44 Steps: How To Succeed In All 5 Aspects Of Life

Being a dance studio owner in this day and age requires a multitude of talents not only artistically, but also businesswise and psychologically. So if we are going to be reasonably well-balanced and remain relatively sane, it is important that we pay attention not only to running our business and being creative, but also to helping ourselves maintain a good standard of physical and mental health.

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Time Management: Making It Work For You Part I

Owning a studio is a tremendous challenge in the best of times. Not only do we have to provide an environment that is warm and welcoming, but we also have to make sure the business side of it is functioning smoothly, that our teachers and students are all happy and productive and that parents are satisfied with what we are doing. No problem, right? Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that in most cases we also have to create exciting choreography and sound lesson plans in our spare time! Time is almost always an issue because there are so many branches that have to be covered in one single day that it can sometimes become daunting and overwhelming. Apart from the normal day-to-day running of the studio there are very often issues that pop up that need immediate attention. Sounds like a nervous breakdown waiting to happen, doesnt it? I know that every studio owner has had moments when they are inundated with things that need to be fixed or resolved, all of which requiring time that simply doesnt seem to be there. Suddenly you feel that anxiety building up inside you and for a moment you just want to forget the whole thing. Does that ring a bell? Trust me I have definitely had those feelings from time to time over the past 22 years. So, what can be done to alleviate this stress? First of all, take a deep breath and try to relax your brain for a few minutes. Find a relatively quiet area, sit down with either Post-its or a pad and get ready to retake control.

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Staying Connected To Your Customers

Today more than ever it is important to stay connected with your customers, the parents of your students. Consistent follow-up requires a system, but it can be as easy as creating a simple schedule of dates on which to send out greetings, cards and e-mail updates. The good news is that once developed, it is easy to implement and, over time, you'll reap the benefits of a steady stream of repeat business and referrals. After all, it takes far less time and money to sell to an existing customer than a cold prospect. Remember that just because they are your customers today it doesnt mean they will be tomorrow! It takes more than good dance training to keep your customers happy people expect that, or they wouldnt have signed up with your studio in the first place. The key is to maintain that personal connection and you will have fans for life!

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The Parent Traps

If you own and operate a dance school, one thing is certain, you will at some point have an issue with a parent. OK, it might be a few issues with a few parents over the course of a lengthy career! Fortunately most of them will be small things that can be handled quite easily. Some, however, will present a greater challenge and test your management skills to the max. One thing I want to share with you is, most of the time if you follow your gut feeling on any issue you are facing, you will be right on the money. If, for instance, you think a parent is bad mouthing you, you are probably right! The way you proceed in these situations is not only the key to a successful conclusion to any issue, but will also determine how well your business is viewed by your clients. Here are four typical scenarios that every studio owner will be called on to address at some point.

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What Does The Customer Want?

Now hear this:

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Make Every Performance Sparkle

Whether a recital or competition number, as always, its the little details that make the difference on stage. At this time of year everyone is busy preparing for their recitals or end of year shows. Competitions are in full swing and we are all looking for that edge to make our dancers look more proficient and polished. We are also trying to think of all the little details that will make our performances go smoothly so that everyone is happy at the end result.

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Gearing Up For The Summer!

You might still be shivering, but its time to turn up the heat on your marketing plans. Before you know it summer will be here. That means now is the right time to start promoting your summer programs. We have a strong feeling that this summers attendance may be exceptionally high because of the current economic conditions. Unfortunately for so many people, summer vacations are being postponed or canceled. With more families likely to stay home and sleepaway camps being cost-prohibitive for many, we believe families will be looking more to local businesses that can offer a fun, cost-effect alternative for their child. Normally we dont spend that many dollars promoting our summer programs. We traditionally have a great turnout for our preschool camps and summer intensive. Our plan is always to get these brochures out early to our current clients, and the programs tend to fill up pretty quickly. We usually get a small amount of new clients, but we never typically put our energy, our focus or our summer advertising dollars on trying to attract new students. This year, however, our plan is to expand our summer programs and to market them to new clients. We feel that its important to expand our summer series to better serve our community, both the parents we know and new parents who are looking for interesting and creative outlets for summer fun for their children.

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Make An Offer They Can't Refuse

When trying to attract new customers, the key is to find a way to make your studio stand out from the rest. The best way to do this is to create an introductory offer that no one else is making. One that will make you stand out in the crowd. And the more of a crowd around you, the more creative you have to be. 

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How To Be A Leader

With the inauguration of our new President, the whole country is looking to see how his historical leadership is going to help the current economical situation and the problems that exist abroad. As with any great leader, the most important component to have is a plan and the right people around you to implement that plan. As a studio owner we wear many different hats out of necessity. However, the most important position we must assume is that of the leader.

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Mentoring Younger Teachers

Many studios use their older senior teens to assist in classes or sometimes as a substitute. Very often these older teen dancers do a good job for you because you have trained them and they know exactly how you like classes to be run and therefore are an asset. These may be dancers who are obviously not going to become professional performers, but may be very well suited to becoming a teacher. By mentoring them and showing them how to assist in classes with more experienced teachers, you will give them a strong beginning to a possible teaching career with the idea that one of these young assistants could come back to your studio to be a valuable member of your faculty.

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Early Marketing For Your Summer Programs

The New Years celebrations are over and, hard as it may be for you to believe, now is the time to start marketing on your summer programs. Parents like to get their children signed up as early as possible so that they are able to make their vacation plans and know that their children will be involved in activities during their other weeks off from school. If you want the best possible summer enrollment at your studio, its important that parents receive your information in January. Getting the word out early also means that you are able to stay steps ahead of your competition timewise.

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Making Connections

Everyone talks about networking to make the right business connections, but most people say either dont have the time or cant be bothered. If you want to grow your business, this may be one of the most important things you do. We've all heard the expression, particularly in the business world, Its not what you know, but who you know. Let me add to that: Its also not just who you know, but who knows you! And what they are saying about you, too! When youre in business, you really do need to make connections, and lots of them.

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