Posted Friday, July 28th, 2023 by Akada
Dance studio owners have a lot to manage. Between classes, costumes, choreography, and all the colorful characters seeking dance instruction, it can be difficult to find time for all the administrative details of running a successful business. If you’re like most dance studio owners, you started on this journey to do what you love – sharing your love for dance with others that are eager to learn.
Thankfully, there is a well-developed category of software for dance schools that can make your life much easier. Dance studio business management software can significantly reduce your administrative burdens, leaving you free to focus on the aspects of your business that you love the most. But when an online search surfaces 100s of apps for dance studios, how do you determine which dance studio management system is the right one for you?
That’s why we developed the dance studio software buyer’s guide: to help you find the perfect software to manage your dance studio. At Akada Software, we’ve been in the business of developing dance school software for over 25 years. During that time, we’ve consulted and collaborated with hundreds of studio owners. We understand the challenges and pain points of dance studio management and work daily to design intuitive solutions that reduce administrative effort and stress.
Your search for the best dance studio software will likely be influenced by where you are in your professional journey:
- Considering opening a dance studio: At this stage, you’ll want to think ahead to the management and administrative side of your business. What are the core capabilities you’ll need? Too often, studio owners tackle the problem one stage at a time, adopting point-source solutions for specific needs such as accounting and scheduling. Later they discover integrated software for dance studio management that provides a complete solution. Raising your awareness of the capabilities of online dance school software early can save you a lot of migration and integration hassles later on.
- Starting up a new studio: With all of the energy and activities associated with opening a new business, selecting software for your dance studio might seem like something to deal with later. What we’ve often seen, though, is that dance studio owners fail to anticipate the administrative overhead and the risk of errors or omissions associated with their choice of software for the dance studio.
- Running an established dance studio: If you’ve been at this for a while, you’ll have user profiles, logs, and records you need to preserve. You may be interested in new dance studio management software but wonder about the ease of migration to a new system.
Our dance studio software buyer’s guide compiles some of the top questions we’ve heard from customers in our 25 years in the industry. We hope you’ll find it a useful resource to guide you to the best dance studio software for your needs. If we missed a question that is top-of-mind for you, contact us, and we’ll add a response to our list.
Top questions asked by dance studio software buyers
Hosting and Access
Support and Training
Is the software designed specifically for dance studio owners or for generic businesses?
This question tops our list as we feel it’s the most critical one for dance studio owners to consider. Certainly, there are business management software tools out there that claim to be versatile and adaptable for any business use case. But dance studio software programs are already configured for the unique nuances of dance studio management. Dance studio business software is built to be as plug-and-play as possible, speeding your onboarding process and reducing the hassle of making a generic business solution fit your needs.
Does the dance studio software support online registration?
In an ideal scenario, new students and parents are finding your digital channels, learning about your programs, and registering for classes digitally. Meantime, you’re busy running the studio, occasionally checking your reports to see the pace of new digital enrolments. Digital registration is a must-have in today’s environment. But dance school registration software is just the beginning – you want a full-featured suite of software for dance studios.
Does the software provide features for dance studio scheduling?
Once students have registered, you want them to be able to sign up for classes using your dance booking software. Dance studio scheduling software can help you automatically manage class sizes and rescheduling. It gives your customers self-serve capabilities to add and remove themselves based on your calendar of availability. Some online dance class software tools go a step further, allowing you to schedule performances and recitals, while monitoring for conflicts and ensuring there is adequate rehearsal time.
Is the dance studio software enabled to collect digital payments?
The suite or platform you choose should include dance studio payment software that allows you to bill clients, collect payments, and retain records for accounting purposes. Standalone dance studio billing software is just one part of a complete solution. An integrated dance studio software suite will support you not just for transactions, but for reducing headaches at tax preparation time.
Does the software have features for managing costumes?
Costume management is a great example of an area where dance studio software stands out from off-the-shelf business management software. A sophisticated platform will allow you to assign, size, price, and bill for costumes.
