  • PIN debit
  • PayPal (obviously)

Ways to Accept Payments:

  • Mobile Reader
  • Mobile App
  • On your ecommerce Website
  • Digital Invoices

Which payment processing system is best for you?  It depends on your business. Each platform has its own benefits.  

Stripe is an excellent option for a brand new digital startup, it helps you establish your business and grow it.

Paypal is a useful addition to have on your site and now accepts payments in many different ways. It’s widely accepted used and offers familiarity

Square is great for small businesses with both online and offline sales. As your revenue increases, you may want to consider another option due to the high transaction rates.  

Email Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business

If you are not sending out regular emails to your current contact list, what are you waiting for?  Business in today’s market is very relational.  A good email marketing system makes it easy to stay connected to your clients.  We recommend sending valuable content on a regular basis.  Things like tips, workouts, recipes, information on upcoming events and offers. Some of our favorites have a lot of the same features including: 

  • Drag and drop editing
  • Automated/autoresponder emails
  • Landing Pages and Sign-up Sheets
  • Pre-designed templates
  • Mobile Previews
  • Dynamic Content for personalizing for your company and your clients
  • Easy Importing of contacts
  • Tracking and analytics to help you really reach your clients.
  • Integration with your website
Aweber  Tools to Grow Your Business

www.aweber.com

Plans start at $19 per month

Get Response 

www.getresponse.com

Plans start at $15 per month

Some plans also include the ability to create landing pages and webinars

Active Campaign

www.activecampaign.com

Plans start at $17 per month

MailChimp

www.mailchimp.com

Plans start at $0 – seriously, there is a free plan that allows you up to 2000 subscribers.  It doesn’t have all the features of others at this level, but if you are on a tight budget for your small business, this is a great place to start.

All of these email marketing systems offer a free trial, so do some research and try one out before you commit.

Website Design

We know that it seems like a no-brainer to have a website that is working for you.  But you would be amazed at the number of companies that have an out-of-date website or no website at all.  Did you know that potential clients will judge the credibility of your company based on your website?   If a client lands on your site and doesn’t like what they see, it can mean lost business.  We won’t get into all the details of why you need a website now, but you can read our post about it 7 Reasons You Need a Website for Your Fitness Business. 

Tools to Grow Your BusinessNow, to be fair, we are a marketing company that works in the health, wellness and fitness industries so we are going to self-promote for a moment.  We offer website design as one of our services. And we design great sites at affordable prices. You can find all the details at www.myfitcoach.co/websitedesign/.  We also offer payment plans so that every business can have an amazing site that represents their company.

 

Phew!  That is a lot of resources for you to look into.  If it seems overwhelming or you don’t know where to start, we would love to provide a free consultation.  We will schedule an appointment.  Learn about your business goals and come up with a few good steps and tools to grow your business. You can contact us at www.myfitcoach.co/contact/ and we will be in touch with you soon.

Also, the comments are open if you have any questions or are looking for suggestions on other tools.

We are looking forward to helping you grow your business.

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