SOBuzz: A Competitor Who Stole My Ideas

Fantastic article by Therese Tucker (as told to Kathryn Hawkins) over at BNET:  "How I Beat a Competitor Who Stole My Ideas".

As dance studio owners, we have all been there.  You just put out a new ad (website, sign, brochure, etc) and two months–or maybe even two days–later you see a competitor using the same wording for their own business (class names, discounts, etc).  I've personally had a competitor copy and paste all of the wording from my website (which took me days to write) and pass it off as her own idea on her website.  How irritating!

What can we take away from this article for dance studio owners?

Read more »

Studio Owner Buzz: Accounting is Awesome… or is Cash Still King?

This article by NYTimes writer Jay Goltz, is a must-read for small business owners which also means… studio owners.

Many times studio owners open their businesses because they love dance, teaching dance or didn’t like the way their previous studio ran things. And many studio owners fail because they don’t have any understanding of how a small business operates. To start any business, including a dance business, you need to have a basic understanding of accounting or at the very least, some business understanding.

One trap that many studio owners fall into is not understanding profit, which is discussed in the NY Times article. Business owners will see a steady flow of cash coming in but at the end of the year are shocked when their accountant says they made only a few thousand, if any profit at all!

There are many books out there that are geared towards small business owners who don’t want to sift through accounting jargon. Borrow one and read it! Many times, your town or city will have a small business organization who can help you understand. Use these resources before you begin your studio.

First figure out what you need each month to break even. Then look at studios in the area and adjoining areas to get an idea of the range. Then push quality over value. Being the cheapest in the area will only make you look like your instruction is cheap. When it comes to their kids, people want quality instruction. John Morgan of Brand Breakout said it best in his recent tweet: “Don’t be the cheapest price in your industry. You’ll never win. Sell value, not discounts.”

Should you offer multiple class discounts, family discounts or other rewards to your most loyal clients? A word of advice: Make your highest discount the REAL price that you want for classes. If you need to bring in $50 per student, per class, per month, then make sure your lowest discount reflects that. The non-discounted tuition is more money in your pocket.

Even if you have had your studio for a while, but are not seeing the profit you think you should, you can use these resources to make changes to your current tuition system or business plan. If math is not your forte and the word accounting makes you tune out everything else in the sentence… hire an accountant who will review your business and make suggestions. For a few hundred dollars investment, some small changes could result in thousands of more profit for you.

See other articles in Business
If you enjoyed this post, take a moment to VOTE FOR US for Top Dance Blog of 2010 by commenting on the post (click this link). Thank you!

Dance News – Gender & Dance Edition

While females make up about 85% of the dancing population (amateur or otherwise), there are only four female directors of large ballet companies in the United States (large meaning their budget is over $2.5 million). Here are a few articles that touch on this subject that we think are worth a read:

Where Are the Women Ballet Leaders? | Dance USA

Finally, Women Choreographers | Dance Magazine

Where Are the Female Choreographers? | Dancer Universe

Gender In Dance | Bourgeon

For more dance news – search our archives.

Studio Owner Buzz: Negotiating a Lease

Studio Owner Buzz is a series of posts on useful tips for Studio Owners. Costume catalog reviews, business tips, and more. Click here for past SOBuzz articles
Most studio owners got into the dance business from their love of teaching and of dance, not their love of contracts, business management and administrative details. However, being a studio owner also means being a businessperson and often that means negotiating with business people who have been in business much longer than you and will not be afraid to throw some punches.

My first year of owning my own studio, I was 22 and had no official "business" experience. Walking into a meeting to "negotiate" a lease with my future landlord, I might as well have been a lamb being brought to slaughter. I had no idea what I was talking about, and probably came off nervous and lacking experience… which I certainly was. Sure I had done my research, but that's not the same thing as actually negotiating. I ended up signing the lease for 2 years more than I had wanted to, but got more square footage out of the deal so I felt somewhat accomplished.

But you! You're smart! And are doing even more research so you can learn from my mistakes and be ready to negotiate with the big dogs.

First, let's learn about commercial leases.
Read more after the jump
Read more »