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 with customers (students), employees (contracted teachers and staff), and financial reporting, and you must attract students through marketing to grow and maintain your business.
One way to increase revenues and profits while reducing your time administrating your yoga business is by getting six integrated software features. When you integrate these six features, your time administrating will decrease, and you can 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 are the heart of your yoga business. It makes sense, then, to use great scheduling software. There are all kinds of decent scheduling software you can use. Still, I believe it’s best to get scheduling software that automates bookings and integrates with your email autoresponder software and credit card processing (to get paid upfront automatically). Let me explain.
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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 on your website and, of course, on your computer. It’s much faster 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 feature is powerful if you require a class reservation and book private sessions. For example, you can program the email software to send emails to your students automatically and a waiting list if someone cancels. This way, you reduce no-shows and class spots.
2. Centralized Student Contact Database
If you’re like many 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 with a properly programmed student contact information database.
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 beneficial information).
3. Email Autoresponder Integration
An email autoresponder software program enables you to send emails at pre-defined times. You can pre-load a bunch of email messages that are sent on a date you specify. When a new student attends your studio and signs up for your list, that will trigger your email messages.
Of course, you can also broadcast messages immediately, giving notice of sales, class vacancies, events, etc.
The key to 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 waiting list so 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 process credit card payments on 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 upfront, and you don’t have to take the time to process payment.
Finally, a robust yoga business software platform includes an e-commerce option to sell retail goods in your studio and online. 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 directly selling them 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 independent contractor teachers, do you struggle to track how much they’re owed? Some remuneration arrangements are complicated, such as flat fees plus a percent of the take. Also, simply following a particular teacher’s classes 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 add 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 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. Some studios issue swipe cards or tags that 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, why not add swipe technology? It looks professional and is convenient for you and your students.
Another feature I strongly recommend is getting yoga business software that’s “on the cloud.” By this, I mean software hosted on the software provider’s servers. This way, you don’t have to deal with installing and networking software. Moreover, you can access your software wherever you have the Internet.