Buyer's Guideby Pritam Tamang,
Last Updated: May 5, 2018
When running a small dance studio, using Excel sheets to schedule classes and store student information can quickly become a drain on company time and resources. Moreover, changes in class times or student details have to be manually entered, which could lead to errors and further confusion.
Tackling these challenges isn't easy, but dance studios that rely on dance studio software will find themselves up to the task. These tools are much more dynamic than average spreadsheet software and come with helpful functionalities that range from class scheduling to tracking payments.
That said, selecting the ideal dance studio software for your business needs is its own challenge. You need to be aware of tools' features, pricing, deployment options and other factors. This Buyer's Guide will give you these insights and help you make a well-informed purchase decision.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Dance Studio Software?
Dance studio software helps businesses improve various important processes. For instance, a common issue is overbooking classes, which can be avoided by allowing students to self-enroll into open slots using a tool's built-in, real-time class calendar. Here are some additional ways dance studio tools can help improve your business:
- Register new students and save their details
- Manage students/families/customers via a self-service portal
- Iron out the billing and payments processes
- Allocate tasks to employees and track their work hours
- Access reports to understand business growth
Common Features of Dance Studio Software
Dance studio software offers functionalities that can automate administrative tasks such as tracking student registrations, managing employee performance and handling customer payments. Here's a list of the most common features:
|Class management||Track class schedules, new openings and attendance within built-in online calendars. Quickly view students' skill levels, scheduled classes and assigned instructors assigned.|
|Web registration||Create online registration forms that can be embedded within websites and blogs. Students can register for classes, events and recitals via the web form.|
|Online self-service portal||Allow students to self-enroll for classes, update details such as their names, addresses and payment preferences, and view announcements related to training sessions.|
|Billing & invoicing||Accept online payments, which includes credit cards, bank transfers and more, from customers. Apply automatic discounts and generate invoices.|
|Point of sale||Deploy credit card readers to process customer payments at the studio or other physical locations. Keep track of merchandise with barcode scanning and inventory reports.|
|Staff management||Track employees work hours, delegate tasks and manage their payroll. Create users roles and permissions and control an employee's access to certain functionalities.|
|Reporting||Understand the financial status of your dance studio. Explore data as graphs to understand monthly and yearly revenue, balances due and completed payments from students.|
What Type of Buyer Are You?
There are many dance studio solutions out there and the right one depends on the priorities of your business. For instance, small businesses need a solution that doesn't burn a hole in their pockets.
But what if you're a large dance studio that also needs the software to manage customer relations? In that case, you'll need to look for a tool with CRM integrations.
Below are two types of buyers who look for dance studio solutions and their common concerns.
Small business buyers: Usability is one of the key concerns of small businesses. The solution should be easy to use so that employees don't waste time learning to use it. It should also come with intuitive features that allow customers to easily register for classes, make payments and download invoices.
A second concern would be pricing. The tool should come with flexible pricing plans that can be customized to fit your budget. Also, there should be no data lock-in, so that if you ever downgrade to a cheaper plan, all your past reports, customer details and other data will still be available.
Enterprise buyers: These buyers are typically looking for a tool that offers a robust set of features and is scalable. Here are some of the add-on functionalities that they need in dance studio solutions:
- Integrations: A key requirement for many large dance studios is better marketing and customer management, along with administrative management. This demands the need for the dance studio solution to offer integrations with third-party tools such as CRM software, email marketing software and marketing tools.
- Advanced POS: As a business grows, so does its need for data insights. This means that the chosen tool should come with a POS solution that offers comprehensive sales reporting and analytics.
Investing in dance studio software means taking into consideration the present size and budget of your business. However, you don't want to be stuck with a tool that won't help you grow. Read on to learn about the key considerations when buying dance studio software:
Support and help options: One of the things that small businesses should consider is whether the tool offers a comprehensive help center. This includes, webinars, YouTube video tutorials or one-on-one training on how to use the software.
You should be able to find out the registration process works. Or how to integrate the payment gateway to your website. These are some of the answers you should be able to find in the company's knowledge base.
Additional options, such as the ability to raise a support ticket, quick chat to get real-time answers or support team call backs, should be available. However, keep in mind that some vendors charge extra for premium support.
Deployment and accessibility: It's important to find out if the solution is scalable as your business grows. For instance, do you have plans to open studios in different locations in the future? If yes, you would be better off choosing a cloud-based solution over an on-premise tool so that it can be accessed from different locations.
Similarly, would you need mobile applications that employees and customers can access to learn about classes and instructors, check schedules and make payments? The critical thing to remember here is that you should ensure the solution not only meets your present business concerns but also those that might arise in the future.
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