Focus on Minimum Viable Product
When Julie approached me, she knew exactly what her business needed, but had little idea what it meant technically. Sterner Stuff was able to turn the needs of her new line of business into an executable plan, and develop a place where she can seamlessly interface with her clients and lead them toward a healthier lifestyle.
Adding a New Offering to the Business
Julie was adding a new aspect to her personal training curriculum: a nutrition program. Julie had identified vital nutrients to her program and foods that contained them. Each food was assigned a score for each nutrient.
Rather than try and convince her clients to find foods high in those nutrients, she would take on the task of creating a weekly diet that was palatable for each student but still matched their nutritional requirements. From her massive list of acceptable foods, clients would pick out the foods they were comfortable eating, and she'd craft a nutrition plan unique to their tastes.
How to Do More Work in Less Time?
But if this was going to scale, Julie would be spending a lot of time developing nutrition plans. This would be fine, if not for the headache of onboarding new clients and communicating their tastes. That was the time-consuming part. She needed it to be self-service.
She played with the idea of issuing each client a spreadsheet that they could mark up, but this meant issuing a new spreadsheet from scratch when she adjusted the accepted food list, and an expectation that the client have Excel and be comfortable using it. No good.
Building an Online User Portal
Instead, we developed an online portal that always contained an up-to-date list of approved foods. From the master list, clients could select (or reset and reselect) the foods they liked to eat. For clients, these are categorized by simple identifiers like food groups, color, and a description column where Julie can include important keywords.
[Ethan] personally instructed me how to upload the .csv file when I needed to revise-hence MY user-friendly portal and I am able to easily instruct others (effective programming + instructions =ease of use).
From Julie's end, she can update this list whenever she needs to using the spreadsheet she had already started with. When she updates the list, it does its best to keep her clients' already-selected tastes intact, while also giving them the opportunity to update their preferences based on the changes.
And all of that glides seamlessly into the existing WordPress admin, placed logically in the menus with a familiar interface that's easy for Julie to learn, remember, and use.
When she reviews a client's tastes, she sees not only what her client selected, but also the nutritional value for the metrics she's defined for each of those foods. This makes identifying foods simple for clients, but retains the information that Julie needs that make her services so useful.
In addition, clients can select the foods Julie assigns them each week and print out a grocery list, organized perfectly for a trip to the store.
To keep things simple for Julie, the portal accepts the spreadsheet she started with to populate its information.
Job Well Done
The portal is simple, but fits Julie's needs exactly. It makes no difference to her, but the code under the hood is prepped for this to grow and meet new challenges as her nutritional advising services grow and expand. It's one more tool in her belt to make her the most effective personal trainer in Seal Beach.