Should you share your business secrets? People are usually willing to share the glamorous side of business, but they are rarely willing to share the trickier side of things. The side that required all the hustle and effort to get them off the ground. The side that included the secret ingredients that created a recipe for success. Once you’ve found it, should you keep it to yourself, or shout it from the rooftops?
If you're sharing what you know, doesn't that mean you're helping out your competition? The truth is that in most situations, when a business owner has figured out some of the secrets to success, they want to keep those secrets to themselves. While that's understandable, it doesn't exactly help the fresh-faced startup that is trying to figure out how to run their own business.
With that in mind we thought we would unveil some of the secrets that can help you in your dance studio business, whether you’ve been in the game for years or are just starting out. Pay close attention, because below you'll find 6 things dance studio owners won't tell you, but that we are willing to share because we want to see you succeed!
1. There is an easier way to manage your dance studio.
This is by far the biggest thing successful dance studio owners are trying to keep secret - managing a dance studio today is easier than ever before thanks to advancements in technology. The three words that have changed the game for studio owners all over are: studio management software.
With the right studio management software you can:
- Manage accounts payable and receivable as well as all relevant paperwork for both departments
- Handle the scheduling of classes as well as enrollment of students in each class, and even which instructors will be teaching all of those classes
- Respond to inquiries about your studio from prospective clients and/or potential strategic partner opportunities
- Keep in touch with current students as well as future students
- Collect money for classes and performances such as annual or semi-annual recitals
- Manage billing and contact information for all students enrolled in your dance studio
- Give each student a customized progress report along with recommendations for improving their results - you can send them as often or as infrequently as you would like
- Keep track of inventory including equipment on hand and/or dance gear you may have available for sale in your studio
- Address customer complaints or issues quickly and efficiently
The Studio Director is the answer to your studio management needs.
The Studio Director studio management software offers all of the above mentioned benefits, and so many more. Our cloud-based program is accessible anywhere via our app, and you’ll quickly see how it saves you time and money while you’re running your dance studio. It’s a breeze to use, and it makes your business life easier in so many ways. More on our software later. Let’s get back to the secrets of success, shall we?
2. It’s important to have good systems and processes in place early on, and it’s never too late to create them.
It’s a good idea to implement systems and processes sooner rather than later to avoid countless headaches. For example, each step in the series of events that takes a person from prospect to an enrolled student is called a process.
- Prospect comes into the studio
- Prospect goes on a tour
- Prospect takes a test class
- Prospect enrolls in a class, and transitions into a student
Systems are used to execute the process. For example, you have a system for marketing to prospects. You have a system for enrolling the prospects, a system for teaching the students, and you have a system for billing the students taking the classes.
The most successful business owners understand that it’s better to work smarter than it is to work harder. That’s why removing the bottlenecks and having efficient systems and processes is so important. You don’t want to be re-inventing the wheel every time you are trying to drum up new business, and keep things running smoothly? To put it a different way - Why burn the midnight oil everyday in your business when you could design systems and processes in your dance studio that allow you to go home at a decent hour, and still have time to have a life outside of your business?
3. It’s not always easy to convince people to join or even visit your studio.
Odds are you already know this, but opening a dance studio is not exactly like the movie Field of Dreams. Just because you build it, doesn't mean they will come. Opening the studio is only half the battle. In fact, dare I say it it might only be 25 percent or even less of the battle. Once you're open for business, you have to do anything and everything that it takes to get people in the door. Then, once they are in the door, you have to convince them to commit to a month, six months or perhaps a year of classes. And, you’ll need to keep convincing them to sign up again and again at the end of every period of classes.
Here are a few ideas that could assist you in recruiting students:
- Host an open house that allows everyone to meet with and learn about the teachers. This open house could include a dance class demonstration that gives potential students a taste of what they'll experience in class.
- Throw a registration day party. On this special day perhaps you could offer a free shirt, a dance bag or some other promotional swag that every student who registers that day receives. You could even make an annual affair out of it, that way students of old and new will all want to be a part of the party.
- Offer some kind of a special that includes tuition and dance gear as a combination package. For example, everyone who joins by a certain day receives a free leotard, shoes and a pair of tights.
