Remember that you are running a business, and a financially successful business will thrive and grow. It can also help worthy causes and bring work to the community. There are false notions that, if you try to expand your business or try to make it grow financially, you are selling out! Why are dance studios any different from any other business? I have found through the years, from talking to studio owners, that they always face a dilemma of finding the right mix. They try to strike a balance that keeps them from feeling like they are selling out in some way. The most important thing that you as studio owners must find is how to balance daily priorities. First and foremost is to understand that we are running a business, one that will take precedence over everything else. I know that if you still love to teach and you are at your studio every day, this can and will be a real challenge.

We have found that we must devote time to the running of the business-and not at ten o'clock in the evening, after a full day of teaching! If you still teach a lot, you know what I mean. Teaching, while still a passion of ours, is tiring. If you do not give yourself a day to work on your business, then you risk having the business end suffer.

Michael Gerber, author of a book titled, The E-Myth, says, "You must find time to work on your business, not just in your business."

Ask yourself this question:

If you could have my business set up in any way you wished, what would that be?

Bear in mind that the perfect solution for you may not be the perfect solution for the next person. And that's fine-every business is unique because your talents are unique. But regardless of what your perfect solution is, it starts in your mind. I highly recommend that you read the book, Think & Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. It is not all about making money! Read it, and use the techniques in the book to enhance every aspect of your life.

If you're really serious about improving your business, you need to identify the routine or basic administrative tasks that can be given to someone whose hourly rate is a lot less than yours. Next, you need to develop the ability to find the right people at the right price to help you. These people will be able to get things done quickly for you, allowing you to spend more time envisioning the future and making it happen.

The purpose of having a vision is to imagine what you're trying to achieve and to act as though it's already in place so that you're moving toward it. This is essentially acting as if you already have the outcome you desire.

If you want to make a certain sum of money, write it down, look at it every day and act as though you already are taking in this amount. If you want a certain student count, write down that number and move forward with the mindset that will help you identify how you can achieve this desired enrollment.

Something happens when you make the conscious decision that you're ready to change and you want to do things differently. If you don't make this a priority, you're still going to be in exactly the same situation three months from now, six months from now, a year from now.

So start creating your vision today-I know that, whatever vision you have for yourself, it can come true!

Action Plan!

1. Have one day a week for business-development day. If you are a one-person operation, just sit down in a quiet place and have a meeting with yourself. Write down new ideas and goals you want to achieve. We always try to make some short-term goals so that what we want is not always far away in the future. This can also be a day when you focus on just thinking of new marketing ideas. Focus on any topic that will help you increase your student base or income, or your visibility in your community.

2. Look at where your student count is today and decide exactly how many students you want to have in one, two, three, four and five years from now. If you are not really interested in having a big studio, there is no problem with that. It's your decision. Just write down what you want and when you want it!

3. What do you charge and is it enough for you to make a decent profit? I believe that most dance studios undersell their classes. Most people will pay more than you think for classes. I don't advocate charging obscene amounts just to gouge people but you don't have to take a beating either. We have built in price increases for the past eight years. We have raised our fees every one of those years in some way-nothing drastic just a bit here or there. Class cost, registration fees, costumes and show tickets. Over these years no one, to my knowledge, has left the studio because of the cost. Come to find out, we are still not the most expensive studio in our area, but we are working on it! I like the idea of being the highest priced studio because people associate expensive with the best! We will be doing an article in the future about price structuring to help you get the best price for what you do.

4. Write your goals down for the business and look at them every week. There are some you will hit, some you will exceed and some that you fall a bit short on. Just make it like a game. If you win, great, If not then what's the big deal? You will get another chance. These goals won't be just financial ones but artistic ones, as well. Just make sure you line up your artistic goals to match your financial goals. You want to have that harmony in both places so they do not conflict with each other.

This is where you can achieve this beautiful mix of business and artistry that come together, just the way you planned it!