Athlete. Coach. Parent. Business Owner.
Louis Whitlow has experienced athlete development from many angles. Today, he is the owner of The Compound 256, a 10,000 square foot sports performance facility in Madison, Alabama.
The facility features an 8,000 square foot open turf area with 5 lanes, batting cages, open strength and conditioning space, HitTrax rentals, and private baseball and softball instruction. In addition, local teams and coaches have the ability to rent out training space within the facility.
How did his vision come to life?
Louis grew up with a love for baseball, playing through high school and college, then transitioned into a coaching role. After having a son, he then began to experience the sport from the other side of the fence. As his son fell more in love with the game, Louis began to reflect on his past experiences as an athlete — “It got me thinking about the coaches I had, the coaches I didn’t have; the ones that inspired me, and ones that beat me down.”
Louis knew that when he had an opportunity to open his own sports performance business, he wanted to build a culture and environment that was different.
“The Compound started under the leadership of myself and my Cofounder. We started training at parks and schools, then about a year and a half ago, we were blessed to have an opportunity to expand to a facility. It was an auto body shop before we came into it, so we say that it went from an automotive body shop to a human body shop, because we still transform bodies.”
Athletes from youth to professional levels are travelling up to 2 hours to train at The Compound. When Louis was evaluating his tech stack, he knew that a business management software was an imperative piece to expanding his business. So, he needed a partner whose ability to scale and innovate aligned with those goals.
"It's a different feeling when you walk into the facility. So, I wanted to make sure that our tools are the same way. I've added some technology over the past few months, and part of that technology is Upper Hand. Now I have an app for my athletes to register and take advantage of these classes."
When it came to software, Louis was looking for an all-in-one tool to help him improve the efficiency of his business and provide an all-star client experience.
“Our goal was to say, ‘how can we really validate what we’re doing and make it more efficient’? I looked at multiple systems to determine what was going to be the best for us, and I finally came down to Upper Hand. I can really look at a system and see how things flow.”
What led Louis to Upper Hand?
First impressions are everything. One of the initial reasons Louis chose Upper Hand over its competitors was its intuitive user experience and UI design.
“After looking at various options, I felt Upper Hand was the most user friendly, and provided a good user interface, which is important. ”
Clients of The Compound are now able to use the Upper Hand app to register for lessons and memberships. Rather than fielding inquiries via social media, text messages, phone calls, and emails, coaches are able to direct parents to the app, and are able to spend more time with their athletes.
The Compound hosts various events, and the coaches at The Compound have several membership options. Upper Hand gives the coaches the ability to configure all of their memberships and customize outreach communications based on age groups or membership type or the various events and memberships within the facility. The ability to configure these options and clearly outline details through Upper Hand was another advantage for The Compound.
Louis also offers various membership levels for HitTrax, which are based on sessions and video analysis, as well as memberships for the strength and conditioning side of the business.
“I like the flexibility that is customizable from the fact that I can name the memberships and put a graphic with it. When individuals go online, they see these packages, they see a graphic, and they see the details, so they can really make an informed decision of whether or not they want a certain membership or just want to purchase a session.”
The flexibility of these membership options helps Louis streamline and organize his offerings, as well as empower his clients to select the packages that are right for them.
With many families coming in to work out at The Compound, Upper Hand’s managed family profile feature has been an added bonus. Louis believes this will also contribute to a more positive user experience for his clients.
“I really like the fact that a parent can go in and make one family profile, and all they have to do is add their kids to it. Each time they log in, they are able to select one class for one kid and another class for a different kid, instead of having to log in to multiple accounts. It keeps everything user friendly, and it’s very direct.”
"The biggest thing I like about the software, coming down to the reporting, is that I can see the true demographics of my clients on a map. If I look to run camps at high schools, I know where to pilot those programs. If I see that most of our kids are coming from a particular area, I can plan programs in their backyard. I see the advantages of the system and what we have once we start getting our athletes in there.”
Not only did Louis choose Upper Hand because of what it could do for The Compound now, but also how it could support the business in the future. Louis was especially drawn to Upper Hand’s reporting capabilities that will allow him to visualize his impact and value.
“The biggest thing I like about the software, coming down to the reporting, is that I can see the true demographics of my clients on a map. If I look to run camps at high schools, I know where to pilot those programs. If I see that most of our kids are coming from a particular area, I can plan programs in their backyard. I see the advantages of the system and what we have once we start getting our athletes in there.”
Being able to see a quick snapshot of the happenings at the facility have also opened the door to new revenue opportunities that may have previously been overlooked, including how to maximize use of the facility.
“When we see open blocks, it opens the door for us to say, ‘okay, this is free for a team to come in and utilize the space.’ Now, I can look at a system and really see how things flow.”
Not only will these reports help Louis build out his programming to best serve his athletes, but it will also support his goal of expanding to new locations.
“The reporting is all about future growth. It’s an additional selling point to be able to use these reports to expand our reach and our footprint. Right now we can talk about it, but we can’t show it.”
From his initial interactions with our solutions team to his training with our onboarding team, Louis was impressed with the presentation and support that he received in getting set up with the software.
“Upper Hand provides great support. There was actually something that came up early in the process, I suggested it, and the team was able to code it into the software so that it works now. That let me know where Upper Hand’s advancement is when it comes to the software and the level of support to grow the software for our processes and clients.”
Louis is also confident that each of his coaches and instructors are well-equipped to efficiently manage their offerings within the business. Through Upper Hand, Louis is also able to maintain control of his schedule and facility operations while still giving coaches and instructors the autonomy to manage their own schedules and availability.
“Upper Hand fits well for us as we begin to scale. We have multiple instructors in the building, so it allows me to add in all of those instructors and all of our lanes to really be able to look at how we not only monetize, but also make our space more efficient for what we want to do. My goal as an owner was to purchase software to offer each one of the small businesses in the building.”
Louis is confident that he is well-equipped to launch Upper Hand to his clients in the fall of 2021. In the meantime, he has been building out his events and offerings within the software and encouraging his clients to make their Upper Hand account.
“The more I looked at the software and looked at what it could do, the more I was confident that this aligns with my business and where we’re looking to go. We want to attract more clients to The Compound and create more productivity. My biggest thing was that if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it the right way. I know it takes dollars, and I know it takes time, but once it’s all washed out, I know that it’s going to be beneficial.”