In college, I had a professor that would always say, “you plan, and then life happens,” and 2020 could not be a better example of that statement. It is difficult to fully grasp how quickly things have changed in the last few months. Creating a fitness software product when businesses in the fitness industry are closed and some may not re-open brings up a range of emotions for everyone here at Ruoom. We’re entrepreneurs ourselves, and watching the livelihoods of so many get turned upside down leaves us searching for words of consolation when, in reality, we know nothing we can say will do much good. Instead, we look at what actions we can take to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in the fitness industry prepare for what’s next. Determining our new role to help boutique fitness business safely re-open their doors is a challenge we proudly accept.
When the COVID-19 lockdowns began, we did a small pivot and created an online fitness class platform that puts a paywall in front of live online fitness classes and video on demand (VoD) content to create a one-stop-shop for users. Our secure paywall takes care of payment and all tax or VAT requirements in multiple currencies so you, the fitness instructor, can focus on teaching and sharing your craft. The platform gives freelance fitness instructors a way to connect with their communities digitally and get a bit of income hosting online fitness classes as in-person instruction remains incredibly uncertain and restricted. Ruoom Live, taught us that we must adapt to what our customers need and do our best to be a step ahead. Our setup for Ruoom Live offers a set your rate, cost-share agreement (80% to the fitness instructor, 20% to Ruoom). With an exponential uptick of online fitness classes, we’ll make adjustments to the program to better serve our customer demands and strongly welcome feedback.
Looking back, creating Ruoom Live wasn’t really a pivot but more a complement to our business software.
Now that social distancing and leaving space between people are heavily mandated, we quickly realized this piece of our platform could help businesses re-adjust when their doors can open again. So we’re going to break off this piece of our fitness business software and allow unlimited access to it – For free. Forever. Just enter your email to get access the floor plan generator. Today, we will be introducing Ruoom™ Planner Lite on our website, a free online floor plan creator for you to use and try out.
We made Ruoom Live, but our company’s core product has nothing to do with video-on-demand streaming. At Ruoom, our core product is a fitness business management software. Our full product suite does everything you’d expect – client management, online booking, point-of-sale, staff management, scheduling. However, our product’s uniqueness lies within our patent-pending algorithm, a tool called Ruoom™ Planner, a floor plan generator.
Ruoom™ Planner can optimize space by taking two main parameters to determine an optimal floor plan: 1) the dimensions of your room and 2) how much space you want between your customers. The tool also allows you to set up equipment parameters (more on that in a few lines) and any obstructions native to your space. When you set the amount of space you want, like 6 ft, between stations or people, the patent-pending algorithm will visually show you the optimal layout based on the information you provided. About the equipment, don’t know the dimensions of your treadmill, stationary bikes, yoga mats, pilates reformer, and can’t be bothered to measure? We understand completely. That’s why we’ve done a lot of research, and we’ve created a growing repository of gym equipment categorized by type, brand, and name built right into the tool. If you use Ruoom™ Planner (thank you!) and find that we’re missing any equipment in our repository of have any suggestions on how the tool can better serve you, don’t hesitate to reach out. We welcome feedback.
So what’s next for Ruoom? Our full fitness business management software will deploy sometime in early 2021. During our beta phase, we will take feedback from users, like you, and build a product you need for a price you want. We already have a few features planned in our product pipeline, but those features are completely useless if you all don’t want them. So if you test us out in beta, show no mercy. Tell us what you hate, what you love, what would help your business, and anything else you’re willing to share to help us Ruoom the best fitness studio management software you want to use.
Though I can’t share all our secrets about our produce pipeline, I’ll give you a hint by letting you know a bit more about us as a company: We’re data nerds here at Ruoom. We want our fitness business software to also evolve into a fitness reporting software to give fitness business owners important data metrics to effectively and efficiently run internal operations. This data feature with the impetus of why I thought of creating Ruoom in the first place. I needed data; the software tool I was using didn’t have it. It was the simple stuff like wanting to see the total number of people to sign up that day, but in a really beautiful UI. A front dashboard with everything I needed to know in one page. That’s what I imagined in my first design sketches of Ruoom. I’m a visual learner (and let’s be real, most of us are) so being able to visualize what was happening in business operations was something I needed and didn’t have.
So, I rallied a small team, and we made it ourselves.
Now we have a full software product with a patent-pending algorithm built in it.
Sometimes taking the long road is the right road.
To wrap this up, since I’m sure you have way more to do in life than sit and read my blog, one last thing. Though I’ve used the word ‘fitness’ quite a bit, our software tool fits any business that needs affordable and sleek client management, online booking, point-of-sale, staff management, and scheduling tool. When I co-founded this company, the fitness industry was my target. It’s an industry I know well, the muse for this creation. However, as the product evolved, we noticed that this software tool had features currently used and needed in various industries. My fabulous hairdresser needs an online booking tool to schedule her clients. Movie theatre groups popularized ‘choose your seat,’ and our space reservation algorithm can allow that. The sweet small local businesses here in Austin most definitely need a payment tool and an affordable small business management software. I think I’ve made my point.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected the fitness industry. It’s affected all of them. I believe small business owners are truest definition of an entrepreneur. The hustle, grit, and complete self-belief that things will (read: must) work out is the heart of what built economies all over the world. I have always had a deep respect and admiration for supporting all small businesses because of these, and many other, qualities. So in this role, I plan to do that as well as I can.
So, I’ll rephrase what I said at the beginning of this post and change my sentence to:
Our new role in helping fitness and wellness businesses, the hospitality sector; small brick and mortar shops; beauty salons; or any industry that needs our software product to safely re-open its doors is a challenge we proudly accept.
We can #makeruoom for you.
As a startup co-founder, I’d be lying if I said what we’ve made at Ruoom isn’t a small extension of myself. Despite a lot of personal and professional success at a young age, I have always been the underdog. So I have a deep understanding and empathy for always helping out the little guy. How I choose to lead this company aligns with my personal beliefs about humanity and something I take very seriously as a leader. With that, I leave you with these:
#1: We welcome you here. All of you. Everyone.
#2: You can most definitely sit here; we can #makeruoom.
#3: If Ruoom can help you in your business endeavors, we gladly will.