Does My Dance Studio’s Income Justify the Cost of Business Software?
By Jon Koerber, President of ClassJuggler Dance.
Is now the right time to start using a software product to manage your business? Good question. To answer that question, consider doing a simple cost-benefit analysis. In other words, what will it cost you to use it, and will the benefits justify the expense or effort?
Truth is, it might not make sense for some dance schools to make the investment, or at least not yet. But, on the other hand, a dance school may be losing business or throwing away valuable time by not making the investment.
The answer for each school will likely vary, and a simple cost-benefit analysis will help you decide. The goal is to determine if the cost of the software will sufficiently save you from the costs of any current business inefficiencies (if you were to continue doing things manually rather than benefiting from the efficiency and knowledge you’ll gain from using a powerful business management tool).
When I talk about “expenses” here, I’m referring to actual dollars as well as time lost – which is an expense since time is money.
Cost considerations include
– The fees for using the online software – consider any upfront or monthly fees, setup/learning time
– The time you now spend doing things manually that the software can automate or simplify
For example, how much time do you spend monthly tracking your studio’s income and expenses using paper, index cards, or basic spreadsheet software?How much time do you spend going through handwritten data or receipt piles to analyze how your business is doing, such as tracking month-to-month expenses, income, or business growth? How much time do you spend monthly determining which customers are behind on payments and then contacting them individually with reminders? How much time do you spend each quarter or semester scheduling classes and teachers? How much front-desk time goes to taking payments and making a record of those payments?
Then, compare these costs to the benefits of the software. These types of business processes are common features of the leading dance studio software offerings. With most of the higher-rated dance studio software solutions:
– Literally a click or two lets you run reports that identify expenses, income, attendance, student info.
– Online customer self-service tools can take the burden entirely off your shoulders, letting customers set up their own profile, update their profile with a new address, and even make class payments.
– Notifying all customers who are not up-to-date with payments can be automated by e-mail, letting you send out mass email messages to each person
Consider if the software could save you two to four hours of administrative time each month. With those extra hours, for example, you can focus on contacting prospective clients. Adding just a single customer to your monthly roster could be worth $50 or more in additional monthly income.
For a larger or busier studio (150+ students), the monthly cost allocation of a powerful studio management software system can quickly become negligible compared to the amount of time the software may save you, or compared to valuable insight you may gain that can help you improve how you run your business.
When deciding if the time is right, consider:
– The size of your studio (A startup school with just a couple of classes may not yet have enough revenue to benefit from the cost)
– The stability of your business (Are you planning to expand? planning to retire soon?)
– Growth factors (are you growing faster than you can hire instructors?)
– Business model (are you a solo teacher, working out of her garage, with no plan of teaching more than one class a week? Or are you planning to add classes and instructors?)
The more your business grows, the more complex it will become. And, as you grow, the efficiency you will gain from management software will continue to add to your profit margins.
One of our clients, for example, found that, as her business grew, so did the paperwork. As a dance studio owner, she told us that she had to find a solution that would enable her to keep better and faster accounting on new and present customers, making it easy to pull up data, run reports, and more. Before using ClassJuggler, she was creating paper reports, using time that she would rather spend on her students. In her own words, “Time is money, and doing reports doesn’t make you money; serving customers does.”
If you find that the time you’re spending on the business of managing your studio is interfering with your joy of teaching dance, it’s probably past time for you to make the investment in one of the leading online software dance school management solutions available.
When comparing software solutions:
- Compare the real upfront and ongoing costs of each studio business management software program.
- Estimate the amount of time you will save monthly by using the software.
- Make sure the software provider offers top-notch customer service. The quality of the customer service is critical for busy studio owners who can’t afford slow or poor customer support.
- If you feel you can save a couple hours a month on admin and the price of your selected solution is fair, it’s probably time to make the purchase.
A good place to go to compare the competing products is Capterra.com’s dance studio software section and check out the customer-submitted reviews. Also, see the recent customer satisfaction Tututix’s survey of dance studio software companies.