Even the most passionate and creative dancers that dream of opening a studio start with a business plan. It’s easy to get carried away with the exciting elements of organizing classes and recitals, but you need a road map to help your studio grow strategically. A business plan is that road map. In its simplest form, it’s a document that lays out your studio’s future goals and how you plan to achieve them. It can be much more than that, though. A solid dance studio business plan can be the foundation that keeps your studio bustling and busy for years to come. Here's where to start when creating your business plan.
What You Need To Open A Dance Studio
In addition to your love of dance, you will need space, funding, and all necessary licensing to open your studio. Before you begin work on your complete business plan, you may want to make a running list of these essentials to help guide you.
The most important thing you need for your studio is up-front capital for dance studio expenses. This amount will vary based on the location and size of your space. Whether you buy or rent, your studio itself will likely be the largest cost associated with your dance studio finances. Beyond that, utilities, flooring, and equipment will be essential before you get up and running. You should also factor in compensation for teachers and any other positions you plan to hire.
Furthermore, every state has licensing requirements for a range of businesses. This is particularly important if your studio will offer classes for children or individuals with special needs. Speaking with a local business law attorney to find out what is required and how much any licensing, permits, or other legal fees will cost can be beneficial.
You can find a full breakdown of your estimated dance studio costs in our earlier post. These essentials will get your studio up and running and are important to lay out in detail within your dance studio business plan.
What To Include In Your Dance Studio Business Plan
To build a successful studio, there are a few things you should consider including in your business plan. These elements will help you lay the foundation for a successful dance business. If you have multiple partners, create these together so you can arrive at a dance studio business plan everyone can agree on.
1. Executive summary
Before you dive into the nitty gritty details, it is best to provide some basic information about your dance studio. This is where you will outline your core values and objectives to set the focus for the rest of your business plan.
This is also a good place to include a mission statement that clearly defines the “why” behind your dance studio. Think about what you strive to offer your students, employees, and community and explain how you will proudly deliver that here.
2. Company description
Expand on your executive summary with facts regarding what your dance studio has to offer.
This is where you can dive into details about how you’ll contribute to the dance industry in your local area. What sets you apart from other studios? The best way to complete this section is to expand on your professional experience and what makes your team unique.
3. Market analysis
Now it’s time for some serious data. A well-written business plan includes a competitive analysis. This is critical to explain how your studio stacks up against other studios. Do extensive research on the audience you’re targeting. Be honest about any potential challenges.
Here are some questions you should write answers to:
- What are the population demographics of your area?
- Is this demographic a good target for bringing in a steady stream of dance students?
- How many studios will you compete against for students?
- What are your competitors doing to be successful?
- How will you remain competitive in this market?
- What challenges will you face in reaching your targeted demographics?
4. Organization and management
Use a flow chart to lay out which team member is in charge of what at your dance studio. Include a description of each employee’s duties and responsibilities. If you hope to expand your management team, discuss the positions you would eventually like to recruit.
You should also disclose what type of business you’re establishing. Will it be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or another type of business structure? This will affect your taxes and personal liability, as well as the paperwork you need to file to register your business in your state.
5. Products and services
Here is where you get to talk about your passion. Simply put, what type of dance studio are you opening?
Discuss the different types of classes you plan to offer. Be specific about how long each class will be and whether you plan to divide them up by levels of experience. Will you offer private lessons in addition to traditional group class settings? Will you host special events or recitals? Do you plan to compete in competitions?
Provide information about the unique aspects of your curriculum. Again, this is to make your studio stand out.
6. Financial projections
Think of this section as your dance studio costs and revenue blueprint.
Whether you already have the money for startup costs, or will be using investors or a bank loan, be clear about how you plan to get started. Use graphs, charts, and/or spreadsheets to detail your initial and monthly expenses, as well as projected sales. What costs will be involved? Consider your studio expenses, teacher salaries, and any software you use to automate key processes.
This is also where you should disclose the structure you plan to use for charging your students. How much will they pay per class? Will you include an annual registration fee? Consider how often you’ll host recitals and how much you’ll charge for a ticket. Do you have plans to rent out your space or sell apparel?
Don’t leave anything out when it comes to the money coming in and being spent. This will give you a realistic idea of what to expect on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. This section can and will change over time as you learn more about the business, competitors, and your community.
7. Marketing strategy
There are endless ways to implement a marketing strategy so you can attract students. This is where you’ll generally discuss how you plan to do that.
Whether it’s through social media, in-person referrals, newspaper advertising, or a combination, develop a plan and break down the cost of each method.
Create an appendix for supporting documents and other materials. This may include various contracts, permits, licenses, and credit histories.
If you are seeking financial investments for your dance studio, you may also wish to provide resumes and letters of reference that speak to your reputation and experience.
While it may seem like there are a lot of moving parts, any dance studio owner will tell you that the journey is worth it. A dance studio plan can help you turn your vision into reality.
If you’re interested in learning more about what it takes to run a successful dance studio, The Studio Director can help. Our dance studio software can create a seamless way of tracking enrollment, billing, and much more. It takes the guesswork out of many of the ongoing tasks required for your studio.
We've also created Dance Studio Ownership 101, a free eBook with expert advice on creating a business that will thrive. Download it now to learn more about opening your dream studio.