By Steve Sirico of Dance Teacher Web
In this special two part series we will explore tips to running a successful studio. If you missed the first seven tips visit (www.danceinforma.com/the-secrets-to-running-a-successful-studio). Think about your business and how these tips apply to what you are doing. Even if you are implementing what I recommend, try to think in terms of how you might switch up your approach for even greater success. Remember that growing your business begins with self-examination. So let’s get started!
Build additional streams of income
These can include rentals or subletting space, birthdays and other parties. Think outside the box to help you generate more revenue. During down times see about subletting a studio to a yoga class or contact your local theater to see if they need space for rehearsal. Think about taking your classes to area groups and schools. This is a great way to generate additional income and to spread the word about your studio and programs.
Get out of your studio and build your network
Build relationships! Years ago we did a local performance and met a woman who was in charge of a program called ‘After the Bell’, a unique after school program where the parents’ club found outside companies to run classes like tennis, agility and dance, amongst others. By doing this outside show we had the opportunity to meet her and for her to see our work. We have since been doing her ‘After the Bell’ program at our local grade school for years! You will be the best kept secret in your town if you don’t get out and meet people.
Be proactive in the community
Lend a hand with fundraising events, help out with people when you can and work with a group you are passionate about. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and let it be known that you are a source in your town when it comes to providing entertainment and volunteers who can help with a worthy cause.
Know your numbers
Build a target to hit. How many students do you need to pay the bills? How many to make a profit? Do you have a formula for what each student is worth? Now set a target for what you want your studio numbers to look like. Track it each week during the first three months of your season, then once a month after that. If you have a goal, you will chip away at it and hit it eventually. When your mind is focused on growth instead of survival, it will put you in the right frame of mind.
Your front desk will make or break you
Your employees probably treat your customers about the same way you treat your employees. Let that soak in for a minute, and think about the ways your everyday behavior might be affecting your school’s ability to generate referrals. Keep training your staff and make it fun. Happy employees, happy students and happy parents are how you need to measure your success.
Build your referral system
Get your clients talking about you. Do the unexpected. Create an environment of ‘WOW’. The best way to do this is to let your employees know that you are open to ideas that will create a ‘wow moment’ for your customers. The more you create ‘wow’, the more they will talk about you. For your best clients you could offer a $50 off referral program where if they bring in a new student who registers, you deduct $50 from both their tuitions.
Create a marketing plan, stick to it and track your results
Decide what your objectives are, what you will spend and where you will spend it. Not all marketing efforts work—sometimes the fish just aren’t biting. Track results to know how to proceed. My recommendation is to focus your marketing dollars first online and work out from there. Try a targeted list that you can send a postcard to. Next consider doing a mailing to past clients with a special offer to try one week for FREE! Remember, marketing is not just about getting new clients, but also cultivating your current ones. If they are taking one class, why not try to get them to take two, three or more? For more marketing tips view past article www.danceinforma.com/magazine/grow-your-enrolments
Here’s to your success!
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: © Ira Bachinskaya | Dreamstime.com