How to sell a dance studio
6 Do’s and Don’ts for Selling Your Dance StudioHow to plan for a smooth transition—and a profitable sale of your businessEmma Franklin Bell sold her dance studio and is now a business and communications coach.
Francesco Locatelli, courtesy of Emma Franklin Bell
In 2014, Emma Franklin Bell sold her Australia-based preschool dance studio, with multiple locations, in six weeks. “A parent ended up buying the studio,” says Bell. “She’s expanded it, and it’s still going strong, five years later.” If six weeks sounds like an inordinately short time to broker the sale of the studio that’s been such a big part of your life, you’re not wrong. Bell worked hard to make sure her business was eminently sellable—with studio systems in order, a thoughtful transition plan already in place and a clear understanding of her studio’s financials. It’s that kind of preparation, Bell thinks, that made her experience so painless. Shouldn’t you give the sale of your business just as much planning and consideration as you did its inception? Here’s how.DO have your systems organized.
“Every piece of your studio needs to be arranged with systems,” says Bell, author of How to Run a Preschool Dance Studio and now a business and communications coach. If you haven’t already put systems in place, she suggests imagining that your studio has different departments—staff, marketing, finances—and then systematizing the processes you carry out within those departments. When Bell found a buyer for her studios, it was easy to explain the way she’d run her business. “Because all of those systems were in place,” she says, “it was a ‘plug-and-play–style’ business. There was nothing in my head that was open to interpretation—it was all documented.”DON’T keep your studio’s financial information solely in your head—or worse, a secret.
You can’t be all over the place with your studio’s finances, says Bell. “The classic ‘I have it in my head’ just won’t cut it when you go to sell your business,” she says.
Florida-based Transworld business broker Michelle Sayegh routinely requests three years’ worth of financials from sellers of small businesses. “We ask for three years because we like to see whether a business can prequalify for a business loan,” she says. “To do that, we need to furnish the bank with three years of financials.” Even if your studio’s finances are messy or less-than-stellar on paper, hiding that information will only hurt you. “Everything’s going to come out at the closing,” says Sayegh, “so let’s get to the bottom of it now, before we’re two months in and the deal falls through. We need to be candid with the buyer from the beginning.”DO ready specific facts and figures.
Don’t be surprised if potential buyers ask you questions like “What is the value per student?” (how much a single student brings in for the year) or “What is the life cycle of a dancer?” (how long a student tends to stay at your studio). “It’s difficult when students do all sorts of classes and programs,” Bell says, “but it’s important to sit down and work out, as best as possible, the overall idea of what a student brings into the studio in revenue. ” Unless it’s a big part of a studio’s business, she doesn’t advise including additional student expenses, like costume fees or studio merchandise. “Just strip it back to the yearly fees,” says Bell. For the life cycle of a student, she examined enrollment and attrition numbers and calculated a few statistics for buyers: the number of dancers who stay one year, two years and more.DON’T wait too long to tell staff and parents.
Bell admits she struggled with when to tell her teachers and parents that she was selling her studios. “I believe people should be privy to the truth of the matter and given time to ask questions, express how they feel and make decisions they need to make,” she says.
Bell was also sensitive about how she shared this news, because she knew it might be an emotional reveal for students and their parents. She told her teachers first, over the phone. “I wanted them to be completely aware of what was going on, why and when it was happening,” she says. She told her parents via e-mail, with details on how the sale would happen, what changes would occur and how the sale would affect them. “I was very thoughtful in my approach, and I allowed for open communication and discussion to happen,” she says. “They respected this a lot.”DO separate yourself from the studio once you’ve sold it.
Though the urge to stay on in some capacity at your studio may be strong, Bell advises against it. “Even if you’ve had the studio for over a decade,” she says, “it’s not yours anymore.” Remaining involved, even as an instructor, can just make the urge to get involved on the business side too difficult to resist.DON’T run your business any differently while you’re waiting for it to be sold.
In fact, Sayegh suggests running your business as if it’s never going to sell. “The average time it takes for a small business to sell is nine months,” she says. “You should carry on operating your business and making money. You can’t let it slide while it’s listed or even when it’s under contract—the deal may not go through, and then you’d be stuck with a business that took two steps backward.”
