Outgrowing Google Spreadsheets

When Simple Solutions Become Complicated

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: It’s a motto many of us live our lives by. Unfortunately, sometimes we get so used to doing things the same way we’ve always done them that we don’t notice the cracks and tears in the system. Think of that old swelling front door that you have to kick to close or the upstairs toilet that you have to remember to wiggle the lever on to keep the water from running. While this solution works for a while, over time the problem gets worse. At first, you tell yourself that you’ll hire a repairman or look up how to fix it yourself, but you get busy, and then you grow so accustomed to the inconvenience that it can be easy to overlook the fact that it’s costing you time and money.

The same may be said your current strategy for managing enrollment. It’s working okay–it’s been working for years–but is it still the most efficient, cost-effective solution for your needs? It’s easy to add registrants to a Google spreadsheet at first, but as your program grows, that spreadsheet grows as well. You start to lose track of who has paid and who hasn’t, and what started out as a simple solution has become complicated.

 

So how do you know if you have outgrown your current course management solution? Here are some easy things to watch for:

1.) Are you spending more time than you would like organizing course registrations?

Time you spend organizing and handling course registration is time you can not spend bettering your courses, hiring instructors, and increasing enrollment. If you find that you are spending hours each week organizing and handling your course registrations, you may have outgrown the capabilities of your course registration software. It may have been easy to keep track of your registrations manually when you only had a few students each term, but as enrollment grows it becomes necessary for aspects of enrollment management to be automated.

2.) Are you using more than one course registration tool to meet your needs?

Course registration should be easy and convenient. If you’re using one tool to keep track of your registrants, a second tool to contact them, and a third to collect payments, you’re probably working too hard. Worse, manually transferring information from one platform to another can lead to clerical errors, which can negatively impact the service you give. Consider your course registration needs and whether any single course registration tool you’re using is capable of meeting all of them.

3.) Do your employees complain about your current class registration process?

If you aren’t the front-line for course registration in your program, it may be difficult for you to realize that you have outgrown your current solution. Maybe it’s your secretary who has to track all registrations in Google sheets or send forms out with Wufoo. If that’s the case, it may be time to have a conversation with her about course registration. Listening to the aspects of registration your employees find difficult or frustrating can help you better assess whether your current process is working for your business.

4.) Are your customers asking for capabilities you don’t offer?

A sure sign that there’s a feature missing from your current course management solution is if customers are asking for something you can’t offer them. Maybe you get a few calls every week asking if you take online payments, a capability not compatible with the Google sheets process you use. If customers are asking for a feature, it’s a good indication that it’s a feature they see value in and may be an indication that you need to find a way to offer that functionality.  

5.) Do you feel like you’re at capacity?

If forty students were trying to register for a photography class and the instructor you had could only teach twenty at a time, you would consider hiring a second photography teacher to meet the demand of your students. Similarly, if you feel like you’re at capacity with your course management solution and it is preventing you from growing your curriculum, it may be time to find a course management solution that allows for the growth you want.

Our mission is to ensure that our customers have the best service possible at an affordable price. Course registration software should be convenient and efficient. If you walked through the questions above and still feel that your course management solution is meeting your needs, it probably is. If not, it may be time to consider a new approach to course management.