By Andrew Wicklander, Founder of Tula Software
There is a lot happening in the world of software as we head into 2018, and the team at Zebra asked that I take some time to elaborate on what makes Tula Software unique, underscore a few of the primary reasons why Zebra and Tula have chosen to partner with each other, and outline how our software can be leveraged to help independent studios in the world of martial arts succeed.
To fully understand where we are, and how we can help you as we go forward, it can be useful to see where we’ve come from and how we were born as a company. This is our own sort of lineage, if you will.
The History of Tula Software
In 2011, my wife decided to take a leap and open a yoga studio. She had fallen in love with the practice, and saw that our neighborhood could benefit from a local independent studio. As we searched for software she could use to run her business, we were surprised by the degree to which the options that existed seemed to be doing a lot of things to serve themselves instead of serving their customers.
We built Tula Software to serve her business with the belief that if we built a system perfect for her, we’d be able to serve other independent studios as well. Six years after our founding, we are now the primary competitor to an over billion-dollar public software company.
Yoga studios around the world choose to work with us over our competitors because we have a better product, are a better company, and provide better service and pricing than anyone else in the industry.
Partnering with Zebra Athletics
Zebra, knowing the reputation we have in the yoga industry, started wondering if we might be able to help them serve their customers in the martial arts industry. After all, it is their mission to build help independent studios succeed by providing martial arts mats, wall mats, and other training products. After a good amount of discussion and analysis, everyone ultimately concluded that martial arts studios are grappling with many of the same challenges that yoga studios face and that Tula Software can help solve them, as well.
What Makes Tula Software Different?
At a micro level, Tula is able to help you with all the tactical things your studio needs in the modern day. It can give you the ability to accept payments, store credit cards and manage monthly memberships. It also helps you share your class calendar on your website, allow students to register for classes and manage class check-ins. And, of course, it also has retention tools to help you bring your customers back and increase your revenue.
While we offer a more robust feature set than a lot of our competitors, our difference from our competitors extends beyond the features of our software. It is at the macro level, and how we conduct ourselves, where we’re really different. A lot of this is because our base level belief in the internet is that it’s power lies not in it’s ability to endlessly scale, but instead with it’s ability to empower us individually — both as humans and as small businesses.
This belief manifests itself in things like our credit card processing, where our rates are lower than any of our competitors. Instead of making money processing credit cards, we use the volume of our network to drive down the price for everyone. These are the kinds of decisions you can make that benefit your customers when you answer to them instead of your investors.
Another way our belief system manifests itself is in product focus, and an understanding of the other tools that entrepreneurs have available to them. We are always asking ourselves not just what Can we build, but also what we Should build.
For example, Zen Planner, our main competitor in the martial arts industry, offers “Integrated websites” as a product for an EXTRA $149 per month and a $500 setup fee (just for the website). The problem with this is that it’s an inferior product that costs 10x what WordPress and Squarespace cost. The right solution, in our view, is to make widgets that our customers can put right into their website, whether they use Squarespace, WordPress, Wix or any other. And these shouldn’t cost anything extra. Here again, you see a decision that can only be made by an independent company free from the worry of having to please anyone but their customers.
What ultimately makes us different and unique is greater than the sum of all our individual features. It’s the way we came into existence, the degree to which our primary aim is to serve our customers, and the way in which we view the power and purpose of the Internet.
Looking Forward to the Future
We chose to partner with Zebra because we know Zebra is the same way. Indeed, they provide better MMA mats than anyone else, but we also know they view that as the starting point, not the finish line, for helping your business succeed.
We couldn’t be more proud that Zebra has chosen Tula Software as the company they want to introduce to their customers, and you have our commitment and promise to do everything we can to help your business thrive as the Internet enters a new era.