Monthly Archives: August 2014

Five Key Reasons to Offer Customers Online Credit Card Payments

ClassJuggler founder Jon Koerber was just published in the most recent issue of Dance Exec Magazine.

Check out his guest article Five Key Reasons to Offer Customers Online Credit Card Payments.

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To learn how ClassJuggler can make it easy for you to accept credit card payments at your school, read about our merchant processing add-on feature.

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Why You Should Be Using YouTube to Promote Your School

Looking for a great way to promote your business? Use YouTube! Here’s why and how…

If your business is a music school, a dance studio, a gymnastics school, a cheerleading camp, an YouTubeacting school, a martial arts dojo, a private K-12 school, or tennis school, one of the best ways to promote your business, and build customer loyalty, is to publicly post videos of class sessions, recitals, performances, and competitions. 

Why your school should use YouTube

If yours is the kind of school or studio that ClassJuggler supports, your business is a natural to benefit from video promotions. Here’s why:

  • Video can build customer loyalty.
    Your current students and their parents, like all people, love watching videos of themselves and their family members. When you post video of little Sally’s first floor routine, you can bet that she and her family will be tickled pink, and they will be grateful to you for it.
  • The video channel extends your brand.
    By creating a YouTube “channel” – a collection of videos of your school and your students’ performances – and linking to that channel from your studio’s website, you give potential customers a whole new, multi-dimensional view into your business. They can see what you do, see the results of your teaching, and can envision themselves or their own child doing it.
  • Videos generate viral marketing.
    Viral marketing means that others are excited about something you have posted online and are sharing this with others. Video is ideal material for viral marketing. Your students and their parents effectively become your marketing team, sharing the YouTube videos you have posted to their friends and relatives, doing advertising work for you.
  • It is inherently easy for your kind of school!
    One of the hardest things for most people to come up with when creating video content is the content itself. But if you have a school related to the arts or physical skills (dance, gymnastics, theater, martial arts, etc.), your content already exists! Think about how naturally, dynamically interesting it is to watch your students and instructors developing or expressing their talents, putting on a show, and competing. It’s colorful, it’s active – it’s inherently GOOD content! Just start recording video and you are on your way.
  • It’s good for search engine optimization.
    One thing that every business can benefit from is good, clean “backlinks” to their site, and your YouTube channel is the perfect way to boost the number of links that go to your website. Not only from the YouTube channel description of your business (with links to your website) but with every post description, you can link back to your website or even to the link of a specific class related to the video post. More backlinks boost your significance in Google’s algorithms, causing you to show up higher in search results.

See ClassJuggler clients’ YouTube channels

Several dozen of our ClassJuggler clients have their own YouTube channel where they post videos of what their school and students are doing. For example:

Thinking about creating a YouTube channel for your school? Good idea!

If you’re not sure how, stay tuned – will be posting a YouTube channel how-to article shortly to help you get started. Meanwhile, check out our own ClassJuggler YouTube channel and subscribe to updates.ClassJuggler-youtube

ClassJuggler’s New Features and Enhancements

We have exciting news for our current customers that use big announcementthe Customer Self-Service Center feature. The release tonight of ClassJuggler version 6.4.1 introduces several exciting and requested enhancements to our Customer Self-Service Center.  And, as always, ClassJuggler upgrades for our users are totally free and require no computer installation to take access the new features.

New Feature: Pending Enrollments in Capacity Checks & Pending Buffers

Some of the most anticipated features we’ve added to this release are enhancements to how ClassJuggler calculates class capacities for online class shopping orders. Essentially, this enhancement gives you the option to add all pending enrollments (classes in an order before they are processed) to the capacity checks of a class.

How it works: Let’s say you have a class with a capacity of 10 students, and you currently have six students enrolled. Then, during an open enrollment period, four customers check-out of your online ClassJuggler-powered Self-Service Center with that class in their shopping cart. If you enable the new “Pending Enrollments in Capacity Checks” option, the class will now be considered full even if you have not yet approved any of the incoming orders.

This prevents class over-booking – especially  helpful in situations where you simply cannot review and process orders fast enough. With this new feature, you’ll eliminate over-capacity problems.

