Opening your own dance studio is an exciting process, but there are certain steps that need to take place to insure success. Sharing your love of dance will take you a long way, but a dance studio is a business, and like any other business, you will need to plan and design diligently, get the word out, and keep things running smoothly once you have opened the doors and are living your dream. The following steps will help you strategize your way to a profitable new dance business venture:
1. Prepare your plan. First, you will need to pick the right location. Naturally, you will want to find a place that is in the commercial center of town, with ample parking. If your studio is located on a busy street in the center of town, you can capitalize on foot traffic, because people will see it when they walk or drive by, especially if you have an eye-catching sign and a nice-looking studio. Consider how much space you will need for dancing, and make sure your studio has good natural light, a restroom, and enough space to create a dressing room and waiting area.
Decide what type of classes you will want to offer, to which age group(s), and how often, which will help you begin to sketch out a class schedule. Another option is a dance studio franchise, because they can save lots of time and energy by offering their valuable expertise in choosing a location, marketing, and name brand recognition.
2. Design your studio. What sort of look and feel do you want for the dance studio? If you have decided to specialize in teaching ballet classes to young girls, you might paint the studio in feminine pastel colors that young girls adore, like pink or lilac, and decorate with murals, ballet costumes, or inspiring, beautiful dance posters. Whatever your theme, the end goal is to make the studio a place where people will feel comfortable and want to return over and over.
The physical layout of the studio is also important. Most studios have a reception area, where students check in and pay for classes, a changing area, a restroom, and a waiting area for friends and family members to sit and watch class, if they desire. Many studio owners create an area for a boutique that sells dance apparel, dance videos and music, dance equipment and supplies, and dance-related gift items.
A well-planned dance studio requires the proper dance equipment, such as sprung wood flooring, mirrors, and a sound system. If the studio is not already fitted with a dance floor, you will want a spring wood floor. This is a special type of floor that has cushioning to protect dancer’s joints, and can be purchased as a kit or professionally installed. Most studios also have floor to ceiling mirrors installed along the front wall of the studio. If you need ballet barres, you can either attach them to the walls or purchase freestanding ballet barres. Your sound system needs to have enough power to fill the space. It should also have a port for instructors to hook in mp3 players or computers that contain playlists for class.
3. Marketing and promotion. Getting the word out is a vital part of getting students. You will need an appealing logo to put on all of your print marketing materials, including business cards, letterhead, brochures and flyers. Be sure to offer new student incentives on all of your marketing materials. New students are much more likely to come to your studio if you offer the first class for free, or give them special discounts.
Be sure to promote online, too. Your studio should definitely have a website with class schedules, pricing, your bio and photos. Consider listing your business with local business directories, schools, and in dance-related directories.
4. Network to increase visibility. A successful dance studio owner knows that a big part of their business involves creating good relationships with their students and the public. Creating community will always help you to find students and help students find out about you. Joining a business network group can add to your business. Other groups, such as parenting groups or church groups can also helpful.
A grand opening with free demonstrations, lectures, and giveaways can help draw attention to your studio. Some instructors offer workshops at community centers, or perform at local events.
5. Keep up with the business of your business. There are several administrative duties for every studio owner. Obviously, bookkeeping is mandatory. Mailing lists, class schedules, and information management can be time-consuming, and many studio owners opt for studio management software to keep track of it all efficiently.
Your music collection is the inspiration that drives your classes, so you will need to keep looking for new music often. Add new songs by searching online for options. Listen carefully to each song before you decide to download the music, and then arrange your songs for each class by creating a playlist on your MP3 player, iPod, or computer.
Going after your dream of opening a dance studio can be exciting, fun and profitable, provided you take the time to properly plan, design and run your business. Sharing your love of dance is wonderful, and earning a great living makes it priceless.