If being a dance studio owner were easy, odds are more people would be opening them up for themselves. However, as most of us know, it's not always easy to run your own business, regardless of the service you’re providing. The truth is that the day-to-day operations of running any business can prove difficult. The dance studio business is no different. The good news is that you can use studio management software to streamline your workload and take your dance business to the level of success it deserves to be at.
The Top Reasons Dance Studios Fail
What is it that makes a dance studio fail? If you look closely, you’ll see the elements that cause the most trouble and can ultimately lead to a dance studio’s doors closing.
Reason #1 - Your studio suffers from disorganization of important company files.
Student records, invoices, credit card information, inventory records, etc… These are some of the files that a studio needs to keep organized in order to run efficiently. When you or a member of your team are constantly losing track of these types of files - time is wasted, bills go unpaid, late fees can be an issue, inventory isn't kept up-to-date, classes can get over or under booked, and the list goes on and on.
What if your business is audited and you can’t provide the proper records to the Internal Revenue Service? The tax penalties alone that could result from not having all of your paperwork in order could force your doors to close. Of course this is a worst case scenario, but it really drives home the point of just how important it is for you to have a good record keeping system.
With the right studio management software organization of files will no longer be an issue. Imagine for a moment having all of your student records, class lists, instructor information, credit card info, inventory records, and more all in one place. That's exactly what The Studio Director offers. Everything you need is located in one spot, and can be searched and accessed from anywhere that has an internet connection.
- You'll have thorough records of your accounts receivable and accounts payable.
- Class enrollment is linked to billing, so you never have to worry about whether or not someone was invoiced or if they paid for their class.
- Gone are the days of filing cabinets and endless piles of paperwork. You won't waste time hunting looking for that one piece of email correspondence you meant to answer, or that single invoice you need to send out, or anything else for that matter. All of your important documents are categorized and indexed safely on our cloud based system.
- You don’t have to download anything onto your computer either. Since The Studio Director hosts the application on a secured Internet server, all you need is a computer with Internet access and a Web browser (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari). You won’t have to worry about upgrading your software. Any time there is an upgrade, it will be instantly implemented on your account.
- You can easily import your current information from any system into our software as part of the setup. Within hours, your studio can be up and running more efficiently than ever before.
- All the data is stored securely, and we handle backups regularly as well. You don’t even have to think about it! If you ever do want a backup of your data for your own studio however, all you need to do is request it and we’ll send you a complete download of it.
Reason #2 - Your studio has trouble attracting and/or retaining enough students to keep its doors open.
First, you have to attract students to your studio. Once they are there, it's your job to wow them and convince them that you have the classes they need for the type of dance instruction they're looking for. Then, after they enroll, you have to make good on any promises made. You'll need classes that start on time and that are scheduled at times your students can actually show up for. You'll need instructors that are well-versed in the type of dance that students want to learn. At this point you should be set for life, right? Wrong! Getting people in the door isn't enough anymore.
Convincing someone to try that first set of classes doesn’t guarantee that you will have a customer for life. One way to retain customers is to communicate with them regularly. They want to hear from you, and not just when the bill is due. A happy customer is one that feels appreciated and cared for. Should an issue come up, it must be attended to in a timely manner as well. Your students will also want progress reports to let them know how they are performing.
Keep in mind though, even the happiest of customers won’t always stick around. People move, tastes change, and other factors could be in play. Therefore, not only do you need to retain as many customers as possible, you also need to consistently be marketing to new prospects.
Marketing to your current students as well as your list of leads will be easier with good studio management software. You need software that allows you to easily send customizable marketing messages to your entire email list with your studio’s branding.
With The Studio Director software you’ll have the capabilities for:
- Mass emailing and texting
- Email templates; automatic drip campaigns for prospects and new customers
- Automated birthday greetings and more
Reason #3 - Studios fail because of poor management of schedules, enrollment, and class capacity.
Though this may seem like common sense, it’s important to note - If you're hosting classes at a time that no one can attend, odds are you'll have trouble getting any students enrolled. For example, if you're trying to attract grade school students, you probably shouldn't host a class during regular school hours. It's also probably going to be a bad idea to host a class too late at night which could interfere with bedtimes for young children if they’re your target market.
