Sports coaching and children’s activities are big business, but most coaches loathe doing admin and chasing payments.
It takes hours each week to administer courses and manage fees, yet coaching academies lose substantial income to missed payments, or risk driving away customers when they ask for larger block payments.
From 25 years running coaching academies, Stuart Twigg was well aware of the problems of running an efficient, profitable coaching business. He had investigated options, but never found a good solution:
All the elements were available separately, including bookings, data collection and online payment. But working in isolation they created even more admin work than a paper and cash-based system. Where products had been created for the leisure industry, they were overflowing with complicated functionality that made them hard for coaches and their customers to use.
Stuart discussed his experiences with other coaches and decided there was a significant need for a new, better approach. He raised funding and started devising a custom solution. His vision was a system that allowed participants to make bookings, provide personal data, setup payments and receive feedback on sessions from their coach. It would include a mobile app that was quick and easy for coaches to use on the field or in a sports hall. And it all needed to be tied together with a web-based system that minimised admin time for managers.
Stuart and his financial backers started by looking at offshore developers. They spent hours reviewing profiles and shortlisting, but after about 20 Skype interviews they realised that they were looking for something that wasn’t on offer. Firstly, Stuart did not have the technical skills or experience to create a product specification. All the offshore developers wanted a detailed specification to work from, whereas he needed someone who could apply experience and common sense to help define exactly what was needed. Secondly, he recognised that communication was going to be essential. He realised that they would need a really strong working relationship, built on collaborative working and face-to-face meetings. Once they realised that offshoring was not going to provide a low-cost panacea, they approached Make IT Simple, who Stuart’s business partner knew from another project and trusted to get the job done.
80% OF USERS ARE HIGHLY SATISFIED and are achieving enormous reductions in the time spend on administration.
Andy and the team at Make IT Simple were great partners on this project. They listened to us when we needed to make changes but equally, they stood strong when they knew we were asking for something that wouldn’t have worked. No project is plain sailing all the way through but they handled everything well and made sure the project kept moving forward at a good pace.
Director at Floc