5 steps to take to get ahead of fall scheduling

5 Steps to Take Now to Get Ahead of Fall Scheduling

The official start of summer can bring many new opportunities to your youth activity center. One that can be tough to focus on immediately is the prep work your gym, swim school, or dance studio needs to do now to get ahead of fall scheduling. 

Use the five steps in this article to ensure your youth activity center has a successful registration process and start to a new season in the fall. 

Analyze metrics from previous seasons 

As you prepare for a new season of classes to begin at your youth activity center, it’s important to analyze enrollment and financial data from previous seasons. These numbers help tell the story of what worked well versus what could have gone better in seasons past and will help you determine how to move forward when planning your upcoming fall season. 

For this analysis to be effective, you need to look at multiple performance indicators. What are those exactly? 

With nearly 20 years of experience working alongside gymnastics and cheer gyms, swim and music school, and dance studios in preparation for fall scheduling, here at Jackrabbit a few questions come to mind when thinking about which metrics you should analyze. 

What are your enrollment numbers telling you? 

Enrollment data can and should be used to help you sell out more classes at your youth activity center. Sounds great, right? 

Enrollment metrics will help you determine things like: 

  • Which classes in your program have the highest demand so you can add more to your fall schedule,
  • Which times are most common for student absences or drops so you can rethink offering a class in that time slot,
  • Which classes are more popular by instructor or coach so you can give that staff member more classes (or a raise,)
  • Which students have not yet enrolled in classes for the fall season so you can reach out to get them registered for another year of classes. 

How does the financial health of your program look? 

As a business owner, there’s never a bad time to look at your financial data. You likely have a routine for running an array of daily, weekly and monthly financial reports that show you the state of your business.

The summer is a great time to make sure you have clean, accurate data so do the following now to get ahead of your fall session: 

  • Find and apply any unapplied payments or account credits. 
  • Reach out to families who still have a balance, requesting payment. 
  • Archive classes that are no longer active. 
  • Send inactive families to the Lead File if they do not need to access the Parent Portals. 

Could you be looking at different KPIs for goal setting? 

If your youth activity center has multiple sites or locations, you need to utilize the benefits of a Business Intelligence reporting tool to quickly view key performance indicators in one reporting dashboard view. For large-scale businesses, analyzing things like student retention, annual churn, and location comparisons are important all year long but especially in the summer when preparing for fall class scheduling. 

Get Business Intelligence at your fingertips with Jackrabbit’s new reporting feature, Business Intelligence Dashboards.

Set goals for your new season of classes 

It’s natural to head into fall with a fresh slate of goals and initiatives for your youth activity center. To make your goals more than just a pipedream, there are several things you can do now to help make them more attainable. 

Visualize what success looks like to you

Where do you want to be this time next year? What big initiatives do you want to have achieved at your swim school, gym, or dance studio? 

It could be that the successful self you see has a better work/life balance or has opened a new business location. Everyone is different here, but it’s important to visualize who you are when you feel successful so you can set the appropriate goals and the steps you must take to attain them. 

Set measurable goals

You have your vision, now you need the goals to get you there. Before we go on, it’s important to make the distinction between goals and tasks as they often get confused. Tasks are things you check off your to-do list every day.

Goals on the other hand should be related to larger initiatives that help move your business forward. To make them achievable, each goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. 

Map your journey 

After visualizing success and breaking down goals, it’s time to map your journey. This journey will include the action steps you need to take to mark your goal complete. 

Here’s an example of all three at work. If success to you looks like achieving a better work/life balance in the season ahead, a goal could be hiring a new coach to teach classes and have them added to the fall schedule so that you don’t have to be in the pool, on the mat, or in the studio. Action steps to map out are writing a job description, recruiting and interviewing candidates, hiring, and new employee onboarding. 

Use technology for the benefit of your business

Another important step you must take now to get ahead of fall scheduling is using technology that benefits your business. Smart technology like a class management software will help your gym, swim school, or dance studio setup important things like classes, tuition billing, and staff management so you can spend time strategizing for the remainder of the year. 

When it comes to your class management software, focus on these core features now before your fall season begins: 

  • Create your schedule of classes and make them available on your website so new and returning families can enroll for the upcoming season. 
  • Use priority enrollment through your program’s branded mobile app to give returning students an opportunity to get first access to popular classes and time.
  • Utilize waitlists so interested families can enroll their student in a class that is full, allowing them to get access if other students drop, or giving you the insight to open another class if the waitlist for a specific class continues to grow. 
  • Set up your program’s parent portal to provide a convenient customer experience.

Have a communication plan for new students

What do new customers need to know about your youth activity center upon enrolling? It’s never too early to think about how you’ll prepare new students for their fall class schedule, which is why having a communication plan is on the list of things to consider now before fall.

Upon enrolling, send new students a welcome email with important details like class confirmation, coach introduction, and your dress code to help introduce them to life at your program. Additionally, plan for a process of enrolling them in your newsletter to keep them up-to-date with events and activities happening at your facility. 

Take your new student communication plan a step further by creating a more hands-on new student welcome approach with a welcome packet, assigning and introducing them to their welcome buddy, and creating engaging experiences for them when they arrive at your facility on their first day of classes this fall. 

Prepare your staff

The majority of steps in this article revolve around students and systems, which are both important, but you have to set time aside to focus on your staff to be fully prepared for fall. 

Did you make any policy updates or procedure changes during the summer months while staff were away? Notify them in writing and add it to the agenda of any pre-season staff meeting you have scheduled. 

Are you planning to change class management software this summer? Notify your front desk admin and other staff members that routinely use your current system so they can get properly trained. 

Do you have any new coaches or teachers joining your instructor lineup in the fall? Share an exciting introduction email or group chat introducing the new staff member to everyone. 

The more your staff is prepared for fall, the less time you’ll need to spend getting them reacclimated to life at your gym, swim school, or dance studio.

Ready to get a head start on fall planning? Check out Jackrabbit’s solutions to help max out your fall classes with minimal effort to get started. 

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