Depending on the resource you consult, small businesses typically go through four or five phases of business growth. Regardless of the precise categorization, each small business reaches a tipping point early where it must leave Microsoft Excel behind and move to the more sophisticated business management tools available in a class management software.
A brand new gym with a small number of families can be managed with Excel sheets – the workhorse of the small business. However, a small gymnastics gym that wants to quickly advance beyond startup/survival mode to stability and growth phase needs its business management software to evolve.
Do you recognize any of these five signs in the daily management of your gym? If so, it’s time to transition to a specialized gym class management software that can both handle the growing complexity of your gym operations and position to achieve substantial growth in the future.
1. You’re drowning in Excel sheets
It’s 8 am on any given workday. Do you know how many Excel sheets your gym is currently using to operate?
If you have to ballpark the number, you have too many. You and your team are using so many different Excel sheets, and you can’t keep them straight. Managing all these sheets wastes your time and your staff’s time due to:
- Requiring all that manual data entry
- Making it difficult to find the right sheet needed to complete any given task.
- Requiring considerable upkeep just reconciling all the information they each contain. The same family has different contact numbers entered on the registration spreadsheet from their child’s class enrollment spreadsheet – which one is correct and which is the data entry error?
If you’re spending more time managing your spreadsheets, rather than using your spreadsheets to manage your business effectively, it’s time to ditch Excel. Using a specialized gym software solution provides your business with a single source of data that supports all your other business processes.
2. You’re manually processing what can be automated
We touched on this issue above, with all the time you and your staff waste manually entering information into Excel from hard copy forms.
Manual registration and class enrollment procedures waste everybody’s time – including the parents. A gym management software solution provides online registration and class enrollment, which simplifies the process for everyone. Parents can register and enroll at their convenience, which helps boost registrations and enrollments. Your team gets accurate data entered into your system by the parents, which saves them time correcting or working with bad data.
The right gym software solution will also offer automated online batch processing of outstanding bills, instead of requiring you to run each payment manually. Batch processing not only saves you time but improves your cash flow. In any case, do you want to tell a parent you’re storing their credit card information in an Excel file protected by nothing more than a password?
In this day of data breaches and hackers that is not a business liability you want or need to have hanging over you. That’s our bonus sign you need to leave Excel behind: you need to provide your parents with a secure portal and secure data storage they expect. You need a software partner that takes data security seriously.
3. You realize you have little to no visibility into your gym’s operations or financial health
Excel spreadsheets can be enhanced with tons of complicated formulas and functions. If you have an Excel guru who can build those formulas, that guru may also have the Excel expertise to construct a graphic interface that gives you easy-to-read visuals into the health of your gym.
However, do you want to spend a chunk of your gym revenue to pay someone to customize reports and graphics that analyze the state of your business? Which can break at any given time due to human errors? And then take hours to find and fix?
A robust specialized gym management system provides an executive dashboard with the analytics and reports pre-built, as well as the graphics that make it easy to see how key gym metrics are trending. All with a click of your mouse.
4. Parents frustrated with poor communication
As you know, it’s as essential to keep the parents happy as it is to keep the students happy. Nothing frustrates parents more than poor communication. When a parent calls to find out why they just got an overdue notice or email to find out when they can enroll their kids in upcoming classes – how quickly can your team respond? How much time does it take for a staff member to find the right Excel sheet, confirm the information, and then get back to the parents? Excel spreadsheets aren’t built for easy information retrieval. And parents expect 24 x 7 x 365 access to information. Are you prepared to staff to support that expectation?
The more important question is: Why do parents have to call or email and take staff time to get this information? Avoid these bilateral, extended communications by making this information through the parent portal of a specialized gym class management solution. Parents can look up their accounts to see outstanding fees and enroll for classes.
5. Your gym operations would fall apart if the Excel guru left
We’re not even talking about an Excel guru who can do fancy things in Excel. We’re talking about that one staff member who has the best handle on what information is held in which Excel files and how your whole network of linked Excel sheets work together.
Is that person you? Aren’t there higher value tasks you, as the gym owner, should be doing? Is it a business manager? Will she or he work for your gym forever? What happens if an Excel spreadsheet gets corrupted or disappears? Who can recreate it? Can it be recreated or is that data gone forever?
The point is, relying on an ad hoc patchwork of Excel spreadsheets is a precarious way to manage your gym business. A well-built professional gym studio management solution is easy for anyone to learn to use. It also has the system reliability that protects your data, your processes, and your business’s sustainability.
Use the management tools your business deserves
You know that old saying about not dressing for the job you have, but for the job you want? Think about your business management tools the same way. Excel, while a functional tool for the earliest days of your business, isn’t a business management tool that can help you transition to the growth phases of the small business lifecycle. Indeed, still using Excel while you attempt to move your gym past survival mode is one the largest weights holding you back.
Stop holding yourself back. Specialized gymnastics center management software pays for itself far faster than you think. Once you’re up and running, you can finally get a good night’s sleep, enjoy teaching gymnastics again, and your parents, students, and staff will thank you.