Author: Todd

Taking Attendance is Dumb

Every piece of martial arts software out there will let you take attendance.

Taking attendance, by itself, is a dumb thing to do.

The smart thing to do, the thing that will make your school more successful, is to USE that attendance data to do the things that matter. Things like retention. Or reports that tell you how your school is performing based on the attendance data. Or using your attendance data to market to people who used to attend your school.

If you’re doing those things, then taking attendance is a great thing to do. If you’re not dong those things, then taking attendance is waste of time.

Here’s a video showing the different ways MasterVision can use that attendance data to help you run a better school.

 

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How to do Contracts

There are a lot of different ways schools can handle contracts & contract payments. MasterVision gives you some different options on how you can track all of that. Before we can get into that, we need to define a couple terms – Billing Company contracts and In House contracts.

Billing Company: MasterVision calls ny contract that has payments being collected by someone else a “Billing Company” contract. This might be an actual billing company like EFC or Member Solutions, but it could also be that your bank is collecting EFT/ACH payments or any other setup where the money is collected by someone else.

In House: An In House contract is MasterVision’s term for any contract where you, the school, is manually collecting the payment in one way or another. This could be cash or credit card payments you have to submit.

With those terms out of the way, let’s look at the options you have to track contracts in MasterVision:

Billing Company Option #1

Your first option, if you have a “billing company”, is to completely ignore contracts in MasterVision. Don’t enter contracts and don’t worry about payments. You just let your billing company collect the money and rely on their reports. You don’t use MasterVision at all for this part of running your school.

You can still use the Expire and Renew fields on the student form to know when a student’s contract is expiring and when you want to talk to them about renewal.

Billing Company Option #2

Option #2 for “billing company” contracts is to go ahead and use MasterVision contracts, but to tell MasterVision that the payments are collected by your billing company. MasterVision will know about the due payments, but will mark them as collected automatically with the end of day routine.

This is a little more work, but provides some benefits:

  • You have a double-check that the billing company is collecting what you think they should be by comparing to MasterVision reports
  • You can create custom contract documents in Microsoft Word. If you have to submit a form to the billing company, this is a quick & easy way to create that form.
  • The Renew and Expire dates on the student get set automatically
  • You can see in MasterVision what payments are coming up to better gauge your cash flow

In House Contracts

Your last option is to mark your contracts as “In House” – where you’ll be collecting all the payments yourself. You use the Contract part of MasterVision to create the contracts and the Point of Sale to record the payments you receive. MasterVision can create customer statements, aging reports, warn you of overdue payments, and everything else you need to handle contract payments manually.

In House Contracts – Stripe Credit Cards

One last option MasterVision has for you – you can collect credit card transactions with MasterVision working with the Stripe credit card service. You mark the contract as a Stripe contract, enter the credit card information, and then use a special screen in MasterVision to process the credit card payments each day (or week, or month) and collect the payments that way. This is explained in more detail here.

Or, Mix It All Up!

Lastly, you don’t have to choose just one method. MasterVision has the power and flexibility to work with all of those methods. You can have students that are billing company payments, other students that the bank is collecting an EFT, other students that are in house and bringing you a check each month, and still other students that are credit card payments. MasterVision can handle all of them, at the same time, without any trouble.

International Setup

By default, MasterVision is setup to use USA dates, addresses, and phone numbers. It’s easy to change this though so that MasterVision will work for countries outside the USA.

Select Tools > Options from the menu and go to the General tab. It looks like this:

OptionInternational

Date Format: Change this to “Short” to use the date format you have in Windows (DD/MM/YYYY)

Phone Format: Erase the “999-999-9999” leaving this blank. You’ll then be able to enter phone numbers however you like (up to 20 characters)

Address Format: “City, State ZIP” is the default. You can change this to be “ZIP City State”. This changes how an address appears on a label or report – it doesn’t change the screens.

That should do it. If there are any international options that I missed, please let me know. I can customize MasterVision to work the way you need.

