As a small business owner I am always looking for innovative ideas and have discovered that looking at other types of business can often give me a different perspective and some different ideas that when used for the studio can work very well. Our main objective is to meet our customer's needs in whatever ways we can. Sometimes it is easy to just hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see but by stepping away from our business and looking at other companies to see how they have addressed these needs, we are often able to find new and different ways to meet the expectations of our customers. By being open to new ideas and strategies and by embracing different ways of thinking we can pave the way to more success in the future.

It is easy to stay in our comfort zones especially when we have a good team around us who think like we do and do as we do. In fact it is very important to the general well being of your business to have like minded people working with you on a daily basis because it gives you the security of knowing that everything will be run the way you want it to be at your studio. Where we run into difficulty and where we become slightly stagnant is when we never let ourselves step away from that type of thinking. In order to reach new levels it is important not to isolate ourselves. First of all, of course, it is important to listen to what our customers are saying but it is also important to find out what they are not telling you. So how can you do this? One way is to randomly ask the parents who come to your studio what they would like to see done differently and what would be of most help to them from a business standpoint. I like to talk to parents of the students who take a lot of classes but I also have found it very helpful to sit down with parents who are only bringing their child once a week. Very often the answers are quite different and although we are perhaps experts at what works for our studio, it can be extremely helpful to get this information from your customers so that you really can fulfill their needs within your business framework.

I can never underestimate the importance of getting out in your community and associating with other business owners. Just because a business is totally different to ours doesn't mean that we are not able to learn something from them. I especially like to network with kid orientated businesses to see how they are getting the word out to their customers. Finding out what strategies they have and how they make their customer experience work well can be an enlightening experience. Because studio owners are generally creative people we tend to enjoy the company of other creative people but by getting together with other business people who are perhaps the very opposite of ourselves, we can come up with some solid ideas for business growth that we might not have thought about otherwise. We can possibly find new ways to streamline our day to day running of the business. Perhaps use our computers more to get accurate data about our students and their parents. This can be a huge time saver as you can then minimize the enormous amount of paper work that can build up and your business will run much more smoothly so that you will be able to devote more time to the areas that are going to help to grow your business. People of my generation were not brought up with computers and so very often, there is a fear of the learning curve that you may have to go through to feel comfortable processing all your studio information on a computer. If you find it overwhelming and too time consuming then it is important to find someone who is very competent and computer literate to help you with this side of your business. Again, it will free you up to be out there finding ways to create more income for yourself.

We live in a society where there is too much to do and too little time to do it all and where we are faced with a multitude of distractions. There is a good chance that everyone around you, your employees, your parents and your students are all feeling overwhelmed with life in general. Finding ways to simplify your services and processes is really crucial to your success. Make it easy for your staff and teachers to work and make it easy on your customers by providing services to them that will simplify their lives and they will be loyal to you for years to come. One way is to sell dancewear on your premises or if that is not a possibility, have your local dancewear store come to your studio on certain days to sell their product and arrange to receive a commission from them on items sold. Some stores will let you have product on consignment so that you do not have to put out any money in front. Parents just don't have time to go from store to store to find the dancewear that their children need so this is a way to show them that you understand their needs and are there to help them out.

Whatever ways you can find to simplify both your life and the lives of the people around you will benefit you in the long run and also give you more peace of mind. Keeping it real and simple will endear you to all.