Does the dance studio software handle time tracking?
Time tracking can be a nightmare when done manually. Dance software can track your staff’s hours working at the studio or teaching classes. You can enter time worked by the hour or by a class taught and use reporting features to track your payroll.
Does the platform provide features to support your accounting requirements?
Due to the prevalence of the top accounting software platforms, many studio owners don’t realize that there is more specific accounting software for dance studios. These pre-configured solutions require less customization to suit your needs and equip you with reports and records to keep your accounts in good order.
Hosting and Access
Is it a cloud-based platform?
Online dance studio management software has some hefty advantages over desktop-based solutions:
- You can access the platform from virtually any computer with a web browser
- You can more easily support team-based access
- Updates are handled on the back-end, freeing you from manual version updates
Does it offer a mobile app or a mobile-friendly version?
Having a companion mobile app for your dance studio software can be a real time-saver. When you’re on the go or enjoying the comfort of your couch, you can quickly check on a detail, make an update, or send a quick message using your smartphone.
Does the platform have secure servers and session-based encryption?
As a studio owner, you’re handling sensitive personally-identifiable client data, often including payment methods. You want to trust that data with a reputable and established firm that has up-to-date knowledge of internet security protocols and routines.
Will my data be backed up securely and regularly?
You should never have to manually produce back-ups or worry at all that your data will be lost. As you evaluate vendors, make sure that your data is securely and consistently backed up and retrievable if something should ever go wrong.
How much does dance studio software cost? How does the pricing model work?
Most platforms offer pricing based on seat/user count. The pricing model is often a tiered system, where higher thresholds of users receive a volume discount. These seat-based charges will typically be the major expense, but you should also inquire about support and training costs.
Is the platform intuitive? Can the most common tasks be completed quickly?
When evaluating ease-of-use, there are two important flows to consider:
- For the tasks you perform most often, is it quick and easy? If it’s a function you use regularly, a few extra clicks can add up to hours per year. Make sure you test-drive your most common tasks during the demo process.
- For less common tasks, say collecting data to support tax preparation, are you able to easily find and access the required features?
Support and Training
Is support included? What channels and working hours are available?
Vendors should clearly state their operating hours and any included support and service. There may be specific SLA (service-level-agreement) terms included in your contract.
Is initial training provided?
Onboarding can proceed much faster and smoother with an expert guide walking you through it. If you are looking for dedicated training support, be sure that is specified in your agreement.
Is the platform equipped to scale up and support more users as your studio grows?
Purchasing dance studio software should be viewed as a multi-year commitment. You may have only 40 students to start, but you may have hundreds after a few successful years. You want to evaluate solutions with some understanding of the platform’s capacity to handle a larger pool of users. Does that impact costs? Will performance suffer?
Akada Software: Delivering dance studio software for over 25 years
We’ve been supporting the software needs of dance studio owners for over 25 years. Mydanceworks is our full-featured dance business software suite. To learn more about features, or to register for a free trial, visit www.akadasoftware.com.
Posted Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 by Akada
This year we were so excited to introduce the Akada Scholarship Program. We invited anyone to apply for the opportunity to receive five $1000 scholarships to benefit a student or program within their dance studio. The response we received was overwhelming. There were so many heartwarming stories which made it difficult to choose only five. But, we feel like our five recipients were more than deserving. You can read those stories below. We look forward to continuing to grow this program in the years to come and helping more kids benefit from their dance educations.
