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Jackrabbit Gives Studio Owner Freedom to Seek Her Entrepreneurial Goals

Stacy Tuschl, Owner:
The Academy of Performing Arts
Stacy Tuschl Consulting

It takes a special person to operate and grow two companies. And according to Stacy, it takes special software too. She leverages technology in every way possible so that – in addition to being a studio owner – Stacy can be an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and business coach.

“I couldn’t operate the studio – much less launch another company – without Jackrabbit. It is a huge part of the business.”

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Stacy and her staff really leverage their software investment. Stacy doesn’t like using different software programs and likes Jackrabbit because it provides so much in one. Jackrabbit also has tools that everyone in her studio can use: managers, instructors, parents and students.

Auto-Pilot the Processes

“We can take advantage of so many efficiencies and automated processes in Jackrabbit. It allows us to put some of our processes on auto-pilot. And that allows me to go off and do other things that I am passionate about.”

Stacy places great importance on Jackrabbit’s :

  • Communication between locations (Enables Stacy to run multiple locations as if they were one.)
  • Task assignment features (Allow Stacy to monitor the tasks that her office manager assigns to staff members.)
  • Data-rich dashboard (Provides Stacy with performance indicators for every critical area of her business.)
  • Web-based log-in (Enables Stacy to do everything from home or from wherever she’s traveled to meet clients.)
  • Multiple in-software and in-person training options (Eliminate Stacy’s worries that her staff can get and stay up to speed with the software.)

Sharpen Her Focus

Stacy’s studio activities are focused on marketing and business development.

She has a leadership team that handles the day-to-day details. They run reports and then provide her with critical details of all operational areas.

By delving into these reports, Stacy can stay on top of marketing and business development for the studio:

  • Source Report (marketing)
  • Enrollment Report
  • Year-to-Year Comparisons

“It’s all about the reporting. Having access to them gives me confidence in the way the studio runs. When I have that level of confidence, I can use more quality time on developing content for the master classes I offer as a consultant.”

Stacy has an entrepreneurial fire for using what she’s learned in her studio experience to help other studio owners. She’s been able to put lots of quality time into her content because her studio runs so flawlessly in the hands of her leadership team and because she has so much access, control and efficiency managing her studio – regardless of where she is – with Jackrabbit.

If you’re interested in more, check out Stacy’s two businesses, The Academy of Performing Arts& Stacy Tuschl Consulting, and take a look at her content offer in her upcoming free live master class.

 

Barron Gymnastics Uses Technology to Heighten Efficiencies Without Losing Personal Touch

Barron Gymnastics needed to move to a web-based class management but the owners had concerns about the cost associated with implementing software. They also had concerns about the impact online processes would have on its face-to-face customer relationships. How quickly they would be able to see return on the investment in the new system? How would they maintain their connection with customers if they weren’t talking to them each month when they collected payments?

“Changing to Jackrabbit has made a big difference in our efficiencies. Automated processes – like online registration – take staff out of the data entry process and give them more time for interacting on a personal level with families.” Joe Barron, Barron Gymnastics

VALUE OF ONLINE PLATFORM QUICKLY REALIZED | Barron’s staff saw immediate improvements in process efficiencies and overall office productivity. The incredible improvements in operations make the cost of the system irrelevant. In fact, customer satisfaction rose right along with efficiency and productivity because customers were ecstatic with the new online registration process.

“Our staff can get ‘business’ out of the way of what really matters to each student’s learning experience.” Joe Barron, Barron Gymnastics

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS BLOSSOM AFTER IMPLEMENTATION | What Barron learned was this: Their real connection with families had nothing to do with tuition collection and the process of registering but everything to do with the personal connections that being freed from the computer allowed. Instead of losing their personal touch, Barron’s actually experienced even more meaningful interactions between staff and families because the activities in the office no longer centered on entering data, but on teaching and real conversations.

“Jackrabbit’s automated processes heighten efficiencies and encourage growth strategies for us as owners. The system excels in helping us bring customers in online and then look after them as they mature.” Joe Barron, Barron Gymnastics

ORGANIZATION DETAILS | 1 location, 1100 students, 27 instructors, Diane & Joe Barron, Owners

 

Help for the Front Office

Streamlining and Improving through Automation

Front Office can be a hectic place in any children’s activity center.

