Building a Business Management System for on-demand Personal Trainers
A business management system is a comprehensive set of tools and processes used to effectively manage all operational aspects of a business. This includes company employees, customer service, and all other entrepreneurial aspects. As a business grows, so does the necessity for a more efficient way of sharing information, handling day-to-day operations, and monitoring and improving business activities.
That is a very broad definition, right? In essence, every business chooses the parameters of their business management system – what it will entail and how it will function – based on their needs and plans. Of course, there are ready-made management systems that are sufficient and adequate for lots of businesses. However, they are limited in what they can offer – hence many businesses decide to move forward with a customized solution. To get a better idea of what all this actually means, let us explain with a real-world example!
Benefits of Business Management Systems
Before we present our use case, let’s discuss why you would need a business management system and how they can be an asset. Quality and effective business management systems help a company become more organized, and thus more efficient at developing and executing business strategies – which in turn increase profitability and customer satisfaction. Some of the advantages of business management systems include:
Automation has been a gamechanger across all industries! Many processes which used to be performed manually are now automated – simplifying and optimizing many business facets. Work tasks get completed sooner, and employees are much happier and feel more accomplished while doing non-repetitive work. Automation has led companies to require less staff and hence significantly decrease their labour costs. Furthermore, automation reduces the risk of human mistakes which can become costly in the long run!
Your financial department is probably working with one software, your HR department with another, and your marketing department with a completely different one. Oftentimes departmental tasks can overlap, requiring employees to work with multiple pieces of software, or depend on receiving information from their colleagues in different departments. Time is wasted, and mistakes can easily be made. Not to mention that owning and maintaining several different software can get really expensive! A business management system can integrate some or even all of these business functions such that all employees have quick and easy access to the required information, and can finish their work much faster.
Increased Productivity and Efficiency
A business system is designed to give you effective, efficient, and repeatable results. Streamlined processes mean employees accomplish more in less time! Cross-functional teams can effectively work together on company-wide goals, thus increasing efficiency and intra-department cooperation, as well as faster achievement of top priority objectives. Increased productivity and efficiency will in turn, increase profitability, which leads to high motivation among employees. It’s a win-win situation for all sides!
Online business management systems can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. Your employees can work from home if needed, which means you now have realistic access to the global talent pool. Your staff can now work in all time zones, increasing the customer outreach as well as improving customer support – which are all directly related to increased profitability. Furthermore, if you choose to (and if your business allows it), you can dispense with office space, saving you what is usually a hefty monthly expense!
We’ve already mentioned how costs can be reduced by automating and integrating processes, but there’s more! Besides reducing the need for office space, working on a digital platform can also help remove office supply and related costs altogether! For example, by creating and sending digital invoices, you can reduce costs surrounding printing and mailing said invoices. Furthermore, modern business management systems are robust and require less maintenance and repair time, making them cheaper in the long run.
A business management system can indeed be automated and integrate multiple structures, but if it’s complicated to use then it won’t matter. A complex system requires more training time, thus making it costlier in the very initial stages. The more complicated it is, the more difficult it is to perform even the most basic of tasks – thus wasting time, causing frustration with employees, managers, and even customers, and ultimately costing more money. A mindfully designed business management system will be simple to use -i.e. easy to navigate and takes the least amount of clicks to obtain the desired information.
Chitown Trainer – In-Home Personal Training
Chitown Trainer is an online platform for personal trainers in Chicago, USA. They started out working as a team of around 20 trainers offering one-on-one and group training sessions in various luxury residential buildings. Wanting to scale the business, the company no longer wished to use their old SaaS provider which was outdated and did not have all the necessary capabilities. Instead, they required a tailor-made business management system solution – suitable for growing the business and increasing productivity. Chitown Trainer asked us to create an online fitness platform capable of handling company-wide processes which would also include scope for differentiation in the personal training market.
How did we do that?
How to create a business management system
1. What is the end goal?
As stated above, Chitown’s goal was to scale, add different capabilities which would encompass all business activities, and create a niche in the market. While this may seem like a very obvious solution, deciding what a business should do in order to become more “successful” is never that transparent. Startup founders need to truly understand their organization’s weak points and employ effective management strategies to handle them. If it is decided to change the infrastructure, as it is in this case, it would be prudent to involve all team members – those who actually do the work can more readily point out the problematic areas.
Finally, when the client sits down with our software development team, we will also have ideas and suggestions based on our previous expertise – which the client can then choose to accept. Effective communication between both parties here is crucial – confusion and misinterpretation will lead to mistakes down the line, compromising the success of the project itself. At the end of that discussion, a definitive set of goals is agreed on and our development team gets to work!
2. Identify and improve business activities
In this stage, our developers work together with the client to classify the different business categories such as Operations, Sales and Marketing, Finance, etc. The next step is breaking down the business activities into individual processes, as well as the tools, people, and strategies involved around them. The planning should also include the different types of documentation that will be needed and what are the processes which create them.
Once all the processes have been identified, our team works on identifying ways to improve the system. For example, if we want to make a process faster, we will consider different strategies such as removing unnecessary steps, people, or tools from the process, or automating whatever can be automated, etc. The team will also analyze if the process can be entirely replaced by a different, better performing one; if other tools would be more fitting for certain processes, etc.
3. Track and adjust business management system performance
At this stage, we usually make a test version to evaluate how the system works. To that end, we use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which quantify important aspects related to the success of the product. By measuring the KPIs before and after the new product launch, we gain concise information about the profitability of the product. Furthermore, we are able to precisely pinpoint the bottleneck and flawed processes in the system.
At this step, it can feel like the whole process has gone on for way too long, and the desire to finish it up will be strong. However, it’s important not to rush the evaluation stage, because every seemingly small thing can become a larger issue over time. Once all the issues have been identified, we work on rectifying and improving the trouble areas. Trial and error is a part of this game but in the end, it will be well worth it!
The End Result
What did the end product for Chitown Trainer look like?
We developed a single customized online fitness platform used to operate the entire business. The new fitness app can be accessed on both web and mobile, and offers separate user-specific interfaces for clients, trainers, managers, and owners. On the user-centric part of the fitness app, customers can make purchases of training and/or meal plans, view and arrange their schedule, and receive in-app notifications among other things. The online fitness platform also covers business operations with features supporting staff management, payroll, payments and invoice processing, and task management.
As a result of implementing the new business management system:
- The application for easy to use for employees and clients alike.
- Client acquisition increased.
- Company productivity improved.
- Chitown Trainer has managed to increase its geographical scope.
- The company and client have cut costs.
In the end, it’s important to remember that creating a business management system is a never-ending process. The system requires regular reviews and revisions to make sure that it is working correctly. Furthermore, the scope or parameters of your business can evolve, also necessitating a modification of the system to conform to those changes.
What are you waiting for?
Do you feel like your business fits the criteria discussed in this article? We know it’s hard as a business owner/manager to be sure of what has to change to improve the business. Contact us here at Redvike! We have experience in developing business management systems, apps, and other software units for businesses in various different industries. Let us help you, and together we can develop a solution tailored to your specific needs.