You hear it all of the time: owning a dance studio is very different than simply having a passion for dancing. It’s easy to roll your eyes at people that say this, especially if this has been a goal of yours for a long time. We all like to think that we are the exception, that we are not going to have the same experience that others do.
If you have yet to embark on this challenging (yet rewarding) adventure, you are smart to get on the internet and learn everything you can about what you are getting yourself into. If you already have opened your business, don’t feel bad that you are catching up on the intel now.
Opening your own dance studio will never be a breezy process. Here are some of the things that everyone is bound to experience once they develop the courage to take the plunge.
You have to Get Real with Yourself
Being the boss means hardening up and being strong enough to make the tough decisions that are going to keep your business running. This means:
- Every day will not always be fun and that is okay, running a business means getting serious sometimes.
- Learn how to listen to your gut, if you do not feel right about an employee or a big purchase you have to trust yourself.
- You need to know how to respond to complaints thoughtfully, not emotionally. Rather than responding reactively, be in control of the communications you have.
- Knowing what your strengths are and using them to your advantage. If there is something that you know you are not good at, find someone you know that you can depend on to do the job.
- Figure out what knowledge you do not have about running your business and look into it. Resist the temptation to cling to the idea that you know what to do, or that you have everything under control.
You will Quickly Become Aware of what you Did Not Plan For
Planning for all possible outcomes takes a special kind of mind. The majority of dance studio owners find themselves overwhelmed with all of the things that they didn’t see coming. In order to plan adequately for this line of business, you need to focus primarily on:
- How you are going to become known. You should always have a plan for what is coming next in terms of marketing. It is very difficult to gain interest if you just sit back and wait for it. Every day of your year should include some action that could grab a new customer’s attention.
- Setting big, yet realistic goals. Do you know how many students you hope to draw? What is your ideal revenue? What kind of retention to you require to continue functioning? You have to think ahead about what it is going to take for your studio to survive.
- Growing larger. Once you have figured out a successful flow to your business, you need to know what you are going to do if your business begins to flourish. Do you have a plan for fitting twice the amount of 4 year olds into a ballet class than you had last year?
Are you the only one teaching classes now? If so, you can’t possibly teach twice as many classes and continue to wear all of the other hats that come with being an owner. You need to be prepared for your success or it could actually end up hurting you.
Finances are Complex
The money situation has to be the most intimidating part of running your own company. It is scary before you get started and it continues to be scary, even when you are succeeding. The only way to feel confident about your finances is with the right guidance and exceptional organization. The most important information you have to be aware of is:
- how much money you have
- how much you are able to spend
- how much you can afford to borrow
- how much you can afford to lose
Money is what is going to make or break you, so you have to aware of every aspect of it in relation to your business. Find a way to monitor your cash flow and keep all of your accounts, bills, and debts in order.
Competition is Real and You need to Stand Out Somehow
Being competitive may or may not be in your nature, but you need to embrace your competitive side for your business’s sake. In order to begin assessing your best plan for this you have to know who you are marketing to. Many dance studios thrive off of teaching little girls between 2 and 11 years of age.
Still, they aren’t the ones that are doing the research and finding the right kind of studio for themselves, so you have to consider the parents most of all. You can also find a lot of students by connecting with local schools and finding a way to link your business to the community.
If you haven’t thought of these already, other helpful marketing tools include:
- Printing flyers that advertise your studio. On the fliers you can list the types of classes that you offer, where you are located, your phone number and a link to your website. Think carefully about where you place these fliers and where your target customers are likely to spend the most time. Find locally supportive cafes and co-ops that have bulletin boards that display information like yours.
- Using the internet for all of it’s glory. Face it, no one uses phonebooks anymore. They use the internet. When parents are looking for a local dance studio to sign their kid up for a few classes, they are going to google it. Because of this, your internet presence has to represent your studio in the best light possible. It is important that you have a well-designed website and that it pops up when a potential client searches for keywords that would pertain to your business. You can make your website more inviting by displaying photos of classes and videos of performances. Websites also usually include online registration, schedules, dance teacher profiles links to your other social media accounts.
- Local magazines are a reasonable method of advertising because ads are inexpensive and they directly speak to those in a specific audience. There are magazines specifically dedicated to the arts or locally built businesses. Having an ad in such magazines would be sure to attract those who would likely be attracted to a business like yours.
- Offering free performances to the public to show off the skills of your dancers. Putting these shows on ensures friends of the family and potential customers viewing what you do. This is sure to help gain interest and spread the word around the community of the special experience you offer to those desiring more involvement in dance.
You have to Get Comfortable with Technology
You do not have to be a technology wiz or connoisseur, but you should be knowledgeable of the benefits it presents to your business. Embracing technology and understanding the assistance it can provide can actually give you more ease in your functionality if you let it.
With the basics under your belt you will have a plethora of tools at your service organizing your company and allowing it to grow. With the right technology you can be more functional by:
- being able to access all of your important data no matter what computer you are on or where you are located by use of cloud softwares
- giving your customers the ease of accessing any knowledge they want to gather about you, including schedules or customers reviews, right from their homes
- keeping track of all of your bills and transactions in an organized program
- play videos for your students through the internet that inspire them or help them to understand a certain technique
Becoming Part of a Community
Being part of your surrounding community helps a great deal when it comes to commenting to the public what you have to offer. You can do so my getting involved with:
- town wide flea markets
- any town celebrations or specialty local events
- season music festivals
- school and church events
- performances and events at nursing homes
- local girl scout groups
- hospitals and childcare
Dance Studio Software can Solve all of your Problems
By using a good dance studio software, you can actually avoid the stress and mess that many dance studio owners are faced with daily. Some examples of the tools it provides you with are:
Easy billing. Billing your clients can become confusing fast, especially if some are paying by the class and others are paying in full at the beginning or at the end. You need to have a system, more importantly one that keeps track of each of your clients payment status. You can also manage the payment of your employees and any other accounts you regularly pay into. You no longer have to worry about manually filling out invoices, the software handles it all.
Constant communication with your clientele. Your customers thrive off of being a part of your artistic community. They enjoy the fact that they are a part of your respectable and unique endeavor, and the more you keep them included the better. In addition, those that have concerns want to feel that they have been heard and understood.
Keeping in touch with all of these people proves to be difficult when you have a studio to run and your own life to live. Management software responds immediately to concerns with insurance that you will be notified and in touch soon. You can set up extensive notifications to keep you aware of all of the activity occurring in your email and social media, specifically organized by defining details.
Communication templates for customers can also be created in order to:
- confirm class enrollment
- send invoices to customers
- compile progress reports
- send acknowledgment of anniversaries or birthdays
- communicate special events you are hosting
Organization of files and sensitive data. Filing all your important information digitally will save you stress, time, and money. You will no longer have to print out all of your forms and receipts, everything can be done via computer. This makes it incredibly easy when tax season comes around or if you need to refer to last month’s expenses in order to predict what future months might look like.
You need to find the Software that is Right For You
There are many dance studio management softwares out there. Researching them can be intimidating, but try not to think too hard about it. The most important thing is that you find the software easy to use and that you are happy with the service that is provided to you.
Try out the program for yourself to see if it suits your needs, and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact the customer service line. Remember that the purpose of the software is to give you a sense of ease. Leave the struggle behind and give yourself the opportunity to focus on the real reasons you started this business in the first place.