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The right small business management software can help you run your operations more efficiently and make the most out of the hours you have. At Ruoom, we’ve created a simplified business management software for small business owners. Owners and managers who want a product that not only works well but is simple enough to learn without much guidance, has a user interface that looks like it was designed in the 21st century, and is available at an approachable, low-barrier to entry, affordable price point. At the time of this blog posting, our product, Ruoom Software, is entirely free for use in its beta phase.
At first glance, it looks like we made another web-based business management tool just like countless others already proven in the market. But our business management software has a feature that none of the others have, a patent-pending differentiator that we created, and own, here at Ruoom Inc.
Our differentiator? An algorithm called Ruoom® Planner. Ruoom® Planner is a space optimizing, floor plan generator that allows you to design your rooms and create optimal distance between your equipment and – perhaps most relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic – between your customers.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect from Ruoom® Planner and how it could benefit your business.
Floor Plan Creator: What is Ruoom® Planner?
Why Did We Make This Thing?
There are a few reasons, but the most relatable one is one from a customer perspective. Have you ever entered a yoga class, and space between you and your neighbor is almost non-existent? Taking other factors of your yoga (or other fitness class) experience out of the equation, how did you enjoy this setup? Were you comfortable being that close? Did you get a few too many butt-in-your-face-views, or have that bead of sweat from your neighbor strangely make its way to your yoga mat?
Less than 3 inches of space between my neighbor, huh?
With the COVID-19 pandemic, things have drastically changed for businesses across the board. For the fitness industry, the way of doing business has, and will, continue to evolve. Packing customers into your fitness studio spaces like sardines will be frowned upon even after the pandemic is over, resulting in a poor customer experience that may have significant consequences to your bottom line.
A Harvard Business Review (HBR) statistic states that increasing your customer retention rate by 5% can increase your profits by 25% to 95%. But increasing your customer retention rate will be significantly connected to your customer’s experience. In a Forbes article titled 50 Stats That Prove The Value Of Customer Experience, statistics show that organizations with a “customer experience mindset” tend to drive revenue between 4% and 8% higher than the rest of their industries. Of the organizations surveyed that worked to improve their customer experience, 84% reported increased revenue.
As the evolution of in-person business changes, industries must adapt and ask themselves ahead of time: Will going back to business-as-usual be detrimental to my brand? What will make my customer experience better?
Here at Ruoom, we want to help with that.
How Can You Use Ruoom® Planner in Your Fitness Business?
“Keep a distance between people.”
“Practice social distancing.”
“Stay 6 ft apart.”
The well-known guidelines are now part of human vernacular and behavior. Sometimes it isn’t easy to imagine how physical space will work for a fitness class or group service. The last thing you want is to find out you don’t have enough room before starting your class or event and get a slew of complaints from your customers that you didn’t do enough to prepare for a reopening. It’s important to reassure customers that their safety and wellbeing are your number one priority.
When using Ruoom® Planner, the floor plan generator will show you a digital layout. From this, you can:
- Plan for social distancing in all of your group fitness classes.
- Determine how much equipment fits comfortably.
- Work around obstructions in the room.
- Print and share floor plans with teachers and employees.
- Design, edit and save a limitless number of floor plans.
Walking Through the Ruoom® Planner Tool
To use the floor plan tool, you enter three parameters:
1) The room’s dimensions
2) Any equipment you need
3) Any obstructions in the space
If you don’t know the dimensions of your room and don’t have the blueprints from your building management team or architect, you can, of course, measure the old-fashioned way using a tape measure or steps. However, if you’re looking to use an app, the PLNAR app allows you to measure your room digitally. They are another Austin-based team, just like us at Ruoom, so we’re happy to #supportlocal.
Now for your equipment. You probably don’t want to measure your treadmills, stationary bikes, yoga mats, or pilates reformer. You can’t be bothered; we get it. So we created a pretty robust database of equipment. You can filter by brand and type in the dropdown of our floor plan tool, as seen below:
Sometimes, with the nature of building design, an unfortunate pole or wall squashes your dreams of a beautiful open floor plan. With Ruoom® Planner, we (pun alert) planned for that and have a simple drag and drop feature for obstructions. The algorithm takes the obstruction into account when calculating the optimal layout.
An optional parameter is the Service Provider space, made explicitly for fitness instructors if they are using a piece of equipment. Optimization will take into account the location of the service provider.
After you input all measurements, equipment, and obstructions into Ruoom® Planner, you click the Optimize Space button. The algorithm then works its magic to optimize and will show you the maximum number of people that can fit in the space based on your input parameters.
You might notice some things are not aligned. You can perform a Snap Alignment to align edges within the layout. Doing so will not change the maximum capacity of people that can be in the room based on your input parameters.
The Perks of Using Ruoom® Planner, Ruoom Software & The Ability to Reserve Your Own Space
A modified version of our floor plan creator, Ruoom® Planner Lite, is available for free on our website. Just enter your e-mail address, and you can use the free online floor plan creator as much as you want.
The option for a customer to reserve their space is a built-in feature within Ruoom Software that can be used if it’s in your business model. That being said, there are many advantages to allowing a customer to reserve a space. Perhaps a customer needs to be by the door, prefers a piece of equipment by the wall, or wants to be front and center. Like choosing an airplane seat or a seat at the movie theater like Austin’s own, Alamo Drafthouse, the space reservation feature creates a focused customer experience.
COVID-19: What's Next for Fitness?
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to re-think how they run their business. Social distancing is at the core of government messaging surrounding COVID-19. Your clients are always hearing how they need to maintain a safe distance from other people to minimize the coronavirus’s risk and spread.
As gyms and fitness classes reopen across the country, there will be a big focus on COVID-secure protocols, with participants needing to stay at least 6 ft apart for the indefinite future. As a business, you’ll need to think about what steps you need to take to accommodate social distancing. Other points to consider for reopening include:
- Stick to the maximum capacity as stated by the government.
- Customers may need to bring their own fitness equipment like a yoga mat for a fitness class.
- No gathering before or after class.
- Floor markings should be clear for customeres.
- You may need to include air cleaning technology equipment within the class space.
Where possible, consider one-way systems around the fitness environment, meaning you may need to allow more room in your fitness studio space for entry and exit. Controlling people’s flow and spacing in your workout class is essential in adhering to the strictest of COVID-secure guidelines.
As an entrepreneur, fitness instructor, or small business owner, you often have several roles to perform. You’re a marketer, a teacher, a social media expert, a complaints board, all at the same time. With our Ruoom Software Product Suite and our free Ruoom™ Planner web-based floor plan tool, we take the hassle out of planning so you can focus on what’s important: your customers.
The promise of a vaccine on the horizon could help bring back a little normalcy in the months to come. However, you will still have to incorporate essential changes to prepare for your reopening. With the ever-growing list of COVID guidelines, your customers’ safety and wellbeing should be at the top priority, even with a vaccine. Plan, optimize, and utilize the best tools to step into this next phase of businesses on the best foot. Our beta product is free to use and we welcome any feedback to help improve the tool so it becomes the best small business management software for your needs. Sign up on our homepage.
If you’re interested in reading our CEO’s blog post on Ruoom® Planner and how Ruoom Inc. aims to help all small businesses, you can find her blog post here.