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growing. we know that the business of dance can be incredibly challenging. 2 . Ignoring the business side of your studio to focus solely on the art of dance will ultimately lead to failure. KEEPING PERFORMING ARTS ALIVE IN THE WORLD.DANCE EDUCATION IS KEY TO INSPIRING DREAMS. AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR THIS AND FUTURE GENERATIONS… Ultimately we want you to be inspired and encouraged. artist – human being. new. adapting. Understanding the major pitfalls you may potentially face will not only keep you from making mistakes. Owning a dance studio today is more about business than ever. love of dance with the hundreds of details required to run a successful studio. As dance studio owners ourselves. and succeeding in the dance business. You must balance the We have the privilege of consulting with aspiring. We get to experience firsthand the ups and downs of starting. we want you to see the difference you make in the world by being a dance educator. You must balance the love of dance with the hundreds of details required to run a successful studio. It is a very personal business – dance studio ownership – one size does not fit all. and long time dance studio owners from around the world. but even better. but will lead you to ongoing success. changing. It is a very personal business – dance studio ownership – one size does not fit all. studio owner.
Being unclear on your vision and mission…. Avoiding feedback from students. Overlooking the power of low cost marketing….p.p. parents and staff…. Not treating the business like a business……p.p.p.12 Each section shares some insights on how to avoid them and ways to keep your passion for dance alive as you grow your business.6 4.11 9.p. Doing everything yourself……p. 10..p.HERE ARE THE TOP TEN BIGGEST MISTAKES THAT DANCE STUDIO OWNERS OFTEN MAKE.10 8.8 6.13 3 . Making it hard for people to do business with you…. Not continually educating yourself and your staff….9 7. 1.p. Avoiding social media….4 2. Putting dance first and people second…….5 3.7 5.... Lacking depth and diversity of programs……p.
dance teachers. pay bills and more in no time from a smart phone. help them by making it easy to do business with you at each step along the way. three. Your website is your billboard to the world. get text message alerts. Don’t make it hard for people to do business with you! When it comes to attracting more students.“What’s dangerous is not to evolve” YOU MISTAKE #1 . or open house. an invitation to come for a free trial class. you can one-click shop from your mobile phone. studio tour. people are going to find you through your web presence. Invite people to connect with you on social media. Often your website or social media pages are your first point of contact for people today. Rather than build barriers to accessing information they need to make a decision. and professionals embracing. What does your website say about your dance studio and is your site helping you to convert visitors into students? Most visitors of a website are searching for a site they can DO something on.MAKING IT HARD FOR PEOPLE TO DO BUSINESS WITH The dance studio owners. learning. Don’t make it hard for people to do business with you! Having a website that can be easily updated is easier now and more affordable than ever.now more than ever. and utilizing the advances that technology make available are finding success . It’s now time to relate to your website the same way that you would if someone walked through the doors of your studio or if they called on the phone. We live in a mobile world. 4 . And there are people who can do this for you at a fraction of the cost from two. pay bills and more in no time from a smart phone. It is your opportunity to make a great first impression! . now more than ever. CEO Amazon. Have up-to-date current schedule and tuition information posted. you can one-click shop from your mobile phone. We live in a mobile world. vendors. or five years ago. Provide them with easy to find contact information. get text message alerts.Jeff Bezos.com Help potential students sample the spirit and enthusiasm you have for dance education at every point of contact.
but people will never forget how you made them feel. interaction. it is a fundamental key to success.” – Maya Angelou MISTAKE #2 . They buy on how they feel about giving their money to a certain business. Most people have no problem spending a little extra money if they feel they are getting the attention they want. It starts at the first point of contact either on the phone or email and it's completed on the dance floor. adjust. Develop a reputation that will have people become raving fans about the quality of your classes. 5 . Having a customer focused dance studio business will allow you to grow year after year. Use mistakes and problems as growth opportunities to see where you can improve. You can be the reason why they come to your dance studio. Be the talk of the town for all the right reasons. and performances. people will forget what you did. and turn your students into raving fans. Research shows that customers buy on service over price.“I've learned that people will forget what you said. Your reputation will develop from how you make your students and customers feel on and off the dance floor.PUTTING DANCE FIRST. AND PEOPLE SECOND. Every interaction you or your staff has will create the culture at your dance studio. People are willing to pay for those little touch points that heighten their experience at your studio. Learn to be great with people.