THE BENEFITS OF USING A BUSINESS BROKER Using a broker for the sale of your studio means you’ll have to part with a percentage of the sale, but there are significant benefits to letting a professional handle the job. Confidentiality As business broker Michelle Sayegh points out, selling a business is not like selling a house—you wouldn’t want to put a “For Sale” sign right outside your studio’s doors. “Brokers are skilled at getting it done in as confidential manner as possible,” she says. “When we deal with a buyer, we always get them to sign a nondisclosure agreement.” Bigger pool of prospects Even if your broker doesn’t know someone who’d be interested in buying your studio, she or he will have access to networks of other brokers who might know someone. Many brokers will list their clients’ businesses on multiple business-for-sale sites, as advertising. Selling savvy Selling a business requires a lot of paperwork that has to be done properly, and a broker will be intimately familiar with the many steps that have to happen, and in what order. “We take the headache out of trying to run your business and sell it at the same time,” sums up Sayegh.
Rachel Rizzuto writes the Business column for Dance Teacher and is a second-year MFA student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Selling Your Dance Studio? 10 Things You’ll Need To Do
Sometimes in our dance studio careers things change. We realize for whatever reason, we need to shut up shop and move on. Over the years I’ve spoken to many teachers and studio directors who at some point felt they needed to sell their studio and quite often didn’t know how to go about it.
A few years ago I decided to design my own preschool dance program. Fortunately for me, it was successful and within a few months I had full classes, two teachers and 2 studio locations. I operated the business from the opposite side of the country and handled the enquiries and the marketing. It was run as a very tight ship. After a couple of years a few new opportunities arose for me and I decided I needed to sell the studio.
The studio was located in a medium-sized country town with a smaller studio in a small country town, I knew I needed to sell quickly (within 6 weeks) otherwise the school would lose momentum and dwindle away.
I knew it would be hard to find a buyer and after a fair bit of outreach, a lovely mother who already ran a children’s business decided to buy it. Luckily, I had created such a well run business the transaction was smooth, the buyer paid in full, we had a chat over the phone for a couple of hours about the running of the business and I emailed her all the relevant documentation she would need to hit the ground running.
It was one of the easiest sales transactions I’d ever done and I believe this is because I’d drawn all my business and marketing skills together and created a very ‘sellable’ business.
The Top 10 Things You Need to Make the Sale Quick & Easy:
1. Systems – Every piece of your studio needs to be arranged with systems. Imagine your dance studio has all these different departments – staff, finances, marketing, customers, students, etc. and then systemize each process you carry out within those departments.
2. Legal – Is all your insurance, superannuation and workers compensation in order?
3. Accounts – Is your business profitable? Ensure your P/L statements and income and outgoings are all accounted for, written up and well organized.
4. Studio Director – Some studio directors are ‘the business’ by that I mean the studio is built around them and their name. Whereas some studios have a range of teachers and the studio director is one of them and is not as front and center. So, how separate are you from the business versus how integral are you, personally, to the business’ success? Potential buyers will want to know this as it plays a key part in the ongoing success of the school.
5. Market Share – Knowing how much of the market you hold within your area is important. Are you a newly established school so, therefore, not well-known? Or are you the most well-known in the area? This will have some impact on the ‘value’ that is perceived by a potential buyer.
6. Marketing/Branding Collateral – Do you have a strong name and logo and can the new owners buy it? Do you have it trademarked? If a potential buyer wants to buy your branding ensure you are upfront with them and tell them the full story regarding the IP and how much they may need to pay to buy the trademark as well as the logos.
7. Attraction Strategy – How much marketing are you doing? What are all your marketing plans and funnels and what aspects of your marketing output attracts the most students? Having a strong idea of what strategies are the most successful is critical.
You want to also have an understanding of the financial analysis regarding marketing and student acquisition. How much does it cost you to get a new student? This is based on how much marketing you have to do and then the conversion rate of that marketing into a paying student.
8. New Owner Acceptance – Sitting down and assessing how you think your teachers, students and parents will react to a new owner is important. This will ensure you’re sensitive with the handover process and you approach the sale with respect and humility. People do get upset and they do get disappointed but being upfront and honest is key, so explaining that this sale is something you really have to do will, over time, be understood.
