Did you become a yoga studio owner and teacher because you love administrating your business and being glued to the computer? I bet not. Most yoga business owners start a yoga studio and teach yoga because they love yoga and sharing it with other people.
The trouble is that running a yoga business can get in the way of doing what you love – teaching yoga. After all, a yoga studio is a business that has customers (students), employees (contracted teachers and/or staff), financial reporting, and of course you must attract students through marketing in order to grow and maintain your business.
One way to increase revenues and profits while reducing the amount of time you spend administrating your yoga business is getting 6 software features that integrate together. When you have these 6 features integrated, your time administrating will decrease, and you can very possibly increase your revenues (with less work and more time teaching).
Here are 6 Must-Have Yoga Business Management Software Features:
1. Robust Scheduling Capability
Your class and private session schedule is the heart of your yoga business. It makes sense then, to use great scheduling software. There’s all kinds of decent scheduling software you can use, but in my view, it’s best to get scheduling software that automates bookings and integrates with your email autoresponder software and credit card processing (to get paid up front automatically). Let me explain.
First, you need scheduling software that creates a central database. When updated, all your posted digital calendars update automatically. For example, you may have calendars posted throughout your website and of course on your computer. It’s much fast to make changes to one calendar than several.
Second, get scheduling software that enables students to log in and book private sessions or reserve class spots. Better yet, get this calendaring system to integrate with credit card processing so you can have students pay online when they book.
Third, get yoga scheduling software that integrates with your email autoresponder software (not sure what this is, then read on). This is a powerful feature if you require class reservation and/or book private sessions. For example, you can program the email software to automatically send out email messages to your students and/or a waiting list if someone cancels. This way you reduce no-shows and class spots.
2. Centralized Student Contact Database
If you’re like a lot of small business owners, you may be tracking your students with spreadsheets. I love Excel, but turning excel into a database is inefficient. Instead, get yoga business software that includes a properly programmed database for student contact information.
Once all your student contact information is in the database, you can integrate your contacts with your email software, and financial reporting (who attends and purchases what and when – which can be very helpful information).
3. Email Autoresponder Integration
An email autoresponder software program enables you to send out e-mails at pre-defined times. You can pre-load a bunch of e-mail messages that are sent on a date you specify. When a new student attends your studio and signs up to your list, that will trigger your series of email messages.
Of course you can also broadcast messages immediately giving notice of sales, class vacancies, events, etc.
The key with choosing the right email software is that it integrates seamlessly with your scheduling software. If someone cancels, it triggers an email message to your students and/or waiting list so that you can fill the vacancies quickly without your involvement.
4. Credit Card Processing and E-Commerce Capability
Setting up credit card processing is a hassle. The right “on-the-cloud” software gives you credit card processing without all the hardware (saves on the leasing costs). Instead, you simply process credit card payments in the computer.
Better yet is getting credit card processing that integrates with your scheduling software so students can automatically pay online when they book class packages. This gets you the money up front and you didn’t have to take the time to process payment.
Finally, a really robust yoga business software platform includes an e-commerce option so you can sell retail goods in your studio and online. I understand retail sales won’t be your biggest earner, but extra revenue never hurts.
Moreover, you can then get creative with offering class packages and memberships and sell them directly on your website.
Don’t forget about gift cards – this is great for revenue and referrals. Be sure the software you get can create, package, and process gift cards.
5. Payroll Management
If you have a few teachers who are independent contractors, do you struggle tracking how much they’re owed. Some of the remuneration arrangements are complicated such as flat fees plus a percent of the take. Also, simply tracking all the classes a particular teacher teaches can keep you busy.
Get software that integrates with your scheduling software so you automatically track who teaches which classes and then automatically tallies your payroll based on the remuneration details you input into the system. Good software will tally the most complicated remuneration arrangements such as a percent of the take upon a certain number of students plus flat fees or an hourly rate.
6. Student Swipe Cards and/or Tag Capability
I’ve seen all kinds of sign up systems in yoga studios. Some use pen and paper. Others manually input attendees into the computer as students arrive. Then there’s some studios that issue swipe cards or tags which enable students (or a staff person) to scan the card for attendance. Which is faster and more convenient for your students? In my view swipe cards are the best. There’s a reason huge health gyms (and small gyms) use swipe technology.
If you’re going to set up your yoga studio business with a great software platform, then why not add swipe technology? It looks professional and is convenient for you and your students.
One other feature I strongly recommend, and that’s getting yoga business software that’s “on the cloud.” By this I mean software that’s hosted on the servers of the software provider. This way you don’t have to deal with installing and networking software. Moreover, you can access your software wherever you have Internet.
This feature alone can save you a great deal of time and money in installation and software networking costs. In fact, if you’re a larger studio with several computers, you then don’t require a server for your software.