The holidays have come and gone and there is always that feeling of let down just because there is so much planning and preparation that goes into getting ready for the holidays. But why not keep that feeling of planning and preparation going in your business all year round so that there is always a feeling of excitement, freshness and anticipation of good things and good times? What a great way to keep the momentum going for your staff, faculty and students!
You can start by listing all of the events, both big and small that you have going on during the year. Decide how far in advance you need to start the preparation for each event and who is going to be in charge of each level of preparation. It is like planning a party, when each guest brings a certain dish or side dish to complement what you plan to serve! If you put a big calendar up on the wall for your staff and faculty to see they will be reminded of deadlines for each event. If you have staff members to help you then it is good to allocate different and distinct duties to each one. If you are a small studio and do not have any staff you might want to think of hiring at least one person part time to help you and if that is out of the question, as a last resort, find someone you can trust, (not a parent) who can assist you with the planning and preparation of each event.
For example, we do a number of customer appreciation events during each year and these need considerable planning and advance preparation to ensure that they come off without a hitch. We have one staff member who does all the ordering of food, drinks, novelty items and anything else that we need in that regard. She is responsible for ordering everything in time and lets me know by writing on the calendar when the items have been ordered and when they will be delivered. Perhaps you don’t have such a person working for you and in that case all the more reason to write those things down and place them in a prominent position to inform yourself. I personally like to use a big calendar because it makes it easy to see, at a glance that everything is in order, rather than having to look on my computer or in some book to find the answers. It is also a great way to remind myself when I need to attend to certain events.
If we are hiring anyone or a service for a particular event, I plan in advance so that I am sure to get the appropriate contracts or work orders out to whoever is coming to the event. We are busy and it is so easy to suddenly look at the date and realize that you have totally forgotten to contact the people you need to make the event successful. When you can see it in front of you it makes it so much easier to be efficient. Whether it is contacting the master teachers that you have coming in or perhaps the guest artists for a particular performance or the ice cream truck company who comes to our summer barbecue and is always a big hit, the idea is to plan and prepare way ahead of time so that the event can be fun and stress free for you.
We all put on performances of some sort during the year and it is never too soon to plan each minute detail and to have the right people in place to guarantee a huge success for you and your studio. If your studio competes in competitions being prepared for each competition is key to keeping everyone happy and excited about what both they and you are doing. Entering competitions takes a lot of advance planning. If you already compete you know exactly what I am talking about! First you choose the competition that works for you and offers the most for your students and that is on a date that fits in with your schedules. Then you need to collect the entry fees way in advance, fill out the entry forms and submit them in a timely fashion so that you are not hit with late fees. Many competitions are now offering early bird specials to encourage studio owners to go with their company and also to help them with their bottom line and planning. Oh but wait! You first have to have the cooperation of your faculty members who generally, along with you, need to select music and decide which students to use in their choreography. Maybe you don’t currently have any other faculty and in that case it is all on you to come up with idea for music, themes and choreography. For myself, I am constantly looking for music so that I can be slightly ahead of the game. It’s not always easy, as we all know to find that right piece of music that inspires us to put a number together. Now that you have that part of it in place, the planning and organization that goes into getting everyone ready for each competition is vitally important as it will prevent problems on all sides. Personally, I am not in favor of involving parents backstage at a competition or any performance. I have found that it eliminates a multitude of issues when the parents understand that their job is to make sure that the performers get where they need to go with all of their costumes intact and then that they sit and enjoy the performances without being involved in the backstage chaos. I have someone who is in charge backstage and my faculty and staff provide all the other assistance needed to get everyone ready and out on stage. There is nothing worse at a competition than parent/child trauma and it is generally easier to control the students in all aspects if their parents are not involved, so that the energy is upbeat and productive and the results are positive.
If your studio does not enter competitions then you need to plan far ahead in order to put on any type of production.
1) Decide on possible dates
2) Select a venue, hope that they have a date that suits you available and book it.
3) Make sure the contract has every detail covered in it and then get it back to them as soon as possible so you know you have the date set.
4) Contract a videographer
5) Arrange for any technical additions that you might require
6) Set up your stage manager and backstage crew to help with make-up, hair, quick changes and crowd control
7) Find some strong and eager young men to help with load in and load out of the theater
8) Assign dressing areas
9) Hire a sound technician
10) Hire someone extra for any lighting needs that are not covered by the venue
11) Organize front of house help
12) Arrange for tickets to be printed
13) Send out all information by email and hard copy to parents regarding rehearsal times, show times, backstage rules, dress rehearsals etc.
14) Get press releases ready for local newspapers to advertise the event
Show your staff and faculty, your students and parents that you are prepared in every way and there will be a feeling everyday that all is good! Eliminating unnecessary stress for all of your events will make your life so much easier and fun. Involving the right people to assist you in keeping everything well planned and prepared will keep them invested in what you are doing at your studio and keep them with you for years to come.