Do you have a vision of your studio one. programs and training do you participate in? What are you doing to keep growing as a business owner. what they consider your superior services. faculty. mentors and information to help your business grow and thrive? Do you solve problems in a positive way? The studio owners who have the greatest success are the ones who continually want to learn and grow.NOT CONTINUALLY EDUCATING YOURSELF AND YOUR STAFF Dance is both progressive and classic as art form. If you or your staff teaches the same way you did 5.MISTAKE #3 . artist and human being? What books are you reading and blogs do you follow to sharpen your skills and stay motivated? What associations. Why would a student stay enrolled at your studio? Students come to you for. three. seminars. 10. What are you doing to keep growing as a business owner. You and your faculty have a responsibility to stay current with the trends and energy of the existing dance scene. You cannot teach well if you’re not inspired and informed. 6 . artist and human being? The studio owners who have the greatest success are the ones who continually want to learn and grow. conferences. You cannot afford to be anything less than excellent in any area of studio operation. which may include dance programs. resources. or 20 years ago. five and ten years from now? Are you setting goals each year and on a regular basis? What are your planning methods? Are you set in your ways or are you looking to find people. facility and studio management. students are apt to find another studio where they perceive they can grow and expand their artistic and technical ability.
7 . Be extraordinary at what you do best. Who is inspiring. and develop higher standards in the dance industry will benefit everyone. Who is inspiring.MISTAKE #4 . Competition drives excellence in all operations both on and off stage. All professions are fueled by competition. sing your song. and helping you to grow and be your very best self? The studio owners who are connecting with each other through interactive websites. Excellence is the source of ongoing growth and development. The reach of the internet is endless. supporting. be you. Facebook. Be extraordinary at what you do best. You can learn from masters of dance education and masters of studio management at the touch of your fingers on the keyboard.BEING UNCLEAR ON YOUR MISSION AND VISION Define and embrace your uniqueness. When we focus on the big goal – keeping dance education alive in the world – the results can be wildly positive. and helping you to grow and be your very best self? You are no longer bound by the limits of your studio walls. blogs. The ability of technology to help us encourage one another. What is going to keep you inspired through the years? Focus on finding your ‘why’ for starting. you can interact and impact people across the globe. coach. In what areas are you striving for excellence? This speaks of your uniqueness. and other communities online are learning from one another at a fast pace. Dance your dance. supporting. train. Twitter. including the world of dance. running and owning your dance studio so that you can ride out the ups and downs of the business.
my passion. my love.DOING EVERYTHING The hours can be grueling if you try to take on everything alone. Of course you want to be absolutely sure that everything is running smoothly. Dance teachers and studio owners often face demanding schedules of teaching and managing the business. energy and enthusiasm to actually build programs in your studio.you’re doing way too much yourself. There are people who are going to do what you’re doing for a reasonable salary that will provide for you the clarity. and more you can then focus on what you do best. “The advice I would give to any new studio owner or a studio owner who feels burned out or exhausted is . fundraising. you’re going to provide better customer service for your clientele and you’re going to have a life… One of the biggest mistakes I made is I worked way too hard for way too many years and I almost came to the point where I wanted to walk away from it.YOURSELF MISTAKE #5 . co-founder of DanceStudioOwner. “The advice I would give to any new studio owner or a studio owner who feels burned out or exhausted is .” – Kathy Blake 8 .you’re doing way too much yourself. web design. You’re going to provide a job for someone. my heart. but things will begin to break down if you don’t share the work.com You want your studio to be the best it can be. costume repair and alterations. When you find people that are better at various tasks such as bookkeeping. The more you outsource your weaknesses the more you find that you have the passion to keep going during the highs and lows. Trying to do it all yourself is counterproductive. but it will falter if you’re too overworked.” says Kathy Blake. because I did too much myself.
net/2010/02/10/social-media-success/ 9 . a major crossroads with the inherent transparency of social media.com/press/info. You can read Suzanne’s post. We have the privilege of both running a dance studio plus consulting with hundreds of dance studios across the world.MISTAKE #6 . You have an incredible opportunity to deepen your relationship with current and potential students when you share.T.E. You can read the most current Facebook statistics here: http://www.php?statistics Social media is growing. These dance studios are facing. http://danceadvantage. engage and promote on social media.P. They are free to use and quick to update. “S. Twitter. in many ways. And there are more than 200 million active users accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.facebook. now is the best time to get involved and learn about how you can easily add social media into your low cost marketing mix. Your Way to Social Media Success” here.AVOIDING SOCIAL MEDIA “How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” – Seth Godin You probably already know that social media is revolutionizing the way that businesses interact with their current and potential customers. There are over 500 million active users on Facebook. FourSquare. Facebook. It’s part of how people expect to connect to businesses and brands today. teach. Blogs and more all provide the opportunity to interact with your current and potential students. YouTube.
