Managing the daily operations of a swim school, gymnastics gym or dance studio can be tricky. That’s why we’ve put together a guide that provides a starting point to help you choose the management software that’s right for your youth activity center.
7 steps to select a new class management software
I know what you’re thinking: 7 steps? Woof!
But when you’re talking about selecting a software solution to help grow your business, no number of steps is too many.
1. Make a list of your requirements
No one knows what you want and what you need from a software application better than you. To make your list of requirements, ask yourself the following questions:
- What features are your must-haves to complete daily, weekly and monthly processes and reports?
- What features aren’t going to make or break your decision but would be added bonuses?
- If you are already using a software solution, what are the areas you would like to see more streamlined?
- What is the customer experience like for your parents? The easier and more enjoyable for them, the better!
- What does your staff need to do their job? You want them to be on board and not resist the change.
- What software application are your fellow owners using for their youth activity center? Get the insight from someone who knows what’s like to be in your shoes!
- Does the application constantly improve their software with enhancement releases?
Seeing this out on paper is going to help you during your time of research, making sure you find the system that can check off the most boxes.
2. Identify all costs
You want to know what you are getting yourself into so you can plan accordingly. No one likes surprises when it comes to the cost of something – no matter what it is.
Find out the details, such as:
- Are there any one-time fees, i.e., a startup, maintenance, or annual membership fee? Don’t forget to check the fine print.
- How is the monthly fee determined, i.e., by features used, student count, etc?
- What does the monthly fee include?
- Is support included in the subscription cost?
- Can you process payments through the application and what fees are associated with those electronic payments?
Having all the facts will keep you from ending up in a ‘too good to be true’ situation. It is worth the time and the research to know what you can expect financially!
3. Learn about security features
Having a one-stop-shop with all of your data is great – as long as the data is secure. From credit cards numbers being vaulted to employee’s social security number for payroll, you want the peace of mind that the data is protected.
In addition, it is critical that you keep information safe to protect yourself as a business owner. Consider a software platform that allows you to set permissions per user so you can determine who can see what and who can complete certain tasks.
4. Research onboarding options
Starting something new might make you want to procrastinate – even if it is the very thing you need! Whether you are excited to make owner life easier or your staff is pushing you to finally ‘get online’, change is hard.
That’s why you want to find a class management system that will help you along the way. Look for a solution that offers an easy and efficient onboarding process to help get you up and running on the right foot, quickly.
Jackrabbit Class offers the Jumpstart Call program with an assigned Product Coach to help you through the first 60 days of using Jackrabbit. From importing data you already have to adding your classes to your website and billing families for the first time – they are equipped to help you through it all!
5. Evaluate the support package
Remember when we said to determine if support was included in a software’s subscription package? In this step you’ll want to discover the kind of support that platform offers. Does the software’s support package include:
In addition to what you have immediate access to, it is also important to know if they offer:
In-person training is usually for an additional fee but it’s always nice to have the option when needed! It’s also a great way to connect with other youth activity center owners that share the same passion.
6. Try it out for yourself
Think about it – we test drive cars. Why not test drive the software that you plan to run your business through? There is no better way to make sure it is a great fit for you and no better way to learn than to do!
If the software doesn’t have a free trial option, there might be an option to see a live demo. This gives you the option to see the application in action and ask questions about functionality.
If you have been considering Jackrabbit Class for your youth activity center, go ahead and give us a test drive. We are ready to help you on the path to success!
7. Start using the new software daily
You’ve done the research, now it is time to jump in and start reaping the benefits! With the right approach, you can be up and running in no time. Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you will be good to go!
Now that you’ve found the class management software that’s right for your business, it’s time to implement it.
4 Easy Steps to Implementing New Class Management Software
There are two types of people in this world – those who like to jump in headfirst and those who like to bite off little pieces at a time. There is no right way, however, there are 4 steps you should take to get yourself acclimated to your new software application.
Pick the best time of the season
Whether you run a swim school, gymnastics gym, dance studio, or any other type of youth activity center, you know what time of year is slower than others. Don’t laugh – I know you are thinking there is no slow time but, there are generally some lulls here and there that would allow you to get started with your new system.
For example, if you hold a registration period in the spring for your summer and or fall session, you will want to open registration with the new system so parents have a chance to get adjusted and start a new session fresh! That goes for you too – you can start the next season with a fresh look and feel to all your recurring processes and procedures.
Deciding when also helps you decide what you need to learn first in the new software. Is it attendance tracking or online registration? Is it tuition billing or skill tracking?
Import your existing data
It’s 2021 and we as humans are automating as many things as possible. Why start off doing manual work when you can import the data you already have. Oftentimes, class management software companies will help you import the data if this isn’t your strong suit.
Not only is this is a huge time-saver, but it also eliminates the possibility of data entry errors. And, we certainly don’t have time for that!
Train your staff
You probably learned a lot while researching your chosen software platform but your office staff and instructors will need to learn the new application as well.
Remember, when it comes to data, trash in = trash out. If your staff doesn’t know how to properly use the software, you will likely have inconsistent data and inaccurate records. Don’t go through all of the work of implementing new software to not take the time with your staff.
If you aren’t comfortable being the subject matter expert, appoint one of your tech-savvy office staff members to learn it all and trickle down all the need-to-know information accordingly. Most often whoever will be using the software application the most will naturally become this person.
Stay informed and continue to streamline
With robust software applications, the learning never stops because there is always something to learn or to do more efficiently. And that is great – you want a system that is growing and can handle your growth.
Keep up to date with the software’s latest enhancements. The latest and greatest could be exactly what you need to streamline another daily or weekly process.
If the class management software has a user conference, attend! That is the best way to learn what you can do better, what you don’t know, and network with other youth activity centers to learn pro-tips from users themselves!
How can you get started with Jackrabbit Class?
Hopefully, you have found the tips for selecting a class management software application to be helpful in your journey. And, if you find yourself ready to jump in with Jackrabbit Class, we are ready for you. There is no better time than now!