These class capacity enhancements are also available in the free Real-Time Class Listings feature, but you’ll need to regenerate the code for your Web site to enable this feature – something we can help you with individually via ClassJuggler customer service options or in an upcoming webinar. The options are set individually for each class store or each real-time class listing you design.

New option: add a “Pending Enrollment Buffer” to the pending enrollment counts

This new option that allows you to add a “Pending Enrollment Buffer” to each class’s pending enrollment counts.

Think of it as a safety net that kicks in when people are signing up for one of your open classes online and it’s filling up. The feature lets you intentionally go over capacity to make room for waiting lists, or make room for possible cancelations you anticipate from online orders.

Example: Let’s say you have a class with a capacity of 10 students. You set up your online class signup “store” to include pending enrollments in capacity checks and allow for a buffer of, say, two pending enrollments. If you already have six students enrolled and, during an open enrollment period, four customers “check out” of the Self-Service Center with that class in their shopping cart, the class will still show as open and available until two enrollments over 10 are received.

New option: Verify customer payment status before checkout

When you’re setting up a class to go into your online customer self-service center, you’ll now be able to choose (under the Online Shopping Page configuration tab) to have ClassJuggler’s software run a verification check before they can check out to make sure the customer has paid off their current balance due.

Change to the display of classes that are full

Another important change to the behavior of the Customer Self-Service Center is the option for you to display FULL classes, so they still show up online, but cannot be added to the customer’s shopping.

Before the ClassJuggler upgrade, even a class filled to capacity would allow additional orders. Now, with the new pending enrollments features, full classes will no longer accept additional enrollment orders. The class will still be displayed to a customers, if you chose to display classes that are full, but the customer will not be able to add the class to their cart.


This is just a summary of selected items from the full release. You can get the complete release notes on the HOME BASE page after you log in to ClassJuggler.

We also plan to have a webinar or two to introduce these new features to our current customers. Stay tuned…. Thumbs up

Will the software I select deliver on needed efficiencies?

In a recent article, we introduced the five most important questions you need to answer to determine if now is the right time for you to begin using a software product to manage your business. I’ve answered two of those five important questions: “Is my business big enough to benefit from an online studio management software program?” and “Does my studio’s business income justify the cost of business software?” In this article, we look into the question #3:

Will the software I select deliver on needed efficiencies?

Two things you can do to help answer this question:

  • Firmly establish what features you need so you can match the software tools to your business’s needs.
  • Seek the opinion of others using the tools you are considering.

Let’s look at both of these.

Match the business tools to your business

Everyone is naturally going to try to sell you on their business tools by claiming “We’re the best!” So then, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff, and determine which solution is the right and best solution for your business?

First, be aware that the common phrase “You get what you pay for” does not always apply when it comes to business management software. Software products differ dramatically in price, features, ease of use, and customer support.

Step #1 then is to decide what operational efficiencies you seek – bookkeeping? status reports? customer self-service tools? – because not all products will deliver what you need. So, to start your product selection:

  1. Identify your top business needs – Solutions to business problems that a software solution must be able to help you with.
  2. Make a list of your “nice-to-have’s” – Those features a software product may offer that would be handy, but are not deal-breakers for you.

Dividing your list into needs vs. wants will help you choose one product over another. I.e., is having the ability to print an attendance report that takes up half-a-sheet of paper is more important or less important that being able to produce accurate and easy-to-read financial reports at the end of each month?

Take a look at the independent dance studio software comparison site Capterra.  As of this writing, there are over 50 products on that list. But some of those software solutions offer only one or two business management features, such as just bookkeeping, or just class scheduling.

Using the Capterra product comparison site as an example, try checking off all of the features listed in the right Features column that you are looking for:

CapterraFeatureList_thumb1

If you click them all, you will suddenly see that the more-than-50 software products drops to just seven products that include all these features:

CapterraTopSeven-list_thumb2

Seek the opinion of other customers

Another way to evaluate business management software is by looking at the opinions of others.

Using Capterra as an example once again, take a look at their list of dance school software reviews. Presently, of the 50-plus software providers listed, there are only 10 businesses in which customers have submitted reviews. That should tell you something.

