Everyone wants to know what it takes to make a studio successful and profitable! This is the magic question and we are constantly searching for what it is that the costumer is looking for and how that fits in with our core beliefs of what we want our studio to be. First, and most importantly, is that we must be true to ourselves. You know what will make you happy and what will not. Don't sell out doing something you know you will not be comfortable with because in the long run you will not be happy.

Everyone wants to know what it takes to make a studio successful and profitable! This is the magic question and we are constantly searching for what it is that the costumer is looking for and how that fits in with our core beliefs of what we want our studio to be. First, and most importantly, is that we must be true to ourselves. You know what will make you happy and what will not. Don't sell out doing something you know you will not be comfortable with because in the long run you will not be happy.

After many years of fine tuning we have come up with 9 keys that we have found to be vital to our success.

1) Market, promote and network

2) Keep in constant contact with your clients, ways to stay in touch

3) Get people on some form of automatic billing system

4) Get people to sign up for fall lessons in May or June

5) Students are there to learn, don't be a babysitting service

6) Don't let the parents run the ship, let them have input not power!

7) Get your entire staff to share your vision

8) Bring in guest teachers to do master classes, it builds lots of excitement and you get free publicity

9) Make your year end show a spectacular, use it to get new students

1. Marketing is the life blood for any business. You can be doing the greatest thing on the planet but if no one knows about it your studio will be a ghost town. Do a lot of different things to get the word out. Try to network with like businesses in your community. Karate, toy or hobby shops, the list goes on and on. Learn how to write a press release.

2. Keeping in constant touch with your customers so you are constantly in their minds. Ways to do this : sending out birthday cards to students, having a parent get together party at your studio, sending out surveys to find out what they like and don't like about the studio. Newsletters and e-mail blasts are a great way to promote upcoming events. Do some simple customer appreciation events at the studio like having an ice cream welcome party where you can show parents how to make their children's buns for class or do face painting

3. It is important to try to get them on auto pay so you don't have to chase them down for money! It can be as simple as having them leave a credit card on file and arranging a date with them when you will be withdrawing their payment. We suggest the 1st or 15th of the month It will give you great peace of mind to know exactly when your payments will be going into your bank account

4. If you get your schedule done early, you will be the first activity they plan for. You will also know in June which classes are full and which ones you should focus your advertising dollars on.

5. This one is very important. Make sure your students progress every year. If you can show people that you are an institution of advancement you will build a great loyal clientele. Build or use an established syllabus that can be followed by your faculty. Your reputation is very important and while we can't make everyone happy, if we are training the students and make it a pleasant experience for the parents when they walk into the studio the word will get aroundquickly!

6. I have seen many studios that parents have run into the ground because they are running the ship. Don't let them know how much money you make, how decisions are made and what all your plans are for your business. Be careful of parents that are working for you at the front desk or as managers. If they start to tell you what you should do or what you are doing wrong, you may have a problem. Try to hire people that are not your customers.

7. Once you have acquired the right people it should not be a problem for them to share your vision. Help them see your vision by giving them written manuals and by working with them hand in hand to help them succeed. Make sure that your front desk person is a friendly, outgoing person who knows the classes you offer and is good on the phone.

8. Bring in guest teacher to do master classes at your studio. It really does not matter the level of your students. What it will do is creates a lot of excitement and you can use press releases about the event to give you free publicity.

9. We never use the word recital. Not that there is anything wrong with the word but it does give people the idea that the performances will be very long. Rule number one of showbiz is to leave them wanting more. Try to keep your performances on the short side. Your parents will love you for it. Do 2, 3 or more shows if you have to. Then when you invite prospective new clients to the show they will see that you are different from the school they used to go to that did a four hour recital! Oh by the way we call it a showcase. As you know any business has ups and downs and we hope these 9 keys will help you to achieve your ultimate goal.