- We have two sweet sisters that have grown up in our studio. They lost their loving mother two years ago to cancer and their dad is doing their best to keep their dreams alive. The oldest daughter just became an assistant for our studio last fall and she loved it. Unfortunately, her scoliosis became so bad she just had back surgery twice, and is dealing with no feeling in one foot. I say all of this as our recital costumes are now due. I would love to offer the money to this family for their younger daughter to continue dance, purchase costumes and not burden the family with finances. Both girls were on our competition team but were not able to compete this year. Both girls were also on our Antelope Valley Ballet company. I’m sure this would be a gift from heaven. Thank you! – Nancy Scott, Dancin’ in Acton. Acton, CA
- This scholarship would be used for a young talented male dancer of ours who started dancing at a later age. He will be a Senior in High school and he commutes 50 minutes to and from the studio daily. He is a talented, hard working and disciplined dancer. Currently he is on a tuition waiver but needs help funding his convention and competition fees and minimal costume expenses. These hard costs are things that he has to cover and trying to dance, the long commute, and school work make it hard for him to get a job. This scholarship would be well-used, very appreciated, and an amazing gift to a young, talented dancer. We believe he deserves opportunities to participate with his teammates his Senior Year and this would make it possible! – Kandee Allen, Dance Impressions. Farmington, UT
- Thank you for this opportunity! We have a tuition free Special Needs class that meets weekly and performs in our annual recital with about 20 dancers in the class. I would love to be able to use these funds to purchase their recital costumes for next season so they don’t have to purchase them. These dancers are so inspiring to all of us with their contagious joy and determination! If there are funds left from that, a group of dancers from our studio are going on a mission trip to El Salvador in June 2019 and will be working with Amazing Love Missions to bring dance workshops to under-privileged children. Our students will also perform for schools, churches, and orphanages throughout the country in our week long trip there. We would be able to put some funds toward their trip as these students learn to use their gifts and talents to bless others and make a difference! Tina Cook, Turning Pointe Dance. Colorado Springs, CO
- Thank you so much for this possible opportunity! At our studio we have a program that is funded strictly through donations. Darby’s Dancers, a non-profit education program for dancers with special needs. This program allows families to have their children take dance classes at no cost. At our studio, everyone volunteers their time to make this program possible; the director, the studio and the mentors (we call them buddy’s). Even with time donated it cost around $350 for one dancer to go through the program each year as we pay for their dance outfit, shoes, dance bag, recital costume, recital participation, parties and a year end special event. This year, through generous donations from businesses, we were able grant this opportunity to 10 families/special needs dancers in our community. Because this program was so successful we have a waiting list of dancers who want to participate but can only open the door to as many dancers as we have fund for. A scholarship of $1000 would allow us to sponsor three more dancers into this program.Thank you! Brooke Maxwell, Utah Dance Artists. South Jordan, UT
- I have an eight-year-old who has studied with me for five years. She is a sweet, introverted child who has the soul of the artist and needs dance as an outlet and for physical activity. Why? Well, she is a little overweight and constantly bullied by her peers in school. Her dance friends surround her with love and care. She has a severely disabled two-year-old brother. His needs and care cost have mounted to the point where the parents have spoken with me to let me know that they simply cannot afford dance for her next season. I have sought funding, sponsorships, and scholarships locally to no avail. Seeing this scholarship in my inbox raised my hopes for this sweet child. For five years, dance has made life bearable for her. With your assistance, she can continue to seek refuge at our studio and grow as a dancer in a positive, nurturing atmosphere. Rhonda Foote, Rhonda’s Footeworks. Watertown, NY
Posted Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by Akada
Competition is generally a common thread for dance studios. Not only do dance studios prepare students for competition, they deal with competition first-hand. Children are kept busy with extracurricular activities, and studios compete with other studios, sports and clubs in the community to get students through their doors. When a studio begins to see waning enrollment numbers, there are a few things that may be able to help get the enrollments to increase again.
- Create a family environment. Your customers want to feel like they’re a part of a community. Make sure the teachers and staff are personable and put an effort into making families feel welcome and cared-for. Host customer appreciation events. Show off members on social media. Give back to the local community. Little caring messages go a long way.
- Incentivize referrals. Your current students sing your praises, so reward them for the friends they bring to the studio. If a current family refers a new family, reward them with a discount on their tuition next month, a free t-shirt, or another prize.
- Offer a free trial for new students. A free trial could be a one-time event, such as a free dance day. Promote your event, share information with parents who bring their student, and offer the opportunity to enroll in regular classes. When parents see how much fun their children had, they may be more likely to say yes.
