As a professional trainer and personal coach, it’s reasonable to assume that Ruben Lawrence’s preferred business tools include, say, free weights, medicine balls, a jump rope and maybe a cloth measuring tape. But with a client list in the hundreds, business contacts in a wide range of industries and workout classes at numerous locations across Santa Monica, technology is the number-one tool for running his business, HYPE Performance.
From managing his website and social networks to staying in constant contact with trainers and clients, the former Division 1 football player wouldn’t be able to get by without technology. A lot of technology today, like the internet, was created to keep people connected, he explains, “so I want to make use of the form and use it to get ahead.” Here are some ways he does just that.
Mac vs. PC: Although Lawrence’s must-have mobile tool is his Android HTC smartphone, he’s a converted Mac user. In fact, all of his other computing devices are Apple products. “I switched completely on accident when my PC crashed,” he says. “There are lots of choices for PCs, but a Mac made the most sense for convenience. Now my phone is the last thing I have that’s PC-based.” Whether at home or on the road, Lawrence uses his iPad and MacBook Air for regular computing needs and his iPod at daily classes to keep boot-campers energized with upbeat playlists.
Favorite app: Aside from the standard e-mail and calendar apps that keep his clients up-to-date and training schedule top of mind, Lawrence is highly dependent on his sports-related apps. From following his fantasy sports teams to scanning ESPN sports highlights to checking surf and weather reports, sports apps dominate his computer desktops and HTC’s front page.
Social networking style: Like most small-business owners, Lawrence leverages Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to spread the HYPE brand and reach out to current and future customers. But what he values the most about these free networking tools are their “check-in” features, something that’s picking up speed in the social media space. “The nature of my business means its location and venue are changing all the time,” Lawrence explains, “so I want people checking in”—before class starts, that is. Though not yet an expert, he recently joined Foursquare for its location-based aspect.
Web 2.0 in one word: To the less tech savvy, it’s a question mark. To Lawrence, it’s a series of questions: What is it? What can it be? He also questions Web 2.0’s staying power. With apps and social networks popping up every day, Lawrence wants to be using the most long-lasting and valuable tools to achieve the greatest results: “What should I be using now?”
Serious tech snafu: Although none of the obstacles he’s encountered have set him back, Lawrence admits that his dependence on technology for communication has caused the most trouble. With all the calls he gets from clients and fellow trainers, it’s no surprise that he’s fallen victim to California’s hands-free calling law. He also missed a class he was supposed to help train due to a miscommunication and a weak cell signal.
On his iPod: Whether booming out of portable speakers at boot camp or through his earbuds, Lawrence is normally listening to artists like Lil Wayne and Warren G. “But you can really find anything,” he says. “I just need something that gets me motivated.”