Technology evolves quickly and as a business owner, it's not always easy to determine what to do about it. In fact, adopting technology in any business could be a make or break decision. Last year an AT&T survey revealed that 75 percent of small business owners were eager to embrace new technology, but 30 percent found it hard to adopt. Research on the adoption of Customer Relationship Management Systems, an excellent example of a popular and needed technology solution for most businesses, has shown high failure rates even in well resourced and larger companies; yet many studies reflect failed adoption rates for CRM as high as 70% or more.
Why do so many businesses have challenges adopting technology? A wide range of reasons include i) inadequate resources, ii) a lack of understanding of the implications of adoption iii) failure to work through integration with other systems iv) not having a thought out plan and iv) not having the right technology vendor partner, to name a few.
In the gym, health club, or in any fitness business today, evolving customer and member needs and expectations along with the requirement to optimize marketing, billing, payment collection, administrative, and operational functions requires business owners be very strategic when it comes to knowing the answer to the question “what technology should I be adopting first, second, and or third?”. Nevermind the questions of “why and what”, but “who, when and how” are even more essential to adopting the right technology in the right way in any business let alone a gym, health club, or fitness studio operation.
ABC Financial has assisted fitness business owners adopt technologies since 1981. In The Ultimate Health Club Management Guide we have included information to help guide technology adoption and evaluation as well as other health club business decisions. From single health club operators to some of the largest gym brands in the world, we have learned a thing or two about the upsides and pitfalls of introducing technologies into your fitness business. If you are thinking about adopting new technologies or changing the systems you already have in your gym, health club, or in any fitness business here are five “tips” or “secrets” the team at ABC Financial recommends you keep in mind:
1. Get Your Team Involved
According to this Harvard Business Review article, the benefits of technology are often clear to leaders, but if they are not understood by end users adoption can become a real challenge.
It is important for employees to understand why the business is changing its systems and tools. Leaders need to communicate the goals and vision, and explain how this new technology is a way to achieve them so that the team will buy into the process. It is important for employees to grasp the benefits of the new technology not only for the organization but for themselves. How will they benefit from new tools at work? How is this an improvement to what they are already using?
2. Choose the Right Technology & Partner
Do not select the best technology, the most efficient, or the “newest cool” technology. Every business should choose to adopt technology that will help them achieve their business goals. Often this point of view is lost when health clubs or gym owners and operators are evaluating their technology options.
To make certain you are successful in adoption, a technology should not require major changes in your business processes, but adapt to them. Also, the right technology has to be simple and useful. Think of the technology from your employee and member’s perspective and ask yourself the right questions. Will this technology be easy to use for them ?
Finally, beyond technology selection, you must choose a company that knows your business and knows it well. Seek a partner with a stellar reputation not only with the technology tools but in supporting and servicing implementation of the systems. Proven performance from a trustworthy vendor partner in implementing technology tools for health clubs, fitness studios, and gyms is a must.
3. Don’t Move Too Fast
It is not uncommon to see gyms or health clubs try to digitize everything at once or attempt to implement a multitude of gadgets or tools to quickly. This is usually a recipe for disaster. A key to success, referenced in this Forbes article on technology implementation , is to proceed methodically one step at a time. Once the technology is chosen, the implementation should be done gradually in phases. Dividing adoption into several stages allows everyone to progress at the right pace.
4. Select Champions
Not all people have the same technology adoption orientation and the introduction of new tools and systems can create a gap between the most tech-savvy and everyone else.
A secret tip in helping you adopt new technology for your gym or health club is to identify champions of change. An employee open to feedback, open to change, and oriented to solving problems, check this article out for more pointers, can be very helpful to the team in moving forward and overcoming challenges. The champion must be an excellent communicator and have the respect of others. Champions should demonstrate the proficient use of the new technology tool and become a resource others can look to when needed.
5. Focus On Accomplishments And Successes
Change is hard for most people and it is no different in the health club, gym, or fitness business in general. Encouragement and positive reinforcement is therefore critical from the beginning to the end of the technological implementation.
To facilitate the acceptance and adoption of any new technology, experts suggest planning the adoption of new features so that employees will experience small victories. You should set measurable, precise and achievable goals in the adoption process.
About ABC Financial
We are the nation’s leading software and payment processing provider for health clubs, gyms, and fitness facilities of all kinds. Our comprehensive offerings include payment processing solutions and advanced health club management tools, such as DataTrak, that allow gym owners and managers to track and manage memberships and member and employee schedules, drive member engagement, and automate payment processing functions. The company's software has won numerous design and feature awards, such as Club Industry's Best of the Best and IHRSA's Vendor of the Year. Contact us today to learn more.