As the calendar year comes to an end and you are well into your season, you probably have a good idea of where you are in terms of student headcount and how many student hours that represents. You can also see where you are in relation to last years numbers. I always encourage studio owners to look carefully at all their numbers because its not just about how many students you have, but how many classes they are taking. In some years our student count might have been down, but student hours were up, and that translated to a good bottom line.

As the calendar year comes to an end and you are well into your season, you probably have a good idea of where you are in terms of student headcount and how many student hours that represents. You can also see where you are in relation to last years numbers. I always encourage studio owners to look carefully at all their numbers because its not just about how many students you have, but how many classes they are taking. In some years our student count might have been down, but student hours were up, and that translated to a good bottom line.

Whether you are having an up or a down year, you can add to your bottom line with very little effort and money, simply by having your existing students opt for an additional class. This is a great time to reach out to your current student base and see if their school schedule now allows them to participate in another class. It may be that their Thursday afternoon, as an example, was taken up with an afterschool activity that has now has ended. To let our students get a feel for whats available, we like to hold a Try a New Class week the second week in January. Heres all it takes:

* Send a letter home with each student and follow it up with an e-mail blast to your current student base. Tell them that they can try any class, space permitting, during this week, free of charge. Explain that space is limited so they will need to call in advance to see if they can take the class.

* Make sure that your faculty understands the purpose of this week and that these introductory classes that will be easy for new students to follow. The last thing you want is a teacher being overly demanding when you are trying to attract new students.

Now lets run the potential numbers. Lets say you currently have 100 students and can get 15 of them to try a new class. If 10 of them sign up for an additional class, you would have 10 more student hours. Now, multiply that number by the price per class (prorated to the number of classes left in your semester) and you can see how this simple and cost-effective marketing idea can add to your bottom line. If you have a few hundred students, you can see how a simple marketing technique can really add to the numbers you are bringing in!

The best part of this type of marketing is that you are reaching people who already know you. You dont have to sell them on your studio you're just getting them to buy more of what they like. It is a much easier endeavor and you can usually expect a great return on your investment, which in this case is minimal. This is the same approach that many businesses use. Think about any fast food restaurant you frequent. You order a burger and they ask if you want fries and a soft drink with it. You may have the option of ordering a giant burger or one with cheese and some other side, and they'll encourage you to have dessert, too. None of this happens by accident. The same script is recited over and over in an attempt to get you to buy more of what you already are buying. It doesnt cost them any more to get you to buy more. All they do is ask! And because you have already walked in the door and are already prepared to buy, there is no hard sell.

When it comes to numbers, look at all areas, to see where you are and where you can grow your business. Always look for ways to get those who already are buying from you to buy more.