Dance Studio Owners: You Must Do This!
By Angela D’Valda Sirico of Dance Teacher Web
The life of a studio owner is hectic and full of ups and downs, such as dealing with issues like an angry parent or an unhappy student. There are the staff and faculty issues too, like who didn’t show up for class and who is giving you push-back. And this is only half of the story! You also have to concern yourself with paying the bills and keeping things afloat. Oh, and did I mention that you also have a personal life?!
One thing for sure is that if you don’t find ways to back it down, you may be headed for trouble. I coach many studio owners and I try to get them to not carry all the problems of the studio with them 24/7. I know this is easier said than done, but if you hope to have staying power it will be a BIG key to your success. Look, we all give a piece of ourselves to our businesses and with the dance studio business we are very much invested in our students, but they really do take a piece of us when they leave.
The point is, can you and do you find ME time to re-energize and get away from all things to do with your studio? If you find it harder and harder to not always be talking about the studio you may be heading into difficulties. Why? Because you can’t always be in business mode, or you will begin to lose you focus and vision. I love to talk to my husband Steve, who is co-owner with me of our studio “Balance”, about these things all the time, but if you have a spouse that is not involved in dance, you should keep them in mind as well. Do they really want to hear about dance all the time?
Danger signs that your studio may be invading your ME time!
- You answer the phone with an angry customer or employee after the studio is closed and stay on the phone for an excessive amount of time.
- You spend a lot of time talking about the issue you dealt with when you get home that night or spend the next morning rehashing last night’s studio events.
- You look at emails after hours and answer them during your down night time.
- You are always complaining about the work your employees or faculty doing.
OK, I know that I myself have been guilty of doing some of these things back in the early days of our business. But I have learned through the years, and the best piece of advice I can give you is that you need to set boundaries and make sure that YOU follow them!
Here’s how to set your boundaries!
- Under no circumstances will you return a call or get involved in talking to someone after your last class at night or when you are going to close. Let’s face it, do you really want to have a confrontation at 9 O’clock at night? Most issues will be able to be faced in a calmer manner by the morning and you will be able to think about things and have a better plan of attack by then. The key here is to set hours when you will talk to your customers and your employees. You are not open 24 hours a day. Just let it be known the hours that you are available and stick to it!
- Talking things out is very good but obsessing over them is not. Try this, when you leave the studio after a particular hectic day, lock the door and make a conscious effort to forget about what has taken place on the ride home. Instead focus on the great dinner you are going to have or going home to see your spouse, dog or TV show. Just get the studio out of your mind. Whatever it is you need to deal with can be done in the morning when you will have a new and in many times more positive outlook on whatever you need to address.
- If you are going to look at emails, don’t go online when you get home. Simple as that. Again, nothing is so urgent that you need to deal with it right then and there. Plus, if you look at an email that is going to bother you, it will be on your mind before you go to sleep and we all know how well that goes! Make it a rule that if you go online it is to look at things you are interested in that will inspire you or will make you happy.
- The most important thing we have as business owners is our vision for our studios. If your faculty and staff are not producing the way you like, then maybe you are not giving them the right signals. Complaining about it to your better half or employees will not make it any better. Instead make a plan to meet with your team and discuss ways on how they can do better!
Let me ask you a very important question.
Who is more important to the success of your business than you? The answer is: no one! Keeping yourself, and your family first will always be the best policy you can do set. Yes, our customers and employees are key to keeping it going but at what cost to you? You will face all kinds of challenges when you run a business. Lord knows we have faced many during the 29 years of running the studio. But face each one and deal with it the best way you can. No need to beat yourself up because you have a problem that needs your attention. Keep in mind if you are in a good place mentally, chances are everything you do will be there too.
Try this: Every night, when Steve and I sit down for dinner after a busy day, we hold hands at the table before we eat and say Thank You out loud three times. It always makes us smile and reminds us that we all really do have so much to be thankful for!
Here’s to your success!