It really is a confronting question, isn’t it? Are you thinking of opening a dance studio? You might have had the thought once or twice, or maybe it’s an idea that has been on your mind for quite some time.

If you are thinking about opening a dance studio, odds are even more questions and considerations are probably going through your head. Okay fine -- they are swimming in your head at a rapid pace as you debate whether or not it’s a good idea.

The truth is opening a dance studio is a huge commitment, and one that should not be taken lightly. Many factors should be considered before you definitively decide.

In this post we’ll cover all the things you should consider if opening a dance studio is on your radar. We’ll also share the number one thing you can use to set yourself up for optimal success from the get go if you decide you do want to be a dance studio owner. Spoiler alert: It’s dance studio software.

Dance Studio Software: The “Secret” Key to Success

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There is no better time than the present to open a dance studio. Why? Simply because there are tools today that make the tasks of running a dance studio easier than ever before. From Google Drive to Quickbooks, e-calendars to easy to build and manage websites… All the things that were once incredibly labor intensive and often needed several employees to manage, are streamlined and cheaper than they were a decade or two ago, or even just a few years ago.

With all these tools on the market that make dance studio management easier, what’s so special about adding dance studio software to your entrepreneurial toolkit? To best answer that, let’s first dive into everything it takes to run a studio. And, hopefully by the end of this post you’ll see that investing in dance studio software can save you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars per year.

What Opening a Dance Studio Really Takes

First and foremost, to open a dance studio, you have to have a love for dance, the instruction of it, and the ability to manage many moving parts at any given time. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to make you successful. Just because you decide to be a dance studio owner, doesn’t mean you will instantly have students, nor does it mean you will start turning a profit.

In no particular order, other things you’ll need in order to open a dance studio include, but aren’t limited to:

  1. Having a really good “Why”: It’s not enough to want to own a business, you need to know why you want to own it. Having a good why will help you power through when things get tough. And, unfortunately, things will get tough sometimes.

  2. A great location with plenty of space for the amount of classes you plan to offer: You will also need to decide it you will rent or purchase your studio space. Of course sometimes this decision is made for you based on finances, and the location you choose.

  3. The perfect name for your dance studio: You want one that is memorable, but not too clever.

  4. A solid business plan and a vision for your business one year, five years, and even ten years down the road: Like Katherine Paterson said, “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” You have to know where you’re going in order to know when you’ve arrived, and to see how far you’ve come.

  5. A monthly budget so you will know how much money needs to be coming in each month.

  6. Classes people will actually want to take, and a way to determine which classes are the most popular: You also need to be clear on whether you will offer group classes, one-on-one classes, couples classes, etc.

  7. A solid pricing structure: How much do you need to charge per person, per class?

  8. Customers that are ready to sign up: Remember, these customers need to sign up not just once, but every season.

  9. A good marketing and advertising strategy to bring in a consistent stream of new customers, and to keep your current customers around.

  10. Fabulous instructors that care about your business and your students as much as you do.

  11. Upfront financing of some kind, be it through a loan or savings: You need money upfront to start making money.

  12. A billing system that keeps the invoices paid, and the lights of the studio on without hiccups.

  13. A website that includes a way for students to sign up for and pay for classes: Your sign up process should also close enrollment when the classes are full, and feature a waiting list so you know just how in demand the classes you are offering are.

  14. Communication systems and processes to keep in touch with your customers: Let them know how they are doing in their dance classes, market new things to them, keep them informed of news, etc…

  15. The right equipment: such as mirrors, good flooring, a barre, a proper sound system, etc…

  16. A good filing system for paperwork that you need to keep on hand.

  17. An onboarding process for new students.

  18. An onboarding and training process for instructors, and in house staff.

  19. A social media presence: This might not be as critical, but a way to promote your studio for free couldn’t hurt, right?

  20. A way to manage inventory.

  21. Seating and a lobby area: If you want parents to be able to watch their kids in class and/or if you want a waiting area for people.

  22. A plan for your grand opening.

  23. A plan for events and recitals.

Optional things you will need:

  1. A plan for growth and expansion of your studio: If you only plan on having one studio and limiting the number of students you serve, this might not be necessary for you.

