All businesses are built upon systems. They allow you to be automated, they allow you to scale and they take care of the details. The more systems that are well constructed and efficient a business has, the better it will be from both a financial and time-management standpoint.

There are systems that are universal to every business and there are systems that are becoming universal throughout the fitness industry. Here are the most important systems you need for saving time, staying organized and growing client relationships.

1. Paperless Record Keeping

The first step in starting a new client relationship is assessing the current state of your client. This can be simple with an in-person client, but what if you’re looking to expand your business via online training? Assessments can also take up valuable time during the first session together. Do you want your clients feeling like the money they spent to work with you was partially spent filling out paperwork? Assessment forms should be filled out online, before the training session, and then stored electronically for you. Having this information beforehand will save you time when it comes to programming, too. 2015 should be the year when you say goodbye to client folders stuffed with paper. Whichever assessment forms you use, ensure that they are simple, can be completed online, and stored securely on a cloud-based portal. You’ll thank yourself in March for simplifying things before the New Year’s rush.

2. Fitness Tools for Workout Template and Assigning Homework

Exercise programming is obviously the bread and butter of what you do as a professional—it can also be the most time consuming. Many of your clients who are serious about their health goals will want to know what to do when you’re not training in person with them. You should have a system in place for this. If you are starting from scratch for every client, you’re not using your time as efficiently as you could be. The way to scale workout building and workout homework is to start with templates that you can then customize to a particular client’s needs. Invest a little bit of time now to design workout templates for each group of clients, and you’ll be able to save time over the long term.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel every time a client needs a new workout. Use a cloud-based software that lets you create workout templates and send workouts to clients as homework. You should be able to assign an accountability due date, and see when your client has marked the workout as “complete.” All this info should be stored electronically, further simplifying things for you by eliminating client folders stuffed with paper. When you can be in touch with your clients outside of your in-person sessions, you are better able to grow the long-term relationships that will fuel your growth.

3. Exercise Coaching and Video

Now that you’ve planned and created a template for your fitness-training programs, how do you plan to coach the exercises contained within them? There are two ways to go about it: pictures and written descriptions or video. Pictures and written descriptions are great and easy to produce, but can take time to set up. So the question is, do you use videos made by others or put the effort in to make your own?

Many of our customers chose to make their own, as they want the personal touch that comes from coaching the movements the way they believe they should be performed. Filming, editing and uploading to YouTube or Vimeo (or any other video platform) hundreds of exercises will require a considerable investment of your time. The good news is that once this system is in place, it’s done and available to each of your clients in just a click or two. Whatever system you use to send workouts to clients, you’ll want it to include a place to link to these uploaded videos.

4. Simplified Online Booking and Payment System

The time you spend coordinating appointments and payment with your customers is, frankly, time you that could be better spent doing other things. Consumers love taking action online to accomplish tasks, and booking a training session is no different. Why not make things easy for them? Set up a two-way scheduling system so clients can book and pay for your services, classes or packages. Automate this process now and you’ll be thanking yourself later that you did.

The benefit to accepting payment at the time of booking is twofold: First, your client is less likely to cancel, because they’re already invested in the session. Second, your cash flow improves, because you don’t have to wait for payment until the date of service. A few days here or there may seem insignificant, but over time, getting paid in less time will be a great benefit to your business.

You’ve probably heard the old saying: “A failure to plan is planning to fail.” In business, your plans are your systems and a business without systems is simply a system to fail.

Your first 30 days on amSTATZ are a gift to you, from ACE. Why? Because ACE is invested in your success and has hand-picked amSTATZ to help you save time, stay organized and grow client relationships.

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