You may be surprised to hear this from the president of a company that provides online software to help you manage your school/studio, but now may not be the right time for you to start using a software product (whether computer-based or cloud-based studio management software) to help you manage your class-based business.
And then again, it might actually be the perfect time!
To help you evaluate this important decision, make sure you have a good answer for each of these five questions:
- Is my business big enough to benefit?
- Does my business income justify the cost?
- Will the class-based software I select deliver on needed efficiencies?
- Will the studio business management software I choose generate new business?
- Do I have time to look for software?
Each of these important questions deserves careful response. I’ll cover each question and answer in a separate article. Let’s start by responding to the first question:
Is my business big enough to benefit a class-based business management tool?
How many students do you need before it makes sense to start managing your dance studio with software?
Great question! To answer, let’s start with an analogy. Suppose you want to sew your own outfit or make a quilt;you don’t need to acquire and operate a textile mill, right? Of course not. A simple sewing machine is likely the most you will need. But if you want to sew several articles of clothing, or a couple dozen quilts, every week, that simple sewing machine may not be up to the task, or the process may be too slow on a consumer-grade sewing machine compared to the efficiencies you’ll get from a commercial, computerized textile system.
What about your studio? If you are just starting out, or intentionally keeping your dance school, martial arts dojo, or gymnastics studio very small – say, with less than 30 students – there will be a limit to the efficiencies you can gain from having software to manage scheduling, bookkeeping, and student records. Why? Because even the simplest and best scheduling software may be unnecessary if you only have one class to schedule students into – just as you don’t need a factory to make one dress. But when your enrollment starts getting to 40, 50 or 100 students, those spreadsheets, napkins with notes, and other miscellaneous tools start to hinder your growth rather than help it.
Then how can I tell when my school is big enough that it is time to consider software?
There is no magic number of students or classes, per se. But, as your student count and number of classes begin to grow, you’ll notice that you have less time to do what you love – teaching dance, martial arts, gymnastics, swim, academics, or whatever your school is about – because you are spending an increasing amount of time in administrative functions, such as managing payments, keeping records of income/expenses, managing your website, etc. Many software products on the market, such as our software, ClassJuggler, streamline these administrative functions and give you greater/quicker insight into how your business is doing.
Note: The efficiencies you gain from setting up and operating school management software are going to be most pronounced as your school grows. With just fewer than 30 students, the efficiency gains will be minimal. But when you start growing, and find that you’ve got more than 40 students and several classes to juggle, the software quickly pays for itself from the time you will save in business management.
Consider what studio owners have said about the efficiencies they have realized once they started using our business management software:
- “ClassJuggler makes my job of running a dance studio so much easier — billing that previously took days now takes virtually no time at all because customers can self-serve!” – Amy Forde, director and owner of Let’s Dance in South Carolina
- “With ClassJuggler previously unpleasant billing and payment processes are now easy, both for us and for our clients. Now that we have online financial processing of payments, we no longer require our clients to come in and swipe a credit card to make a payment.” – Sean Cunnington of T-Rox Music Academy of Mississauga, Ontario
- “End-of-the-month reporting is so easy with ClassJuggler, and takes a lot less time than before. Time is money, and doing reports doesn’t make you money, serving customers does.” Jennifer Reid, owner of Kinderdance of Alamo City, TX
- “The efficiencies we experience with ClassJuggler has been a significant time saver, such as how it allows us to pull all data … into one automated monthly report. It used to take me a few hours of work monthly to pull and centralize the data from each of our locations. Now, it’s an automated process, thanks to ClassJuggler.” Joey St. John, Vice-President of Operations at JumpBunch® Incorporated of Annapolis, MD.
To summarize, keep an eye out for any inefficiencies that develop from a growing business. This alone may justify the purchase of business management software.
In our next article on this topic, we’ll answer the question, “Does the business income my class-based studio generates justify the cost of investing in a business software solution?
Jon Koerber, Pres., ClassJuggler
PS: If you are already certain that you need the efficiencies that a business software program can give your studio, see our family of products that most closely matches your business:
- DanceClassJuggler – online dance school software to save time and money on the business of running your business, so you can focus on your students
- CheerClassJuggler – online gymnastics and cheer management software designed to streamline the business of operating your gymnastics school or cheer camp
- ClassJugglerDojo – a martial arts school management platform designed to support the operational challenges of business such as karate schools, kung fu schools, self-defense courses, mixed martial arts centers, taekwondo training, fencing classes, kickboxing studios, Jeet Kune Do or Jiu-Jitsu schools
- SwimClassJuggler – online swim school management software is designed to support the needs of those who own and operate swimming schools, water rescue classes, life guard schools, and diver training schools
- MusicClassJuggler – all-in-one online business management tools that make customer, academics, and music class management a breeze for vocal training centers and instrumental music training centers
- K12ClassJuggler – a management platform that supports the busy schedules of those who own and operate preschools, K-12 education, adult education programs, evening learning schools, night classes, and after-school programs
- ClassJugglerFitness – slimming down record keeping for athletics schools, fitness centers, spin classes, yoga sessions, and tennis camps