- Communicate with previous students. Sometimes when students leave, it isn’t because of anything upsetting. It could simply be for a season. Reach out to previous students, see how they’re doing, and let them know much they’re missed. Chances are, they miss you too!
- Offer classes with a shorter commitment. Signing up for a weekly class for a nine-month commitment can feel intimidating to some people. Even if their children love dance, the fear of having to break the commitment and pay extra fees can be a deterrent. Offering shorter commitments may help more parents feel more comfortable with saying yes to a class.
Growing and keeping healthy enrollment takes a lot of effort. However, a thriving dance studio with quality instruction and management will continue to observe, monitor, and adjust to keep new and familiar faces happy and coming back.
Posted Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Akada
Student Profile Picture – You or depending on your Parent Portal settings can now upload pictures of your students to the student’s info screen.
Staff Profile Picture and Contact Information – We have added additional information to the staff profile page that you can make available to your customers through the parent portal. You can now upload a picture of your staff members, make contact information available (if desired), and add a bio for the staff member. This can be made available to the parents by turning it on through the General Settings Screen in your Customer Access Settings.
Studio Contact Info – You can now make your studio contact information and social media links accessible to your parents through the parent portal.
Posted Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Akada
While there are many options for extracurricular activities for children, dance continues to offer benefits for children that parents may not have considered. Families are busy between school and life but squeezing in dance class has value. Here are five reasons why dance classes and dance schools are great for kids.
Obviously, dance is physical movement, and physical activity is great for everyone. Regular dance can improve balance, range of motion, flexibility, and stamina. Children who are involved with dance can see improved posture and coordination. Plus, dancing is just a fun way to move!
Throughout history, dance and music have been expressions in nearly every culture, telling stories of the past and expressing values. Dancing can be a valuable way to expose children to beautiful music and movement from other cultures, giving them a bigger worldview and an appreciation for heritage they may not have otherwise approached.
Teamwork and social skills
Just as the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” it takes a village to put on a dance performance – even a solo. Children learn to work together, with teachers, and with choreographers during preparation for productions. Even from an early age, participation with dance class means sharing space with other dancers and making friends with fellow dance participants.
With the increased number of families who pursue alternative education, like homeschooling, dance classes can be an excellent way to remain connected with friends and other members of the community while doing something fun, educational, and physical.
A child comfortable in their own body, growing their skills, and passionately expressing themselves is generally going to be more confident and have a positive attitude. Physical activity also relieves stress, so when a child has an opportunity for movement and focusing on the present, they can let go of the stress they encounter through the day.
While dance classes may add a little more to a busy family’s schedule, the benefit that children receive from having the opportunity to pursue dance can ease the burden of the time and money it takes. The mental, physical, and emotional benefits will help children grow and continue life with passion, which is worth the efforts of raising happy, well-rounded children.
Posted Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 by Akada
The summer wane is no surprise to most dance studios. As recitals come to completion, it can often feel like suddenly your dance studio is empty, and maybe even feels lifeless. Break out by ramping up your summer and fall registration with these five tips.
Reach out to your current students.
Sometimes students and parents get busy and forget to register. Make sure they know how important they are to your dance studio and make them feel like family. Send a personalized postcard, email, or phone call to express that you miss them. They will likely appreciate the warm gesture, and even if they don’t re-register, they may refer others.
Create buzz around new programs.
Sometimes people need an exciting change outside of typical ballet, tap and jazz classes. Work with your teachers and get ideas from your students about the various kinds of classes that may interest them. Decide what to offer, announce the registration dates, and watch your classes fill up when they open. Students and parents alike will be excited about the changes.
Get ready to spend money to make money.
Using paid advertisement on Facebook can help you reach audiences who may not otherwise see your posts. Your budget doesn’t have to be high. Make your call to action specific and boost posts that get a lot of feedback and shares. You want your message to go beyond your current students and faithful families to reach those who would love to take your classes – they just don’t know it yet!
