Top 7 Things to Consider if Owning a Dance Studio is on Your Horizon

Looking to start your own Dance Studio? We've got you covered. Read on for the top 7 things to consider if owning a dance studio is on your horizon.

  Jul 14, 2017  admin


Looking to Start your Own Dance Studio? We’ve got you covered. Read on for the Top 7 things to consider if owning a dance studio is on your horizon!

#1 Location, Location, Location!

Where you decide to open your dance studio is key! Your location determines the type of clientele you will attract to your business. Your options are to buy or lease, more commonly the latter since you are just starting out. You will also need to invest in flooring, mirrors, sound system/speakers, dance equipment depending on the genres you are offering, changing area, lobby, office, 2nd and maybe 3rd studio you have to make sure you are all in and ready for the challenge. Important things to consider regarding choosing your location:

  • keep this in mind as you research where to start your studio. There are many useful and free websites available to collect your information in order to make a calculated decision. One example, SBA.GOV/SIZEUP is a helpful site.
  • What competition is in the area you are considering? Opening up in the same town where one or more large successful studios already operate may make your opening more difficult than necessary. Consider moving one or two towns away to capture students that may need to drive far to get to that competitor.
  • Prepare a budget of your fixed costs: i.e. rent, salaries, utilities, insurance, software
  • Research your location options: What styles of dance would you be offering? Open your studio in an area or town where people who would enjoy that type of dance live. Educate yourself about your market!
  • Storefront, or non-visible location, busy road, or quiet neighborhood….take all into consideration.
  • What can you afford i.e. renting or purchasing dance studio
  • Does your lo- cal have other like-minded business that you can connect with. Connecting or partnering up with local businesses can bring you more business in the process.

Consider the following spaces:

  • Dance room sizes
  • Waiting area
  • Office space
  • Viewing windows
  • You will need to consider parking, drop off/pick up as well as signage visibility (a lot of your business will come from seeing the location from the street)

#2 Sole Proprietor, S-CORP, LLC, C-CORP

What type of entity is the best fit for your goals? Meet with an accountant to best guide you in the decision making. This choice will benefit you in the long run. Do you plan to have a business partner, or do you plan to hire additional dance instructors?

Sole proprietor: an unincorporated business that is run by one individual with no separation between that individual and the business

S-Corporation: a type of corporation that can avoid double taxation (e.g. once to the business and once to the shareholders)

C-Corporation: a type of corporation that is owned by shareholders but is legally liable for actions and debts

Limited Liability Company (LLC): a structure that offers the limited liability of corporations but has the flexibility of a partnership

Speak with a professional to further educate yourself

#3 Create a Business Plan and Choose a Name for your Studio

A business plan is a visual aid to take you from point A to point B. Following a plan will aid you and prevent you from missing important decisions in the process of starting your business. A bank will want to see your plan to determine if you know what you are doing if you decide you need or want financing. A great resource is sba.gov, where you’ll find a 10-step guide to starting a business, with relevant blogs and access to local counseling, mentoring and training. Although this is part of the 3rd item to consider, your business name is one of the most important decisions you will make. This will be the first part of branding your studio that you will NOT be able to change as you move along. Take your time, research options, and make sure it is a name that accurately denotes the type of studio you are. Be sure it represents you and your vision!

#4 Marketing and Advertising

Who and what is your customer base? Many dance studios make their living off little girls 2-11 years old. Of course, all other types of offerings like mommy and me, adult mom classes, teen, competitive and fitness are also very popular. Survey local school area populations within 5-10 miles and see how you can educate the local towns about what your studio is doing in the community .Check out the other area dance schools …..ie competition , determine their reputation. What are you up against? How will your customer experience be better than other options? Choosing your name correctly will also help with marketing. Naming the studio with the town/area in the name will help you with your online presence and rating on all search engines.

Plan your company's vision and mission statements. Let it be known in your marketing. Be clear who and what you do and what identifies the kind of studio you are and strive to be. Having your vision statement brings your staff together and conceptualize the goals of the studio.

A mission statement is a short statement that helps convey your business's purpose.

#5 Website and Social Media

There are now myriad of ways to sell your business. Social media, web site marketing, local promotions and last but most valuable is your recital. Start with a brand identity. The website for your studio is one of the first impressions to potential students. You must engage prospective students online? Dance studio websites are a must. Nowadays all websites are mobile optimized because so many of us are living on our hand held devices. You may hire a professional to build a site for you but if budget is of concern to start there are pre made templates to get yourself going

Decide the platform for your website. WordPress.org is the most recommended self-hosting platform, and most hosting services offer ways to install WordPress onto your new site.

When setting up the pages on your website, be sure to have the necessary pages: home page, about page, services page, testimonials page, and contact page. Consider having a blog as part of your website, as it helps with your SEO. Make sure your phone number and address is easily visible on your website pages. Make it easy for potential clients to contact you! A call to action, such as Register Now or Sign up for a Free Dance Class should also be readily seen on every page.

#6 Connect with your community

Being part of your community is a great way to let them know what you can bring to the children in surrounding areas. Town wide flea markets, if your town has any celebrations, volunteer your time in free performances, perform at nursing homes, work with the local girl scouts, host a free dance day for the town to promote fun, health and wellness, i.e. tie it in and see what you can add into your community to become the place to go for dance in your area.

#7 Choosing the right studio software

Starting your own dance studio is not an easy task. You have pricing and policies to put in place, classes to schedule, students to register, classes to teach, staff to hire, costumes to order, budgets to create, parents and students to manage. It is up to you, the owner, to keep all areas smooth. Without the organizational skills you will not be able to stay afloat. The more organized you are, the more successful you will be. As challenging as this is you can purchase dance studio software to help you stay organized. The right dance studio software can help you put procedures and policies in place, such as recurring Tuition billing and Auto-payments. Getting paid on time helps with your cash flow, budgets, and will ensure your success in managing and growing your school. When you are considering a studio software, make sure training and phone support is included in your package. Speaking to a representative for a few minutes can provide you with tips that other studios have used over the years to grow and thrive.

If you plan on putting on a recital at the end of your year, make sure your software has a Recital module to help you organize the show and students. Software that includes robust and flexible email function will make communicating with your students and prospective students easy.

 

Checklists we review with you along the way

  • Month to month marketing agenda
  • Business goals and metrics
  • Inside design for your dance studio
  • Sample lease agreement
  • Budgets for a dance studio
  • Class schedules samples
  • Student registration form samples
  • Job description dance studio employee sample
  • Dance studio calendar sample
  • Daily sales report samples
  • Checklist to evaluate potential locations
  • Procedure guidelines for dance studio operations
  • Create your dance studio's grand opening
  • Holding your hand along the way

 

These 7 steps are a great start but stay tuned for more tips to help you along the way. Just keep in mind your primary job will not just be a dance teacher. You will be running your studio AND THAT'S NOT THE SAME THING as just teaching dance! There is a national group that helps nurture young entrepreneurs starting a business aka a “studio” called “SCORE”. You can find a chapter in your area where they offer business coaching for free. Following your dream is a great thing but do it with open eyes and with a guiding hand.