9. Business valuation – Businesses are generally valued on their profit, so what’s the turnover and then what’s the net profit? Some value is placed on original IP, goodwill, reputation and brand but not very much. The main focus for any buyer or accountant who is looking through figures is the dollars. At the end of the day your studio is a business and people want to know it is robust and strong.
10. Student Value – Every person I spoke to asked me the value per student meaning, how much did a single student bring into the studio in a term and a year? It’s difficult when students do all sorts of classes and programs but it’s important to sit down and nut out as best as possible the overall idea of what a student brings into the studio in terms of revenue.
Don’t include any additional things like costume fees, merchandise or anything like that, that’s cream. Just strip it back to the term and yearly fees and try to gain a good idea of what each student brings in.
People will also want to know the lifecycle of a student – how long does a student tend to stay? 6 months, 2 years? This can be found out by looking at new year’s enrollments and then seeing who has dropped off by the end of the year and calculating some ratios around numbers of people who stay a term, a year, 2 years and more.
(Bonus Point) Comparable Sales – One of the other things to do is to look at other studios that have sold within your area. Although every school is very different, it will give you an idea of the price people may pay. You can assess all the things they’re offering from classes to facilities and assess how your school stacks up.
I would only look at sales as far back as about 18 months because economies and values change very quickly. Gain an understanding of where your school fits and then think about what you would put forward as an asking price.
You may decide to go with a business broker depending on the size of your studio or you may not. They take a fee and you want someone who has a good idea of dance studios, likes them, and is going to do their best to sell it for you.
Just Business? Maybe not.
You may also find you’re a bit picky with who you want to sell your studio to and that’s completely understandable as it is something you’ve built and created and you want to pass it on to someone you believe will make it flourish. I chatted to several interested people and I knew some of them wouldn’t have the skills to make it work.
They do say there shouldn’t be any emotion in business and to just go with the best price and that may be best for you, but if you feel there will be a twinge of emotion still attached to it, you may want to think about who you sell it to.
At the end of the day, selling your studio may be a need or it may be a want and whatever happens you want to feel comfortable and positive about it. In rounding up, most buyers will only be focused on and interested in the figures so make sure your financials are tight.
Selling my studio was the right move for me at the right time and it felt good so make sure you’ve fully assessed your life, your plans and your focus moving forward so it’s a great move in the future direction of your career and life.
Emma Franklin Bell is an entrepreneur, author and mentor. In 2014 she sold 2 small businesses in the children’s entertainment space, wrote and published a book and mentors dance teachers on the strategic direction of their business. The book ‘How to Run a Preschool Dance Studio’ The 7 Step System to Create, Grow and Expand Your Preschool Classes can be bought at www.howtorunapreschooldancestudio.com or the paperback version can be bought at Amazon.
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Promotion of a dance school: how to advertise and promote services of a dance studio
Promotion of a dance school requires a non-standard approach in marketing due to the specifics of the business area. Dancing is fun, energy and drive, so advertising for a dance studio should evoke the same emotions. The times when new customers could be attracted by distributing leaflets near the subway are long gone. The modern audience wants everything at once. It is necessary to introduce her not only to the services, but also to the people who provide them. In this article, we will tell you what to do before starting to promote a dance studio and how to attract new customers using different types of advertising.
What to do before you start promoting a dance studio
1. How to determine your target audience
As in any other area of marketing, advertising and promotion of a dance school is based on the study of your target audience. At the same time, you need to understand that dance studios have direct and indirect competitors. Fitness clubs, wellness centers, martial arts schools also offer sports and development services. Therefore, the task of your marketing campaign is to convince people that dancing is the most suitable way of leisure.
Vogue dance with Verona Models
You can analyze the target audience using:
- • questionnaires or surveys;
- • interview;
- • focus groups;
- • thematic blogs and forums;
- • social networks.
The last method is good because with a minimum of money and time spent, you will find out the nature, habits and needs of your target audience. Also in social networks, you can see how and for what audience competitors are promoting their services.
2. How to create a client portrait
After analyzing the target audience, you need to break it into segments and create a portrait or avatar for each. Here is a list of parameters to consider:
- • gender;
- • age;
- • area of residence;
- • income level;
- • marital status;
- • interests;
- • problems and pains.
By “running” clients through this list, you will get their psychological profile. It will help you work out the benefits consumers will receive from your service and identify triggers to influence them.