It is the hub of organization for your business, so it is important that you don’t let hectic turn into chaos.
First of all, it is important to have organized and professional people who know your business working in your Front Office. If you don’t unleash information into your Front Office staff’s hands, you are constantly going to be interrupted with questions.

Secondly, it is important to provide tools that help mitigate chaos in your Front Office and enable your staff to be efficient and effective.

Thirdly, do whatever you can to raise your level of service in your Front Office area.

Here are six tips that will help you apply some simple policies that will not only improve service but it will also present your organization in the most professional light.

  1. Greet everyone that comes in the door – by name if possible. Using a professional, proactive greeting as they approach the desk such as “Hi – How may I help you?” Never wait for them to ask for help. They may not always know what they need.
  2. Never keep customers waiting – whether on the phone or in person. Customer questions and conversations take precedence. Answer the phone on the first ring and always answer customers’ questions immediately in person.
  3. Respect their time and be real. Keep it short and informative. There aren’t many things, besides emergency situations, that should distract you from the customer standing right in front of you, on the phone or on hold, or the one waiting on an email response.
  4. Don’t take or make personal phone calls when you could be helping customers. Helping them always comes first. Check phone messages often and answer them as soon as you possibly can.
  5. Make those who have the best phone presence your primary phone staff, but also train everyone else in best phone practices and etiquette.
  6. Pitch in to help when the Front Office is hectic. Whether with phones or heavy office traffic, it is always better to have a live people talking to customers than forcing them to wait or deal with voice mail.

Go back to that second item – providing tools that support the efforts of your Front Office staff. This is where technology can really be a game-changer. There are several management systems that help organizations to be better at what they do. The trick is to be sure you choose the one that gives you ways to be better at what you do AND spend less to do it.

Automation not only eliminates mundane processes from your Front Office staff’s daily responsibilities but also makes your data more accurate. Billing, registration, employee time tracking and bar code attendance tracking are critical business areas that automation can be applied to make your Front Office more efficient.

Automated billing processes not only eliminate time-consuming manual processes, but improve cash flow and collection issues by making sure that you get your money at the same time every month.

Online registration tools give you an easy way to offer as much of your curriculum as you want via your website and customers always available registration options. No more wondering class availabilities and options, no more waiting in lines, no more worries of getting your child in the right class – no more of any of the inconveniences and issues of manual registration processes. Online registration gives organizations overnight 24-7 availability without requiring more staff resources.

Employee time tracking with time clock features turns time tracking over to employees, requiring you simply to approve and send the details on to QuickBook – or to your account. This helps eliminate mundane paperwork and helps to reduce the billable hours from your accountant.

Portal access – that puts ordering and payment processing into the hands of parents – also opens up an avenue to provide self-serve information to parents. This can be huge for your Front Office because it cuts down on phone traffic that usually comes at already hectic registration or event times.

Activity-specific modules can also help to reduce chaos in the Front Office. Costume and recital management provides automation and minimizes errors. Point of Sale tools give organizations the inventory tracking and payment tools they need to sell items that students want and need for classes without causing a tremendous impact to staff.

The real beauty of supporting your Front Office staff with technology is that they have newly-found time to spend nurturing relationships with your customers and helping to execute the marketing activities that you now have time to plan. Instead of just keeping your head above water in running your business, you finally can move through what is tactical to work on strategic activities that will attract new families and grow your business!

Using Software to Do More with Less

Prior to the onset of our recent economic challenges, consumers were already demanding more for their money and competition practically determined price points for you. After the economic downturn, it became difficult for many to just stay out of the red, much less to actually grow.

How is it possible to get ahead in this game – considering the demands and limitations that owners face?

The answer is software.

Software enables you to do more at a lower operating cost and use your “people” resources where they are most valuable. While that sounds simple, there are a few points that you need to be aware of before investing any of your time or money in software.

Look for software that:

  1. Automates repetitive and people intensive processes.
  2. Keeps all of your information in one database so that all of your features, including your automated processes, have access to it.
  3. Is web-based so you and your staff can access information even when you’re not in the office.
  4. Provides a portal to enable self service for parents in updating their own information as it changes, in researching and registering for classes on their own and in checking and paying their balances – without intervention from you or your staff.

