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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 02-13-2012, 09:48 PM   #1
Andrew Crowe
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Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accounting

Hi everyone, we are in the process of setting up our own CF Box here in Brisbane, Australia. I feel somewhat overwhelmed with the amount of 'add-ons' and extra available out there available to boxes including:

- Zenplanner
- Mindbody Online
- Skilled Athlete (e-waviers app etc)
- EziDebit (automated monthly debit).
- Website hosting
- Etc, etc etc.

I'm finding quickly that (funnily enough) everything costs money but really am unsure on the effectiveness and efficiency of these applications and software. Considering both myself and my business partner are also employed full-time (outside of the box), Id really appreciate any feedback on how these things assist with the running of the business effectively making things easier.

Im trying to find that happy medium between spending money on good software to increase productivity and wasting the cash we are making. I have paid the money for professional logo and website design and am waiting on final proofs. Info on integrating the above tools into websites would be awesome!

My other question is in relation to the accounting side of the business what programs are people using. Currently, Excel spreadsheets are as far as we have gone. However, come tax time, this could prove problematic.

If youve also found some cool application or software packages Id be really keen to hear about them.

As a side note, Im also looking to write a bit of a blog on my experiences in setting this whole beast up considering I come from no business background. Hopefully someone in my position might find it helpful!

Thanks to all those who routinely provide valuable input into the CrossFit Forum its particularly helpful for us new comers!

Andrew

(Apologies for the lengthy post)
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:31 PM   #2
Chris Cooper
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

Hi Andrew!

MindBodyOnline is my choice, but I haven't used ZenPlanner. It's ESSENTIAL for your business to run on systems like this, and far more convenient. We maintain 2300 clients in our MBO database; all are tracked financially, and members are autobilled at the first of the month. It requires only a cursory glance from me. MBO handles our schedule for classes, and tracks who's been in, and when. It schedules our Coaches. It runs our accounting reports (which my bookkeeper finalizes, for about $25 per month. Bookkeeper savings MORE than pay for the software.)

On a deeper level, use of a professional system will allow you to remove barriers to entry (it's much easier to email than it is to phone when you're nervous.) It allows your users to pay online, which adds another layer of credibility to your venture. It cuts 70% of our phone calls, because our membership can use it to book online EASILY.

Best wishes! I remember when I was in your shoes, and I wish someone had been around to tell me this stuff (in fact, that's the reason I started writing everything down on dontbuyads.com back then!)
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:50 PM   #3
Andrew Crowe
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

Thanks for the response Chris - I'm looking at a system we have here called EziDebit. Not sure if using MindBody is then just doubling up - will need to look into it further I think.

Thanks for dontbuyads.com as well. I've read a hell of a lot of stuff from your site and it's extremely valuable. In a world where usually evenything costs money, it's great to have that resource.

Also, got your e-mail yesterday. Will get back to you shortly.

Andrew
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:13 AM   #4
Bryan Hood
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

I run a HiTechGym.com (wfs) site for $15/month. When I first opened I used ZP. ZP is awesome but too much for me. I may go back to that once our numbers are over 100. My members can pay online as well. My 2 cents.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:54 PM   #5
Josh Felber
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

go with zenplanner we tested both MB and ZP and hands down ZP provides everything needed to operate your business. you will still need payment gateway for credit card or check debit but keeping track and handling $, athletes is what you need in addition to accepting payment.

good credit card and check payment with best pricing is GMS out of florida.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:54 AM   #6
Andrew Crowe
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

Thanks guys - appreciate the responses! Having a ball working these issues out!

Andrew
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:19 PM   #7
Arron Ryan
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

Andrew,

I run Crash in the west of Sydney and I have dealt with some previous client management systems that integrate direct debit and client management at a very low price for affiliate but it was a very poor product. Lesson learnt as now I am with Mindbody and have Ezidebit as my merchant attached to Mindbody for all direct debits and online payments. This is the best for us and saves us valuable time. We promote that people manage their accounts online and offer discounts for them to do so. It costs us bugger all for Ezi debit to do their job and happens without to much interaction.

As for Mindbody it is the best that I have found at he price point. Sounds like a lot but it will make your life so much easier with the way clients can manage their account details and register/book sessions. Hey also set it up over the phone with you to ensure you are raring to go. I think I had two training sessions with them and we set up my member portal the way I wanted/needed it.

If you have any questions later about it feel free to look us up and give me a call.
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:23 PM   #8
Jennifer Murray
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Crowe View Post
Thanks guys - appreciate the responses! Having a ball working these issues out!

Andrew
Andrew, Make it simple and go with MindBody; their support is great, inexpensive to run and a no brainer to use. Easy for clients to use as well and has a lot of extra add-ons that don't cost you anything, i.e. Constant Contacts. Enjoy the ride, getting there is half the fun.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:21 AM   #9
Rob Hefley
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

We use Zenplanner and it is great. We have over 200 members and it gets hard to track everybody just using a spreadsheet. You want something where you do not have to track people down for money. It is really easy to use too.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:22 AM   #10
Ben Pate
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Re: Business efficiency tools (Zenplanner, Mindbody, Ezidebit) and business accountin

Hi Everyone,

Before I begin, I'm the founder of Zen Planner -- so please take my comments with a grain of salt. I always try to be fair, but I won't claim to be impartial :)

Questions like Andrew's come up a lot. We work with new affiliates every day who are overwhelmed by everything needed to get up and running. There are two separate questions here, and it's important to see the difference between them:

1) Should I get SOMETHING to run my affiliate? The answer here is 100% YES. If you're really trying to build a business, you need to have a single, usable place to keep track of everything. You just can't keep every detail for more than about 20 people in your head, on paper, or even in a spreadsheet. Yes, there's a learning curve. Yes, there's upfront costs. But, I haven't met a single successful CrossFitter who has skipped this step.

2) WHICH package should I get? This is the much more important and difficult question. My best answer is that you should really try each of the available choices and see for yourself. I personally focus on making Zen Planner the best combination of features AND simplicity -- because simple alone isn't good enough when business starts getting complicated, and features alone are no good if you can't figure out how to use them.

There are plenty of affiliate owners who are happy with one of the other services out there. But we're relatively small company, and many of them hadn't heard about us when they made their initial decisions. ANY software will be better than nothing, so of course they're pleased to have something.

But, to answer question #2 effectively, you really need to compare each choice equally for yourself. And when you ask people who've tried all the alternatives, they tend to choose Zen Planner -- and they're very vocal about their reasons why.

So, check out your alternatives, and choose the software system that fits YOU best. I hope this answer is helpful -- please let me know if I can add more to this discussion :)

Ben Pate
Founder, Zen Planner
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