3. How to create a sales funnel
Think about the customer's journey from the moment he sees the ad to the moment he buys the service. If you're promoting with free lessons, your sales funnel might look like this:
- • interest in dancing;
- • search for a suitable school;
- • contact with advertising;
- • sign up for a free lesson;
- • free lesson;
- • receiving an offer.
4. How to form an offer
The offer is formed based on the problems of the audience with the help of its main triggers. This is your promotional offer. “Learn to dance hip-hop in 3 months”, “Sign up for a free trial lesson”, “Become a member of a friendly community of dancers” - these are examples of offers for a dance studio.
5. How to create a landing page structure
The purpose of a landing page or landing page is to motivate the client and involve them in the sales funnel. It is important to remember that several advertising banners can be located on such a page at once. The structure of the landing page is based on the pains of customers. For example:
Banner 1: main offer.
Banner 2: Headmaster's video message.
Banner 3: photos of students and teachers.
Banner 4: school facts or regalia.
Banner 5: a unique offer, such as discounted private lessons.
Banner 6: subscription offer.
Banner 7: School FAQ and contacts.
With this approach, advertising and promotion of the dance school is much more likely to resonate with potential customers. After all, you interact immediately with all segments of your target audience and work out objections.
How to promote a dance studio through contextual advertising
The advantage of contextual advertising is that it starts working immediately after launch. In a short time, you can collect a large number of applications and reimburse the costs of promotion. But it will take time to figure out the settings of the advertising account.
There are 3 contextual advertising mechanisms:
- Search algorithms. By analyzing the most popular queries for keywords, the system brings you to those who right now are driving into Google or Yandex “dance school record online”. When interacting with such a client, it is important to convince him to conclude a deal as soon as possible, otherwise he will go to competitors.
- GMS (display network) Google and YAN (Yandex advertising network). They show ads on affiliate sites for people who are interested in dancing. This method gives a good conversion for a relatively low price, however, the audience received from such an advertisement will be cold.
- Retargeting or remarketing. It allows you to make a special offer for those who came to your site, but for some reason did not leave a request.
How to promote through targeted advertising
Targeted advertising is the most suitable option for small dance schools. An advertising account on Facebook and Instagram is much simpler than on Google and Yandex, and the cost of an application is lower. But contextual advertising has a higher conversion rate, as the target leads to a cold audience that your sales team needs to “finish”.
To make targeted advertising more successful, collect enough leads, upload the data to your Facebook ad account, and create a Lookalike Audience. She may be the most responsive.
How to promote a dance school with SEO
Before you start SEO promotion, carefully analyze your competitors. This will help you optimize your strategy and understand what services are in demand. For advertising to be effective, combine related keywords into groups (clusters) and prioritize queries. Then search algorithms will display the site in the TOP results due to natural traffic. You also need to make sure that there are no technical errors on your site.
Advertising with bloggers to promote the dance school
If you want to agree on a barter, use the following algorithm:
- • through blogger search services, find those who live in your city and who are interested in the services of a dance studio;
- • offer a blogger a free lesson in exchange for advertising;
- • agree on cooperation. Be sure to specify how many advertising posts the blogger will publish in his account.
If the blogger does not agree to barter, consider how necessary this type of promotion is.
Other Ways to Attract Customers
To get maximum exposure, try additional promotion methods:
1. Free Lessons
Dancing is one of the most spectacular art forms. If you organize a public performance of teachers and students of the school, the audience will see the result live and receive additional motivation.
2. Promotions and discounts
To interest potential customers, arrange an open day. Workshops, consultations and discounts on subscriptions - showcase all the features of the school to interest visitors.
Modern dance school in Kyiv
3. Participation in competitions
First place in dance competitions is a sure way to increase customer confidence. To increase the conversion, try adding the phrase to the offer: “Do you want to learn dancing with the winners of the international competition?”.
4.Partner programs with neighbors
The main advantage of such programs is a double budget for promotion, which allows you to organize a large-scale advertising campaign. Anyone can be a partner: a fitness club, a yoga studio or a children's music school. It is important to correctly present information and find common ground with the audience.
5. Offline advertising
Whether this method is needed depends only on the habits of your target audience. If, during its analysis, you found that most potential customers are subscribed to the account of a trendy restaurant, try to negotiate with the administration of the institution to promote your services. It can be both advertising on flyers and street banners.
