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My mind tends to be like a web-browser with about 15 tabs open. Over the years I’ve tried several different methods for keeping my studio and business organized. Things that range from paper planners for sessions and a binder for client profiles/workflows to spreadsheets and different types of studio management programs like ShootQ and Quickbooks. NONE of these things worked for me.
I discovered Táve two years ago; but, didn’t realize until recently that I wasn’t using the program to its fullest extent. I thought that I had Táve and ProSelect (my ordering program) synced. My orders were being imported, but my products weren’t synced up like I thought they were. And that’s okay, I was able to essentially start from scratch and set things up correctly. Learn from my mistake – take the time to set your program up correctly to begin with; sometimes taking an extra step will keep you more organized and on track rather that trusting that a third party is doing it for you. I will directly refer to Táve throughout this entire post. Honestly, choose a program YOU like and feel comfortable working in. Read up on them all. Don’t choose one because someone else told you that’s the best.
The benefits of a studio management program are endless.
The program I use stores client profiles, past and future sessions, and past orders. I am able to quickly pull up contacts to schedule sessions or book orders. My Táve calendar is linked to my iCal so that my sessions automatically populate my digital calendar and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to write a session down or making a new event in iCal. (I always click over to my calendar to make sure it populated, just in case.)
Táve also formats contact forms that can be added to social media and websites and subsequently files leads. It makes conversions quick and easy; when a lead comes through I’m able see exactly what the prospective client is interested in. I can then send out the correct booking information.
One feature I love is formatting orders right in Táve.
As I mentioned before; I thought the program was already doing this, but I was wrong. Each product EKP offers is entered into the program; from Gift Portraits and Wall Displays to Session Fees and even courses. In the Account Setup you have the ability to enter the cost and the price of each item. This is beneficial to know exactly how much you are making off a product. By entering each item into the order I can run a report to see which products are my most popular, which I need to reconsider, and what kind of profit I’m turning on each session.
At EKP we do require a signed contract and deposit to book each session. Through Táve we’re able to send out a quote with a contract and pay now link all with a few easy clicks. Táve and Square are linked so our clients know their credit card information is safe.
In addition to being able to send contracts and quotes right from Táve I’m able to send invoices that are due and that have been paid for client records. I’ve found that with this program it’s easier to not only get paid, but get paid on time!
Speaking of numbers; Táve has the ability to be a full on accounting program. The Profit/Loss report shows all money that comes in and goes out of the studio. It sounds weird but I like to have a relationship with the numbers. I actually like to see them two different ways; I enter them into Táve and a spreadsheet. At EKP we used Quickbooks for a time and by just accepting and classing the transactions I felt very out of control of the numbers.
An accounting feature that I like is that I am able to enter recurring monthly transactions; like Táve, Spotify, Adobe, etc. to populate the Expense report automatically.
I know this blog post seems like a love letter to Táve. (Okay, maybe it is.) But my actual point is to find a management program you love and use the shit out of it. Learn everything there is to know about whichever program you choose and utilize it to its full ability. The program you choose shouldn’t make your life more complicated or throw it further into disarray.
Do you already use a management program? If so, which is your favorite and why? If you don’t are you ready to find the one right for you?