Congratulations to the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society for their inaugural ATMS News (Issue 1, Spring 2010). This newspaper is a great initiative by the ATMS with articles on industry news, books & DVD reviews, history of massage, the development of Chinese medicine and much more. There’s even the following editorial on “Using technology to build a better business” and www.192.168.0.221:8080/inform gets a special mention. We’re happy supporters of the ATMS and look forward to following issues of ATMS News.
Using Technology to build better health & fitness businesses.
With the rise of technology including software, social media and social networks, it’s becoming even easier to use technology to gain a competitive advantage. Businesses are increasingly making use of technology to connect with customers and make interacting with them easier and more natural, as well as simplifying the day-to-day business management operations. Talk to most health professionals and they actively use SMS and email for client contact, which is a trend we are seeing – more technology use in the health and fitness industry.
Business management tools such as spreadsheets, electronic documents, email and software are now commonly replacing the often tedious use of pen and paper. These tools can often be disconnected, meaning you spend more time consolidating the information you need to run your business. Technology companies have emerged which offer software-as-a-service i.e. internet based software, available anytime, anywhere with no downloading required.
One such company is Performance Plant, an Australian software company living by their mantra of helping Health & Fitness Professionals build better businesses. Their software-as-a-service application, inForm (www.192.168.0.221:8080/inform) has been developed specifically for health and fitness professionals to effectively manage their business so they are free to focus on their clients’ wellbeing. Most health professionals they spoke to had client care already nailed but they needed a solution to manage their business. They wanted to reduce the time they spent on paperwork, managing appointment times, following up on billing and payments so they could focus on what they do best – helping their clients get healthy. In the same way that you access your online bank account, Hotmail or Facebook, Inform allows you to access your client information, schedules, billing details and client performance online allowing you to easily manage your business anywhere, at anytime.
Leveraging Social Media & Social Networks
In addition to using software products like inForm, Social Media (e.g. blogs, forums, podcasts) and Social Networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) are an inexpensive way to engage with your clients, create and connect with a community or extend your reach – helping you to build a better business. The key is to build a communication strategy – understand what you are trying to achieve and choose the appropriate socially engaging tools to help you get there. Remember “share, don’t sell”.
Likewise many health professionals are using websites to attract potential clients. In a world where almost everything is available at our fingertips, clients want to be able to “google” a product before they buy. In this way websites have helped many health professionals get their business marketed inexpensively. By building a website, clients can easily access your business details such as the services provided, hours of operation, business location, cost of services and some websites even allow clients to book online – all very important information for the ever busy client.