Innovation is the key to the growth of your business. Entrepreneurs are usually more apt to be innovators and as studio owners we are certainly entrepreneurs. Each year I am sure that you review your business and look at the successes and failures that you have had during that year. This is a very important part of growth, as it would be unrealistic to think that we do not have failures each year in one way or another. Perhaps it is failure to get through to a group of students or failure to communicate fully to the parents of our students. It could be a management failure in the front desk area or even failure on our part to make sure that we train our staff and faculty in a way that will make everything run more smoothly. Really, whatever the failure is, it is only a minus if you choose not to pay attention to it.

Innovation is the key to the growth of your business. Entrepreneurs are usually more apt to be innovators and as studio owners we are certainly entrepreneurs. Each year I am sure that you review your business and look at the successes and failures that you have had during that year. This is a very important part of growth, as it would be unrealistic to think that we do not have failures each year in one way or another. Perhaps it is failure to get through to a group of students or failure to communicate fully to the parents of our students. It could be a management failure in the front desk area or even failure on our part to make sure that we train our staff and faculty in a way that will make everything run more smoothly. Really, whatever the failure is, it is only a minus if you choose not to pay attention to it.

 

I like to use failure as a springboard for innovation. Now it becomes a challenge and new energy comes into play as you take any failure and find a way to think of new ideas and new ways of dealing with whatever caused it in the first place.

 

Sometimes we are so busy and so consumed with the everyday running and functioning of the studio, that it becomes hard to distance ourselves and really examine the business and take a good look at what we can do better. Innovation means you must be a leader and not a follower. In order to succeed it is not enough just to ' get by.' It involves taking the lead and charting a path for you and your business. In order to be an innovator you must constantly have the right mindset and way of not only looking at your business, but of also looking at the world around you. You need to look at each person who works for you and recognize where their strengths lie and what area they need more assistance or further training in.

 

Look at every situation and see where there are better solutions. Studying what your students want and need and also what their parents want or need is the basis of finding new ideas and ways to accomplish everyone’s goals. What would your faculty like to see that you are not currently providing?  Find out from your office or front desk staff what they need to help them serve the customers and ultimately you better. In short, go on a fact-finding mission in your own building. Look at the dance studios—are they conducive to a good learning experience? Is your entryway clean, attractive and welcoming to both students and their parents? Are the changing areas and bathrooms clean? At the end of the day it really does come down to simply adding more value to other people’s lives. If you can find ways to do that through the running of your studio not only will you become more successful, but both yours and the lives of everyone around you will improve.

 

As Theodore Levitt said, 'Creativity is thinking up new things, Innovation is doing new things.' To innovate you have to go beyond your creativity by taking your ideas and making them into a reality, so that they have a greater perceived value and people will be happy to spend their money on them. With a dance studio it is also making your place attractive for your students, a place they love to be in where they are stimulated in class and learning new things so that they are never bored. At the end of the day, parents will do without for themselves in order to give their children an opportunity to learn and grow in a happy and healthy environment.

 

Encourage your teachers to continue to learn and work on their craft and to become more versatile in their knowledge of different styles of dance, to learn how to teach better, choreograph better and understand their students better. Dance is such a constantly evolving art that it is not enough to have that college degree or be a registered teacher for one of the recognized dance organizations. Dance teachers today also need to keep evolving and perfecting their own knowledge so that they will be able to retain current students and gain as many new ones as possible each year that they work for you. Summer is a great time to have them do that. We hope to see you and your teachers and office staff at the Dance Teacher Web Conference and Expo in August so that we can all join together and not only learn, but share ideas from people who are innovators in their work.

 

Good luck with all your innovative ideas for the new season and enjoy the journey as much as you will enjoy the results.