- Consider hosting a showcase in addition to any recitals or performances that you may typically host for the year. During this showcase, your students can show off what they are learning before it’s “perfected” to their friends and family, to let them see their progress. At the end of the event, you could give everyone who came a “friends and family discount” offer to learn what they just witnessed.
As a side note - using The Studio Director can help you easily correspond with prospects and current students as well. Using our customizable and automated communication process, you can interact with the people on your mailing list, including sending mass emails or invites to events with little effort.
4. You’re probably throwing your money away on advertising.
In some towns it might still make sense to spend money on radio and television advertising to get the word out about your business. However in the bigger cities, this might not be the best way to get the most bang for your advertising book. Your loyal customers are your best walking advertisements. In fact, some business experts say that the testimonial is not enough anymore. What people really want with a service based business such as a dance studio these days is the resultimonial. In other words, what someone considering your dance studio wants is real talk from real students that are achieving phenomenal results, so that these prospects will feel like they have the potential to achieve these results as well.
Who are your star pupils? And, do they have deep adoration for your studio? If so, use that to your advantage. Put them to work recruiting for you! You could offer them discounts or referral fees for every new student they bring in the door. Or you could give them additional free classes or private workshops to encourage them to spread the word about your business.
Additional free/inexpensive advertising ideas for your dance studio include:
- You could do a raffle for a month of free dance classes. Current students get one ticket for every class they attend, and an additional ticket for every lead they bring your way. Then, you draw a winner as often as you would like to for the free month of classes.
- Ask your star pupils to allow you to film fun dance videos for social media (don’t forget the media release!). Then, share those videos on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. With any luck, your video will go viral bringing your studio loads of free publicity. You could also consider doing a few free choreography videos for social media. Don’t give too much away of course - just a taste to get people to want to know more!
- Offer masterclasses or special performances with your best dancers as fundraisers for a local cause. This could be a great way to get the media interested in doing a story on your studio. Don’t forget to announce each fundraiser to the media by way of a press release. You can use your favorite search engine to find a press release template.
- Create a blog on your dance studio website with tips, tricks, student spotlights and more. Share all of these on social media and ask your students and their parents to share the posts to their friends and family.
- Throw a student appreciation party every once in awhile, and encourage the public to attend. You could ask local businesses to sponsor the party too! For example, ask a local pizza place to sponsor the food in exchange for giving every attendee a coupon to visit their pizzeria. Then, during the party offer specials for people who sign up for classes that day/week.
There is no limit to the ways you can promote your studio once you stop limiting yourself to traditional advertising, and think outside of the box instead. This is certainly knowledge seasoned dance studio veterans won’t share.
5. Be ready for change.
If you’re teaching the same old classes and can’t get anyone to sign up, it could be that you need to change what classes you’re offering. Consider this - What kind of dance studio are you running? Do you teach traditional classes such as ballet, jazz, and tap for instance? Or are you into the modern dance classes such as Hip Hop, exotic dance, or some other type of classes? It's important to be really clear on the type of studio that you're running so that you can go after the right target market. Then again, if your market isn’t in your area, be ready to change.
Listen to the public, and hire accordingly. If you’re in a town that is obsessed with folk or swing dance, it only makes sense to offer those types of classes. Find instructors that are knowledgeable in those styles, and hire them to teach them. Perhaps your city or town lacks ballroom dancing or country line dancing - do some testing and market research, and find out if that is what the public wants. Then, give it to them!
The only thing constant in any business is change, so be prepared to change with the times to keep your doors open.
6. You don’t have to go it alone.
You likely already know you have to have an effective team to be successful, but you need good software too! Think of The Studio Director software as an additional assistant that you have on hand 24/7 doing all of the heavy lifting on your behalf so you can focus on what’s important - your business and your customers. The best part is, if you ever have any questions or concerns about using The Studio Director, we have an exceptional support team on standby. Included in all purchases is unlimited toll-free phone support and email support to help you and your staff get through any issues as quickly as possible, should they arise.
Whether you have been in business a couple of months, or several decades, we can get your dance studio setup with our software quicker than you might think! In fact, you can be up and running with The Studio Director in just a few hours. All you have to do is order, and within minutes our team will help you with the next steps. You’ll be surprised how fast you can customize The Studio Director for your specific studio.