Offer registration incentives.
Move people to register early with timed discounts, like a percentage off if enrolled by this date. Offer a drawing for discounted tuition for a month for everyone who registers. Offer a gift card to families who convince their friends to sign up for a class. Get creative and be sure to promote your valuable prizes on Facebook. When you announce winners, share their happy reactions as well.
Structure performance company placements to include registration.
When students audition for performance companies, require registration for future classes upon acceptance. Not only will you encourage your classes to fill up, but it could also help keep students motivated during breaks if they know what to expect of future classes.
By planning and getting creative about what your studio offers, you will keep families engaged, involved, and spreading the news about the wonderful things your studio does for their children. After all, their word of mouth is some of the best marketing you can get!
Posted Friday, May 25th, 2018 by Akada
Kim Collins once said, “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.” Instead of focusing on making your dance studio perfect, which is unachievable, spend your energy on improvement, no matter how small those improvements may be. Here are five simple ways that you can improve your dance studio.
Does your studio have vision, goals and values? Without vision, goals, and values, you may be missing out on growth. Creating the vision, goals, and values will keep your studio and teachers grounded and focused, offering a better experience for your students.
Are you seeking out ways to put your studio out in the community? Look for local festivals and celebrations where your studio can offer a performance. People generally love seeing local talent, and this gives your dance students something to work toward. Also consider charity events, to show your place in the community.
Not every dance student is interested in competition, and only highlighting competitive students may scare some of these students and parents away. Offer these students fun, recreational options. Also consider offering recreational classes during earlier hours for stay at home parents with young children, or the homeschooling population.
If you’re feeling burnout, consider outsourcing some of those obligations part time. Hiring a virtual assistant can take marketing, social media, and event planning tasks off your plate for just a few hours per week and may cost less than hiring a full-time employee.
One of the most effective ways to improve your business is to use Adada Software, which is specifically created for dance studios that offers online enrollment, payment, and registration, easy scheduling and communication, reports, time tracking, and security. Rather than piecing together different software products, try an all-in-one that saves you time and money.
Regardless of the number of students your dance studio serves, small steps toward improvement help create a fun experience for your students and a grounded, function, thriving studio to support them. Seeking improvement, not perfection, will keep your studio growing for years to come.
Posted Monday, May 7th, 2018 by Akada
The right tools will keep your dance studio healthy, care for customers, and keep owners organized. A streamlined dance studio software is critical, and Akada’s dance studio management platform is the perfect answer. Rather than the exhausting task of piecing together different tools, take a look at the benefits you could gain from using Akada.
One software to replace many programs
Not only are you managing a building, classes, students, parents, social media, employees, and your business, you also have to keep track of all of the different tools and passwords that you use. One software that can do it all will save you time and be easier to handle. Akada can manage your studio’s classrooms, class schedules, employees, recitals, parent portals, bookkeeping, and reports. And if you have a question, Support is ready to help.
Give yourself more time
Akida makes transferring tasks to administrative helpers easy because Akada is cloud-based, which means you can add users. If your users need help, support Is available. As you hand over some of these responsibilities to your staff, you can free up more time and energy for yourself.
Lower your overhead
Big, robust software package? Yes. Big price tag? No! Akada offers a tiered pricing structure, so you pay for exactly what you need, whether you have 100 students to manage or 1,000. When your studio grows, and your needs increase, Akada will be ready to expand with you. You won’t have to worry about outgrowing the benefits of Akada, even if you open more studio locations.
Make saying yes effortless for parents
Parents are busy. You’re offering great classes, but when parents have to make a phone call or come to the studio to sign up, you could lose them. Akada’s registration and online payment features allow parents to click, register, and pay. With Akada, parents get your emails with relevant information, and a simple way to register and pay, saving time and effort for everyone involved.
Software should streamline processes and support the unique vision of the studio. It may be hard to imagine a software that can reduce so much burden with such ease, but Akada has spent 20 years creating software that can do just that.
