Hundreds of millions of people around the world rely on their smartphones to do more than just talk, text and email. They are shopping, playing games, learning, managing their finances, finding directions, taking photos and staying organized … 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With over 722.4 million smartphones shipped worldwide in 2012 and 68% of smartphone owners surveyed admitting they “cannot live without their smartphones” (and you might be one of them), an entrepreneur might wonder how smartphones can also help with a growing fitness business.
According to the app-tracking firm Flurry, “the world has adopted smartphones and tablets 10 times faster than it embraced personal computers in the 1980s, twice as fast as it logged into the Internet boom of the ’90s, and three times faster than it joined social networks in the new millennium.” One reason for the fast uptake of the technology is because they make our lives easier and they help us to be more productive in our everyday lives. In business, smartphones can also help to:
- Save money
- Make more sales
- Grow the business
Saving Money Using Smartphones
It costs money to run a fitness business, regardless of whether you are a personal trainer working out of your home or a multi-location fitness chain. When they are used by the business, smartphones can save both time and money.
All business communications are found in a single location (calls, voicemails, texts, and emails). This can all be done without the need for a wireless internet connection or laptop. If you establish a separate business number using a voice-over-IP (VOIP) phone service, it can be redirected to your smartphone, email you voice messages and manage multiple calls to multiple numbers. Examples include:
Customer Relations Management (CRM)
Online programs (and mobile apps) can be used to manage your clients/members, schedule appointments and take payment while you are on the road or traveling to multiple locations. Time is often wasted printing out invoices, creating Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. The longer it takes to produce these documents, the longer the delay in getting paid for services. Examples include:
These days, people use credit and debit cards more often than cash or check. This has been challenging for the independent fitness professional because accepting credit cards has been too expensive or complicated to do (ie. merchant account with the bank, buying or leasing a card reader, a multitude of fees). With the availability of smartphones, credit card processing mobile apps are now making the process easier, cheaper, and highly mobile. Examples include:
Making Money Using Smartphones
Smartphones are becoming a powerful marketing tool for business. When they are in the hands of your customers, or potential customers, smartphones can purchase products and services faster than ever before. If they are interested in the deal they will purchase on the spot, no matter what time or where they might be. In 2012, smartphones accounted for over 8 billion dollars in sales in the United States. This number is predicted to triple to 27 billion by 2016. Of the 132+ million smartphone users, 25% of them made mobile purchases (Forrester Research, 2012).
Promotions on products and services could be more effective using smartphones. Emails sent to customers or opt-in list can direct them to an online shopping cart to purchase right on their smartphone. Shopping cart capabilities on your business website or an affiliation with an online retailer (ie. LivingSocial, Groupon, Amazon, etc.) would be required.
The GPS function on smartphones literally puts your business on the map. Potential customers can find your business by simply using search tools like Google Maps or Garmin. The visibility of your business through smartphone apps gives your business a greater chance of expanding your customer base. If a customer can’t find you, it is highly unlikely you will generate new revenue for your business. In the case of the independent fitness professional (ie. in-home personal training), if you can’t find the location of a client or are late for an appointment you also will have difficulty keeping that client or building gaining new business.
Growing the Business Using Smartphones
Unlike smartphones (and their talk, text and data plans), the majority of people don’t view fitness or exercise as a necessity. The average smartphone user will spend $3,400 for a two year contract ($141.67/month), according to Investopedia.com. They pay the high prices because they need to have their smartphones and the services it provides. It’s not hard to believe the $195.5 billion value of the U.S. wireless industry, while the U.S. health club industry is valued at only $21.4 billion. Imagine what could happen to the industry if it could capture a fraction of what the wireless industry brings in each year? Recently, an innovative wireless service provider came to market with a solution worth considering.
Solavei provides high quality wireless service at a fraction of the cost of traditional mobile carriers ($49/month; unlimited talk, text and data). It is not available in retail stores and can only be provided through a Solavei affiliate member. It works off of the nations fastest 4G mobile network, there are no overages, there is no commitment and it provides rewards to reduce the monthly cost of service to $0/month.
If a customer saves money, that money can go towards things they usually can’t afford. This includes: a gym membership, personal training sessions and nutritional supplements and products. Solavei affiliate members (who are typically Solavei mobile service users) can pass on their savings to their customers, giving them an incentive to spend the money they saved on the fitness products and services they offer. For more information on the Solavei system, click here.
Food for Thought …
The goal of any fitness business is to be successful and become more profitable. Smartphones provide you with tools for you to run your business more effectively. They also make it easier for customers to stay connected with your business and make purchases. Take a look at how you’re currently using smartphones in your business and ways you can save money, make money and grow your business in the future.
This article was written in collaboration with PHOENIX Interactive Consulting (www.phoenix-interact.com).