If you are considering opening up your own dance studio, you probably have some friends or mentors that already have done so. Hopefully, that means you have been able to observe the kind of roles a studio owner has to play, and that it is not as simple as having a passion for dance.
Your talents as a dancer have brought you this far, but there is so much more that is required of a business owner, and you want to be ready to take this on if you are serious about it. You will need money, business smarts, and be extremely organized.
To help you understand exactly what this venture will entail, we have constructed a list for you to look over and get your wheels turning. With a good plan, you will be well on your way to making this dream of yours a reality.
Shadow at a Studio you Respect
In order to understand the ins and outs of running a dance studio, it will help you a lot if you have a place you can apprentice and take some pointers from. Choose someone that wants to see you succeed and does not view you as a threat to their own business. During this time, observe the things you respect about the business and what things you want to do differently.
- The common ups and downs of the business
- What problems occur and how they are solved
- How money comes in and out of the business
- The different roles that the staff members play
- How the studio markets themselves
- How communication with students and parents is handled
Determine how Many Students you will have from the Beginning
Usually, dance studio owners go into business confidently knowing that they already have enough of a following to carry out classes successfully right from the get-go. Knowing the minimum number of students you will need to support the business getting started and who you can be sure will be ready to sign up will help you decide if you are in a place to get things going.
If you do not have a big enough following yet, some ways for you to find more students are:
- Offering dance services to local schools, gyms, and churches
- Giving discounts to people you know who get their friends to sign up
- Advertising for your studio at nearby businesses that are not competitors, but will have the clientele that would take an interest in dance
- Letting newcomers have their first class for free or at a discounted rate so they can see how great the environment is that you have created
Construct a Solid Business Plan
No matter what industry you are in, having a business plan is an essential part of getting on your feet. Some people find the idea of a business plan intimidating, but in reality, it will only help you clarify exactly how you’re going to make it all work. Your plan should define how you are going to go about the first 3 to 5 years of your business and what advances are necessary to ensure that you will continue to grow.
To create your business plan, you will need to include the following:
Executive Summary. This portion should summarize exactly what it is that you intend for this business to be. This should not be more than a few sentences. People tend to have an easier time making their summary last, as they have covered all of the other details, making it easier to determine the main point of focus and theme throughout the plan.
Company Description. The description of your company is also what you will use to pitch your company when you are marketing it. This usually includes the services you plan to offer and what sets you apart from the other companies similar to yours in your industry.
Analysis Of Your Market. To adequately assess who you will be marketing to, you will have to do some serious research on your industry and your competitors. This section should include all the details you gather about the size of the dance industry in your area and how you will fit into this equation. Start off by making a list of all the dance studios that you will be in direct competition with and the number of students they serve. This will help you to determine how many students you should be bringing in and to define your pricing structure.
Products And Services You Will Provide. Once you have thoroughly analyzed your market you can decide the services that you can offer to attract the widest range of students. Consider how your services will benefit your customers and what more you can do to provide the things that are missing in their lives. This section will also include any other ideas you have of bringing in some extra income outside of classes and memberships, such as swag and dance apparel.
How You Will Market Your Studio. This is where you will form your marketing plan and figure out the tools you will need to reach your market. Without customers, you will not have a business. This is why it is imperative that you are making every effort you can to get the word out and make sure every potential student is aware of your existence. You may also want to include how your marketing strategy will continue to change and evolve as you reach certain goals you have made within your plan.
Your Financial Position And Requirements. The final necessary section of your business plan is the funding plan and your financial expectations. If you are in need of a loan to help get you off your feet, having a transparent and organized assessment of your current financial position and what you will need to make it all work will show your potential investors that you know what you’re doing. This plan will also help you to understand where your revenue will come from, how much your bills will cost you, and how you will be able to grow.
*Be sure to check out our other post: 7 Tips for Owning a Successful Dance Studio.
Be Smart about the Location you Choose
Once you have figured out how the business will run and what your financial situation is, you will be able to start looking for the location of your studio. You will want to do it in this order so that you know how much of your money can support the rent and extra costs that will come with the location you decide on.
Remember that you will have monthly payments that you will have to meet, and you will want to be very clear on what those are, along with any unforeseen payments that could come along. If you decide to buy the building, you will be responsible for maintenance costs. Other things to consider when scoping out locations are:
- How visible would the studio be from the street and how much traffic will go by that might notice you
- The safety of the neighborhood and how this will affect parent’s comfortably bringing their children there
- The demographics of the neighborhood and if the people will find your services appealing
- How close the location is to your competitors
- If there are easy parking options for your students and their parents
- What other businesses are around and if you can partner with them in any way to help you bring in more customers
- If there are enough rooms for you to carry out the classes you want, make an office for yourself, provide changing rooms for your students, etc.
Know how many Staff Members will be Necessary to Run the Studio Adequately
Do you plan to teach all of the classes or will you be bringing in other teachers as well? Who is going to clean the studios, lobby area, and bathrooms? Many people go into a new studio thinking that they can do it all, but the amount of work that needs to get done will pile up fast.
This is why it is necessary for you to make a list of all the things that will need to get done and how many people you will need to accomplish them. On the flip side, don’t go crazy and hire a person to do each task. Figure out how much each person can take on and the most organized way you can give your staff multiple roles.
The more organized you make the systems, the fewer people you will need to carry them out. This is why so many dance studio owners end up deciding to use dance studio management software. It not only provides them with a guide to adequately carry out their management duties and market their studio, but it also allows for a smaller staff and lowered labor costs.
Utilize Dance Studio Management Software
Studio management software will help you through all of the work that gives most studio owner’s headaches and anxiety attacks. It puts the important things into focus and makes sure that you are remaining on track. It does the work of 4 staff members so you will not have to worry about hiring, managing, and firing employees.
Some other benefits that studio management software provides are:
Less Papers To Keep Track Of. Enrollment, billing, and all other documentation will be carried out through the software’s platform. This way everything will all be organized into one place that you can access with a click of a button. No more time wasted on filing papers and searching through piles. The software will also analyze all of the data being stored and provide you with analytics that will track trends in your business so you can make well-informed decisions as you move forward.
More Time For Your Life Outside Of Work. So many small business owners spend any extra time they have in bed or just trying to keep their house clean. This is no way to live, you should be able to catch up with your friends on a regular basis and spend the holidays with your family. Using software will take a great weight off your shoulders and allow you to have a better work-life balance.
The Ability to Enjoy the Business you Created
Software will relieve you of a large amount of the stress that comes with running a company. People do not start a business so that they will be worrying about it all of the time, they do it out of love for the craft. Give yourself the opportunity to truly enjoy the place that you have created.
The more organized that you are, the easier time you will have opening up your dance studio. Get yourself prepared and focused with a good dance studio software program. Engaging in these services will not only support your management systems, but it will also provide you with a customer service team that will be ready to give you advice whenever you need it. For more information on dance studio software and how it can help you open up a successful studio of your own, contact our team today!