Starting your studio from scratch can feel as if you are climbing Mount Everest. It’s big, daunting, and downright scary! At the end of the day a studio is a business, and when it comes to starting a new business there are a lot of risks involved. So the real question is are you ready to put your best plan into motion, combining your passion for dance with the business world, and ready to climb your Everest? If the answer is yes, then you are reading the right post, as that is exactly what I will be discussing here. We all know there is more to running a studio then just creating fun dance classes, but how can you be best prepared for the journey ahead into your very own business of dance? Keep reading!

So how do you start your studio from scratch?

  1. Why do you want to open a studio?
  • Have a clear vision for ultimate goals, student numbers etc. What does your dream studio look like? What is your ‘theme’ or values you want to have?
  • Part time: Do you have the time with family etc? Will you work part time and have other team members take charge when you are not there?
  • Full time – how many students do you need to earn enough? Do you want to be there everyday? How do you see yourself spending time there?
  1. Research
  • What location? – easy to see, locate – not too many studios etc.
  • Close to schools is a bonus! You can include after school programs/classes etc.
  • Tuition prices – What are your prices for classes at your studio? (you don’t want to be the cheapest! Otherwise you will attract “studio hopping” clientele…)
  • Research based on other studios that inspire you. Listen to their podcast, or contact them directly, or talk the owner of a studio you use to dance at for further knowledge.
  • If it fits into your budget you can also hire a business coach if you need further assistance or advice.
  1. Dreaming
  • Studio names, colours, motto, purpose…GET CREATIVE!
  • What is your vision? Write it out. Take the time to dream, then make a plan!!
  • You want to create something you can easily type about or able to speak about to potential new clients. Your name & what you are about: ‘Tagline’
  • Vision date to open? A practical date & one that corresponds with the school year, gearing towards a good time for signups.
  • Contact venues and see when you would be able to start!
  1. Logistics
  • Budget: figure out your budget: how much $ do you have, what can you afford to spend, how much can you afford to borrow and how much can you afford to lose?
  • If you have everything else figured out but not in a place financially, start looking at your options, and start a savings plan.
  • Create a basic document with info on classes, costs, studio values etc.
  • Set up mailchimp or something similar that is free to make a record of all people that enquire. Get their email addresses!
  • Questions to ask in regards to your space: are the floors safe? If your waiting room big enough? Do you have disability access? Are you walls soundproof? Do you have enough storage space? Will you have a student/team lounge? Is the space properly ventilated? aircon/heated? Is there a security system? Does the roof leak? Are there enough toilets/change rooms etc.
  • When working with your staff: Are teachers going to be employees or contractors? Are your contracts reasonable? Is your timetable convenient for staff and students? How many teachers do you need? etc.
  1. Legal
  • Ensure name is able to be purchased (copyright)
  • Secure domain name (don’t search too much, someone will take it)
  • Secure Fb & social handles – start building audience! Post regularly and consistently!!
  • Secure abn or associated business tax numbers if required.
  • Once you start to take enrolments – ensure your terms & conditions cover injuries and anything else you may be liable for.
  • Build your legal team; lawyer, financial advisor, accountant etc.
  1. Decide
  • Select a name.
  • Create basic design if logo or some ideas.
  • Integrate what you dreamed up for your brands colours, themes etc.
  • Use resource like Fiverr or Upwork to create a logo (digital) and even a branding guideline that you can then share with future uniform suppliers and web people.
  1. Website
  • Purchase cheap template and set up your website.
  • Use colours & logo designs that are in line with your vision. You want continuity throughout your studio, website, and social channels.
  • Include basic info – values, vision, class options and a link to the mailchimp automation to get more information.
  1. Start reaching out!
  • Ask local schools/kindys if they would be interested in free classes.
  • Maybe host a few free workshops, or discounted ones in to get people interested and to drive traffic to your studio’s location! Like an open house etc.
  • Go to schools and host a dance class in gym classes and promote your new studio opening at the end, giving out information to the kids to take home to their parents.
  • Something that worked EXTREMELY well for me when starting out was contacting the local newspaper as well as holding short free workshops over the holidays. A lot of media sources were happy to advertise free events for free.
  • Connect and join your local FB groups. Start interacting with people who ask about dance studios and post in the group offering your services.
  • Find other teachers and start building your team! Ask friends who you’ve danced/taught with before and trust, post on dance job opportunity sites, network etc.
  • Attend community events, network and get to know community leaders.
  • Take workshops with for studio/business owners. Learn from others, get inspired by other dance studios.

Tips & Important things to remember!

  • Take it slow, smart and keep your vision clear! Remember why you want to open a studio in the first place!
  • Have your goals be realistic but meaningful to you!
  • You don’t have to everything yourself! Get advice from others, and get inspired from successful dance studios, and ask for help if you need it.
  • Technology is your friend, for when you get stuck and need answers, as well as for promoting yourself.
  • Don’t sell yourself short, know your worth and let the world see your vision!

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