By Steve Sirico of Dance Teacher Web.
In this special 2 part series we will explore tips to running a successful studio. Think about your business and how these tips apply to what you are doing. Even if you are doing what I recommend, try to think in terms of how you might switch up your approach for even greater success.
Keep in contact with your current customers.
This means emails, newsletters, surveys, customer events and anything else you can think of. The reality is that everyone is busy and you are low on their radar. If you lose contact, then you risk losing business. Most people stop coming to a business because they think you don’t even know they exist. And don’t worry about being a pest. Just keep giving them useful information and special offers that they will love to receive.
Keep marketing to your current customers.
Most businesses focus on attracting new clients and marketing to them. But think about this: If you are doing business with a company you like, you are more apt to buy more of the same. A lot more! When you have devoted clients, you can ask them to give you testimonials so you can then promote what they love about you.
Create WOW moments for your customers.
Make plans to have special events that are both publicised and unannounced at your school. Think of ways to surprise your students and their families. Ideas include highlighting a special student of the month, free giveaways for students who work hard, special projects where everyone wins something, and just random acts of kindness. They will make you the talk of the town.
Get your staff and faculty to buy into your philosophy…or sever the relationship.
Donald Trump likes to say “hire slowly but fire quickly”. Most people do the opposite. They hire on a gut reaction and then try to hold on when things go south. If you are having an issue with any faculty member or staff member it is best to try to resolve the issue immediately! If no solution is at hand then use that apprentice line—“You’re fired!”
Build your preschool program.
If you build it they will come. Make a special brochure or schedule exclusively for them. The more time offered the bigger your program will get. Try doing a special show that is short and informal with just these younger students—both enjoyable and easy on the families and their time.
Build programs for each niche.
Beyond preschool, offer programs for all ages and special areas that include athletes, kids who are singers and actors, recreational, competition teams, dance teams and even adults. Now the key is to find ways to market to each group exclusively. “Find a need, fill a need”—if you do, you will always have plenty of business.
Don’t let the parents run the ship.
Parents will love to give you their two cents about all kinds of things: Who should be teaching, what they should be teaching, during which hours they should be teaching. And it doesn’t stop there. Listen to your customers, but do not waiver from your company vision. Your parents will take over if you let them and then you will have a hard time regaining control. It’s your business, you are in charge. Make sure they know that and they won’t over step the boundary.
Next month we will offer more tips for you to consider. Remember to look over these tips and see how you stack up. Now find ways to do what you do better. At my studio we do this every year and find more ways to differentiate ourselves from everyone else, building both a stronger business and business reputation.
Steve studied dance initially with Mikki Williams and then in New York with Charles Kelley and Frank Hatchett. He appeared in a number of theatre productions such as “Damn Yankees”, “Guys and Dolls” and “Mame” in New York and around the country and in industrials and television shows. He was contracted to appear as the lead dancer in the “Valerie Peters Special” a television show filmed in Tampa, Florida. After meeting Angela D’Valda during the filming they formed the Adagio act of D’Valda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show “Dash” at the Dominium Theatre.
Steve and Angela have owned and directed their dance studio in Fairfield, CT for the past twenty five years. Author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and co-author of a Partner syllabus both of which are used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America, Steve continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations.
He recently has taught at the Interdanz Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica and at The International Dance Teachers Conference in London at the Royal Ballet School. He choreographs for theatres, television and conventions and D’Valda & Sirico recently choreographed the opening to the National Speaker’s Association convention on Broadway in New York City at the Marriott Marquis.
Steve is president and director of the website Dance Teacher Web, designed as an online resource and training tool for dance teachers and dance school owners worldwide. Dance Teacher Web produces a yearly conference in Las Vegas where hundreds of teachers learn from the top master teachers and business coaches in an intimate setting unlike any other dance teacher event. Next year’s conference will be held at the Red Rock Resort August 6-9 2012. For more information visit www.danceteacherweb.com
Top photo: © Nyul | Dreamstime.com