Customers are always where you start with. Dance can be anywhere and mirrors can be a smartphone.
Hi Sarah. The place to start is teaching in someone else's studio. And best you teach in a couple places before starting your own. before starting a schools learn which teaching methods really work, & what approaches feel right to you. And most importantly learn what teaching methods give the kind of result from the students you want to achieve. This way you develop your own strong belief system, which I promise you will need to tap into all the time. then Lastly learn how to handle parents well.
Then go to SCORE or any experienced business owner and get help planning the financial part of the business. Its not hard...
I can tell you from first hand experience, long term success in dance schools comes from consistent quality in instruction and pleased engaged parents. BTW: owners of good schools can absolutely make good money. Good Luck
I actually am a dance instructor and started by renting dance studio space. I rented space in different areas of the large tri-city area. This allowed me to gain a following in different parts of town, without the large overhead of owning a studio. Renting different spaces on different days allows you to determine your particular "sweet" spot for when you do decide to open your own building/studio.
My recommendation is to work on getting the sales/clients before you take the step at purchasing a building/studio.
Another tactic is to make sure you are going out dancing (to show off your dance skills). Volunteer to teach a beginner lesson at some "already established" community dances. Put on your own community dance (open to the public) at these various different rental studios. Do what you need to do, to get your skills exposed and noticed.
This is not a simple process but it can certainly happen. It requires extreme commitment of both time and money, you will need to learn to be a (good) boss and you will find out that no matter what advice and warnings you get there are a thousand things that will come up. If you still want to go on then for forming a Dance Studio there are three areas to group into tasks: 1) Physical Studio, 2) Customer Base, 3) Business Strategy. Having come from the theater world and looked into this myself many moons ago I'll break it down, but I'd also follow other advice about talking to other studio owners.
1) Physical Studio: You can buy or lease, more commonly the latter but since you will need to invest in flooring, mirrors, changing area, mini store, lobby, office, 2nd and maybe 3rd studio you have to make sure you are in it for security. If your lease goes up 30% after 5 years what will you do? You want long term security and you will need to get a handle on the space costs and estimate +20% more than you think. 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) Customer Base, dance studios make their living off little girls 5-12 years old. Of course you can do everything from mommy and me to adult fitness but you will want to survey local elementary school populations within 10 miles or so. Along with that you need to assess competition and determine their reputation. Are you competing with a "Y" or school programs? How will your customer experience be better than other options?
3) Business Strategy, besides a million details of everything from how to use social media, web site marketing, local promotion and the myriad ways to sell your business you need to start with a brand identity. Are you a recital studio or a performance studio? What's special about you as an owner or teacher? What will create loyalty (years of study)? Is the idea to rent a school auditorium once a year and have every video yielding mommy and daddy recording the endless parade of costumed cuteness from tots to teens or are you more geared to performances in-house? How will you engage parents? Will your strength be classical, ballet fundamentals or will you look for more current trends with hip hop or try to do everything. How many classes will you teach? How many teachers will you hire? What is your pricing strategy/local demographics?
As you can see I could go on and on and while many things are obvious you have to remember your primary job won't be as a dance teacher it will be running a business AND THAT'S NOT THE SAME THING! When you know you want to do it I'd suggest getting professional help to write out your plan, strategy, tasks, timing and financing. You can do this with a SCORE office for a no cost start or use a professional business coach who knows something about your profession. Making investments up front in both time and money can be the difference between building a long term successful business or putting a lot of money into a passion that may bleed you out. Following your dream is a great thing but do it with open eyes and a guiding hand.
I can really only speak to the digital marketing side of the business, but it is incredibly important to get a website up and running to establish the legitimacy of your business in addition to your social media efforts. Also, getting your business listed in all the right places on the internet Google My Business, Yelp, Yp, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, etc etc is incredibly important.
If you need further advice on any of this, feel free to send me a private message! Have a great day and good luck! Running your own business is the most rewarding job ever!
I'd start with Score, while they may not have a local dance studio mentor, successfully creating and running a business takes a lot more than technical skills alone. I have a blog article on this topic: www.growthroughpeople.com/#!What-You-Dont-Know-You-Dont-Know-Can-Hurt-Your-Business-/c15i6/B7952792-FF53-4321-8E43-9FE49A227DC8
In order to provide more specific advice, it would be helpful to know your credentials as a dancer and/or if you had children attend dance (my daughter did 15 years, I learned a lot during that experience).
The other question is your target market - is it children or adults (a la Astaire/Rogers)?
In any case, good luck!
These are all great suggestions. Among other things, I would suggest you come up with a memorable name for your new business. This is key.
Here is a simple checklist that may help you in this process:
1. What are you going to call your business?
2. Can you get the website url as that name? yourbusinessname.com? Go ahead and secure the domain name you want.
3. Then hire a graphic design person to create a great logo you can use to brand your new business.
4. Sit down and create an Executive summary that outlines Who you are | What you are doing and where will you be doing it | Who are you doing it with | Who are your competitors in your area | How are you going to pay for it | What kind of return do you anticipate
5. Create your social media profile by creating social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterset, LinkedIn
7. Get clear about who you are and what you are doing.
8. Get known by getting your business out there for people to find
9. Get socially connected with those people who need your services or product.
6. Check out more free resources - goaheadlaunch.com
Praying for your success! Let me know if you need additional help!
Find a place first for your dance studio. Make it look good. Add some creative work so it will look attracting. Then, prepare for some ads, or create a social media account where you can advertise your dance studio. You can use the Internet to help you maximize your visibility in your area. You can also go for print ads to help people know about your business. You can ask for some help on your friends. Starting a business is not easy, learn to be patient. The time will come your dance studio will be full of people wanting to learn about your dance lessons.
First: Test your Idea with Dance, by somehow renting a place temporarily like rent a spot for a day/weekend and hold 1 day class, and then inviting people to come, see how it works, and if more people demand for your type of classes..then you know you have something to work with and open for business
First thing TEST out your idea before venturing a full-blown business.
If I were you, I will go miles out of my area, and contact someone in another city or even state (owning a dance studio) , and invite him/her for coffee or lunch in exchange of a "meeting", "mentor session", "professional interview", etc, in where you strategically ask the main questions you need answers for. Many business owners appreciate others see/take their advice with respect (but don't trick them. Tell the truth from the beginning).
People would may suggest visiting the SBA, SCORE and so for organizations for small business... but the best way to get into it is from people living the experience daily. It would be great if you could volunteered some time in an organization doing, somehow, what you are planning to.
The last thing is starting with what you have in mind and test ideas down the road ( a harder way though, but many has done it).
Success to you.