and more. Whatever you do.OVERLOOKING THE POWER OF LOW COST MARKETING “Business has only two functions .MISTAKE #7 . Look for performing opportunities by networking with local organizations such as the chamber of commerce. preschools. time and a clear vision. etc).” . What can new and experienced studio owners do to continually build student enrollment? There are inexpensive ways to effectively market your dance studio. Whether your studio is about to open. may be only a few years old. You can design numbers for varying ages and ability levels to present exciting. such as social networking. inspiring. costume discount. such as those who own yoga or karate schools. 10 . special events. free publicity. Many studio owners overlook the power of a comprehensive marketing approach that doesn’t have to cost much money – it will require planning. a dance bag or some other reward. open houses. A referral program that directly credits satisfied customers is always powerful and effective. Consider guest artist master classes or dance intensives and invite other local schools to participate. Happy students and parents will always be your most effective advertising but it is not sufficient in and of itself. never underestimate or overlook the power of low cost marketing. showcases. Now is the time to try something new and creative to get your name out there. senior facilities. boys and girls clubs. Encourage your dancers to bring in new students for a credit such as partial tuition. Look to take advantage of ways to create visibility in the community. service organizations (Rotary. Getting your name out there is a multi-faceted process. Consider the power of community outreach and involvement. churches. to advertise your studio.Milan Kundera Ongoing growth requires satisfied customers who spread the word about your dance studio.marketing and innovation. or established it is time to use new marketing techniques. flyers. Kiwanis. leadership organizations. short entertaining programs to show your work to the public. Rent available hours out at your dance studio for dance birthday parties or share space with other small business owners. and more that can build your business.
Nia. Irish Step. Offer a substantial discount to parents of registered students. and you will have more time to focus on the business aspect of owning a studio. In experimenting with adult classes. Consider adding specialty classes such as Pilates. a Latin dance aerobic program. Baby-n-Me classes offer a fun bonding experience for families through music and movement. Accept credit card payments and/or automated billing options. they are inspiring people of all ages to take dance lessons. To keep your school fresh. Bollywood. They will relate well to your younger students. Look to the trends and popularity of the dance shows on TV. Of course you will be limited by the floor space and times you have available. ask! Use a survey and modify your class offerings to keep things new and interesting. Think beyond your average class demographic and add adult. to lighten the load on the parents. Belly Dancing. continue to hire enthusiastic and qualified teachers to run classes. are all the rage for adults. Yoga.LACKING DEPTH AND DIVERSITY OF PROGRAMS One of the easiest ways to build enrollment and add revenue into your studio is to diversify and deepen your program offerings.and toddler-oriented classes. But what do your potential and current students want? If you don't know.MISTAKE #8 . such as gift certificates. while dance ranging from ballroom to Zumba. Offer an easy way for friends and family of dancers to help pay for classes or costumes. Remember…one of the easiest ways to build enrollment and add revenue into your studio is to diversify and deepen your program offerings. however there are many choices to expand your studio programs. costumes or fall tuition. Do a drawing offering up to $100 gift certificate for early registration for summer classes. and more. consider using a class card that allows people to pick and choose which classes they want to attend and rewards them for frequent attendance. 11 .
PARENTS AND . you will ALWAYS be problem-solving. . It’s not that every parent. try new methods. it’s hard not to get defensive or take complaints and concerns to heart. or entertain a different approach. when faced with a problem consider it a wonderful opportunity to improve. However it’s where you have to dig down into your commitment to success. student or teacher is right! When a parent brings up a problem or complaint. Growth occurs for dance studio owners and dance educators when they look." MISTAKE #9 -AVOIDING FEEDBACK FROM STUDENTS. listen. Trying to make problems go away is an exhausting battle never to be won."Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. learn and understand the importance of every aspect of the dance business. 12 STAFF If you are running a business. it is an opportunity for you to really take a step back and look at the situation and see if their suggestions may actually help you improve. Be open and grow. year to year. you will always be problemsolving. Trying to make problems go away is an exhausting battle never to be won. Instead.Sir Winston Churchill Regard every problem as an opportunity to grow. Do you survey your students? Are you asking them to evaluate your faculty and staff mid-year and year end? Do you do a performance evaluation on yourself and your staff? Do you truly invite feedback both positive and negative to make improvements and adjustments? Where are you resisting change in areas of your business practices? Do you take any negative comments personally or do you use it as an opportunity to make positive change? It takes sensitive eyes and ears to measure and monitor the state of affairs within your business and it can change from week to week. Dance studio ownership is a very personal business. If you are running a business. add something.
