Did you know that if you search “business success tips” on Google it yields more than 139 million results in 0.82 seconds? It’s probably not surprising that people are constantly looking for ways to make running their business a little easier, and increase their odds of success. The same is probably true for you too. When you took on dance studio ownership, you likely hoped it would be a smooth path to making a decent living. While there may not be a guaranteed blueprint for succeeding, there are some things you can do to make dance studio ownership work for you.
The Key Things You Need For Your Business to Work For You
- The right software
- Systems and processes for, well, everything
- A reliable staff who can manage things in your absence
- Loyal advocates for your company
- Clear priorities and boundaries
The Right Software is Your Ticket to More Freedom
Freedom and dance studio ownership aren’t usually in the same sentence for most dance studio owners. However, it is possible to enjoy more time away from working in your business when you are using the right software.
Software makes dance studio ownership work for you because it saves you time, while making it easier for you to make money. The question is, what software do you need? There are several types of software out there that can help you run your business more efficiently, but for today we’ll just focus on these four:
- The Studio Director
- Software for creating spreadsheets and word processing
- Project management software and
- Video Conferencing software
First and foremost, you need The Studio Director studio management software. When you’re using studio management software you are freeing up countless hours of work that would otherwise be spent doing tedious tasks over and over again. What kind of tasks you ask? Things like:
- Billing your students
- Constantly updating payment information and/or chasing delinquent payments
- Scheduling classes
- Assigning teachers to your classes
- Managing your inventory
- Corresponding with prospects and current clients via email
Second, you need a good software for spreadsheets and word processing. Whether you choose to use Microsoft Office, Google Docs and Sheets or some other program, it’s important to have some kind of software for creating word documents and spreadsheets in your business. Bonus points if you use a program that allows your files to be viewed and shared anywhere with an internet connection via a cloud-based storage system.
You also need a project management tool such as Asana or Trello. One of the biggest time wasters in businesses is confusion over what tasks need to be handled, and the constant back and forth between employees and employers with regard to who should do what. With project management tools you can create a list of tasks in one place that all of your employees can see and track. You can even break things down to smaller task and assign people to each detail of every project.
For example, let’s say you’re using The Studio Director and you need to add class times and dates into the system, but you don’t have time to do it each quarter. Since more than one person in your studio can use The Studio Director, you can assign that task to one of your employees via a project management tool complete with checklists and due dates. Most of these tools have notification settings that will send you an email when anything is done on the task as well, so you’ll always know where everything stands even when you’re not in the office.
It’s also a good idea to have some kind of video conferencing software such as Skype or Zoom. What if you go to a dance conference, but one of your employees or a vendor needs a quick face to face? Having video conferencing software allows you to keep in touch even when you’re away from the studio.
Systems and Processes Increase the Efficiency of Your Business
The same way software reduces the amount of time it takes to accomplish many tasks, systems and processes for all intents and purposes does the same thing. It takes a series of things you normally have to do, and creates order to them while removing the bottlenecks that could cost precious time and resources.
For example, having a process for handling walk-ins at your dance studio will make your interactions with those walk-ins smoother, and as a result you’ll be more likely to land a new client. You obviously know that step one of your walk-in system should be to greet the person, but what comes next? What questions should be asked of the person? How should the conversation progress? Will you take their name and information in some manner so you can follow up with them after they leave?
If you don’t know how to answer these questions, you’re in need of a better system and you could be leaving money on the table.
A few of the systems and processes you should create for your business include, but aren’t limited to:
- Marketing to current and potential clients
- Interacting with current clients
- Onboarding new instructors and other office personnel
- Onboarding new students
- Teaching material to students
- Managing and marketing live events such as recitals or performances
By creating a repeatable process for each of these tasks, you’ll have less concern about making sure everything that needs to be complete for them actually gets done. It’s like creating a recipe. You’ll have a checklist of ingredients that must be added, and by following them to the letter, you’ll be assured that the recipe gets “cooked” exactly the same way every time. And, because you don’t have to think about the recipe, you won’t waste time wondering what to do next.
How can you create systems and processes in your own dance studio?
To see if there are systems and processes you can create to save time in your business first look at the tasks you do over and over again regularly in your business. Are there specific steps that need to be taken with each of these tasks to accomplish them? Can you do them in a specific order every time to get it done faster and with better accuracy?
