5 Things To Do This Summer For Your Business

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Do You Have All Five in the Works? 

1. Get a Mobile App – We did. Mobile Inventer created ours and we’re loving it. The app gives our customers one more option when it comes to enrolling in classes or looking at our current schedules. We also send them push notifications through our mobile app informing them of special events coming up or any much-needed information they should know (think inclement weather). It might not help us gain new students, but by the look of how many of our current parents are using it… it’s a great addition. Anything that makes it super simple to do business with you is a good thing.

2. Review Forms and Systems – Look over and edit all paper and digital forms (including legal forms) used in your gym. Word by word go through and see what needs to be updated. Do you need all the forms you use? Can you simplify? Any legal forms should be reviewed by your attorney–especially your employee handbook (see #5).

3. Start a New Program – Add a new program to your schedule for fall. Cross-sell that program to current students and market it to prospective students. If I had limited myself to only gymnastics, I would not feel the success I do today. Other programs such as dance, educational preschool, swimming, and cheerleading help pay the bills for our main programs. My Gym-N-Learn Educational Preschool alone has increased revenue and allowed me to employ more staff.

4. Operations and Sales Manual – Every job position in your gym needs to be written down in detail. Who does what and when? If someone quits or has to be absent for a long period of time, those filling their shoes just need to follow the directions.

5. Staff Handbook – Every gym needs one. New staff needs to review and know it. Current staff members should have one handy at all times for referencing. It’s important to stick to the rules of your employee handbook–no exceptions. Keeping it fair across the board will save you from headaches later.

Patti-KomaraPatti Komara owns Patti’s All-American Gymnastics in Dyer, Indiana since 1969 and has been named “#1 Best of the Region” for Gymnastics Schools by their local newspaper every year since its inception in 1994. Patti has also been a speaker for USA Gymnastics at national conventions every year since 1981 and has also led hundreds of training workshops.

Patti has produced over 80 instructional DVDs and has written books on yearly lesson plans for the internationally known  Tumblebear Gym Program, School-Age Gymnastics, Dancing GymBears, YogaBears, CheerBears, and Gym-N-Learn Educational Preschool. All products can be found at tumblebear.com. Click HERE to follow Tumblebear Connection on Facebook. 

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Video Inside: Quick Tips for Teaching Cartwheels

This was a video excerpt from #182 – How to Teach a Cartwheel.  Rhonda, my Preschool Manager and Vice-President of Sales, leads two students through an obstacle course for teaching cartwheels to preschoolers. I hope this gives you some reminders and ideas on what you can do in your own gym. cw blog


Patti-KomaraPatti Komara owns Patti’s All-American Gymnastics in Dyer, Indiana since 1969 and has been named “#1 Best of the Region” for Gymnastics Schools by their local newspaper every year since its inception in 1994. Patti has also been a speaker for USA Gymnastics at national conventions every year since 1981 and has also led hundreds of training workshops.

Patti has produced over 80 instructional DVDs and has written books on yearly lesson plans for the internationally known Tumblebear Gym Program, School-Age Gymnastics, Dancing GymBears, YogaBears, CheerBears, and Gym-N-Learn Educational Preschool. All products can be found at tumblebear.com.

How Do You Handle a Problem with Someone On Your Staff?

Patti-KomaraWhen I first started my gymnastics school, I used to avoid them. I was a people-pleaser. I wanted everyone to be happy and to like me. But the reality is, if you’re the leader and you’re not addressing problems within your staff, the person you’re avoiding may be happy, but the others are not. Your lack of leadership is holding everyone back. And, I realized my staff needed to respect me. They didn’t have to like me. I hoped they did, but I realized I couldn’t control that. The conversation you need to have with them might actually strengthen the relationship. Think about the tough conversation you need to have right now, the one you’ve probably been putting off. Now take the following steps:

1. Plan to meet privately, ASAP. Whenever you come across a significant problem, you want to address it at the first possible opportunity. Maybe it’s been going on too long right now. You can’t change that, but you can keep from letting more time go to waste.

2. Assume good motives. Go in with a good attitude and assume their intentions are good, but the system must not be working. Give him or her the benefit of the doubt.
3. Offer specific observations. It’s hard for people to change in response to general comments. Statements such as, “Your performance hasn’t been very good lately,” or “You don’t get along with others,” aren’t as helpful as if you said, “You haven’t put the equipment back in the right place the last week and you yelled at Emily last night in front of parents.” Once you’ve described the poor behavior specifically and explained its negative impact, this will help them know what needs to change and why.
4. Hear them out. Ask for their side of the story. There may be additional factors in play: Maybe the employee has been late for work because they got pulled over. Maybe he isn’t performing well because a loved one has cancer, or he has been sick himself—you really never know. From time to time, you can solve a work issue by helping someone get through a personal problem. That’s a powerful tool.
5. Agree on a course of action. If you don’t define a solution and agree to what needs to happen in the future, then both you and the other person will be frustrated. They can’t hit a target they haven’t identified.
6. Validate the person and commit to helping them. If at all possible, you want to encourage your staffer to change and grow through a particular situation and let them know they have a future with your company once these changes are made.

