Managing Your Yoga Business

         

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When you manage a yoga studio or a full teaching practice, you have a number of variables to juggle on a day to day basis. After you set your schedule, hire teachers, create a fee schedule and tiers of packages you are left with how to manage the business and the actual sale of the classes and how to check people in. On any given day, you’ll have students arrive and use one of a package of classes, some will drop in, others will buy or use gift certificates and yet others will arrive late or forget their payment.

As the yoga teacher, you’ll want to focus on setting a meditative tone, welcoming new and returning students, answering questions and checking in with students as they settle. Unless you have the luxury of an extra person to manage the checkin and payment process, you have your hands full managing what can easily be competing priorities: students prefer a speedy, low drag check in but an attentive check in from their yoga teacher.

There are several options to help you manage your yoga business by helping to track payment and packages. One tried and true way to track package use is the card system; students either carry the card with them or the yoga studio keeps cards in an organizer. When a student arrives the yoga teacher marks or punches one spot on the card, keeping track of use. Another method that’s relatively low maintenance at the beginning of class is to have people sign in; the yoga teacher then reconciles the list after class. Both of these options leave the yoga teacher to transact any new purchases, running the credit card machine, cash drawer, taking drivers licenses with checks, and then reconciling the drawer, bag or books after class.

Online scheduling and payment can ease this process considerably, whether you offer it as an option or require students to use it. Users of online programs report that a majority of students convert to online booking, saving them time and phone interaction so they can focus on what they do best.

The options for online scheduling and payment run the gamut from free and generic, to tailored and more pricey. The current gold standard is MindBody online scheduling, though there are several competitors, including GenBook.  Another option for a starter would include using something like Paypal or Veribook, both of which defer costs until payment is collected. The more specialized scheduling programs cater to fitness pros and handle as many of the details as you set it up and ask your students to use it. MindBody also enhances your marketing plans, as your yoga business is entered into a class finder that is then promoted to their entire online network helping you to gain visibility. With its robust support package and sleek online interface, users find that it raises their visibility in a way that’s intuitive and elegant.

MindBody scheduling system enjoys a reputation for ease of use by both yoga teacher and students as well as providing bookkeeping and list-keeping functions on top of the basic scheduling and payment functions. Students can even go in and change their classes, cancel or update their profile. Setup seems to be the greatest time investment, and the company offers classes to help.

GenBook offers the basic scheduling and payment options, with mobile integration which providers enjoy, for about one-third the cost, but without the additional accounting, management and marketing benefits. Other online scheduling systems are offered for free up front, and they usually take a small percentage of what you charge on a per student basis, arguing that they contribute to marketing and collection. These are rarely so specialized and don’t serve the complementary functions, but do tie costs to paying students and so offer an attractive solution for teachers just starting out.

Whether you choose an online scheduling solution, lists, cards or another creative option, thinking through the steps you’ll take to sell packages, manage their use and integrate this into the start of class will ease what can be a tumultuous transition from life outside to serene class time.


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