Grow Your Dojo – #5 Maximize Profits

(This is a series of blog posts following along with Michael Massie’s Growing Your Dojo series of emails and how MasterVision can help with each of the steps. You can sign-up for Mike’s daily email list here.) We’re talking about Michael’s Step #5:
Step #5 – Profit Maximization – This consists of financial efficiency + added profit centers. Most school owners start here by adding profit centers before they get their issues with the previous four steps fixed. This leads to all manner of problems, such as school identity crises, perpetual peaks and valleys in enrollment numbers, and unstable cash flow.
As Michael says, I’d concentrate on all the earlier items, make sure you school is running smoothly and efficiently, before turning to these ideas. If you’re ready for this though, here’s how MasterVision can help:
  • MasterVision has a full point of sale system to run your pro shop. It will track inventory, let you know what needs to be ordered, easily let your mark items up/down as need be (holiday sales), and remind you that a student owes you money for a piece of equipment they took but didn’t pay for.
  • MasterVision’s contract module has a very powerful pricing capabilities that make it very easy for you to show a student what they’d pay under various scenarios. Easily show students the savings for longer term contracts, discounts for adding family members, and discounts for paying cash.
  • You can use MasterVision to collect track & collect contract payments yourself (especially handy if you’re a small school). Send out statements, know who owes a payment, and collect the payment all with MasterVision.
  • You can also use MasterVision to automatically collect contract payments via credit cards. Learn more about there here.

This concludes the Growing Your Dojo series. I hope it was helpful in identifying all of the ways that MasterVision can be used leveraged to help you have a more successful school. If you have questions or feedback, I’d love to hear it. Drop me an email at todd@MasterVisionSoftware.com.

Growing Your Dojo – #4, Staff & Leadership Training

(This is a series of blog posts following along with Michael Massie’s Growing Your Dojo series of emails and how MasterVision can help with each of the steps. You can sign-up for Mike’s daily email list here.) Let’s talk about Step #4:

Step #4 – Staff and Leadership Training – To grow your school, grow your staff (and not necessarily in numbers).

Most of training staff and leadership is going to fall to you. There’s isn’t much a computer can do to make a person a better staff member. MasterVision can though help you track some of that work:

MasterVision can track students who assist in teaching a class. On the attendance screen there is a spot where you enter the instructor for the class. This person is setup in the Employee section of MasterVision. You can also though add a student assistant by double-clicking the “Instructor” label on the attendance screen and then adding a student.

In the reporting section of MasterVision, in the Attendance section, there are “Assistant Detail” and “Assistant Totals” reports that you can use to see how many classes a particular student has helped out with.

Next: How MasterVision can Help Maximize Profits

Growing Your Dojo – #3 Retention, Grab Bag

(This is a series of blog posts following along with Michael Massie’s Growing Your Dojo series of emails and how MasterVision can help with each of the steps. You can sign-up for Mike’s daily email list here.) Let’s talk about Step #3:

Step #3 – Retention. Keeping students around for the long haul. This basically amounts to two things – promise fulfillment, and customer service. This is another step many school owners skip, which leads to stalled growth and a poor community reputation.

We’ve looked at Measuring Your Retention and how to Spot Problems with Retention. Here are other ways you can use MasterVision to help with your retention:

  • Take attendance and use the automatic messages that go to the appointment book so that you know who is missing class.
  • For the students that are simply missing an occasional class (“Missed Class” in the appointment book), use the email and texting abilities to drop them a quick note to let them know you care and that you want them to stay on track.
  • Use the Message ability in MasterVision to create these repeating messages so you can send them quickly without typing them up every time.
  • For the students who haven’t shown up for class in two weeks (“Retention” entry in the appointment book), send them a different, more urgent message. Encourage them to come in and talk with you. Maybe have postcards you mail these students and use MasterVision to quickly create a mailing label.
  • Use the email ability in the Selector to stay in communication with your students. Things you can email the students: Exam reminders, special summer classes, holiday sales, special training opportunities.
  • Use the anniversary feature when taking attendance to know when a student’s yearly anniversary with your school comes up. Be sure to point this out in class.
  • Use the Mail Merge features with Microsoft Word to create quality exam certificates.

In short, use MasterVision to stay in communication with your students so that they know you care, use MasterVision to alert you to any problems so you can head them off before it becomes a lost student, and use MasterVision to provide value to your students.

