[Guest Post] Cut the Flab On Your Business with Software for Nutritionists
This is a guest post by Diego Sanchez over at NutriAdmin - an innovative startup offering client management software for nutritionists
Paperwork.Let’s be honest, nobody likes it…
And yet the sad reality for the nutritionists I work with and speak to on a regular basis is that paperwork is a necessary evil, just ‘one of those things'. There’s really no way to get rid of it in your line of work….
Or is there?
I’ve had the chance to interview hundreds of nutritional therapists and have discovered that a great number of you are solopreneurs.That, of course, means you’re in charge of the entirety of your business:
- Admin tasks
Oh… and of course advising individuals on nutrition matters. Clearly the latter is where you should be spending the majority of your time, but all-too-often it isn’t.
Why is that and can anything be done about it?
Every nutrition professional I interviewed told me that they went into business mainly for the nutrition component. I'm yet to find a masochist among you who signed up for countless hours of reporting, scheduling meetings, and organizing files. Yet, most people spend more time with paperwork than with actual clients.
The good news is that it doesn’t need to be like that. Allow me to introduce: ThePaperwork Diet.
Paperwork is like excess weight in your business
One big problem companies suffer from is bureaucracy. I’ve worked for a large financial corporation in London in the past, where simple tasks often got delayed due to paperwork. Even though my role was in technology, I spent half of my time managing emails, dealing with contracts, or waiting for managers to sign approval documents before I could proceed with my real work.
In my experience, paperwork is like excess weight in your business: It is annoying, it slows your work down, and you want to get rid of it but often do not know how.
Just as in the banking world, I have seen admin work stand in the way of nutritionists in many significant ways. Many of the nutritionists I have spoken to, confess to spending between 2 and 4 hours daily just dealing with paperwork. This includes manual, repetitive, time- consuming tasks such as:
- Managing emails
- Writing reports
- Managing scheduling
- Repeatedly answering common client questions
- Ensuring clients fill in required documents before their visit
- Reminding clients of actions they need to take
- Keeping client records organized and up to date
- Fetching important client data amongst paper files
I know from my own experience how hard it is to focus on your core objectives with these kinds of time-consuming activities getting in the way so, though I’m no doctor, I’m staging an intervention:
I'm prescribing a low paperwork, high-client-focus diet for nutrition professionals in businesses.
Imagine a world with no paperwork
Imagine for a moment a miraculous machine that takes care of all your paperwork for you. With a single press of button 1 all of your clients get relevant reminders to complete actions. You press button 2 and a high-quality report gets generated for a client. Button 3 sorts out your schedule and button 4? Well button 4 prepares your coffee and gives you a massage… (We can dream, can’t we).
With no paperwork to deal with, you would have 2 to 4 extra hours every day. Just think what you could do with that additional time.
Perhaps you ask a similar question to patients trying to lose weight. Something along the lines of “What will you do when you get fit?” Excess weight is painful and chances are that most will think about the relief that would come from getting rid of it. However, there are loads of extra benefits that come with weight loss, many of which aren’t evident at the beginning. Moving to a healthier lifestyle comes with extra perks such as:
- Longer life expectancy
- Increased happiness
- Reduced stress and much more.
Similarly, using a paperwork diet to reduce your admin workload comes with plenty of benefits. Not only you can get rid of the most boring and annoying part of your business; getting your business lean enables you to move faster. With 2-4 extra hours a day you can:
- Provide better value to your patients
- Spend more time on marketing to get more clients
- Get more business from your existing client base
- Get more referrals from happy clients
- Do more of the work you love, and less of the boring stuff
You know that an effective diet is not just about eliminating the unhealthy foods. It’s about replacing them with healthy alternatives. Likewise, a paperwork diet for your business means not just spending less time with bureaucracy, but using that time instead with client-facing activities.
All of the nutritionists I spoke to agree that less paperwork and more time with clients is a good idea. But, is there a magic machine that can do the admin work for you?
How to create your own paperwork diet machine
There are many ways you can go about reducing paperwork, but probably the best is software. Computers can take care of repetitive tasks involving data millions of times in a second. For example, virtually all credit card payments in the world are handled automatically by software.
Imagine if Visa and Mastercard had to hire millions of employees to fill in forms and move money manually every single time a transaction is made. It’s fair to say they wouldn’t be the massive powerhouses they are today.
Many industries have benefited from software automation for years. The wellness sector – and nutrition in particular – are relatively new sectors that are growing fast. It’s for this reason that there haven’t been many specialised software solutions for nutritionists.
But a change is afoot.
The right software can transform your business. For example, there are excellent software packages like QuickBooks, Zoho, or Freshbooks, designed to help online small businesses with accounting and invoicing. On the other hand, payment processing can be made easier with software like Stripe, Paypal, or Braintree. Even though these solutions are not targeted strictly at nutritionists, they can still make essential parts of your practice far more efficient.
That’s not to say that software is all roses though. There are of course costs associated with the various software options on the market. However, if the software is good, it can really start to emerge as an investment rather than an expense.
Say for example a particular piece of software saves you 10 hours of manual work a month but costs the equivalent of what you charge for a single 1-1 session, you may well be onto a good thing. In much the same way, some would-be-dieters complain that healthy food is more expensive. Sure, high-quality grilled salmon with organic vegetables costs more than a frozen pizza with ketchup on top. However, the long-term (not so) hidden cost of junk food is poor health – a much more expensive price to pay in the end.
Reducing paperwork in your nutrition business (whether via software or another means) will have two major benefits:
- Much less time is spent on boring tasks each day
- More quality time can be spent on client-centric activities
I am collaborating with several nutritionists that want to reduce their paperwork in new software for nutritionists called NutriAdmin.
So far, we haven’t managed to crack the whole 'button for coffee & a massage' thing. We are, however, having significant success with tools that make scheduling, reports, and sorting out your clients’ data both simple and fast.
If you are interested in learning more – not just about NutriAdmin but about business processes and efficiency in general – feel free to contact me directly on email@example.com and we can have a chat.
Meet the face behind the keyboard
- Co-founder of NutriAdmin
- Reformed Banker
- Passionate about systems