  2. A loyalty program for long term customers.

  3. An ambassador program to reward customer advocates.

  4. An office manager: Again, this might not be necessary with studio management software (hello savings!)

  5. Retail items for sale and a space to put them.

Dance Studio Software Can Help With Many of the Elements of Opening a Dance Studio
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The list of things you need to open your dance studio can be overwhelming. It also can look incredibly expensive to get off the ground. The good news is that you don’t have to do everything on the list at once. The better news is that dance studio software can help make many of the items cheaper and easier than you might initially think.

For example, the idea of hiring an office manager can be daunting. To pay someone 40 hours a week is expensive. But, many of the tasks that an office manager would do can be handled by dance studio software!

Just a few things that your software can take care of include:

  1. Invoicing your customers when they sign up for classes: Good software will allow them to pay for the classes when they sign up, and will let them know when their credit card has expired so they can update their payment information. The best part? You don’t have to be physically present for the transaction. Your customer can take care of this from the privacy of their own home. No awkward financial conversations about bounced checks or unpaid tuition.

  2. Managing the schedule of classes: Your software can fill up the classes, set up a waiting list, and allow your customers to see who is teaching them and what days and times the classes are

  3. Keeping track of and filing paperwork: No more looking for loose papers. Everything can be managed with a paperless system. From invoices to schedules, dance waivers to liability forms - it can all be tracked with studio management software for safe keeping.

  4. Communicating with customers and prospects: Even that becomes simplified with studio management software. You can create email drip campaigns that let you send marketing and news materials to your customers and prospects with the push of a button

  5. Software also makes creating and sending progress reports a breeze

  6. Informing your customers about upcoming recitals and events you’re hosting, and even sending reminders about the new dance season of classes, become much easier to manage with studio software

  7. Responding to questions about classes, addressing complaints when they come up, and handling any other inquiries can be taken care of faster with software too

  8. Budgeting and inventory is streamlined with studio management software too: You can easily track everything from your monthly expenses to how many rolls of toilet paper are still in storage. This helps you make smarter buying decisions, and helps you to know when you can afford to expand and grow

Your dance studio software becomes an employee that works for your studio 24/7

It never needs a break, and it won’t ask for benefits.

While it’s true that dance studio software can’t help you look for a good location, and it can’t help you find the perfect employees and instructors, or determine which equipment is best, it sure can do a lot for you. It handles all the repetitive tasks that would have otherwise eaten up your time.

A dance studio owner needs that time to get their creative juices flowing, create marketing plans, and come up with new ways of bringing in business. You don’t have time to chase down delinquent payments, fuss over schedules, and worry about paperwork.

You need a simple platform that integrates with your website to fill up your classes and let you focus on other aspects of running your business. Imagine not having to worry about the little or even the big things, and not having to hire someone (or many people) to handle it for you. Imagine having data at your fingertips that tells you which classes are the most profitable, and which ones are not.

Bottom line - everything about opening a dance studio and managing it becomes much easier with dance studio software.

How Much Freedom Will Opening a Dance Studio Cost You?
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That depends. You won’t be glued to the office if you have dance studio software in your corner. In fact, with the right software, you can put systems and processes in place that allow you to take time off for conferences and vacations, or at least be home in time for dinner. Besides, it’s impossible to grow a successful business if you’re always stuck at your desk. That is a recipe for burnout, and becoming stagnant.

Good software will be cloud-based so that you can access it from anywhere. It should also be accessible by more than one person. This way you’ll have the ability to hand over the reigns to someone else when you need to take time off for any reason. Taking the day off, but still being able to take a peek and see how things are going from anywhere with an internet connect - priceless!

Are You Still Thinking of Opening a Dance Studio?

We hope this post didn’t scare you out of your desire to open and run your own dance studio. In fact, we hope it was thought provoking, and even inspiring. Here’s the thing - we know that knowledge is power, and the more you know about going into something as intense as opening a dance studio, the higher your chances are of making your dreams a reality.

When you’re ready to open your own place, we hope you will use The Studio Director as your dance studio management software. We’re all about setting our owners up for success. We want you to thrive in your new business.

That’s why we’re so dedicated to ensuring that our software is the best one that is available on the market. If you decide that you want to open your own dance studio, we are confident that The Studio Director can get your business on the fast track to more profits with less effort and time than you would without it.

Want to learn more about using The Studio Director in your new dance studio? Click here.

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