Running a dance studio is a job like no other. Regardless of what road led you to this calling, chances are that your own passion for the art of dancing and a yearning to share that love with others has kept you doggedly pursuing your dream in the face of adversity.
It’s a noble profession to devote your life to any form of teaching, but dance in particular brings a freedom and a level of fulfillment that others may not be able to find anywhere else. That’s why they’ve come to you, and it’s up to you to make clear the value in the service your studio provides. If only that was enough to turn your studio into a success.
While a love for the art of dance will get you far, it won’t help you set your studio apart from your competition. Dance studio management, after all, is a tricky business all its own. In order to win students, you need to isolate what your studio brings that none of the other counterparts in your industry -- and especially in your local area -- have to offer them.
In a business already flooded by studios vying to expand their memberships, it may not be easy to isolate that x-factor that makes your studio unique. Thankfully, we’re here to offer you some invaluable tips about how you establish your studio as a can’t-miss destination for students.
Don’t leave the fate of your studio to chance; grasp its destiny today and read on.
Smarter, Not Harder
As you plan out your studio’s direction, be sure to keep the customer experience top of mind no matter what. Regardless of how you approach your business, you’ll need to keep this one element a priority, or the results could be disastrous. That being said, you certainly shouldn’t maintain a stagnant state of mind with regards to your studio.
In fact, being open to change can often lead you to new heights of success, demonstrating a flexibility to course-correct to find new and better ways of doing things. If some class or staff decision is failing to make the grade, don’t be afraid to act quickly. Your only way to truly fail is to stop trying, and never is this truer than in the business world.
The fact remains that you should constantly be on the lookout for a more efficient way of conducting business. In these circumstances, creativity and innovation thrive. So don’t get so caught up on the numbers and minute details like your staff size.
Ultimately, it’s not these elements that define the success or failure of your studio. It is the execution of your ideas that makes all the difference. This is where you’ll be able to decide and foster that element of your studio that makes it truly different from every other business of its kind out there.
So, as you evaluate how you can better make your studio pop on a grand scale, don’t lose sight on the underlying philosophy that will enable you to implement the concepts that boost your studio’s profile and keep students pouring into your doors for years to come.
The Ingredients You Need
As you try to discover what makes your studio different from its competition, it’s important to bear in mind that there are actually many ways in which you can set yourself apart. While you may already be employing one more of the below strategies, perhaps with a bit more attention one of these can be the key to developing a truer understanding of your studio and the distinction waiting before your eyes.
So let’s take a look at a few essential elements of a winning studio as you evaluate which route may be the best fit for your studio.
- Put your best foot forward: One way to earn a unique place for your studio is to place an emphasis on marketing and presentation. Maybe your service isn’t particularly innovative, but you can still develop a following if you present that service in a new and interesting way. Maybe you cater to a specific audience or focus in on a certain sensibility with your marketing. Whatever the case may be, never forget that your marketing is often your best opportunity for a first impression and may very well be the easiest way to stand out from the very beginning.
- Build a community: Most likely, your studio will be aiming to develop a student body in your local area, but even so, you still need to take full advantage of online technology. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become indispensable tools to spread the word about any business. Use them to educate your customers on your studio, what makes it great and why it deserves their patronage. Also, join relevant business organizations in your area to network with others in your industry and beyond, and be sure to get involved in community events to drum up brand awareness and loyalty.
- Know your niche: No matter what kind of dance studio you run, it’s important to hone in on your specific niche. This could be as simple as a specific kind of dance that you are the only one or even one of a select few to offer in your area. Maybe your instructors possess additional experience that makes your studio more attractive than others, or perhaps you have access to facilities and equipment that are particularly rare in your local area. In any case, identify what you offer and capitalize on it in your marketing collateral to ensure that prospective students are in the know.
- Keep yourself engaged: Although it may not yield immediate results, we cannot stress enough how important it is for you to stay updated on the latest trends in your industry. Sure, the community building we referenced to earlier is certainly a part of this, but it bears repeating in a more definitive manner. You owe it your students to be on the cutting edge of what’s hot and happening in dance, regardless of whether it directly impacts your lessons. Supply and demand is key to maintaining a successful studio, and knowing what kind of instruction students are looking for certainly helps you to cater your offerings and direction according to what your audience is searching for.
