Running and building up a yoga studio requires coordinating scheduling, marketing, accounting, class registration, class attendance, sales and credit card processing, inventory, payroll, staff management, documents, and so much more.
When you started teaching yoga, you wanted to teach yoga. Sure, you knew running a yoga studio or teaching classes involved administration, but perhaps running your yoga business is taking over your life.
How many software applications are you running to keep it all together? Are you using a fleet of spreadsheets?
The fact is there is some pretty cool software options available specifically designed for yoga studios that take care of all your yoga studio administration needs in a central, online location.
3 Fundamental Elements of A Great Yoga Studio Software Service:
- Cloud computing capability (web-based software); and
- Comprehensive, all-in-one yoga software that centralizes all your yoga studio administration operations.
- Automation – the more the better. Typically this is easier with comprehensive, all-in-one software.
1. Cloud Computing Yoga Studio Management Software is Where It’s At
Cloud computing is web-based software. You simply log-in to your account and manage your entire yoga studio on the Web. Stop with the downloads, installations, networking, and upgrades that plague desk-top software applications. Seriously consider putting your entire yoga studio software management needs on the cloud.
2. Centralizing Your Yoga Studio Software
Integrating separate pieces of software is a never-ending headache. When one application is upgraded, it then doesn’t sync with other applications. What you get is a mish-mash of software that more often than not malfunctions. Instead of saving you time, you burn up time trying to get it all working together.
If you can, get yoga studio software that is comprehensive and meets all, or as much of your computing needs as possible.
The more you automate, the more time you save which lets you teach more or take more time off. The fact is, running a yoga studio is managing a large number of variables – students, staff, teachers, schedules, inventory, sales, etc. The goal is full classes and regular students. Automation helps you take care of the menial tasks so you can put your mind and time to activities you enjoy and that let you build your yoga business (and take a vacation).
Yoga Business Software Features to Look For
Not all yoga studios have the same needs. The remainder of this article sets out yoga studio software management features available. Go through them and see what it is you need.
1. Yoga Class Scheduling
Online class scheduling – this is an extremely customer-service friendly feature for your students. Consider the following functions you might want:
- Wait-lists: let your students add their name to a waitlist. With software, save yourself the time of managing these lists. Let the software do the heaving lifting.
- Student self check-in: spare your students standing in line waiting for you. Let your students scan their ID card and get to class. You also get time to set up and prepare for class.
- Printable sign-in sheets: maybe you prefer physical sign-in sheets. Get software that offers a print option with sign-in templates. You can load the data later… or not.
- Equipment and room rental scheduling: do you rent out rooms and/or equipment? Why not automate the process and make it easy for your yoga clientele to book your rooms and equipment themselves.
- Recurring bookings: nothing builds a business like recurring customers. Make it easy for yoga students to book multiple classes and commit to your classes.
- Class attendance statistics: You only know how your business is going if you can measure results. Software that produces easy-to-read reports on class attendance statistics gives you tools at your finger-tips to assess your money-making classes and classes that may not be worth having.
2. Scheduling Ease
- Drag and drop functionality for booking is a real luxury. In fact, drag and drop anything is great. Make it easy for your clientele to book classes and appointments with you.
- On the Cloud (web-based): Not only does cloud computing save you networking costs, upgrade hassles, and installation nightmares, but you can access your entire yoga business anywhere.
- Multiple schedule views: daily, weekly, by name, service, gender and more. Birds-eye views of your schedule can be very handy when looking at the big picture.
- Color coding scheduling: sure, you must memorize the colors, but in time the colors will speed up your viewing of your schedules.
3. Yoga Studio Enrollment Options
Perhaps you offer more than just yoga classes. If so, look for yoga studio management software that has the flexibility to schedule all types of events such as:
- Courses: still a popular yoga class structure – a series of classes building on concepts.
- Seminars / special events: do you ever have a speaker or teaching events? Make it easy for people to sign up and a breeze for you to manage the scheduling.
Plus software that enables:
- Payment plan processing: yoga studios usually offer a variety of pricing packages. Make it easy to sell packages (without the hand-held calculator) by considering software that tabulates and accepts payment for yoga packages.
- Payment status information: every business has some customers who owe money. Yoga studios are no exception (generally). See at-a-glance who owes you money (and how much).
4. Payment Processing
- Credit card integration. Some yoga software includes credit card processing “on the cloud” sparing you the hardware to pay for and set up.
- Link payments with services. This way you can produce financial statements any time to see the financial status of your business.
- Membership cards (i.e. swipe cards for signing in) and ID tag capability: Lose the paper and look professional with swipe cards enabling self-check in and much faster client tracking.
5. Online Store for More Revenues
If you sell retail, why not create an online store? It’s simple to do with the right yoga studio software. There is software that includes e-commerce capabilities so that not only can you track your in-studio retail sales, but you can actually start selling off your website.
In fact, you could consider partnering with yoga and health products suppliers to provide you products to sell on your online store. You can carry inventory or enter drop-shipping arrangements. The sky is the limit.
Moreover, with e-commerce, you can sell gift cards, yoga class packages, event tickets, etc.
