As dance studio owners we live in a strange DUAL WORLD.
At all times one part of us is absorbed in the demands of the day while the other part is 3-6 months out planning for the future.
Your spouse, teachers and students may not realize it, but for every question you answer about today’s schedule, another side of you is already translating that information to improvements for the next round of classes.
When your spouse is thinking summer vacation, you are thinking of fall classes. When parents are buying back to dance gear, you are buying holiday show costumes. When teachers are looking forward to fall break, you are looking forward to recital.
As a studio owner, you have to have your feet in the moment AND your eye on the horizon.
In recognition of the DUAL DEMANDS on our calendars, set aside the duties of the day and take a minute to PLAN NOW for a great holiday show with the following 5 tips:
- Find a niche. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to producing recitals—and holiday shows are no exception. Don’t get caught in the trend trap. What works for your competitor might not work for you. For example, there is an established ballet school in my area that produces a great Nutcracker each year. And, while I think it is important for my students to have knowledge of the Nutcracker and experience dancing to the iconic score, there is no need for me to duplicate the production on an annual basis because someone in my area is already doing a great job of it. When planning your holiday show look for a niche that no one else is filling. At our studio we produce four “Christmas Social” performances featuring students from our Children’s division (under age 9) and a sprinkling of older Performance Company members. All shows are an hour in length and all proceeds are converted to scholarships so that our high school students can attend Dance Revolution convention. We follow the shows with an old-fashioned time of food and fellowship. Our parents appreciate the low stress format and focus on giving.
- Rally the troops. Don’t go it alone. Enlist the help of teachers, parents and students to take some of the burden of performance details off of your shoulders during a busy time of year. Our teachers are involved in picking out the music and costumes as well as creating choreography. Parents and students help with ushering and taking care of children back stage. Recruiting helpers has an added benefit of training teachers and students to be leaders as well as allowing parents to be enthusiastic ambassadors for our studio.
- Map out the mileage. You wouldn’t take a road trip without knowing the cost, yet many dance studio owners embark on show preparation without a plan to cover their production expenses. Hold all announcements on ticket prices, rehearsal fees and costume charges until you are confident you have your hands around expenses. As a business coach, the number one challenge I see studio owners facing are losses created by “flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-syndrome.” You should never lose money producing a show. You are a professional and you provide a valuable service to your children, your families and the community. Don’t risk your ability to provide future opportunities for your students by skipping this important step in the planning process.
- Release the rules. Communication is key for show success! Clearly spell out all obligations for families including auditions, rehearsal dates, absence policies, costume requirements, performance times and fees in one beautiful, easy-to-read document. Nothing makes a parent upset faster than not having the full picture before making a commitment, or when the “rules” change after publication. Be clear and consistent with your communication and policies.
- Solve the ticket issue now. In the end, most parents want to know two things about extra performances: 1) How much will it cost, and 2) How do I get to see my child perform? Answer both of those questions with a ticketing solution from TutuTix. Not only will the ticketing task be off of your plate, but the income for your hard work will be in your account…win-win!
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The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.