If you answered yes to both of these questions, you’re on the fast track to creating systems and processes in your own dance studio.
Less time working in your business means more time that your business is working for you.
Having a Reliable Staff Allows You to Take Things Off Your Plate
The road to burnout is paved with too many tasks on your plate. There are few things as depressing as a dance studio owner losing the passion for their business because they are doing too many of the things in their business that they could have easily delegated to others.
You should own your dance studio, not the other way around. Business owners are not superheroes, and yet far too many try to act like they are by trying to do every single task that presents itself. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness or failure. You likely can't, and honestly shouldn't do everything in your business.
If you don't have anybody working in your dance studio that can manage everything without you being there, then don't ever expect to take a vacation, or any time off for that matter. This is not to say that you need to hand over the reins completely 100 percent of the time. Then again, if you're interested in growing and expanding your studio, by using software like The Studio Director, you technically could hand over the reins. Not only is our software incredibly easy to use, but additional staff members can be trained to use it as well in your absence. Plus, if they have any questions, they can always get help from our customer support team. Speaking of round the clock support...
The Studio Director is also a virtual employee 24/7. Even while you're sleeping or your dance studio is closed for the day, it can be collecting tuition, updating student payment information, sending out your scheduled email marketing materials, and more. In fact, you can even create drip email campaigns that email prospective customers who have created an account, but not yet enrolled in classes.
The Studio Director will remember important dates like birthdays too so you don’t have to think about wishing your students a happy birthday. Without any additional effort from you, you can easily engage with and build a relationship with your email contacts.
Did we mention it will handle the filing too? Every time new information is added into The Studio Director, it’s categorized and labeled so you never have to worry about losing anything again. No more spending countless hours looking for that pesky piece of paper with your student’s desired class days and times. Add to that the fact that with The Studio Director you can easily handle many other tasks on your plate, and it might start to feel like you already have a full time office manager as soon as you start using it.
Brand Advocates Help Your Dance Studio Work for You Too
If you already have brand advocates for your dance studio, you’re ahead of the game! If not, it’s high time you start recruiting some. When you have advocates they are your cheerleaders that will market your business better than any paid advertising campaign ever could.
Word of mouth equals instant credibility, and helps build your studio’s reputation. You could offer incentives to your brand advocates such as free classes for every referral that signs up, or cash bonuses for so many walk-ins each month. You could even give them branded shirts to wear and book bags to carry to effectively be your walking billboards.
Without much added effort, your brand advocates can help you fill your classes and inspire excitement about your studio.
Have you noticed the trend yet? The best way to make dance studio ownership work for you, is by finding ways to take your precious time out of the equation of running the business. Then, once you finally get the hang of moving yourself out of the business so that you can focus on owning the business, you need to prioritize, and create clear boundaries.
From Owned Back to Dance Studio Owner - Defining Your Priorities and Creating Clear Boundaries
Do you want to work 70, 80, 90 or more hours in your dance studio? The answer is probably no. What about being the go-to person for every single thing going on in your studio? You shouldn’t want that either. Opening a dance studio shouldn’t feel like a voluntary prison sentence. You deserve to have a life outside of your way of making a living.
Consider for a moment your top priorities in your life. Whether that is getting to your son’s piano recital on time, or catching your daughter’s softball game - think long and hard about what you really want. Then, think about how you can make your business work around that.
This might mean loosening your grip on the tasks that make your studio run. In other words, it’s time to think about those boundaries. For example, if you do hire and train an employee to manage things while you’re away, let them manage things while you’re away. No need to re-do tasks or micromanage. That’s just silly and inefficient!
Get into the mindset of no longer being a solopreneur. It may be hard at first, and there will certainly be some learning curves along the way. On the other hand, using the right software, designing systems and processes, hiring reliable people, creating loyal advocates and setting your priorities and boundaries is the difference between being owned by your dance studio, and making it work for you.
Ready to Give The Studio Director a Try?
The Studio Director is the best investment you can make in your dance studio, but we’re more about showing than telling. We have an option available for you to see if The Studio Director can help your studio and it’s FREE with no obligation to buy.
Request a Demo where you can use all the features of an example site that has been preconfigured with example studio data.
Don’t let your business takeover your life. Give us a try today!