As with any small-business, health club and fitness studio owners have to juggle plenty of balls on a daily basis. What’s worse is that as your business grows, so does the amount of data, product, and people you need to work with on a daily basis. But 81 percent of small businesses are using multiple tools—everything from apps to software—to manage their business, according to the 2014 Small Business Expense Management Survey from American Express OPEN and Intuit.

Here are the top five business tools that fitness owners can use to make their day a bit easier—and finding tools that do more than one thing makes life even better

1. EFT/POS — Perhaps the most time-consuming and important thing a club needs to do is collect dues. And money management goes beyond that. If your company rents towels at the front desk, does personal or small group training, or even has a smoothie bar or retail shop, collecting and reporting those numbers helps keep your business on track for the long run. Sure an accountant can help analyze your performance and help with taxes (and is advisable for every business), and an accounting program can help with the big picture, but being able to track your day-to-day finances can help your company stay cash-positive and focus on what’s working and what isn’t.

2. Payroll/Staff Management — The club was supposed to open 15 minutes ago, but the front-desk person forgot she was covering for the regular opener. Your sales team had a great September, and the team members all made bonus. Managing a staff is no small task. And the larger your organization becomes, the more staff members you’ll need to manage. From scheduling to payroll to commissions to benefits, a real payroll and personnel management tool is essential to keeping your business running smoothly.

3. Customer Relationship Management —You spend good time and money on getting leads. But without a good customer relationship management (CRM) tool, that time and money can be wasted pretty quickly. A CRM tool can truly help you and your staff manage your relationships with current and prospective members. It can also help automate routine prospecting and, through automated email campaigns, lead-nurturing and even member retention. Beyond that, a good CRM tool can allow your salespeople to track their daily jobs, set and follow tasks, and reduce “lost” prospects. All this adds up to them and, in the end, you hitting membership and sales numbers to keep your studio thriving.

4. Member Management — OK, all the other stuff won’t matter if you don’t have a handle on your members. Use the power of your software to allow members to update their information, book classes, pay bills, and do other tasks themselves. This not only allows you to empower them to feel as if they are part of a club but also takes some of the workload off of you and your staff, allowing focus to go back on building the business.

5. Accounting/Reporting — “How you doin’?” It’s not just a pickup line. Regardless of the other tools and systems you have in place, having a central repository of your revenues, expenses, leads, etc. is the only way to guarantee that what you are doing in all the other aspects of your club is working today. More important, you will be able to see what isn’t working and fix it before it’s too late. Make sure, though, if you aren’t using an all-in-one system, that your tools can share with the reporting system you are using in order to make it quick, easy, and seamless.

Regardless of what you need to do to run your health club or fitness studio more efficiently, knowledge is a part of it, but without the correct tools in place, you may not ever get the job done. What are some of your favorite tools?

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