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Industry • Best Practice

Clean Slate or Full Plate? How Self-Care Businesses Migrate Their Data


By Boulevard

Why leaving old data behind could be the boost your business needs

Moving is stressful — it’s a scientific fact. The chances are good that, at least once in your life, you’ve been so deep in packing tape and cardboard boxes that you’ve been tempted to donate it all to charity and start over fresh in your new home. It’s a tempting, if impractical, thought.

But if you’re moving between self-care business software instead of houses, leaving much or all of your old data behind may be the most practical choice you can make. Not just because it’s less (metaphorical) packing to do in the short-term, but because it gives your new system, and your team learning how to use it, the best possible chance to show its strengths. You may not miss that (metaphorical) box full of tchotchkes after all.

What data is and isn’t worth migrating

Each business is different, and you should weigh your options based on your own experience and expectations. With that in mind, here is a quick primer on which types of data may be the most productive to migrate and which you may be better off leaving in the (metaphorical) dust.

What to migrate first

The short answer to “what data is actually worth migrating” is anything that is directly client-facing. Your transition to new software should delight clients as they enjoy all the new streamlined features that benefit them. The transition should not frustrate them by requiring them to repeat information or rebook appointments they made months ago.

Here are some common types of data to prioritize as you move to new self-care business software:

  • Upcoming appointments: Losing your usual monthly slot with your favorite staff member because they moved to a new system? Not cool. Make sure all your scheduled appointments, including recurring slots, make the transition one way or another.

  • Payment info: Clients who have trusted you with their payment information don’t want to keep repeating it. Losing payment info may even put you in danger of shedding memberships as clients forget to update their details. If your new software is a Level 1 PCI-Compliant platform, you may be able to quickly and securely migrate stored payment details.

  • Client preferences: Treat the knowledge you’ve collected about client preferences like the gold it is. Note that this part may not look like a traditional data migration; if much of that client knowledge is stored in the brains of stylists or technicians, this is the perfect time to record it for all to share in your new client profiles.

What to reconsider migrating

The short answer to “what data isn’t worth migrating” is anything that could clutter up your new system. Spoiler alert: That’s probably most of the information in your old system.

Here are a few types of data that are likely to be more trouble migrating than they’re worth:

  • Historical sales data: You should retain your overall reports from previous years — that’s valuable context. But do you really need to retain the precise number of color treatments or facials you did in the second week of October 2019? Especially if those data points come with weird formatting that will mess with your streamlined new interface? Probably not.

  • Old personnel files: Consider this the perfect opportunity to clear out any former employees from your scheduling tools and other dusty corners. You may need to hold onto some information for tax and accounting purposes, but that doesn’t mean you have to retain what days they’ll be in late because they need to take their dog to the groomer in perpetuity.

  • Most things you haven’t touched in a year: If you forgot it was there, there’s a good chance you don’t need it anymore.

Why full data migration shouldn’t be your default

Moving to new software is a pivotal moment for your self-care business. Since it’s such a big change, you may be inclined to bring every piece of data possible over from your old system. After all, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, right?

Resist that reflex. The “migrate everything” approach may dull the impact newer and more efficient systems can otherwise make on your operations — and cost you more in the long run. Here’s what we mean:

New software is a fresh start

You’ve adapted to the quirks of your old self-care software and changed your processes to deal with them. This is the perfect time to rip off those Band-Aids and create more efficient workflows in their place. Starting fresh means a chance to declutter your data and structure it in a way that’s more efficient for your business based on both your practical experience and new technical capabilities.

Not all data is helpful

Migrating data sometimes means bringing along inaccurate or outdated info. At the same time, changing systems can obscure these bad data points’ origins, making it harder to root them out in the future. Leaving potentially iffy data behind means you know you’re starting on solid ground, with all your sources clear, accurate, and accounted for.

Less taxiing, more takeoff

One of the most resource-intensive parts of any software move is copying data over from the old and properly implementing it into the new. Even with the help of automation, some human oversight is a must to minimize the chance of unpleasant surprises down the line. Less data migration means getting up and running on your new, better system faster.

Cost savings

Data migration may also mean extra expenses on top of whatever startup costs you were already paying. Reducing that expense means freeing up budget to spend on the future of your business rather than its past — and you can put those dollars right back into additional features that create a better client experience.

More focused training

The best time to learn a new piece of business software is right at the very beginning, with no complicating factors or compromises to muddy the message. Leaving behind the complexity of migrated data creates an ideal environment for you and your team to master your new software as you put it to use.

The nice thing about moving self-care software compared to moving house? You really can throw a lot of that old junk out and not miss it. Then all that new space is free to fill with what matters now.

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