Imagine, if you will, the following scenario. You’re running a dance studio, but you’re just starting out and the prospect of being “in charge” is unfamiliar territory. You understand that the job comes with challenges, emotional demands, and more than its fair share of the unexpected. During a brief and welcome respite, you ask yourself, “what are a few things I can do to make sure things operate more smoothly?”
It’s a fair question. You don’t just want your studio to tread water — you want it to thrive. Just getting by isn’t the ideal scenario for most, and while there are few (if any) surefire plans that will ensure longevity for a business, there are some tips applicable to the art of operating a dance studio that can help maximize your chances. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you today.
Tip 1: Build Your Team
A great studio starts with a great team. Your first inclination will probably be to try and staff yours with the best members available. It’s not a bad first step, and there are plenty of tip guides available for hiring right, which put the benefits of extensive screening and stringent recruitment front and center:
“Hiring the right employee enhances your work culture and pays you back a thousand times over in high employee morale, positive forward thinking planning, and accomplishing challenging goals.”
Putting out the call for applicants in the traditional manner is a good start, but not always feasible when there’s a small hiring pool around or if your job ads just aren’t getting any traction. When such a situation arises, though, there’s a solid “Plan B” you can fall back on.
Tapping into your local network of dancers can help tip the scales when it comes to hiring trustworthy talent. Invite some talented guest dancers to help you teach classes, and, through word of mouth, attract others to come to the studio. Be sociable, and you may stumble across some leads that will prove fruitful in your search.
Then there’s your own internal network you can tap. Students who have risen through the ranks may show enough leadership to take the reins on a class or two of their own, so start grooming them to do so early.
Building cohesion amongst your dancers can help in this regard (and a distinct outfit, like customized leggings create a uniform look for the team, can help them forge a deeper connection with your studio). Remember to look to all available outlets when building your team to ensure you get the best and brightest watching your back.
Tip 2: Learn To Navigate Conflict
Like any environment with more than a few individuals present, there will be situations that require some measure of conflict resolution. There will be potential for disruptions between faculty, problem students, and even problem parents from time to time.
It might stem from unrealistic expectations. In some cases, faculty may have some friction between their personalities. In other cases, parents might not have a grasp on the way things are supposed to operate. They might have a contention to every policy, every decision. They might spend an inordinate amount of time questioning everything about your staff and studio.
It can be difficult to handle, but the best approach is to be decisive. You have your guidelines and you know how your studio is supposed to be run. It might be a good idea to brush up on some conflict resolution skills. You might also want to look into some of the best ways to deal with parents who are a bit unruly.
Tip 3: Dedicate Time To The Business
Your passion might be dancing, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the business side of your operation. You’ll have to put some time into promoting yourself. Every industry is competitive, even when it comes to dance studios. Marketing yourself will be part parcel in your quest to make sure everything goes smoothly.
In a way, you’ve probably already got some buzz going through word of mouth. You can capitalize on this further by making use of online marketing avenues, such as social media and the like. It might feel like a tricky landscape to enter at first, but if you study the fundamentals, you’ll be able to take control of getting your name out to the masses in no time.
Tip 4: Stay Flexible
Last, but not least, you should remember that throughout it all, you’ve still got to make time for yourself. Putting in the hours necessary to build your studio and make it flourish is essential, but, you won’t be quite as effective if you don’t prioritize recharging yourself as well. When possible, get in the habit of taking a day off at regular intervals. Excite some of your interests outside of dancing, and return ready to tackle your next challenge.