The biggest reason why studio owners need software is to provide space for creating an excellent experience.
At least, that was Roxanne Borger’s opinion. “If [owners] try to handle all of the customer relationship management and money, it’s just taking away from the experience of being present and flowing with the customer, especially the way yoga studios want to do,” said Borger, the director of business education at MINDBODY.
As a previous studio owner, Borger shared from experience there’s a lot an owner needs to focus on to keep the lights on. But if you get software involved, it can allow you to concentrate on what you really have a passion for providing.
But even more than simply freeing up space to focus on your passion, utilizing software is necessary for growth. “Understanding your software is like understanding your business and how it operates,” said Sean Kirby, the vice president of client relations at ASF Payment Solutions. “If you don’t understand your software, you can’t fully grow your business to its absolute potential.”
However, it can become too easy to think your software creates a relationship with your members. Kirby explained it’s just a tool to build engagement, by making sure your members are checking in and tracking their initial 90-day attendance, for example. From there, it’s vital studio owners follow up with personal notes or beneficial information and communicate face-to-face.
According to John Becker, software should make it easier to provide a personal touch to your customers, and referenced automated emails as an example. “We all receive spam and junk mail all the time, but most studio members like to see that ‘Happy Birthday’ email or the ‘Thank You for Joining’ email when it arrives,” said Becker, the director of development at Coral Springs Software. “It’s a personal touch that could make the difference in someone liking your studio or loving it.”
On the flip side, it’s also just as easy to not pay attention to your software when you should be assessing its data. “Owners should take an occasional look at membership, attendance and point-of-sale graphs to see if they spot any trends they might want to monopolize on,” said Becker. “Focus on aspects that are excelling, and cutoff losses before they grow.”
According to Kirby, questions involving tracking and reports are ones he gets most frequently. He shared all data needs to be easily tracked and retrieved from wherever the owner is.
Borger agreed, explaining that during her time as a studio owner, reporting functionality and the ability to customize reports were crucial.
In terms of the most beneficial reports, Borger explained your sales report is key to see if you’re optimizing members, as well as who is coming frequently and if you are getting enough new members walking through your doors. “Bottom line: To run a successful business, you’ve got to be making enough money to pay your two biggest expenses, which are usually rent and payroll,” she said. “That’s the majority of what you’re spending money on.”
Kirby said tracking revenue is huge, whether it’s based on different packages or recurring membership, as your business’ survival depends on it.
According to Becker, running reports as often as possible will only benefit your business. “Reports will tell you everything, from which members spend the most at your studio, what your most popular purchases are and your busiest times,” he said. “Reports will show you what’s working and what isn’t. Learn how to get the most out of your reporting, then increase your income by focusing on things that are bringing in the most money.”
All in all, yoga is about community. Kirby shared it’s not about self, but about developing relationships to increase community. Any tool that helps manage or increase engagement impacts community. If you are striving to build those relationships, Kirby said success is inevitable.
And it’s success that can go beyond your business; success that can mean world change. “My advice would be to use your software and get it working for you automatically,” said Borger. “Get your team in place so you can focus on that vision because if you focus on that vision, we will change the health and wellness of the world.”