Take your Studio to the Next Level
Do these 3 things and it will take your studio to the next level
Are you ready to take your studio to the next level? As a previous studio owner, I know that this is constantly on your mind. Everyone I ever knew was always trying to improve, and take things to the next level. Let’s face it, if you weren’t a competitive person, you probably wouldn’t be in the dance industry! In my experience, both during and post owning a studio the following are critical areas that can impact every aspect of your business. If you get it right, you will see amazing results, but if you get it wrong, it could be catastrophic.
- Have a clear vision
- Be Consistent
- Be Persistent
Let’s dive in and see how these 3 things can help in your journey to becoming the best you can be.
Have a Clear Vision
When we are talking about vision we need to dig deep; deeper than you might have ever thought. Sit down with a pen and paper and work through all of the major areas of your business completing the following exercise. Flush out how your vision impacts everything, from how you manage your finances, right down to the pens you are writing with.
Visualize your perfect studio and make a list of the following areas: what does it look like, where is it, what are the paint colors, what is the layout, do you have change rooms, do you have a front of house store, do you have a waiting area, is there comfortable seating for parents, what do the registration forms look like, what classes are running, who is teaching the classes, are your students preparing for a recital, are your students preparing for exams, are your students preparing for competition, what are they wearing?
Now, take each area and break it down to the most minute detail, where you find the very core. Then make sure, your vision is driving every aspect of the creation of your studio.
This is what it means to have a clear vision. Know where you are, then know exactly where you want to go and make a plan to get there. The clearer your vision, the more likely you are to get there.
Take your Studio to the Next Level
Make decisions based on this vision. There is never a decision too small, or too insignificant that it is not going to impact your bottom line.
Here is an embarrassing example from when I first started my business. When I first made my registration forms up I didn’t leave enough space in the lines for people to add their email address. I lost at least 2 customers I know about because of this. Why? They didn’t see me as professional enough to even have a good form.
You might think that is silly, but your customers are going to see every single detail of your business and if you think that someone’s decision to take their business elsewhere is always based on big reasons you are missing out. The point is that every single thing you do, no matter how small, is impacting their bigger picture of who you are and what your studio is.
Do you vacuum your studio before opening every day? Are your mirrors clean? How often do you clean your washrooms? How do you think that is impacting your student base? I know when I bring my daughter in to a place for a lesson, if it is dark and smelly, I am probably not coming back.
Don’t lose sight of your vision, ever, because someone is always watching. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
Consistency is either your rock or your Achilles heel. You need to make sure you have guidelines, rules, policies, procedures, or programs, for absolutely everything. It will be the key to taking your studio to the next level.
It is going to be a painful exercise. I promise you that.
But it is also going to be so worth it.
Consistency is all about meeting expectations. If someone registers at your studio you want them to know exactly what they are signing up for, and then you want to be able to deliver on that promise.
Get that pen and paper ready. Make a list of all of the areas of service you offer at your studio. This includes your lessons, but also recitals, competitions, examinations, and even things like parent viewing, public washrooms, changerooms, shoe storage, communications, financing, retail, merchandise, and any other service or product you might offer.
Now get down to that nitty gritty. What level of service are you going to promise for every single item on your list. What exactly do you promise to deliver on? Write it down to the very minute detail. I’m looking for exactly what steps you promise to teach your students in every class they attend, to how many performances they will get, to what caliber of costume they will get. Dig deep….all the way down to what kind of toilet paper you will have on hand, and how often the lost and found will be emptied out.
It’s not an easy task, but you are laying some serious groundwork here.
Take your Studio to the Next Level
Now when you move forward you know exactly what you are offering. You can be consistent with every single client, on every detail. When parents register you can tell them exactly what the policy is and you should. Now that you have this tool in your toolbox share it. Make sure to let your clients know upfront what you will be delivering to them, and what your expectations are.
The less we leave our clients in the dark, the more likely they are to be satisfied with our service. Everyone, including your staff will be significantly happier because hey all know exactly what the expectations are. It also makes it easier for clients to know if you are going to be a good fit for them because it’s all laid out before them at the beginning. It will take your studio to the next level. Check out our post, Consistency in the Classroom for more!
Lastly, be persistent. Don’t lose sight of your vision, and keep going. Persistence is easy to say, but very difficult to follow through on because it takes time. You are not training a dancer for one season, you are usually training them for years. Developing their skill and confidence takes time and consistency and sometimes they will waver, but if you are persistent you will help them achieve their goals.
As an instructor you have seen this many times, but have you ever applied it to your own practice in running your business?
Time and again I have seen studio owners change programs, or software, or scheduling year over year. They are constantly regenerating, coming up with new ideas, essentially building a new business over and over. Sometimes change is good, but sometimes sticking to it will yeild better results.
Have you ever implemented a program and then stopped offering it right before it took off? Look back at everything you have done, I bet there is at least one thing you think, “that was a really great program” but you only gave it a short window to succeed and when it didn’t you shut it down.
Persistence will get you there, not always, but more often than not you have built programs on sound principles and all you need to do is give it time to establish roots. Ebb and flow is natural, our reaction is what sets us apart. Trust yourself.
What is the next level?
Well, it’s whatever you want it to be, you just need to have a clear vision, be consistent, and be persistent. If you have any questions, or just want to have a fresh perspective, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Talking to other studio owners, or people who have been where you are is sometimes all you need.