Opening your studio for the new dance season can be a time of great excitement…and anxiety. So get organized now for the best dance year ever! Use these tips to prepare your studio for the busy days ahead.
The Dance Coach asked successful dance studio owners Renee Celeste, Kathi Halbert, and Robin Dawn to share their advice and practical tips for starting off the new dance season. Check out what they had to say.
1) It’s important to have all insurance in place and have waiver forms for all students on file before they participate in any classes. No one should dance without a registration form signed.
2)) Make sure your registration forms have a statement that you are a “hands-on” dance studio.
3) Connect with your teachers and staff, not just for training purposes but also for something fun. Perhaps you can throw a Staff party, pizza night, etc. Thank them in advance before your busy year starts!
4) Be sure your students have selected the correct shoes, tights, etc. before they purchase them. You may want to provide a list of preferred brand or style.
5) If you have your own children, put them in someone else’s class whenever possible.
6) Get out there in the lobby and create relationships with your clients, both parents and students. Remember that you are the face of your studio and they need to know you and trust you from day one.
7) Send out a handwritten thank you note to the parents of any new student that registers. They’ll certainly appreciate the time you took to write it and you may gain a loyal customer.
8) Offer studio tours on a personal basis.
9) Have a “buddy day” ~ fun classes that current students can bring their friends to for free!
10) Send out every piece of info, every date, every cost, anything you can think of at the beginning of the season. Put it out to parents and teachers in multiple forms such as email, hard copy, and social media.
11) After you do number 10, know that many people still will not read it!
12) Have your policy clear on cancelling classes due to teachers, weather or holidays. Make class policy strong right from the start.
13) Transfer more of your advertising to digital formats: website, constant contact, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
14) Hop on every “Mommy” or “Parenting” Facebook group in your area. Not to advertise, but to be a presence in your community.
15) Keep your studio bulletin board bright, happy, and positive with up-to-date information on it.
16) Have your website organized, easy to navigate, informative, and try to feature your young dancers.
17) Design a classy brochure that has all-important information at their fingertips. Include it in your mailing to all students, even those who have not registered. Keep them in your “family.” Let them know your door is ALWAYS open.
18) Make sure the person who answers your phone is upbeat, knowledgeable and truly excited about the studio and its future. This is the first impression many parents have so make it a positive one.
19) Compose a script for your front desk person that includes all pertinent studio information.
20) Set goals for each of your classes for the year and be sure your parents and students are aware of your expectations.
21) If you have a competition team, have parent a meeting before you start your season.
22) Give a party! Not an open house, just an open community celebration, Fall Festival, or the like. Invite people in, not to register, but to get to know you.
23) Have a life outside of the studio. When you get home, take some “studio free” time for your own family. Keep a balance in your life.
24) Remember that the work we do with young people is important and life changing. We are the lucky ones! When you get really stressed out, watch a preschool class. It will help you remember your “why.”
25) You should run your dance studio as a business but never let it be more important than your heart and passion! That will always go a long way!
Many thanks to Renee, Kathi and Robin for sharing their thoughts and ideas. I really hope these tips are helpful for some of you. Do you have any you would like to add to the list? Just put them in the “Leave a Reply” section below!
Renee Celeste is artistic director & owner of Front & Center for the Performing Arts in Springfield, NJ.
Kathi Halbert owns and operates Kathi’s Dance and Gym Center in Poland, OH.
Robin Dawn is the owner of Robin Dawn Academy of the Performing Arts in Cape Coral, FL.
Cover photo courtesy of Renee Celeste
Bob Rizzo began The Dance Coach as a valuable resource for aspiring dancers, teachers and choreographers looking for professional feedback on technique, performance and choreography. And for those who aspire to a career in dance, The Dance Coach is a trusted advisor offering career coaching and advice based on more than 30 years of professional experience in the dance world! The Dance Coach Blog focuses on dance related topics and people working in the entertainment industry. It features a mix of interviews, tips for dancers, performance reviews, and training opportunities. Read Bob Rizzo’s full bio here.