So you are thinking about opening a dance studio. That is quite an endeavor, and usually not any easy one. Before jumping in, there is a lot of planning you need to do and some essentials you must consider. You will need to know the personality you wish to convey, undertake a strong business sense, make sure your life is in a stable place, determine what income you will need to survive and exactly how much you already have to invest. In order to get you started on the right track, here are some tips and dance studio solutions that will keep your goals smart and efficient.
What You Need
An Ideal Location
In order to find a commercial property that will bring you success, you may want to engage the mind of a real estate agent. This way, you can be sure that you are placing yourself in the exact area that would embrace a business like yours and allow it to thrive. Things to keep in mind as you search around include:
The space. How much square footage do you think you will require in order to fit the volume of students and classes you plan to provide for? You may dream of a wide spread environment, but are you completely sure you are going to have the income of funds to support that? It is important that you are realistic in this process, but also make sure not to sell yourself too short. Weigh your options, the option to move somewhere larger with unexpected success always exists. No matter what, your space should ideally include:
- a lobby
- an office
- a storage room
- a retail area
You may also need to invest in some renovations within the actual dance areas if the studio was not already used as a dance or fitness facility. Examples include:
- large mirrors for the walls
- shock absorbing floors
- ballet barres
- a good sound system
Where people can park. Many people make the mistake of not worrying too much about parking, but this is something that will make or break a person’s decision to come dance with you. Good parking is not only convenient, people want to know their vehicle will be safe and that they are not going to have to worry about a meter running out while they are in class. In addition, you want to make sure that parking is not limited. If someone can’t find a spot, what will they do?
They will have no choice but to pass on class and will not be likely to return for another one. Think about these things when exploring parking options, as well as:
- where parents can safely drop off students
- where staff will be able to park
- if there are enough spots for those taking class as well as those coming to take the following one
- if people will feel safe walking from their parking options to your studio
Safety. There is no avoiding the fact that safer areas usually mean higher rent. Yet, people are not going to want to drop off their kids at a dance studio where they are going to worry about them or even be scared for their own safety. Make sure that you would not worry about your own child for a minute in the neighborhood you choose. If you do not make safety a priority it could most certainly cost you your business.
How visible you are. Being in the center of all of the high volume traffic and near other popular businesses is another way to raise the cost of your rent. Yet, it is also a way to bring in more people, and that means money. Place yourself where people are forced to see you everyday and they will think of you when they or someone they know is looking for a place to take class. Think carefully about the types of businesses that are close to you. Will these places draw customers that would also be interested in taking dance class? What types of businesses might compliment you or cause you problems?
Your Business Plan
Your success moving forward depends greatly on the existence and strength of a good business plan. This will be your guide through the critical startup phase and continue to help you as you run into any issues down the line. This does not mean you can just throw some ideas together. If this is going to be your backbone, you want to be as thorough as possible. In order to do so, make sure to:
Write it down. The easiest way to get your ideas flowing and set in stone is to put it on paper. Begin by making an outline of the important decisions that need to be made and the various sections required to formulate a business plan. Little by little you can then fill in each section with your ideas, what you foresee happening and where you believe your competition is. Don’t dwell too hard on any section, you can always come back to it after you have made progress in other areas. You should have multiple drafts of this plan and the more you work on it the simpler and more straight forward it should become. The standard business plan includes:
- your mission
- projected financials
- how you will obtain funding
- market analysis
- organizational structure
- legal structure
- business insurance and licensing
- interior design
Know your strategies before you execute. You will not be able to achieve much without deciding exactly how you are going to go about it. Your business strategy should address analysis of the market you are entering, what your competitive environment is, and any other elements that will define the way you stand out in the marketplace.
Be realistic. When considering what you have to offer, you also need to be honest about where your weak points are. You want to be thorough in your analysis of your business and develop an identity that is honest and transparent about who and what you are. Failure or unwillingness to disclose your shortcomings could not only make you look untrustworthy to some, it could also make you legally vulnerable. Still, in this area make sure you are always putting a positive attitude in with it. Embrace that no one can be completely perfect and that the most you can do is try your best.
Know Your Competition
It is important to not look at other dance studios in your area or market negatively, instead think about what you can learn from them. If these businesses are finding a lot of success, what is it that they are doing right and how can you do it better? In addition, fill in the spaces where they are lacking. Offer the things that they are not and you will generate interest that is not already being fulfilled.
What Not To Do
You may have a good plan for your business now, but there are a lot of ways you can shoot yourself in the foot. It is easy to get caught up in the work and stress of things and, therefore, not pay enough attention to your behavior and overall productivity. Bad habits that dance studio owners tend to fall into include:
Focusing too much on the negative things. It is very easy to become obsessed with your downfalls, but you have to balance yourself out and embrace the positive sides as well. Focusing too much on the negatives will leak into your overall attitude toward work and everyone in the studio will feel it. Also, keeping your focus there will keep you from achieving more positive things in your future. To create positivity you must already be generating it yourself.
Saying yes to anything and everything. If you are a business owner you simply cannot be a pushover. Some people feel like they need to people please in order to keep customers, but you could end up in way over your head. Know where your limits are and practice self preservation. You do not have to abandon your positive attitude to do so.
Remaining stagnant and not striving for growth. As a business owner you need to think of yourself as an entrepreneur. You may be putting a lot of energy into your students and everyday classes, but you cannot forget about the position your business is playing in the competitive market. You need to stay in touch with what is going to keep you profitable and growing to keep your students feeling as though they are receiving the highest quality training available. Remember that your students are your customers and they have an expectation of you. In order to uphold your reputation for providing high quality services, you will have to think of yourself as a business owner and not just a dance teacher.
How Studio Management Software Will Help
It is not uncommon for those that embark on such a journey to find themselves with more work than they can handle. Not only that, you most likely did not decide to open a dance studio just so you could be stuck in the office day and night with little time to focus on dance.
Dance studio management software handles all of the organizational business stuff for you so you can remain a human being and not turn into a sleep-deprived robot. Not only that, it provides conveniences for your clientele, making you an easier and more enjoyable business to attach to. A good software achieves all of this because it includes:
- automated enrollment, payments, student and staff management, and marketing
- options to properly organize your funds by monitoring enrollments, invoices, payments, client notifications, outstanding balances, and overall billing for you
- ways to keep the communication with your students and parents constant to create deeper engagement and longer relationships between faculty and students
- analytics and reports that are accessible from any location
- online schedule accessibility for your students and staff and your ability to adjust it from any location
- tips and trainings on how to better use your website and social media platforms to gain more interest in the community
- the ability to handle individual or group appointments online or offline
- the ability to allow clients to book classes immediately or require an approval process for each booking
- settings for how far in advance a client can make or cancel an appointment
- secure online payment options for your services
- the ability to create and launch specifically tailored landing pages for your staff
- optional autoresponder feature to automate marketing and communication with prospective and current dance clients
- the ability to organize monthly emails and newsletters
- and more
If you are concerned about learning a new software program and thinking it may be too big of an undertaking, you simply do not understand how easy it is. A good software will align itself with the system you already have in place and only make things more efficient for you. If you have any questions, a customer service team is just a phone call away to help you out. The whole point is to give you less to do, not more.
What Does This Mean?
You have what it takes to run a thriving and unique business, you just have to commit to it. Stay true to yourself and know when you need to make adjustments for the health of the business and for your overall sanity. Both are important and necessary to keep the other one going. Now you have all the knowledge you need in order to jumpstart a promising dance studio, all you have to do is invest in the right tools and you will be on your way to success.