Running a yoga business can be hard, especially if you don’t have the proper tools. That’s why it’s even more important to take advantage of the wonderful array of online business tools out there that are available to your yoga startup — in some cases for free or almost free.
Whether you need help with marketing, sales, payments, or bookkeeping, we’ve got you covered with this list of 20 essential online business tools guaranteed to help make running your yoga business easier, more professional, and more profitable.
Marketing & Sales
Until you’re able to take on a full schedule of clients and classes, your yoga business will likely depend on you being able to get the word out and sign up new clients. These cool business tools can help you get noticed and start making sales:
Arguably the best investment you can make for your yoga startup is a business website. Even if you don’t plan to sell anything online, a website gives you a digital storefront where you can build your brand, present testimonials, blog about yoga tips, offer motivational advice, connect with potential clients, or build an email list. You could also manage your clients and services with a members-only site area. Some popular options for websites include:
- Squarespace For a sleek, affordable, one-stop website builder, Squarespace is hard to beat. You can build a personal page, write a blog, or even sell yoga supplies on an e-commerce page. Your own web domain and tech support come standard. From $8/mo.
- WordPress Besides Squarespace, WordPress is the Internet standard for building websites. Around 37 million simple blogs have been built with the free WordPress.com blogging tool, while WordPress.org’s robust content management system (CMS) lets you customize everything — but requires you to secure your own domain name and web hosting. WP software is free.
- StudioPress StudioPress is a premium website-building tool that runs on the WordPress CMS software. You can purchase StudioPress’s basic Genesis Framework or choose from a number of bundled theme combos. Genesis and the StudioPress themes offer good design, out-of-the-box SEO, and robust security. From $59.
- Rainmaker The Rainmaker Platform offers a complete website solution, with easy drag-and-drop design, content management, and tracking built in. Themes, Google Analytics, security, web hosting, and technical support and maintenance are all included. From $79/mo.
Easy Web Forms
Web Forms let you automate a good deal of your client paperwork and filing. They can also help you manage events, product orders, and client feedback. Some good form options:
- Formstack Formstack lets you create contact forms, event registrations, order forms, and surveys. It’s a popular go-to option for many because of its easy setup and connectivity with other popular tools such as PayPal, MailChimp, and Dropbox. From $39/mo.
- Wufoo Similar to Formstack, Wufoo lets you create a variety of online forms. Wufoo features cloud storage and some instant notification features. It offers a couple pricing options cheaper than Formstack, including a limited free account option. Free, with premium features available from $14.95/mo.
- JotForm JotForm offers a form builder and a variety of templates to create your forms. It plays nicely with other online tools but doesn’t feature as many bells and whistles. Depending on what you need it could be a better value since it all of its pricing tiers offer you unlimited forms. Free, with premium features available from $9.95/mo.
Don’t underestimate the boost social media could give to your yoga startup — it could be huge. It could also help your overall business. For yoga startups, the top pick is definitely:
- Facebook For marketing, finding new clients or keeping in close contact with all your current clients, there’s nothing better than a Facebook Business Page. If you can turn your page into a fun, motivational community for Yoga conversation, it could even motivate your clients to sign up for more sessions. Facebook is free.
If you’re wondering if there are any custom yoga business tools out there on the web, the answer is a resounding yes. Capterra is a great search tool for find all sorts of smart business solutions, including these tools for filling your yoga studio and managing your classes and services:
- MindBody MindBody is a sleek, web-based tool that lets you manage online booking, sales, and marketing, all in the same app. There’s a mobile-use feature for scheduling and checkins on the go, too. From $30/mo.
- Tula A business tool designed specifically for independent yoga studios, Tula lets you accept payments, manage memberships, handle registrations, share a calendar, track fee credits, and record attendance. From $59/mo.
- Regpack You can build custom registration forms with Regpack and organize and sort all the data supplied by your clients for added insight. There’s also an automatic contact reply feature. From $49/mo.
- Zen Planner Zen Planner is an all-in-one fitness business tool. Besides online scheduling and attendance tracking, you can track skills and workout progress and clients can sign in through a member login feature. From $70/mo.
- PunchPass For small group studios or independent instructors that don’t need a lot of extra features, PunchPass offers a simple way to track customers, class attendance, and punchcard or pass usage. From $24/mo.
Making sure you get paid by your clients is a must. The best way to make that happen is to offer payment options that are fast, easy, and secure for your clients. You can make things a lot easier on yourself by foregoing loose cash and easily lost checks and go hi-tech. Online payment processing is fast, easy, and safe for you clients, and helps you track your income and expenses right within an app. Two popular options these days include:
- Stripe Stripe lets you offer your clients flexible billing periods, recurring billing, coupon redemption, and trial offers via mobile and web interfaces. It’s integrated with a number of other popular online business tools, including the Squarespace website platform. Priced at 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction with volume discounts available.
- Square While Stripe is affiliated with Squarespace, neither are connected to the credit card processing tool known as Square. Square lets you handle mobile point-of-sale transactions and online invoicing. It has a popular stamp-sized credit card reader which plugs right into your mobile. That’s available for free through a rebate program. There’s also a lightweight stand that turns a standard iPad into a POS register (for $99, not including the iPad). Transactions cost 2.75% per swipe.
Accounting & Bookkeeping
Payment is important, but a solid accounting system is what will make your business a professional venture. You’ll be able to track money coming in and going out and pull reports to see where you could improve your money management. There are two good options here, too:
- Quickbooks Online Intuit’s Quickbooks has been around forever, and for good reason. The software gives business owners everything they need to manage the accounting and bookkeeping for their business. Quickbooks Online offers many great features without any software downloads, including estimates, invoices, transaction reports, bill pay, inventory tracking, and even payroll processing. Starting at $12.95/mo.
- Less Accounting While Quickbooks is certainly a feature-packed robust option, it may be more than you need. Less Accounting is a cloud-based solution for business owners who aren’t pro bookkeepers. Proposals, invoices, and expense reports are easy to create and track. Starting at $20/mo.
Client Nurturing & Retention
Email newsletters aren’t just another form of online marketing, they’re an important, often personal, touchpoint between your yoga business and your clients. Your clients are more likely to get deeply involved with yoga and stay involved when they hear from you on a regular basis. Here are three services that could work wonders for nurturing your yoga business:
- Constant Contact One of the older email marketing services, Constant Contact has features that include email, event registration and management, surveys, promotions, and social media integrations. The company offers good customer service and has a useful knowledge base of resources. From $20/mo.
- MailChimp MailChimp is one of the best small business email marketing tools out there and it’s surprisingly affordable and user friendly. It offers a number of design, automation, and analytics options, as well as the ability to scale up as your business grows. Free basic plan, with paid plans starting at $10/mo.
- TinyLetter From the people who brought you MailChimp comes TinyLetter’s personal newsletter service. TinyLetter lets users who don’t need heavy-duty business reporting and automation features send their fans email updates, digests, and dispatches. There’s an integration with Twitter, an archive, and the cost can’t be beat. TinyLetter is completely free service.
Whatever the technical needs of your new yoga business, make sure you take advantage of all the business tools available. Whether you need a full-service solution or a lightweight cloud-based app, there’s a tool out there that’s right for you.