If you run a dance studio, answer this question:
how many software applications do you use to organize your business?
Perhaps you haven’t gotten around to getting any dance studio management software to manage your business and instead juggle a bunch of applications such as spreadsheets, Word documents, and other individual applications to manage your business.
A Dance Studio Has Many Software Needs
When you break it down, your dancing business has many software needs including:
- payment processing;
- managing staff and payroll;
- perhaps you sell products and services online (e-commerce – if not, you’re missing out on a great opportunity);
- client contact management;
- financial and sales reporting; and
There are certainly individual software applications that can serve all of the functions above, but in my view, you can make your administrative and marketing roles much easier if you use an integrated, all-in-one software package that performed all those tasks for you.
The trouble is there is a lot of small business software out there – even software that caters to dance studios. How do you start your search for the best dance studio software for your dance studio?
6 Tips for choosing the Best Dance Studio Management Software
1. Choose Web-based software.
Web-based software is hosted by the service provider. You simply log-in to your account through the Internet. All your data and functionality is accessible through the Internet. This avoids the hassles of downloading, installing, and then configuring software (typical of desk-top software).
The real advantage of web-based software is you can access it anywhere you have an Internet connection.
2. Opt for an all-in-one solution.
Juggling a variety of applications to manage your dance studio is inefficient – even when well-integrated.
These days there is dance software that integrates all your business’ needs in one platform. This results in a central database from which you can process sales, client management, scheduling, inventory, payroll, employee management, marketing, and more within one software platform.
3. Look for as many automation features as possible.
Software is to make your life easier and save you time. Look for software that automates processes. Activities you can automate with software include:
- online class bookings;
- online class purchases (including packages, classes, workshops, memberships, gift cards – whatever your pricing models are)
- student self-check in
- e-mail and text messaging class reminders
- automated wait-list generation with e-mail messages giving notice of openings; and
- report generation – sales, class attendance, no-shows, etc.
4. Get powerful scheduling capabilities.
Your dance studio’s business model revolves around its schedule. Without great scheduling software, you spend more time than is necessary managing your schedule. There a 3 types of scheduling involved:
- centralized dance class schedule creation: how many locations do you presently have your dance class schedule posted? On your website (on several web pages), in your studio – possibly many places which if not centralized in one location, makes changing your schedule a hassle. Look for scheduling software where you need only make revisions in one online location which then feeds the changes to all electronically posted locations.
- booking appointments and class sign-ups: look for dance studio management software that lets students sign up online for classes. This takes you out of the booking process.
- staff / instructor scheduling: centralized staff scheduling makes it easy for you to manage all of your staff scheduling complexities – especially if you have several instructors.
5. Customer-service oriented software.
Always think of ways you can serve your dance students better. One easy way to do this is to make it easy for them to access and buy your services. Methods to improve your customer service with software includes:
- online bookings;
- online purchases (classes, workshops, memberships, private instruction, packages, products, etc.);
- online self check-in and in-studio self check in with swipe cards;
- automated class reminders sent via e-mail and phone; and
- easy credit card payment system.
6. Marketing integration.
Unfortunately so many dancing business owners get too busy to focus any real attention on marketing. One often missed opportunity is e-mail marketing. Actually, I don’t really like the term e-mail marketing. Instead, I prefer calling it client communication by e-mail.
Think about it – your dance business is based on your students. That’s a large database of contacts. Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate communicating to your students and interested students via e-mail? It’s effective and extremely inexpensive.
Moreover, with the right dance business management software, you can get powerful e-mail software that attracts new members on your list and automates e-mail message sending to your existing students.
If you aren’t doing any e-mail marketing now, you’re missing out on a very easy and inexpensive way to build your dance studio business.
A final obvious tip is not to spend too much on the right software. Typically, web-based software is priced according to the number of users in the system. If you’re a small dance studio and you’re the only user, then your price range should be $40 to $50 per month.