Let’s say you have found the perfect time to host classes. Great! Now your goal may be to enroll as many students as possible, but you should also ensure there's a proper student to teacher ratio. Yes, more students in a class means you’re making more money, but be careful not to put too many students in one class. When a class is overpopulated, it's far too easy for some of the students to slip through the cracks and have trouble retaining what they are being taught.
It’s also worth mentioning that class capacity isn’t just about having a good student to teacher ratio. You must keep in mind how big the classroom is as well so that students will have enough room to move around and perform the moves they're being taught.
Studio management software can help you manage class sizes, schedules and enrollment. Using The Studio Director you can set up all of your class schedules, assign teachers, and enroll students in the various classes. No one else can enroll after a class fills up, so you won’t have to worry about overbooking issues. This also gives you valuable data such as which classes are the most or least popular, whether or not you should combine class times, when to add time slots, and/or when it’s time to hire additional instructors.
You don’t even have to be in the office to enroll students or collect payment for classes. Your customers can use a password protected and secure web site to view and edit with your studio’s branding to register and pay for classes in their own time. Our software will even automatically send notices to your students letting them know when a payment is due, and when their credit card information needs to be updated.
Reason #4 - You don’t know your numbers.
When you don’t know how much money you are making or spending, it’s easy to run out of cash. That can lead to bounced checks, unhappy vendors, and other unpleasant scenarios. Do you know exactly how many students you need in every single class to keep the lights on and the doors open? It is critical that you have a number in mind to aim for to ensure that you keep your budget in check. You also must prepare for unexpected situations such as slow seasons, inventory damage, and needing to bring on additional staff members.
Having the right studio management software will ensure you always know the status of your business’s finances. With The Studio Director you’ll always have clear numbers related to enrollment, revenue and all of the data that you may need to run and grow your business. There won’t be any guessing about how much money you will make each quarter, and you’ll know exactly what is in the budget for expenses.
Reason #5 - Sometimes the reason a studio fails is a result of not having a grade A team.
Can one person kill a business? Probably not. However, you don’t want to skimp on things like having a decent accountant, a friendly front desk manager and stellar instructors. Having a lot of people on your staff can feel overwhelming, but having studio management software on your side can at least help ease tasks like payroll and scheduling.
Think of The Studio Director as an an extra employee that works 24/7 for you, and doesn’t have to paid overtime! Sure, you will still need physical staff members, and they have to be top notch, but you have to admit that it would be nice to have extra help that doesn’t cost you an additional 40 billable hours every week.
Reason #6 - You’re trying to teach classes no one wants.
You probably already know that you should niche down because you don’t want to do the same thing every other dance studio is doing. On the other hand, you must have classes that the public wants in order to keep people coming to your studio.
Remember earlier when we mentioned our software can help you determine which classes are the least popular? If you’re finding that all of your classes are struggling with enrollment, it might be time for a change.
Perhaps you could send out an email to your lists asking them what kinds of classes they would like to see in the future? Who knows? You could learn about a demand that you could supply that makes you the most popular studio in your area!
Reason # 7 - You’re using the WRONG studio management software.
To be fair, no, using the wrong studio management software likely won’t be the main thing that kills your dance studio’s chances of success. However, just as many of the reasons listed above can contribute to the failure of your business, using the wrong studio management software certainly has the potential to cause you troubles that could eventually lead to your doors closing.
For example, if your current software is making you spend more time at the office instead of less, something is wrong. With The Studio Director our goal is to make your life easier, and help you streamline your business. We pride ourselves on exceptional support, fabulous customer service, and ease of use. If you’re not experiencing this with your current software, we suggest you switch!
Can The Studio Director Help Your Dance Studio Succeed?
As you have seen in this post, having the right studio management software can help you avoid trouble in many of the departments that can lead to the failure of a dance studio. We may be a little biased, but we recommend you choose The Studio Director as your studio management software. Don’t take our word for it though. Request a Demo where you can use all the features of an example site that has been preconfigured with example studio data that can help you determine if The Studio Director can help your studio.
We Want to See Your Dance Studio Succeed!
Want to learn more about becoming successful as a dance studio owner? Download a free copy of our eBook: 10 Commandments of Running a Dance Studio today.