Let us continue on from last month’s article of, 'Mistakes that you need to avoid in your dance studio business'.

Let us continue on from last month’s article of, 'Mistakes that you need to avoid in your dance studio business'.

Failure to Have Solid Systems and Procedures in Place- Too many procedures (known as 'red tape') is the reason why many people start their own business in the first place. Unfortunately, having no procedures and systems in place at all is not an alternative. Depending on the type of industry, business owners must come to a happy medium or chaos and the unknown will ensue. Some basic examples where procedures or systems are needed for a dance studio or school include billing, collections, payroll, hr (interviewing, hiring, job responsibilities, etc.), maintaining equipment, marketing, dealing with students and parents to name a few.

Even a one person show needs to have some administrative procedures in place.  This will make it easier to hire office staff and substitute teachers and control what they are doing for you.  Without at least a watered down version of a system or procedure to do everyday work, you will be to blame for causing many major headaches as your company grows. I can’t emphasize how important this is for when you bring on new employees. I’m sure you heard this before, but I am also a big proponent of having an employee handbook even for one employee. It’s amazing the trouble people can cause business owners just because they allow you to pay them.

Spending Advertising Money Just to Say You Advertise-  I would almost rather see my clients not advertise than to spend without regard and tracking the results. There is no point in a marketing campaign if you do not put things in place that allow you to measure how well the plan is working.  The other wasteful part of marketing that many people make the mistake of doing, is not tracking their previously successful campaigns.  Why some people think that just because a $400 dollar a month ad worked once very well for one busy season, that it will automatically work every year after that is beyond me.

Spreading Yourself Too Thin- This is a classic mistake made by every entrepreneur. The key is to figure out when you are at that 'wearing too many hats' point and start getting some help.  The solution here is to know your strengths and to be able see when you are not performing the duties that demand these skills. If you are the best sales person in the company, you can’t get caught up in day-to-day operations. If you do, sales will slip and eventually you won’t have any operations to worry about.  Think about this to help you figure out if you are spread too thin: Did you really go into business for yourself to work 80+ hours a week?

Not Getting Help Soon Enough- Set goals to know when to hire people to take over where you are light on knowledge. Not getting help or waiting too long can kill a company. Most people who start a business do it because they are good at the technical end or the sales end.  If you are best at teaching and choreographing, then your strength is in class and that is where your time should be spent. Hire someone who is good at manning your front desk and who can perhaps help with the promotion of your business. By giving them a manual of how you want your front desk or office to operate, you will be able to direct them without trying to do it all yourself. To try to do it all will only stifle your business growth.

The three big issues people like to tackle themselves but usually are least knowledgeable about are legal issues, accounting/bookkeeping issues and daily operations issues.  The odds are that these three things are your weakest link so if you don’t have a partner that has the background for these subjects, then be prepared to get help as soon as possible.  It’s preferable that you do this before you start a business.

Although looking for these problems at any time is a good idea, the end of a year or season is an excellent business interval to make sure you are not making these errors.  Take the time, or make the time, to fix these problems. If you don’t know how to reverse the problems, then get some help.  If you really don’t have enough time to either figure out if you have these issues or know they are there and can’t break away long enough to do it right, then get some help.