How strong are those reviews, and how many are there? Some products have only three reviews while others have more than 30:

capterraReviews_thumb1

That should also tell you something, as should the nature of the comments themselves. Product reviews are a good way to learn about a product from the perspective of those who use the product.

It is important that you make a smart choice on your initial software purchase because, while you can always switch later, the work involved in doing so can be daunting. Transferring your bookkeeping data, for instance from one software solution to another, may be difficult depending on the data import/export features and functionality each program has.

For this reason, data import capabilities are one of those features you should ask about. Alternatively, ask if the service provider has a data upload service available. This can greatly simplify the business of transferring.

Or, make the right choice from the get-go and you won’t need to worry about transferring data later.

In our next article on this topic, we’ll answer the 4th of the five important questions: Will the studio business management software I choose generate new business?  This is a biggie because, if the features can actually boost sales, then the software can pay for itself!  More later…

Sincerely,

Jon Koerber, Pres., ClassJuggler

Making customer management and class management easy - ClassJuggler

PS: When choosing a business software program for your studio, check out our family of products:

  • ClassJuggler Dance – online dance school software that will save you time and money on the business of running your business, so you can focus on your students
  • CheerClassJuggler – online gymnastics and cheer management software to streamline the business of operating your gymnastics school or cheer camp
  • ClassJuggler Dojo – a martial arts school management platform designed to support the operational challenges of businesses such as karate schools, kung fu schools, self-defense courses, mixed martial arts centers, taekwondo training, fencing classes, kickboxing studios, Jeet Kune Do or Jiu-Jitsu schools
  • SwimClassJuggler – online swim school management software supporting the  needs of those who own and operate swimming schools, water rescue classes, life guard schools, and diver training schools
  • MusicClassJuggler – all-in-one online business management tools that make customer, academics, and music class management a breeze for vocal training centers and instrumental music training centers
  • K12ClassJuggler – a management platform that supports the busy schedules of those who own and operate preschools, K-12 education, adult education programs, evening learning schools, night classes, and after-school programs
  • ClassJugglerFitness – slimming down record keeping for athletics schools, fitness centers, spin classes, yoga sessions, and tennis camps

Also, if you are a franchise owner, make sure to check out our franchise management software solutions as well.

Online service trumps DVD software, hands down!

Is online software, like ClassJuggler, the better solution for class-based businesses, or is it better to buy traditional disc-based or downloadable software programs?

The truth is, traditional software solutions are a pain, relatively, requiring you to buy software discs that you own – and could potentially lose.  Other problems with disk-based or on-your-PC-based software:

  • You often must go through difficult installation procedures..
  • You will likely pay extra money to use the software on multiple PCs.
  • You normally must pay again for every product upgrade.
  • You risk losing important business data when a hard drive fails or your computer is stolen.
  • The software you need may not be availably on your mobile device – the tool of choice for many small business studio owners and for instructors.

There’s a better way! Most Internet-based online services offer the smarter, cheaper, safer solution. Here’s how, based on how ClassJuggler works:

  • No software to install—ClassJuggler works with your Web browser.  Anywhere you have online access, you have ClassJuggler at the ready.
  • Never fear losing data—ClassJuggler keeps your software and data “in the cloud,” not on your computer. It’s safe and secure on state-of-the-art secure servers, backed up nightly.  And relax knowing ClassJuggler has a history of reliable uptime currently at 99.99918% over a 10-year period.
  • Free and painless updates!—Online solutions, such as ClassJuggler, improve with new features and functionality, and yet with no charge or effort to upgrade. The upgrades happen instantly, invisibly; new features and functionality are available the next time you sign in, with no updates needed to your PC.
  • Access even without your PC!—With your data stored on online servers, it means you can get into your password-protected ClassJuggler account anytime and anywhere.
  • No platform limitations—Many online programs such as ClassJuggler are compatible with either Windows PC or Macintosh™ compatible, and may even work with your iPad®, iPhone®, or Android™ tablet.

To learn more about ClassJuggler’s features, go to http://www.classjuggler.com/cj/pub/features.html.

Studio Management Software – Can I Justify the Cost?

