You want your studio to succeed, otherwise you wouldn’t have opened it. But owning a studio can be a lot like having a child.
There’s a huge emotional connection, and criticisms about the way you do things can cut to your very core. A gentle nudge toward new studio management software or a new advertising campaign can feel like an attack on your character, or an assault on your competence.
Sound familiar? The Studio Director understands. You’ve invested time, money, and probably more than a few tears in your studio. You’re good at what you do, or you wouldn’t still be doing it.
So we’re not here to tell you you’re doing everything wrong. But as experts in the business, though, we also recognize that every studio owner can do better. No one is perfect. So what are the most common mistakes dance studio owners make and how can you avoid them? These five top the list.
1. Poor Enrollment Management
Are you constantly refunding students who pay for classes that are filled up? Or squeezing students into classes that are filled to the brim? Do you handle enrollment issues by creating a new, half-full class? If so, you’re selling yourself short. Intelligent enrollment management sets successful dance studios apart.
Quit trying to do everything by hand. It makes errors inevitable. And don’t force your students to call or come in to enroll in a class. You’ll lose shy students, busy students, and anyone who’d rather sign up online. By accepting online enrollments, you open your studio to a wider audience. You also reduce the stress of enrollment errors and create a streamlined, user-friendly approach to enrollment. That professional first impression will quickly draw in new students. It also helps you avoid alienating old students who don’t have time to grapple with enrollment challenges.
2. Prioritizing Price Ahead of Value
No one wants to spend extra money, especially when they're struggling to get a studio off the ground. The high price tags attached to the stuff you need for your studio—building permits, high-quality equipment, competitive instructors, effective marketing campaigns—are enough to turn any studio owner into an ostrich and just put their head in the sand and ignore the expensive realities of running a dance studio.
Don’t be an ostrich. You have to spend money to make money. To successfully accomplish this, you need to look at value, not price. Contemplate how much money an investment—and that’s what a business expenditure is—can make your business. A great instructor is worth their weight in gold. Studio management software can reduce your stress and grow your business. So don’t shy away from these worthwhile expenditures. Spend more and you may make more—but only if you choose your expenses wisely, and cut out the fat.
3. Poor Communication With Students
We’ve all read stories about social media disasters: the business owner who left a scathing comment on a bad review; the customer who destroyed a business by recording an unpleasant call with a receptionist. These are the tales that strike terror into the heart of studio owners. The good news is that you’re probably not going to make an error that destroys your business in one fell swoop.
Now for the bad news: poor communication with customers can steadily erode your reputation and your student base. Whether it’s missed or delayed emails, unpleasant terse responses from receptionists, or marketing communications that just don’t work, your students—and your business—deserve better.
The problem is that good communication demands time, effort, and skill. All three are in short supply when you’re working to grow a business. Consider automating your communications to improve the experience for everyone. The Studio Director can provide consistent progress reports and report cards, as well as responses to emails and other communications. A regular newsletter can keep students thinking about your business and excited about new classes. Communication matters. Find a strategy that works, and then stick with it—tweaking every few months based on the results you get.
4. Stone-Age Marketing Strategies
Two generations ago, fliers at churches, radio advertisements, and TV ads could draw in all the new students you needed. Today, these strategies are little more than a needless, time-consuming expense. Don’t use these outdated marketing strategies! You need to offer personalized, user-friendly web and social media marketing. Determine your ideal student, and then target them directly.
It’s not only a cheaper strategy, it’s a more effective one. It’s also a strategy that demands some expertise and technical knowledge. Work with a marketing company or social media business that understands how to access the students you want. Like most successful studio management strategies, this requires some upfront funds. You’ll need to partner with an expert team, not blindly plug keywords into Google. But don’t forget that this approach will draw in the most students, and at a far cheaper price than the stone age marketing tactics of yesteryear.
5. Getting Bogged Down in the Details
Think quickly: why do students choose your dance studio instead of your competition? Are you drawing a blank? Muttering some vague reassurances about good teaching and fair prices? Are you panicking as you search for an answer?
The best dance studios offer a wholly unique experience. They provide something students can’t get elsewhere, whether it’s famous teachers, a welcoming educational environment, instructors who don’t judge, socialization opportunities, or a million other possibilities. The problem is that many studio owners find themselves bogged down in the daily minutiae of running the studio—hiring and paying instructors, advertising, endlessly responding to emails...the list is as endless as the day is short.
When you’re spending all of your time on these frustrating details, you don’t have time to think creatively about growing your brand. That can leave you out in the cold in a competitive studio environment.The Studio Director frees you from the prison of administrative tasks so you can get creative about your business again. Don’t believe us? You don’t have to. We offer a free 30-day no-stakes trial. That’s how confident we are in the quality of our product. What’s more, we’ll teach you how to use it so you don’t waste another second on administrative tasks. Check us out now and watch your business grow!