“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin.
By Paul Henderson.
Your end of the season recital is over (or it will be in a matter of weeks), and you’re looking forward to that blissful feeling of accomplishment and pride as yet another successful dance season has passed.
Congratulations on shepherding your flock of students (and their parents) through the trials and tribulations of class after class, rehearsals, competitions, conventions and your annual recital. You’ve conquered the pitfalls along the way, from missing costumes and social media follies to recital ticket snafus and theater crew catastrophes.
Time to party! Time to relax, put your toes in the sand and order another margarita!
Not so fast. A friend of mine was recently explaining how she frequently tells her daughter, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” I’ve heard that before, but I think it fits perfectly into this time of the year when our defenses are nearly shut down and we really need a break.
Those of you who can dig a little deeper and surge just one more time will enjoy a more relaxed and profitable 2014-15 season. Before you sail off into the sunset, it’s time to prepare.
Here are my Top 10 So-You-Can-Sleep Action Items for the summer and next season (and what we are doing at Tiffany’s Dance Academy):
1) Summer Classes and Camps – Keep promoting.
Example: Twinkle Star Dance developed a “Frozen” themed dance camp that we are using. At our seven studios, we have a total of 21 weekly “Frozen” camps with over 400 dancers participating! It’s a bonanza unlike anything we’ve seen in the past five years.
-Frequent emails to past and existing customers
–Social media posts
2) Marketing – Do you have your graphic art designed and your publications selected for your fall session promotions? We are using Val-Pak, Pennysaver, direct mail and a couple of magazine ads in local publications. Book your ads before you board that plane (or maybe while you are on that plane with Wifi!)
3) Registration – What registration specials are you offering? Get the word out!
Back in April, we started with “free registration for one day” (normally $39.) Then we went to “Save $20 on registration” for a few weeks, and later we will go to “Save $10 on registration.” It gives us a reason to email our customers and different coupons to advertise.
4) Dress Code – In this hyper-competitive industry, you’re going to need every penny of profit to compete with the other studios in your area. If you aren’t profiting on your dress code, vow to start right now.
It’s no surprise that at TDA we use CostumeManager.com’s Storefront and Virtual Dance Boutique to display the products we want our dancers to wear to class and on-stage. It’s a free service and increases our profit per student by $100 per season. No brainer. Here’s an example of our Fremont studio.
5) Winter Show – Consider producing a Winter Holiday performance or Nutcracker project. It will foster loyalty amongst your students, their parents and your faculty and will increase your studio’s net profit.
We will do a Winter Showcase for dancers ages 2-6 and a full Nutcracker. Here is a previous article on the subject.
6) Curriculum – Stop reinventing the wheel. Research available, proven curriculum systems. Here’s an analogy that will help. If you’re a math teacher, you don’t rewrite the math curriculum every year do you?
TDA uses Twinkle Star Dance for curriculum and choreography. It’s proven to increase revenue by $113,000 per season on average.
7) Choreography – Similar to curriculum. Research available choreography options now to get a jump, find inspiration and lower your stress level. An added bonus is that sometimes choreography plans pair dances with age-appropriate, affordable costume ideas. This can help you avoid the $57,000 Boogie Woogie Piggie.
8) Theater booking – confirm it today. You never know what might happen to your theater next season. Since we own 7 studios, we use three different theaters and have 23 shows this June. Those contracts are incredibly important.
9) Summer Learning – Attend a gathering of like-minded professionals. We are attending Dance Teacher Summit and the Twinkle Star Dance User – Rediscover Freedom Conference. The Dance Teacher Web conference is also great and is held in a resort in Las Vegas for a real getaway experience. They all have inspirational and informative content that will motivate and inspire you just when you need it most.
10) Organize – Clean your office and your studio. Give away the trophies. Store the props, costumes and other various recital paraphernalia. Start fresh! It may seem obvious, but de-cluttering will astound your senses and make you infinitely more productive and happier.
Okay, go knock these out real quick and enjoy your blissful summer vacation. Next month’s article will focus on the importance of Dress Code. Start dreaming of what you want your dancers to wear to class.
About Paul Henderson
Paul Henderson is an expert on administrative technologies for the dance industry and has been around the business for almost 30 years. His sisters were elite state champion gymnasts and dancers and his mother owned a dance studio and eventually a dancewear store. He managed the dancewear store for a few years before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. He and his wife, Tiffany, currently own and operate Twinkle Star Dance™ – an online choreography and curriculum system for recreational dancers ages 2-11; seven successful dance studios in Northern California (www.tiffanydance.com) and one in Southern California. Tiffany’s Dance Academy’s annual enrollment of over 4,500 students caused Paul to invent ways to automate most of the day-to-day business transactions that take up so much of a studio owner/instructor’s time. Paul’s goal has always been to smooth out the business side of the dance studios so that his wife can spend more time in the studio doing what she loves…teaching. Automating online registration and monthly automatic tuition payments was achieved eight years ago but perhaps the most revolutionary invention is his web-based application – CostumeManager.com.
For the past six years, Paul Henderson has worked tirelessly with most of the major costume and dancewear manufacturers to consolidate their catalogs into one searchable website. Developing relationships with these companies has been crucial to the success of CostumeManager.com and his efforts have paid off for studios all across the United States and Canada. By creating one searchable website, it is possible for a studio owner to browse all catalogs simultaneously, assign items that they like to a dance class, establish their profit margin, create an online store or print a color worksheet for dancers explaining how they can order their required and or/optional items online or via toll free telephone. Dancers purchase their items securely online and CostumeManager.com orders, receives, sorts and ships the individually packaged items to the studio owner. The studio owner or instructor cashes their “commission” check, hands the bags of goods to the dancer and goes back to teaching. CostumeManager.com eliminates 90% of the work and all the worry associated with distributing costumes and dancewear to dancers while preserving all of the profit margin…if not more.