No one decides to open a dance studio if they do not love to dance. In addition, most dancers have a type of dance they most enjoy doing, but a studio should welcome the desires of every type of dancer. Not only do you want to be thoughtful about the people you are hoping to draw to your business, you also should know what type of business skills you are going to need to have.
You can do this by learning exactly what kind of studio the people in your area are looking for, define what market you are appealing to, and designate your targeted customers. In addition to these decisions, get ready to play multiple roles within the company. Being a business owner is not an easy position to hold, and you will be required to juggle a lot and make some tough decisions.
The good news is, there are softwares designed to guide your way through this process. In order to understand how a studio management software can assist you, let’s explore the tasks you will be faced with and the ways that a software will provide you with the tools you need to accomplish them.
What You Need to Accomplish
Your position. Organize awareness of exactly what your job duties will entail. Are you going to be the sole teacher of the classes or will you simply organize the majority of them? How much will you actually have time for? Will you be teaching mostly children or adults? You can offer private lessons as well as group classes. You also will need to decide if drop-ins are permitted or all classes must be pre-registered for. You have a lot of decisions to make when planning out your goals, so make sure you know your priorities before deciding anything.
Your workplace. The location of your dance studio will determine a lot when it comes to your company’s appeal. The ideal workspace to carry out dance classes should be:
- Visually appealing and spacious
- Close to residential areas and schools
- Equipped with hardwood floors, natural lighting and mirrors lining the edges of the floors to allow your dancers to be observed
- Proper ventilation
- Bathrooms/changing rooms
- Enough parking space
- A safe environment
- Office space
- A lobby
The money. As you plan for your dance studio and after you have opened you are going to have to be very organized about money. Some examples of the kind of expenses that will come into play are:
- Overhead costs for things like your location
- Capital if you need to do any remodeling
- Additional costs for paying any employees you need to hire
- Insurance money to protect your business in the case that someone is injured within your facility
- Any unforeseeable expenses that could come your way, such as repairs or jumps in utilities
The business plan. Every startup needs a business plan if you want to build it for success. Sometimes it is hard to know what the essentials might be for each specific industry, so if you have not written one of these yet, this framework will help. A business plan is what you will use as the roadmap so you can steer your way through the process of running your business properly and continue to grow. For your business plan, you will need:
- An executive summary. This should springboard the reader into the plan and make them want to know more. It should describe the current status of your business, where it will go and how that is going to happen. Try to keep this part simple and to the point without getting overly wordy. You will have the opportunity to go into further detail in the body of your plan.
- The company description. This is basically where you are going to make your company pitch. You will explain here what all of your business will include and the market you are gearing it toward. It could help to outline the services you plan to offer, but still keep this part on the simpler side. The main purpose for this section is to identify what separates you from your competitors, such as your credentials or your location, etc.
- Market analysis. This is where you can get in depth about where your competition lies. You will need to have a full comprehension of the entire scope of the dance industry in your area and the growth rates. Know what other studios would be considered competition for you, the services they offer, and about how many students they tend to attract. This will help you have a lot of foresight about what to expect as you enter into the market and define your pricing structure.
- The services you provide. Here you can talk more about the services you plan to offer to the public. Include how these services will be geared toward your market and why you are sure to attract students with them.
- Marketing tools. You have to find a way to reach out to potential customers and let them know you are there. In this section you will explain how you intend to do just that. Also detail what it is that you can do that will encourage them to continue classes with you for the long-term. If you want to get really into detail you can also include a growth strategy in this area.
- Funding plan. As we mentioned the organization of money earlier, here is where you can bullet point your plans for all the of expenses you will have. If you are considering seeking out the help of investors or a loan, your business plan could be what helps you to achieve that.
Some other ideas that will help to set you apart and bring in more interest include:
- Offering free or discounted classes to introduce your space to the public. If you leave free passes at companies that may attract the same type of clientele as you (but are not competitors), people will come check it out and hopefully enjoy the experience enough to come back. It is also a good idea to leave questionnaires for these people so they can give you feedback on what they enjoyed and where they hope to see you improve.
- Give your studio an atmosphere that will make people want to come back to it. Whether it be a cozy seating area, some pretty paintings on the wall or air-conditioning, your students need to feel comfortable when they are in your space.
- Make flyers and determine the best places to put them, such as recreational centers, yoga studios, schools, and shoppings centers.
- Include your business in Yahoo local searches and Google local search so you will pop up when people search for your service in the local area.
- Post ads in the newspaper.
- Post ads on social media and create an Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that will connect people to your website. You can also post videos and photos of your classes to help gain interest. Learn how to use the hashtags, if you don’t know how to already.
- Research the most efficient way to layout your website so that it draws people in and is simple to use.
- Coordinate with local dance supply stores that offer quality shoes, leotards, toe pads and other supplies. These stores are usually happy to help promote your business and you can leave coupons there or offer discounts to students that shop at those locations.
- Create some swag, such as t-shirts or dance wear that has your studio name to help promote your business.
How Studio Management Software Can Help
Dance studio software will help you to achieve all of the above details efficiently and more. The goal of such programs is to help you organize your classes, have an easy-to-use platform that will benefit your staff and your clients, and give the the tools for marketing online. Another huge benefit is that it keeps all of your financial information in one safe place. Some examples of features that studio management softwares provide include are:
- Online registration and enrollment to save time and help to prevent scheduling conflicts.
- Organized payment for classes online that can be set up as monthly or one time payments.
- Brand customization for emails, logos, and your website.
- Instructor time sheets and attendance tracking
- Member reminders and notifications
- Competition management
- Mass emailing
- Costume rentals and management
- Billing & invoicing
What to Consider when Looking for Studio Manager Software
There are a lot of different softwares to choose from and new ones keep popping up each day. However, the majority of these are not going to provide you with the quality you need to really make it worth it. In order to ensure that you are receiving the services necessary to truly help you run your business well, you should prepare a list of the essentials you want a software to assist you with. Some examples of what you might include are:
A responsive customer service team. If for any reason you find yourself having trouble understanding something about your new software, you want to know that you are going to be able to reach someone that will help you figure out the issue immediately. As you get started with the program, you should be able to tell pretty quickly how helpful and responsive the company’s customer service team is.
Strong communication portals for parents. You will find that a lot of parents will want to contact you daily for various amount of reasons. A good software set up will provide you with communication portals so you aren’t receiving masses amounts of texts and phone calls on your cell phone. Instead, you and the parent will receive a notification about their message so they feel heard and you will have a little more time to get to a place where you can adequately respond to the message.
Money organization you can get behind. If a software is integrated with a system like Quickbooks, you will no longer have to manually enter in your financials, saving you a great deal of time and money. Look through the format in which you are able to view all of your bills and the options for notifications when it comes to payments and outstanding accounts. This element may seem overwhelming at first, but anything to do with money can. Take the time to talk to the customer service team about how to use the service and they will show you how it actually will make the whole process a lot easier.
Try it out with a demo or free trial option. Once you have found a software that appeals to you, it should give you the option to take it for a spin and see if it fits well with you and your business. Make sure to ask any questions you have as you explore the software. By giving it a real try, you will see the whole thing is pretty straight forward and it will help you immensely with your organization and digital presence.