Phil Coxon is the Managing Director for MINDBODY Europe and the first Brit appointed the post. Previously Chief Revenue Officer for MotorK where Phil was responsible for growing YOY revenue by over 50%. Prior to that, Phil was VP Central Sales and Operations for a digital marketing company Criteo where he played an integral role in taking the company from $50M to $2.2Billion turnover during his 7-year tenure. He has now set his sights on the fitness industry and has a clear plan to expand MINDBODY’s services and grow the 60,000 strong global customer base.
We spoke to Phil about how to choose fitness management software and how to make it work for your business.
Your software is as important as your lease.
It will control everything from how your doors open to how to talk to your customers. Your software is the backbone of your business and one of the things that can cause the most frustration with members if it doesn’t work properly so take your time in finding the right partner.
MINDBODY started as a product for start-ups, but as those start-ups grew, we had to develop our products to support them. Now we have the most developed solutions on the market having acquired four companies in the last two years including Frederick and FitMetrix. Our biggest differentiator is our consumer marketplace, which is the largest in the world. Our 60,000+ businesses can publish their services and open inventory in our MINDBODY App. It’s like an ‘open table’ for fitness, where millions of consumers are booking their wellness services every day. In Q1 it brought in, on average, 10,561 new clients for our customers in the UK – An increase of 32% YoY.
This year alone we will also spend $70m on software R&D. With that, I don’t think you can be all things to all people – we want to offer robust features which work 100% effectively, rather than introducing 100 new features a month that have glitches.
Start with your business plan
How you want to run your business will impact what you need the software to do. Start with your processes, systems, and procedures and ask how they can be implemented by your choice of software. For instance, do you want to be able to take DD payments? How will you pay your staff? Make sure your choice of software can meet your main business needs before signing up. At MINDBODY we know that fitness professionals don’t always start out with fully formed business skills so are appointing Customer Success Managers who can offer business advice, as well as helping with products.
Marketing automation is an investment worth making
Marketing automation is absolutely key (and, in my opinion, worth paying for). Choosing software with in-built marketing automation capabilities will allow you to effectively communicate with all your customers from day one. You can contact ‘no shows’, reach out to regulars who have missed a week and even wish members a happy birthday, all with automated algorithms. Don’t wait until you have an established business to start your marketing campaigns, and don’t think you can do it manually, it will take you hours!
Invest the time in set up
We tell our new customers they will need to invest a minimum of 10 hours in getting the software correctly set up in the first month of purchase. Don’t think that your responsibility ends at the point of purchase, this is just the start. We have an onboarding team to get you going, but the software will only ever be as good as you set it up to be. Also invest time in training your team, setting up the software properly is crucial, but having it operated correctly is just as important.
Ask before you get frustrated!
If you are frustrated by a feature or lack of a feature, engage in a dialogue with the technical team. It might be that more training is all that is needed to solve your problem. At MINDBODY we have put a lot of thought in which features we build and have a team of hundreds of engineers constantly updating the platform. We are always happy to explain our thinking, as it might help you to choose the best approach for your business. For instance, we offer eight different ways to pay employees and once our customers understand what’s possible they usually realise they don’t need a ninth!
Ask if your software provider has a community forum. We have MINDBODY One, a network of 60,000 people who knowledge-share about our products. The conversations are often rich with marketing and retention tips, and advice on using the software efficiently.
Our research shows that starting a business with the right mindset makes a huge difference to growth. That’s why we’re investing heavily in our Customer Success team, we know that if we can give our customers a pathway to follow, they are more likely to succeed. Fitness start-ups who have a long-term goal to open more than one site tend to spend more time getting the basics right because they already have an eye on scaling up. Think big, site number one is just the beginning!