Unless you’re located in a blisteringly-hot-summer state, you’re probably back in the office getting ready to open your facility or prepping for an influx of spring guests. With all the things going on, some of the small—but important—tasks can get pushed aside.
In this article, we’ve listed some of the things you should either put some of your attention into or delegate to your staff. A couple of the suggestions are more specific to users of the foreUP software tools, but may apply to any software you’re using to run your operations.
Back-Office Basics: Setting Up 2021 for Results & Efficiency
Getting your back office primed for efficiency and effectiveness is easier said than done, but there are a few key things to check off the list so you aren’t having to go backward and make up for a lack of organization, later.
Here is our list, in no particular order. Stay tuned for our next article that will focus on things to do to get business booming in 2021.
Plan and/or Update Your Annual Calendar
If you haven’t been doing this, or if you’re running a bit behind for this year, this is the place to start. Creating and maintaining a calendar for the year is so important!
- Things you commonly see on a course calendar:
- Special Events
- Demo Days
- Planned Sales
The first reason to work on your calendar now is that you’re able to take a week or so and plan your promotions for the next month (or two, or three.) When you know what is happening, it’s easier to make marketing and customer engagement plans. (Stay tuned for our next article when we give you some actionable ideas for driving these sales forward.)
But the bigger reason is that a mismanaged calendar can have serious repercussions for your revenue.
Let’s say you notice, after building your calendar, that you are 3-4 tournaments short from previous year’s numbers. Unless you’re fine missing out on $20,000 or so, this is a concern worth planning for. Tournaments are planned in advance, but if you spot the needs NOW by managing your calendar properly, there is plenty of time to prevent nasty surprises at the end of the year.
- Plan your calendar for the year.
- Compare it to your calendar from 2019 and 2020.
- Identify needs to make up or surpass revenue goals.
- Decide what your best options are:
- Getting new tournaments?
- Booking events?
- Driving registrations?
- Increasing costs?
If the answer is that you need more tournaments and/or events, consider one or more of the following strategies.
- Take the next 30 days to reach out to people who have had tournaments with you in the past.
- Plan marketing campaigns to fill in the holes in your schedule.
- Social media announcements.
- Post your calendar on social and add info for calling to schedule an event.
- Send emails to people who could be good candidates.
If the answer isn’t booking more events, take a look at the revenue you brought in from various past events. Are there options for increasing your pricing? Are there additional ways to make money during the events? Once you know where the holes will be in your revenue, you can plan accordingly.
Check Customer Credits / Member Balances
It’s a good idea to start the season with a solid understanding of where your liabilities lie, and who your target should be for using up old credits and/or balances.
Before the season starts, (or before it gets too busy,) do the following:
- Run an account balances report for contacts who still have money in their customer credit or member balance.
- Create a group of these contacts.
- Pick a strategic promotion that will allow you to drive sales on high profit margin items/services, move stagnant inventory, book tee times that don’t often fill, or something similar.
- Then, use this group of people to push discounts or other incentives.
Bring a friend, get $20 off.
Sale on last year’s inventory
Discounted tee times during certain hours
Food or beverage free with purchase
Offering strategic promotions to these groups will help you use up those old balances and get ready for the new season.
Create New Online Specials
Online specials are an excellent way to fill up your tee sheet, especially during slow times, to drive more rounds and revenue. To try it yourself, you’ll find online specials right on your Tee Sheet, under “Settings” on the left hand side.
Your account manager is your best bet for helping you set up new online specials strategically. Give them a call to get some (free) help that is sure to increase your rounds and revenue for the new season.
Optimize for Reporting
There is a lot of data you can find from your system. But, if you don’t have it set up to collect the data you want, you’ll find that the information you have might not be the information you need.
Take some time, now, to determine what information you want to be able to use to make better business decisions.
For example, maybe you really want to drill down into how much money you are making during different times of the day so you can manually adjust pricing based on demand for that time frame. By using price classes strategically, you can view different time frames as a group to see information like how many bookings, and how much revenue for the month from that section of your schedule.
This is a broad topic because everyone uses reporting differently for different reasons. Create a list of reports you’d like to be able to track and contact your Account Manager. They can help you find the best way of tracking the data that matters most to you.
Not a foreUP user? Most systems have some degree of customization. foreUP is substantially more customizable on most fronts than any other business management software in the industry, but you should be able to make some tweaks to help you find the information you need. Reach out to your support agent to see what can be done.
Identify Your Money-Makers
The next article we will be posting gives you some ideas for starting 2021 promotions. But to do this strategically, it’s helpful to know what promotions will be most valuable.
Review previous years' reports to see trends in sales revenue. Make note of items that sold at different times of the year, to different genders or age groups, etc. Once you know what sells best, you can create a marketing plan to drive buyers to those items at strategic times.
Don’t have data to help you get this insight? Plan to take the first month or two and track sales meticulously. Once you have a bit of a runway, you can start using that information to boost sales in the summer months.
Turn on Online Booking
It sounds like a no-brainer, but it DOES get forgotten!
If you are using foreUP, here is how to be sure you’ve turned it on:
First, navigate to Settings in the main menu.
Once there, select “Online Customer Portal”.
Choose the tee sheet for which you’d like to turn on Online Booking and toggle on the switch. Be sure that you toggle it on for every tee sheet you want to appear online.
Occasionally a course will use alternative ways of shutting down their online booking, like putting in blocks to your tee sheet to prevent booking during off season days. If you are one of these businesses, be sure to remove any blocks currently holding up your schedule online.
TRAIN YOUR TEAM!
There is so much that goes into creating excellent guest experiences, but often course staff limits this to personal conversations and interactions while they are at your facility.
Your team is the front line, and they can help you find the success you need if you empower them to do so. Here are a few things we suggest training them on right away:
- Using your software. If you haven’t done this, get them using training videos or on the phone with your Account Manager. foreUP is extremely user friendly, but it’s also very powerful. If you want them using the tools the way you are using the tools, you’ll need to be responsible for monitoring their training.
- Collect guest information. Almost everything you do can be done better with more information, and your CUSTOMER data is a gold mine. But not if you aren’t collecting it!
It can be very easy to quickly get someone in and out of the line. But foreUP has been created to make it simple to collect guest information quickly and easily, without holding up other guests.
Here are some ideas:
- Make sure you have their email address! This makes everything easier.
- Check for other contact information.
- Connect household family members.
- Encourage them to set up ACH payments (it’ll save you a lot in processing fees
- Put notes about the customer into the CRM to personalize interactions
- Add birthdays
If you’re signed up for ACH payments, you also have unlimited access to Convenience Fees. Talk to your staff about beginning to use convenience fees as a way of offsetting credit processing fees, for guests who elect not to set up ACH payments.
Of course, getting a business ready for a new busy season involves a lot of small tasks that can vary from business to business. We encourage you to reach out to your Account Manager with questions, confusion, or just to get ideas for how you can optimize your software, strategically market your course and your business for 2021 and beyond!
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