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5 surprising ways fitness studios can streamline operations in 2024

Chelsea Erieau-Larkin
January 15, 2024
5 surprising ways fitness studios can streamline operations in 2024 - Image of a neon 2024 and exercise bike - Hapana

Businesses, these days, have a lot of technical needs - and a lot of different systems, leading to a lead of friction in their day-to-day operations. There’s a million apps for a million things.

In particular, fitness studios leave a lot of ambitious franchisees massaging their temples after a long day, wondering: were all those emails worth it?

There must be a better way to do all this, they think. They search online how to streamline their operations, and find twenty pages of clickbait. Some recommendations are obvious, while some are unrealistic - just implement AI, it’ll be easy! Develop your own robot! Land man on the moon! 

The truth is what we already know: streamlining operations takes real work. 

It takes deep knowledge of your own business. It takes genuine reflection and research on your pain points. But this work is so worthwhile - done right, this is an investment that will pay unbelievable dividends

The best approach to streamlining your business is to have a framework to work by. It’s not enough to browse articles that tell you to use ChatGPT to reply to emails (though they can certainly help, and spark your imagination).

Here’s the best step by step to streamline operations, according to YOUR business:

1. Track friction for custom streamlining

To take a tailored approach to streamlining, write down everything that takes your time and energy. Yep, right now, open your notes app or grab a piece of paper, and write down everything that comes to mind. Set a five-minute timer if you like. 

As you go about your week, do this at the end of every day. 

You might end up writing things like these:

  • I forward old emails with all the details about our quotes. It’s frustrating, and sometimes I miss key details that were customized for older clients and accidentally sent to new ones.
  • My team spends hours on the phone working out admin errors and payment issues, and the software we use is clunky. 
  • Finding specific documents or information in our disorganized digital filing system is frustrating and wastes a lot of time.
  • Members often complain about the gym layout. They have to crisscross between different areas for their workout routine, which is inefficient and time-consuming.

Once you hava decent amount of notes, move on to the next step.

2. Empower your team to document pain points 

Have your team write down everything that takes their time and energy. This could be in a weekly email, or a discussion in person, or a full whiteboard sesh. 

Once you’ve gathered a decent amount of pain points, work through each item using the DMAIC framework. 

  1. Define: Identify specific areas where improvements are needed. This could be reducing client wait times, streamlining check-in processes, or enhancing workout session quality.
  1. Measure: Collect data on current performance. For example, track the average time members wait to use equipment or the frequency of complaints.
  1. Analyze: Examine the data to find the root causes of inefficiencies or issues. Perhaps certain machines are consistently overused, or staff scheduling is not aligned with peak hours.
  1. Improve: Implement solutions based on your analysis. This might involve rearranging gym layouts, adjusting staff schedules, or introducing new member onboarding processes.
  1. Control: Establish ongoing monitoring to ensure improvements are sustained. Regularly review member feedback and operational data to make further adjustments as needed.

This investment in mental energy will take approximately one month, but the dividends to you and your team will be immeasurable. 
Take the time to spring-clean your operations this year, and give the gift of time back to your business. 

3. Optimize your space with dynamic equipment layouts

Yes, even your equipment can run like clockwork. Maximizing space utilization is crucial to streamlining your center. For example, consider using dynamic equipment layouts that can be easily reconfigured for different classes or training sessions. This approach not only saves space but also keeps the studio layout fresh and adaptable to various fitness trends.

Viva Leisure, a gym chain, uses data science to optimize its 100+ gyms. They employ technology to monitor gym sections, providing "hot mapping" capabilities to optimize studio services and increase revenues. Viva Leisure's approach includes gym management, smart devices, and white-label fitness apps to customize workouts for each member.

If AI is a bit of stretch for you, you can easily have your staff - who use the space every day - recommend and mind map different equipment layouts in your rooms. 

You can also visit competitors and take notes on their layouts, or send out surveys to your members for any recommendations.

4. Upgrade your old software to a modern counterpart 

In the digital age, outdated software is akin to a creaky, old treadmill: it gets the job done, but not efficiently. Upgrading your software systems is essential. Look for software that integrates various aspects of gym management – from scheduling and customer management to financials and reporting. Modern software not only streamlines operations but also provides valuable insights into your business's performance.

We recommend:

  • Wodify for CrossFit, known for its workout tracking and community engagement features
  • Jonas for big box gyms, offering facility management tools and customer relationship capabilities
  • Martialytics for karate studios, tailored for martial arts, with class scheduling and student management
  • Hapana (of course), for a comprehensive, user-friendly experience that covers all your gym management needs, from advanced reporting to mobile-optimized member access

5. Use discretion in deploying AI for streamlining 

In a world where AI is being heralded as the most crucial factor for streamlining, be very careful about how you implement it. Out of AI and a human being, who is more likely to quickly work out why a client’s payment isn’t going through?

More complex systems mean more errors - this is a fundamental truth of the world. Vet your AI systems carefully before taking them on. 

You’ve probably been in situations where companies put AI bots between you and a human person who can solve your problem. It’s not quick, and it’s not easy. 

AI that’s a good bet might include:

  • GrammarlyPro options that create automatic email drafts for you to review and send
  • AI writing programs like ChatGPT (and even Canva!) to get over writer's block or review your writing
  • Software designed for specific business needs, such as scheduling social media posts, optimizing class schedules in fitness studios, or analyzing gym equipment usage

Make sure your implementation is guided by these principles:

  1. Evaluate necessity and efficiency: Determine if the AI solution genuinely simplifies a process or adds unnecessary layers.
  2. Prioritize user-friendliness: Choose AI systems that enhance, rather than hinder, the user experience.
  3. Consider human-AI collaboration: AI should complement human skills, not replace them.
  4. Regularly review and update: Technology evolves; ensure your AI systems do too.

While AI offers potential for streamlining, its deployment should be strategic - otherwise, systems can become more complex where it's unnecessary.

How Hapana can help your fitness center streamline operations in 2024

Hapana's gym management software offers a streamlined, efficient solution for managing your fitness center. It's designed to simplify operations, from flexible class scheduling to secure payment processing. This user-friendly platform caters to all gym sizes, enhancing the management experience and member satisfaction. With Hapana, you'll save time, reduce administrative burdens, and offer a better experience for your members.

Interested in improving your gym's operations? Discover how Hapana can transform your fitness business with a practical, all-in-one management solution. Contact us for a demo and take the first step towards a more efficient, member-focused gym.