- Make an enticing offer: When you’re trying to help your studio stand out from a sea of competitors, one initial way to get attention is with an outstanding initial offer or guarantee. You might opt to include an incentive with sign-up, offer a free class or some other promotional deal. The details in this case may vary based on your comfort level, but the point is that potential students will be far more likely to give your studio a shot early on. Then, once you target that offer to the strongest possible prospects, you’re likely to see interest soar as a result, simply because your offer was more attractive than your competitors’.
- Pay attention to the signs: We’ve already said that you need to stay updated on what is happening in your industry and among your competitors. But you still have to keep a close eye on the tiniest indication that something new might be afoot. Only then will you be able to seize opportunities when they arise, getting ahead of other studios in your area and creating a competitive edge. In addition, don’t forget to pay close attention to your own studio’s performance. If a particular time or kind of class is really taking off, consider expanding what’s working and focusing more on that direction.
- Diversify your services: We’re not saying you should spread yourself too thin, but offering a variety of products -- especially early on in your studio’s life -- isn’t a bad idea. Not only can you better assess what classes your students really want, but you can use the breadth of services that you offer as a calling card to compete with other studios who may only specialize on one type of dance or another. Consider it an alternative approach designed to usher students in the door, one which you can always evolve out of if your studio’s success dictates such a move.
- Assess and innovate: By far, the most obvious way to get the message across that your studio is something special is to take stock of everything happening within your industry, at least on the local level, and devise an innovative new approach or service you can provide. Of course, this is often the most difficult to pull off, but if you or your team are struck with inspiration, it might be worth it to give your crazy idea a shot. You never know when your next questionable idea may turn out to be the one that comes to define your studio.
Clear Your Schedule to Focus on Future Success
You may already be starting to understand just how many approaches you can take to isolate or solidify your studio’s distinct advantage over your competition. Yet, in addition to these elements, we highly recommend that you employ a studio management software system to alleviate some of the pain and the pressure that comes along with running your own dance studio.
A sophisticated system can reinvigorate how you approach your operations, allowing you to streamline operations, billing, scheduling and countless other administrative tasks. Why spend hours at the office just trying to catch up with all your work when you can rely on automation to keep expenses down and profits up? After all, there’s no better way to optimize your studio and provide a real chance to best your competitors.
Naturally, we’re partial to our own popular software, but whether or not you opt for The Studio Director as your go-to studio management software, it’s essential that you make such a system a part of your ongoing strategy to keep your business running strong.
Here’s just a few advantages of The Studio Director:
- Save time dealing with back-end tasks
- Limit unnecessary expenses, including staff
- Access your consolidated data anywhere
- Streamline scheduling and billing interfaces
- Generate detailed and customized reports
We know you didn’t get into this business to be bogged down with paperwork, and studio management software can free up your schedule so that you can engage in your passion and maintain complete control over the direction of your studio’s growth.
Know The Value You Bring
Now that we’ve helped you better understand the importance of recognizing your studio’s strongest attributes and capitalizing on them, we hope that you feel ready to take the next step. Without action, your studio can never truly progress, and without a clear strategy in mind, your chances of success are slim to none.
However, once you are positioned to market your studio based on the features your competitors are overlooking, you’re prepared to establish it as a local institution and beyond, taking the unique fundamental elements of your organization to new heights.
But, of course, expanding your understanding and the marketability of your studio is only the beginning. There’s a whole lot more to it than just that if you’re hoping to really make the most of your dance studio.
That’s where our new eBook comes in!
Our eBook, 10 Commandments of Running a Dance Studio, is a one-stop breakdown featuring everything you absolutely need to know to streamline your studio’s operation and reach more prospective students than ever before.
We’ll discuss how to assemble and manage an elite team of professionals, the tools you need to operate at the highest levels of efficiency and the best way to approach your studio’s finances.
All that and more are included in what is sure to be the only guide you need to develop your dance studio and share your passion for dance when more people within your community.