Posted Tuesday, March 27th, 2018 by Akada
Because of the billions of people who use Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and other social media networks, it’s foolish and costly for your dance studio to ignore social media presence. Social media is an excellent way for a dance studio to build trust with customers and potential customers alike. If you want your studio to appear in searches for local dance classes, a robust social media life is the way to go. Here are some simple tips for dance studio owners to improve their social media presence.
If you can’t do it yourself, outsource.
A dance studio owner’s focus is generally on the day-to-day operation of the business. It’s understandable; social media management takes time and knowledge. Hiring a freelance social media manager is an expense that could result in more online visibility and increased traffic. When more people find your studio online and sign up for classes, you’ll be thankful for that extra help. If you just can’t afford to hire a freelancer, educate yourself through YouTube tutorials or Udemy courses.
Understand different social media channels.
Not all social media networks have the same purpose, and a customer on Tumblr will engage with your presence differently than a customer on Facebook. Make sure that what you’re posting is relevant to the network. Some channels are great for building trust with your audience, and other channels are great for generating leads. Set a goal for social media use and prioritize networks that support your goals.
Engage with your audience often and with variety.
Audiences love inspirational photos and quotes, helpful blogs and articles, and the latest news from your dance studio. Audiences enjoy videos, showcasing the family that you call customers. Share personal stories, photos, and relevant hashtags. Try a combination of information and promotions to connect with customers and potential leads. User-friendly, free software like Canva is great for creating colorful, eye-catching social media graphics.
Make it easy to turn a lead into a sale.
The goal is to get customers into your dance studio and signing up for classes. If you are going to invest the time, energy, and money into social media, make sure you’ve created a clear call to action and a way for customers to engage. Nothing is more frustrating to a consumer who is ready to purchase than not being able to find the ‘buy now’ button. Customers use social media to make purchase decisions. Your online presence should come equipped with the ability to sign up for classes and pay online. At the very least, make it easy for customers to call your studio with a definite “call now” button for mobile visits.
Consumers rely on social media more than ever before, so consider social media engagement as part of your business and marketing plan. Soon your studio will be rewarded by all your new education and smart work.
Posted Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 by Akada
For dance studios, summer can be a time of uncertainty and anxiety. Many dance studios experience a drop in summer attendance, so the rise of the temperature can also mean a decrease in revenue. Now is the time for dance studios to plan, and here are some ideas to keep earning steady income during the lull of summer months.
Compare other summer camps in your community. You may find a lack of dance, theater, or music options. If there appears to be a lack of options, consider themed camps. Little ones might enjoy a week-long princess dance class that includes dance lessons, crafts, and learning a song. Older children may appreciate the opportunity to plan and put on a play. Consider more intensive themed camps for advanced students. If you can, recruit a specialized teacher for intensives. Don’t be afraid to mix in different activities, like crafts or preparing a snack during the class. It may be messy, but happy kids and happy parents keep income flowing in.
The summer heat can stir up just as much cabin fever as winter months. When it’s just too hot to be outside, parents are begging for a place to take the kids and let them burn off energy. One possible solution could be open-age, informal dance classes. Whether they’re offered during specific open hours, or categorized as classes, make it a time of goofy, freestyle, energy-burning fun with an assortment of music. Informal classes may also give a reluctant student the confidence to try a class when the regular schedule starts back up.
Appeal to the homeschooling crowd
The number of homeschooling families has increased in recent years, and many communities have a thriving homeschool population. Many homeschooling families continue their studies through the summer and seek opportunities for enrichment year-round. Dance studios could gain a lot by teaming up with local homeschooling organizations and offering camps, classes, and programs specifically for the homeschooling demographic. Find local groups on Facebook and start making connections. Not only will homeschooling parents appreciate the offer, but they’ll also likely help spread the word.
Keep your break short
Most people do enjoy and need a break. Schedule your break, and use it to refresh so you can come back with energy and excitement to enjoy the summer months. Most likely, your customers will enjoy a short break also.