Starting a new business is exciting. You’re probably ready to hit the ground running. But, with a million items on the to-do list, from securing a facility to deciding on your business name, it can be hard to determine when certain decisions should be made.
One of those decisions: choosing a sports scheduling software to manage your business.
Timing is key. You have to think about what the right time for you is, and remember, don’t wait until the last minute.
But, earlier is not always better. Software like Upper Hand is constantly evolving with new functionality and features.
If you start your search too early, you run the risk of viewing a demo of a product that will change between that initial conversation and your implementation.
So, how do you find that balance when it comes to timing your sports software implementation?
We’ve had thousands of conversations with sports business owners just like you at various stages of business. Here’s our advice on when to start looking for software from conversations we have had over the years.
Set your “Go Live” Date and Work Backwards
The first step when determining your onboarding and implementation timeline for your sports management software is to set a goal “go live” date. Once you have a set date circled on the calendar to begin running your business with your new software, you’ll be able to work backwards to build your perfect implementation timeline.
What do your first 30 days look like?
Once you’ve set your goal “go live” date, it’s first important to take a look at your programming around that date. What are your main revenue drivers? What do your first 30 days of programming look like? For example, do you have a big camp planned for Week 2? Depending on what events you have penciled in, you’ll need to ensure you give yourself enough time to build out your events schedule, market the registration link, and collect registrations to get to your target roster numbers.
What needs to happen before you go live?
Once you’ve signed on the dotted line with a sports management system, there are still a few steps you will need to take before you officially go live. Be sure to think about these elements and take them into consideration when planning your sports scheduling software implementation timeline.
Get approved to process credit card payments
For many software providers, like Upper Hand, you will need to fill out a merchant application to enable your business to process credit card payments. This process takes approximately 7-10 business days to get approved, so you want to give yourself a little bit of wiggle room to fill out this form. This will ensure that you’re able to collect online payments once you start pushing your clients to your new sports scheduling app.
Build out your programs and memberships
This is probably a no-brainer, but we still wanted to include in our checklist: you’ll want to build out your programs prior to your go live date. Your clients will want to see the programs available to sign up for!
As we mentioned previously, the more complex your business, and the more programs you’re actively offering, the longer it will inherently take for you to build out the software. If you operate with a pretty streamlined business model and only a few event offerings, you can likely get all of your programs up and running in minutes. On the other hand, if you have a more complex business model, it could take a bit longer to set all of your event schedules, set staff availability, and build out your program registrations.
Pro tip: If you’re looking to get up and going quicker, we recommend just starting with your active programs for that first 30 days. You can always add additional times, schedules, or events after you’ve gone live. So, prioritize the programs and memberships you want your clients to see upon their first time logging into the software.
Train the appropriate staff
Additionally, in order to have a successful software launch, it’s important that your train all necessary staff, coaches, and instructors on the software. To get them on board, make them excited about this change, and provide them with all of the necessary resources to help them do their day-to-day tasks. You may also include them in any onboarding calls to ensure they can also get their questions answered.
It takes time to learn a new software. But, oftentimes the best way to learn is by doing. If you are trained in a software 6 months before you’re ready to implement, it will be easy to forget a lot of the details. On the contrary, if you wait until the last minute, you may leave your staff members feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
So, when should I first begin my search?
The more offerings you have at your business, the more time it will take for you to build out all of these programs. But, while the specific timeline varies with the complexity of your business, number of decision makers, and the time you have to invest in the transition, we recommend beginning your search for a software provider 1-2 months before you are ready to go live. This gives you time to explore potential sports scheduling apps, make a decision, and navigate through the onboarding process.
It’s important to note that our estimated timeline takes into account both the consideration phase of choosing a sports software and the implementation process. While we recommend beginning your search a few months in advance, we have many customers that have gone live in just weeks after committing to Upper Hand.
You control your destiny.
It sounds cheesy, but simply put, you get out of your software what you put into it. The more active you are when it comes to your search and implementation, the quicker you can get things up and running.
At Upper Hand, we empower you to configure your software to fit your business needs. You are in control of your timeline, and our team is here to support you along the way. From the sales process to our education team, we are committed to helping you successfully make a decision, as well as take action. Access to training videos, written how-to guides, and access to both an education team and support team will ensure that you’re able to quickly and seamlessly transition to Upper Hand.
Ready to begin your search for sports scheduling software?
If you’re ready to begin your search and implementation of a sports management software, we’d love to have a conversation. Request a demo of Upper Hand to get a personalized walk-through of the software and how it applies to your business!