Where do you find yourself frustrated? What’s not working? What do you see that needs improvement? Do you notice any patterns or trends both positive and negative? What business practices or systems are missing that would make a difference? No action can be taken for positive change until you know what action must be taken. Remember to treat your business like a business. you must assess the current state of affairs of your business. but it has lasting value. they lack systems for managing the hundreds of details for recital and performance planning. Yes. marketing practices. entertainment.MISTAKE #10 . development and training through art…and you are providing a bright light in these uncertain economic times. class offerings. Too often dance studio owners fail to put contracts into place with teachers. website. and react to their marketing needs by not planning ahead. staff. faculty. Know your value.NOT TREATING THE BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS. You are providing education. office setup. studio space. and more. your business is service-oriented. Give your students an experience in dance education and performance they will never forget. Dancing makes people of all ages happy. What business practices or systems are missing that would make a difference? 13 . You are making an extraordinary and important contribution by running a successful dance studio. Take a look as objectively as possible at everything from your waiting room area. student retention. In every interaction on and off the dance floor you are building your future and the future of performing arts in the world. Before you can really grow.
be creative and just keep dancing.Facebook. To your success! Suzanne Blake Gerety & Kathy Blake Co-Founders. www. knowledge and information on how to run a successful dance studio. The future of the performing arts depends on you.DanceStudioOwner. Stay positive. From how to creatively market your business or bring in new student to tips for creating a memorable recital or communicating with parents effectively. adults of every age are searching for an activity that brings joy and rewarding ways to add exercise into their lives. Know the difference you make in so many lives.com We’d love to connect with you. Kids are only kids once and there is no substitute for good dance education. There is a bright and exciting future ahead for dance educators.com we offer a variety of resources for members. Find out why our members say it is their #1 source of support. recreation.WHAT’S AHEAD? Successful studio owners are resourceful and strong. or aspires to a career in dance they are coming to your studio. including advice on nearly every aspect of starting. running and growing a dance studio.com/SuzanneGerety Visit us at www. here’s how you can: Like us on Facebook: www. 14 . Regardless of whether a student dances just for fun.com/DanceStudioOwner Connect on Twitter: www.Twitter. Now more than ever.DanceStudioOwner.
15 . She is the mother of two young children and is an advocate for dance education throughout the world. Kathy Blake is one of the founders of and a consultant for www. studio splits. thriving in a suburban area of southern New Hampshire.com. She has been regularly featured in various pieces for Dance Teacher Magazine including.com.com. She is nationally known for her "Let's Learn How to Dance" instructional DVD series and has taught and performed extensively in her career. business articles. retain top talent. personal losses. Suzanne is a featured contributor in the The FabJob Guide to Become a Dance Studio Owner. is the daughter of Kathy Blake and Vice President of Kathy Blake Dance Studios. FabJob Guides have been featured in stories at The Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine sites. and has presented live workshops at Dance Media's Dance Teacher Summit in New York City and the Turn It Up Dance Challenge Conventions. As the co-founder of DanceStudioOwner. Suzanne has training and experience in communication and leadership from one of the world's foremost personal development companies. She is dedicated to helping studio owners keep their passion for dance alive as they grow their business! Suzanne Blake Gerety owner of On Pointe Media LLC.DanceStudioOwner. a collaborative online community and resource that is full of information on everything you need to know to attract more students. Her performing arts studio of over 900 students exemplifies the highest standards in the industry. and financial hardships.DanceStudioOwner. "Ask the Experts". Louis. inspire loyal faculty and staff. MO. In addition to a degree in Psychology and Child Development. She has been regularly featured in various pieces for Dance Teacher Magazine including "Ask the Experts" and has presented live workshops at Dance Media's Dance Teacher Summit in New York City and Weissman's Costume Open House in St. the parent company of www. modern. not harder. she empowers studio owners to grow their business with the tools and technology that help them work smarter. jazz as well as ballroom dancing in which she competed in both International and American Styles. For 35 years she has maintained consistent growth in the face of changing trends. tap.Kathy Blake is widely respected for her extensive life-long training in classical ballet. Her passion for dance and commitment to integrity in business practices has always overcome any challenging circumstances. Suzanne brings the resources and support to current and future dance studio owners to help them achieve success.
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