Assure them they have intrinsic value and are more valuable than the work they perform. If the employee has been successful in the past, mention that. If the two of you have had a good relationship in the past, recall that. If you believe the person can grow and change, express that. The worst that can happen is you will lose a person who’s hurting the team (or that can be the best thing that could happen). 

Patti Komara owns Patti’s All-American Gymnastics in Dyer, Indiana since 1969 and has been named “#1 Best of the Region” for Gymnastics Schools by their local newspaper every year since its inception in 1994. Patti has also been a speaker for USA Gymnastics at national conventions every year since 1981 and has also led hundreds of training workshops.

Patti has produced over 80 instructional DVDs and has written books on yearly lesson plans for the internationally known  Tumblebear Gym Program, School-Age Gymnastics, Dancing GymBears, YogaBears, CheerBears, and Gym-N-Learn Educational Preschool. All products can be found at tumblebear.com. Patti currently has over 10,000 subscribers to her “Tumblebear Tips” eblasts and quarterly newsletter. You can sign up for it at tumblebear.com

It’s As Easy As “Yes, We Can Take it Back

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I had a broken soap dispenser in my bathroom. It matched all the other accessories such as the Kleenex box, the cup, the toothbrush holder, etc. I took it into Bed, Bath, & Beyond and asked if they still carried that line. I wasn’t expecting them to replace it. It had been over 18 months since I bought it. I probably had the receipt–I didn’t bother even looking for it. The price tag was on the bottom of the dispenser. I just wanted to buy another one. Not only did the girl at the desk show me where it was, there was another employee who looked for it with me and then another lady who looked it up in the computer. They couldn’t have been nicer. It had been discontinued, but I found a suitable replacement. At the cash register it was no problem. Even that employee knew what to do and gladly exchanged it for me. I have thought about that incident many times in the last two days since it happened. I have told people and know that I will always do my business with them for anything I need that they sell.
     Here’s the question? Do we empower our front desk to make exchanges, give refunds, (which they said they would have done if I hadn’t found something I liked), give an extra make-up, send a get-well card to a sick student, and all around just do whatever is necessary to make our customers happy? It’s so important! And you just can’t make them happy, you have to THRILL them. Make them say, “wow!”. This incident I had with Bed, Bath, and Beyond will make me happy to go back. Are your families all happy to come to your gym every week? Put pen to paper and brainstorm. What experience could your customers have that could be bad and how to fix it. If customers have a problem and you fix it, they are 12 times more likely to do business with you again than if they hadn’t had the bad experience at all. So, look at a complaining parent as a GIANT opportunity to take them from an average customer to a raving fan.

Patti Komara owns Patti’s All-American Gymnastics in Dyer, Indiana since 1969 and has been named “#1 Best of the Region” for Gymnastics Schools by their local newspaper every year since its inception in 1994. Patti has also been a speaker for USA Gymnastics at national conventions every year since 1981 and has also led hundreds of training workshops.

Patti has produced over 80 instructional DVDs and has written books on yearly lesson plans for the internationally known  Tumblebear Gym Program, School-Age Gymnastics, Dancing GymBears, YogaBears, CheerBears, and Gym-N-Learn Educational Preschool. All products can be found at tumblebear.com. Patti currently has over 10,000 subscribers to her “Tumblebear Tips” eblasts and quarterly newsletter. You can sign up for it at tumblebear.com

Praise is More Valuable Than Pay

Patti-KomaraIn a Gallup Organization poll of 2,000 workers, 69% said praise and recognition from their bosses is more motivating than money. Four out of five workers said recognition or praise motivates them to do a better job. Despite this, most workers feel they are not properly recognized or praised. Studies by the U.S. Army show soldiers improve their performance 90% of the time when praised and 30% of the time when criticized. When your staff members aren’t living up to your expectations, have they been praised enough for the things they ARE doing right to make them feel valued and needed? When you give a specific compliment at the perfect time (right after the deed), it makes a huge impact. Look people in the eye and really thank them. Explain why you’re so happy with the results. Tell their parents or spouse how happy you are with them. This alone makes a huge impact. Praise people behind their back. As a leader, know that you can’t say anything about them behind their back that you wouldn’t say while they’re standing next to you. Make them feel valued by asking for their opinions. Especially the younger staff members really feel important when their boss comes to them for advice.

Patti Komara owns Patti’s All-American Gymnastics in Dyer, Indiana since 1969 and has been named “#1 Best of the Region” for Gymnastics Schools by their local newspaper every year since its inception in 1994. Patti has also been a speaker for USA Gymnastics at national conventions every year since 1981 and has also led hundreds of training workshops.