6. Yoga Gift Card Selling Option
Gift cards are BIG business. Why not sell your own gift cards? You’ll earn revenues and get more students in your yoga studio. Some yoga studio software has the capability to provide gift cards and program them with the software so that you can create them, sell them, and track usage. Other considerations when implementing gift cards for sale include:
- Prepaid gift card options.
- Able to track student account balances.
- Loading gift cards with flexible amounts of money.
- Selling your gift cards in your studio and online.
7. Email Marketing for Your Yoga Studio
E-mail marketing can give your yoga business a huge boost. If you get yoga studio software, see if you can find a product that integrates with e-mail marketing software. This way you can leverage your yoga studio software contact database with your e-mail marketing rather than having separate databases. Trust me – when you can centralize, it’s worth it.
Not only can you use e-mail marketing to get more students or encourage regular attendance, but you promote sales, encourage referrals, sell products and yoga packages, promote events, send out class reminders, and more.
When you centralize your yoga studio student database with e-mail marketing software, you can segment your students so that you send the most appropriate messages to each person.
For example, if a student signs up online for a class, you can automate reminder class messages. This way you improve your class attendance, and in a worst case scenario, if the student can’t attend, they’ll be reminded to remove their name off the schedule opening up a spot for the wait list.
Then your e-mail system will produce an e-mail to the wait list alerting them to the open spot. Imagine doing all this manually. Automation is key.
8. Yoga Studio Inventory Tracking
If you sell retail, tracking inventory digitally can save you a lot of time. However, you need software that tracks the stocking and sale of items. Moreover, if you get software that includes inventory tracking, look for the capability to track in-store and online sales.
Again, this goes toward centralizing your operation. By tracking inventory with your yoga studio management software, you’ll integrate inventory with sales which lets you produce up-to-date financial reports… not to mention save you time syncing inventory with sales and re-ordering.
9. Yoga Student Account Management
When you use cloud software, you can create accounts for all of your students – so both you and they can log-in to their accounts. This way you and your students can track purchases, their profile, class attendance, referrals, etc. This is very convenient for you and your students.
Liability: What about the dreaded waivers. Necessary, but not a lot of fun. If you let students sign up online, be sure you offer an e-waiver for them to agree to. This too is available with some yoga studio software.
10. Yoga Studio Staff Management
Whether you love managing staff or not, consider saving yourself time and the ability to manage your staff “on the cloud”. Some yoga studio software enables you to do some or all of the following features:
- A staff dashboard portal where you can send instructions to staff and to-do items.
- Individual staff log-in accounts for each staff member.
- Permission levels to various portals of your software. Again, this is where centralization works for you big time.
- Staff scheduling – lose the monthly printouts and create staff schedules online where your entire staff can access it anytime from anywhere. Scheduling staff with software is much more convenient than on paper. Beside, how often does the schedule change in a month? Save yourself a few erasers.
11. Look for Payroll Management
Do you know how much you’re paying out in wages, commissions, fees, etc.? It’s not so easy to track with a yoga studio business given the variety of remuneration options yoga teachers opt for. There’s hourly, commissions, flat rates, and combinations of these payment options.
Again, a quality yoga software product will track all your pay-rates for all your staff – no matter how complicated. It makes tallying the amount you owe easy.
Take for example, a yoga teacher that earns a flat rate plus a per student rate after a class attendance threshold is met. Okay, one class with one teacher isn’t too hard to track, but imagine 30 classes and 5 teachers.
It gets complicated. Look for software that will track and tally all of this for you – all calculated with the swipe cards issued to your yoga students (if you opt for swipe cards – now you’re starting to see how beneficial swipe cards can be).
Another payroll feature to look for is a punch clock for hourly employees. I’m not talking about a wall-mounted contraption. I’m talking about staff being able to quickly log into the cloud software and entering start and stop times at the touch of a button.
Finally, you want to be able to export all this payroll data into your accounting software saving you reconciliation hassles come tax time (and saving you lots of money in accounting fees).
12. Track and Measure – Look for Reporting Capability
You won’t know where your business is going if you don’t know where it’s been and where it’s at. This boils down to the financials – but not just the usual income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.
I’m talking about in-depth class attendance, payroll costs, number of students per yoga teacher, yoga student and employee retention rates, no shows, product returns, and sales figures (past, present and forecasts) – to name a few reporting capabilities to look for.
13. Scalability – Get Software that’s Priced to Your Studio Size and Needs
Okay, not every yoga studio wants to expand and build a huge business. That’s why yoga software that scales is key. What I mean by this is yoga software that accommodates both small and huge yoga studios – and is priced according to need.
Look for software that offers different pricing packages so you can get a software package that serves your business as is – but has the capability to accommodate your growth – if that’s what you do with your studio.
Where Do You Go From Here?
I’ve covered a lot of ground. Sure, you may not want or need all that capability. That’s fine – but you might need more functionality in the future.
One thing is certain, you want to choose your yoga studio software carefully. Why? Because you’ll spend a good amount of time implementing it and getting it going just right for your yoga studio. The time investment, with the right software, will certainly be worth it.