 

Next: Leadership Training

Growing Your Dojo – #3 Retention, Improve It

(This is a series of blog posts following along with Michael Massie’s Growing Your Dojo series of emails and how MasterVision can help with each of the steps. You can sign-up for Mike’s daily email list here.) Let’s talk about Step #3:

Step #3 – Retention. Keeping students around for the long haul. This basically amounts to two things – promise fulfillment, and customer service. This is another step many school owners skip, which leads to stalled growth and a poor community reputation.

Last time we talked about measuring your Retention (or your Attrition rate, they’re the same idea). But what do you do if your retention rate isn’t so good? How can you find and fix the problem? MasterVision will help with that as well.

Go into Reports (the printer button on the toolbar), the Retention section, and you’ll find a variety of “Retention By” reports (by Age, by Months, by Rank), etc. Each of these reports will show you exactly where you are losing students.

For example, the retention by rank shows you the percent of all the starting students that drop out at each rank. You might find that there are certain ranks where you retain students and they keep going, but that there are other ranks where a larger than normal group of students is quitting. You’ll want to look at those ranks and figuring out why you’re losing students at that point.

 

Or maybe it’s age that is a problem – you do great with young kids, but are losing teenagers? Or maybe it’s time that is a problem – students are happy for about 9 months, but then start dropping out?

Whatever it is, MasterVision will help you identify the problem spot. It’ll be up to you to then fix it.

Next: How MasterVision Can Help Retention in Other Ways.

Growing Your Dojo – #3 Retention

(This is a series of blog posts following along with Michael Massie’s Growing Your Dojo series of emails and how MasterVision can help with each of the steps. You can sign-up for Mike’s daily email list here.) Let’s talk about Step #3:

Step #3 – Retention. Keeping students around for the long haul. This basically amounts to two things – promise fulfillment, and customer service. This is another step many school owners skip, which leads to stalled growth and a poor community reputation.

First, I think Michael left out an important first step – Measure your retention. If you’re not measuring your retention, you don’t know if any of the other things is working or not. Calculating your retention manually is very complicated. Calculating it with MasterVision is just a couple clicks. Here’s how:

Go to Reports (printer button on the toolbar), go to the Retention section, and run the “Attrition Rate Over Time” report (Attrition is just the opposite of Retention – Retention is what % of students are you keeping while Attrition is what % of students you are losing).

This report is explained in more detail here. Run this report at the end of every month to see how your retention is doing and to know if the steps you are taking are improving it or not.

 

Next: How MasterVision Helps You Spot Retention Problems

Getting Started

Thanks for taking a look at MasterVision!

I know that trying out new software can be confusing. I’ve got several blog posts here that will walk you, step by step, through setting up MasterVision, entering your students, and starting to take attendance. Follow along and you’ll be up and running in no time!

Step #1: Install MasterVision

You should have gotten an email explaining how to download the MasterVision program and install it on your computer. If you haven’t done that yet, you’ll need to go do that first.

Step #2: Setup Items

To make entering data easier, there are a couple things you’ll want to setup first in MasterVision before getting to the more exciting stuff.

Step #3: Specifics About Your School

Now MasterVision needs to know a few things about your school.

Step #4: Start Entering Your Students

Congratulations! You’ve completed the setup items that needed to be done. You can now start entering your students.

Step #5: Attendance

Once all of your students are entered, you can start taking attendance.

Other Things

Now that you have the basics underway, here are some more topics you might be interested in:

  • Using the Find form to open Student records

Find Form

You use the Find form to open existing student records. To open the Find form, click the Find button (the binoculars) on the toolbar:
toolbar
The Find form looks like this:
Find
If you know a student’s PIN or Association ID, you can simply type that in and press the Find button (on this form, the  binoculars) and it will open that student for you.
You can also search for a student using the First and/or Last name boxes. Type in the first part of that name, click the Find button, and in the box you’ll get a list of every student that matches what you entered. Double-click a name in that list and MasterVision will open that student.
You don’t have to do both First and Last names and you also don’t have to enter a full name. Some examples:
  • You can enter just “A” in First name and it’ll find every student whose first name starts with A.
  • You can enter just “S” in Last name and it’ll find every student whose last name starts with S.
  • You can enter “A” in first name and “S” in last name and MasterVision will find all students who meet both of those criteria.