In a recent article, we introduced the five most important questionsphoto by Johanna Goodyear | Dreamstime Stock Photos you need to answer to determine if now is the right time for you to begin using a software product to manager business.

The previous article answered the question, “Is my business big enough to benefit from an online studio management software program?”

In this article, we look into the question #2:

Does my studio’s business income justify the cost of business software?

Have you heard of the term cost-benefit analysis? When it comes to purchasing business management software for your studio/school, this means that you need to determine if the cost of the software will sufficiently save you from the costs of your current business inefficiencies if you were to continue doing things manually rather than benefiting from the efficiencies and knowledge you’ll gain from using a powerful business management tool.

Consider, for instance, the amount of time it takes to track your income and expenses using paper and pen, or even Microsoft Excel. Then also consider the amount of time it takes to use that handwritten data to analyze how your business is doing, such as tracking month-to-month expenses, income, or business growth.

This kind of business insight – just a click of a button when you are using software to track those expenses, income, and student info – is either painstakingly slow or nearly impossible to achieve without a software system to crunch the numbers for you.

In other words, since time is money – whether it’s your own time or hourly wages you are paying to a staff member to manually manage business information – the cost of purchasing a powerful studio management software system (online or computer-based) becomes negligible compared to the amount of time the software can save you, or the amount of insight you will gain that can positively affect how you run your business.

The more your business grows, the more complex it will become and, therefore, the more important it becomes to your profitability to have the power and efficiencies that the right studio management software solution can give you.

Consider, for example, the challenge that ClassJuggler customer Jennifer Reid, owner of Kinderdance of Alamo City, faced as her business grew – and the paperwork along with it.  As a business owner, she explained to us that she urgently needed to find some kind of software solution that would enable her to keep better and faster accounting on new and present customers, making it easy to pull up data, run reports, and more. As a franchisee, she also dealt with the monthly paperwork requirements with the franchise owner. “At the time,” Reid says, “We were using paper reports, and it was very time consuming,” taking time that she would rather spend on her students! “Time is money, and doing reports doesn’t make you money; serving customers does,” she said.

In Jennifer’s case, the cost-benefit analysis was a no-brainer – the ongoing subscription cost of ClassJuggler was a drop in the bucket compared to the time she previously spent operating her business.woman-on-ipad

If the time you’re spending on the business of managing your business is becoming unmanageable, it’s probably beyond time for you to make the investment in one of the leading online software management solutions available to class-based businesses. When comparing solutions, look at the real upfront and ongoing costs of each studio business management software program you are considering, estimate the amount of time you will save monthly by using the software. Use that math to see if you can justify the investment for your class-based business in the purchase of your selected business management software.

In our next article on this topic, we’ll answer the question, “Will the class-based software I select deliver on needed efficiencies?” But meanwhile, if you have already determined that you can justify the investment in a business software program for your studio, see which of the following from our family of products most closely matches your business:

  • DanceClassJuggler – online dance school software to save time and money on the business of running your business, so you can focus on your students
  • CheerClassJuggler – online gymnastics and cheer management software designed to streamline the business of operating your gymnastics school or cheer camp.
  • ClassJugglerDojo – a martial arts school management platform designed to support the unique business needs of those who own and operate karate schools, kung fu schools, self-defense courses, mixed martial arts centers, taekwondo training, fencing classes, kickboxing studios, Jeet Kune Do or Jiu-Jitsu schools
  • SwimClassJuggler – online swim school management software is designed to support the unique business needs of those who own and operate swimming schools, water rescue classes, life guard schools, and diver training schools
  • MusicClassJuggler – all-in-one online business management tools that make customer, academics, and music class management a breeze for vocal training centers and instrumental music training centers
  • K12ClassJuggler – a management platform that supports the unique business needs of those who own and operate preschools, K-12 education, adult education programs, evening learning schools, night classes, and after-school programs
  • ClassJugglerFitness – slimming down record keeping for athletics schools, fitness centers, spin classes, yoga sessions, and tennis camps

Also, if you are a franchise owner, make sure to check out our franchise management software solutions as well.

Sincerely,

Jon Koerber, Pres., ClassJuggler

Making customer management and class management easy - ClassJuggler