These characteristics are found in some of the business management software solutions offered today. Dig deeply into each solution you consider to ensure that you will be able to fully maximize your business operations with the software you choose.

Let’s dig into each of the areas noted in our points above.
#1 – Automated features give you the power to improve the way your business operates.

Automation can transform your operations into efficient, low-error producing processes that require little to no attention from you or your staff. Several business areas can benefit from automation. Let’s focus on Billing, Registration and Email.

Automation in Billing:
Automated billing will probably have the most visible and consistent impact to your operations. Software can easily perform recurring billing, auto-pay and invoicing processes after initial data is entered one time. Your responsibility in the process may be only triggering the event once per billing cycle – or you may be able to set schedule so that the process triggers itself. The days of processing credit cards one at a time via the phone can be left behind! You can even get software that sends credit card decline alerts to your email inbox.

Automation in Registration:
Registration can be automated so that upon registering, student data automatically goes into a database and never has to be entered again. The process works the same way whether registration occurs online or from a kiosk or laptop in your facility. An email alerts you, as the owner, that a new student his registered. Automation of registration eliminates errors in keying student, family and payment information and is a tremendous time saver for staff and families since the process becomes a self-service one done by parents at a time and in a place that is convenient for them.

Automation in Email:
Automated emails make it possible for owners to communicate with existing clients and to market to prospects without dedicating many hours to the effort. The resulting email “campaigns” are professional and trackable. Because tracking allows you to see how many and who opens emails, you can test various messages, formats and timeframes to see what is most effective for you. Wizards and editing tools make these systems easy for the non-techie users. Delivery times can be automated and entire or segmented lists can be chosen for delivery.

#2 – Database driven software is a must.
Database driven software stores all of your information or data in a single source that feeds all of your software features. All users, regardless of where they are logged in, have access to up-to-date information without the need to sync computers or files. This is an error-eliminator and time-saver. Once data is entered, it never needs to be entered again. This also means that changes – such as new addresses and phone numbers – are made only once in the database.

#3 – Web-based software gives you a platform for the future.
Because of today’s mobile workforce, busy schedules and Internet popularity, web-based solutions are an absolute must for operating businesses in a cost- and time-efficient manner.

Web-based software gives you access to your data even when you’re not in your office, and allows you to get better protection and maintenance of your software than you could afford to provide for yourself.

With web-based software, you and your staff can be more knowledgeable and provide better service because answers are easily found. As owners, you can look across your business data for key performance indicators, such as enrollment and income figures, and see your daily business status – at a glance.

A web-based solution enables you to benefit from Fortune 500 level security and maintenance to your software because you are part of a large powerful group of customers. You are also protected you from losing data if you have a computer disaster in your office because your data is stored safe and secure, redundant facility that is monitored, maintained and managed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Finally, a web-based solution enables you to provide online services, such as registration, directly on your website or through a portal, enabling staff-consuming tasks to transition into self service features

#4 – A portal is a wonderful thing.
Through your portal, you can provide information to customers as a group or individually. Because parents can log in to a secure area, they can manage their own accounts, turning much of your staff’s involvement with customer data into a self-serve process. Parents are thrilled with the convenience of their access and the control it gives them over their own information. You like it because they take the maintenance of their account off your hands!

How much of an impact can business management software actually have?
From my own experiences, I know:

  • Organizations that have eliminated the need for one or more new hires by implementing good business management software. As owners, you know the myriad of expenses and risks that come with each new hire you make.
  • Single location schools that have been able to open second locations without increasing staff because they implemented business management software.
  • Schools that have been able to double and triple student count, instructor to student ratio, classes offered and depth of curriculum because of their business management software.
  • Organizations that have made complete financial turnarounds by streamlining their operations with business management software.

Get back to the “people” part of your business.
When you make the investment in business management software, you bring in the tools that enable you to do more administrative work using fewer man hours. You provide yourself and your staff with the opportunity to be more involved with the “people” part of your business instead of the operation of it.

Monotonous, repetitive, data intensive administrative and operational tasks are better served with technology. Software practically removes human error from the equation and you and your staff are given the gift of time – which is a rare commodity – to spend with students and their families. You, as owners, are able to take on marketing, customer service and class content initiatives that will help you attract more students and grow your business.