Patti has produced over 80 instructional DVDs and has written books on yearly lesson plans for the internationally known  Tumblebear Gym Program, School-Age Gymnastics, Dancing GymBears, YogaBears, CheerBears, and Gym-N-Learn Educational Preschool. All products can be found at tumblebear.com. Patti currently has over 10,000 subscribers to her “Tumblebear Tips” eblasts and quarterly newsletter. You can sign up for it at tumblebear.com

 

If You Don’t Service Customers, They Will Serve You Notice

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EZ Steps to Make Customers Raving Fans. Please share with your staff.

“I apologize for our mistake. Let me make it right.”
It’s a universal truth that people just want to be heard. It’s good customer service to apologize and fix the situation in any way possible.
“Thank you for your business. Please come back again.”
Repeat customers are gold, especially for small business owners. You have already spent time and money acquiring them, so do what you can to keep them.
“I’m not sure, but I will find out. “
It’s OK if you don’t know the answer, but it’s not OK to just brush off the question as unimportant. Make a few phone calls or send a few emails to find the answer.
“What else can I do for you?”
If you go out of your way for our customers, they will remember it. Customer service of that level is practically non-existent.
“What is most convenient for you?”
Don’t be the cable/Internet/phone provider that does everything on their terms, no matter how inconvenient for you. Do things on your customers’ terms. They will love you for it.
“How may I help you?”
Such a simple phrase to ask, but by asking how you can help, you are reminding your customers that you are there to make their lives easier, better, or both.
“How did we do?”
Good or bad, feedback is so important for small businesses. Make it a habit to ask every customer how their experience was and how you can improve it.
“Glad you’re here.”
I can’t tell you the last time I walked into a big box store huge national retailer and felt welcome, but every time I walk into a small, local business, I absolutely feel like they are glad to see me.
“Thank you.”
Your teachers and parents were right: Good manners go far! Thank you is the simplest way to show your appreciation. Say it often.
“Yes.”
From “Yes, we can help you,” to “Yes, we can do that,” yes is a very powerful word. Of course, if you really can’t help them, introduce them to someone who can.
Share this list with your employees and train them when to use these phrases. Now, share with us: What else do you do to make your customers feel loved?

Patti Komara owns Patti’s All-American Gymnastics in Dyer, Indiana since 1969 and has been named “#1 Best of the Region” for Gymnastics Schools by their local newspaper every year since its inception in 1994. Patti has also been a speaker for USA Gymnastics at national conventions every year since 1981 and has also led hundreds of training workshops.

Patti has produced over 80 instructional DVDs and has written books on yearly lesson plans for the internationally known  Tumblebear Gym Program, School-Age Gymnastics, Dancing GymBears, YogaBears, CheerBears, and Gym-N-Learn Educational Preschool. All products can be found at tumblebear.com. Patti currently has over 10,000 subscribers to her “Tumblebear Tips” eblasts and quarterly newsletter. You can sign up for it at tumblebear.com

How to Get More Students

26231252_1832564786776060_6210159355589201701_n1. Everything starts with sales
2. Everything is sustained with sales
3. Everything ends with sales

You’re saying, “Patti, no, it isn’t that easy.” Yes, it is.

1. We know to get new sales (students) we have to make the current ones so happy they stay with us and tell their friends. No secret there. If you want new students, provide your current students with great teachers who stay. You must provide them with a clean facility and a curriculum that has them learning new skills frequently and be recognized for those achievements.

2. If  you don’t have sales (new students and current students) you won’t have enough money to keep a great staff, to buy new equipment when you need it, and pay your managers to write super great lesson plans or the money to buy already created curriculum.

3. Everything ends with sales… meaning nothing else matters. So many of us spend so much time on special events. Kids Night Outs, camps, etc, which is all well and good, but 95% of your time should be focused on getting new sales for tuition based classes. I understand that new kids will come from special events, but don’t let that draw you into spending too much time on marketing, planning, and implementing those instead of focusing on the grand plan… your class kids!

Quit messing around with events, concentrate on tuition-based classes. Helen Keller said, “Life is short and unpredictable, eat dessert first.”

Patti-KomaraPatti Komara owns Patti’s All-American Gymnastics in Dyer, Indiana since 1969 and has been named “#1 Best of the Region” for Gymnastics Schools by their local newspaper every year since its inception in 1994. Patti has also been a speaker for USA Gymnastics at national conventions every year since 1981 and has also led hundreds of training workshops.

Patti has produced over 80 instructional DVDs and has written books on yearly lesson plans for the internationally known  Tumblebear Gym Program, School-Age Gymnastics, Dancing GymBears, YogaBears, CheerBears, and Gym-N-Learn Educational Preschool. All products can be found at tumblebear.com. Patti currently has over 10,000 subscribers to her “Tumblebear Tips” eblasts and quarterly newsletter. You can sign up for it at tumblebear.com