For a successful advertising campaign that pays off the investment, it is not enough to use one or two promotion methods. Complex marketing is needed with constant analysis and adjustment of the strategy. By combining various tools and platforms, you will be able to provide the school with a stable flow of students, and business with income and profit.
Optimize the business processes of your dance school together with 1C: Fitness Club to increase the effectiveness of your marketing! Leave a request and our managers will contact you for free consultation.
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opened a dance studio twice
Eight years ago I opened a dance studio in a small metallurgical town where there was nothing like it at that time.
During its existence, the studio went through several relocations, twice seriously went into the red, but in the end it remained a successful business, and then I sold it. I’ll tell you how everything was, what worked for me and what didn’t work out.
Why I decided to open a dance studio
The story began in a standard way: since childhood, I dreamed of dancing and for a long time persuaded my parents to take me to a choreographic studio.
There were no holidays, vacations or birthdays in the studio. It was possible to miss a training session only in two cases, as the coaches joked: he fell ill or died. The rest of the reasons were not considered valid, and it was possible to fly out forever.
Later, I appreciated the strict discipline and exactingness of the teachers. Thanks to them, I can easily control myself, concentrate on any, even unpleasant, business, and bring everything to the end.
This partly helped in business: I could work 10-12 hours a day without days off and holidays.
After graduating from school, I thought that dancing is a hopeless field, so I need to get a different education and build a career. I studied to be an economist and during my studies I managed to work in a trading company, a women's correctional colony and a large network company.
But I was bored doing monotonous activities and being subordinate to someone, I wanted to implement my ideas. In 2009, I decided to take a part-time job as a dance coach, and since then a completely different life has begun. I started working in the then popular areas: strip plastic, stretching, go-go, I also taught regular dances to children and was a group program coach in fitness rooms.
I enjoyed teaching people and putting numbers, inspiring others to accomplish things, raising students, and working with them to achieve results. It's like a coach's job: he gives his whole soul and nurtures champions.
Almost as soon as I started working as a trainer, I wanted to open my own studio. I didn't like the set boundaries and the backward approach to business. In the dance schools where I worked, there were outdated areas that were out of fashion for a long time, such as aerobics. Classes were held without requirements for students and without results: we did not put numbers and did not participate in contests or competitions. There were no opportunities for growth for teachers or students.
How to start dancing twerk, how much does it cost and why shake your booty at all
The business itself was not service oriented. Schools did not develop, did not innovate - they simply worked for decades according to the old scheme. Several times I came with fresh ideas, for example, to shoot a video clip, but all this was perceived by the management with hostility.
In 2012, I graduated from the institute and received a diploma in economics. I had a choice: to leave for another city, because there were no prospects in mine, or to go work in the dance field abroad, or stay here, but do my own project.
I dreamed of creating a project from scratch on my own: thinking about how to plan and conduct classes, presenting the design of the studio, tracking down the mistakes of others. All these thoughts were constantly spinning in my head, day after day I lived only with this idea, remembering what not to do or what could be improved.
After graduating from the institute, I myself learned about a new direction - half-dance, this is dancing with tricks on a pole. It seemed to me interesting and promising, there was nothing like it in our city. I decided that the idea would shoot and attract people due to its novelty. Three years after I started working as a trainer, I launched my own studio.
What is half-dance
Half-dance is close to strip plastic, but unlike it, the purpose of the dance is not to seduce, but to show acrobatic skills. The movements in strip dance are soft and smooth. And half-dance is the same gymnastics, only not on a beam or rings, but on a pylon. On it, dancers perform circus and power elements.
In my city, metallurgists were not even heard of such a direction, but in Russia and around the world in the 2010s, half-dance just became a trend. At that time, I already had a large client base from dance schools and fitness centers where I had worked before, many students asked when I would open my own gym.Pupils perform elements of pole dance. The dancers practice in the most open clothing, because the only way to catch on the pole is with skin
|Pole dance combines elements of choreography, gymnastics, acrobatics
|There is also a separate sports direction in the world - pylon sport, which belongs to air power athletics
Before I opened my studio, I studied pole dance twice in Yekaterinburg - it was the school closest to me where this direction was taught. And there lived a friend with whom I could stay.
The first time I went was in January 2012, and then back in May, before the opening of my gym. I studied for a week every day for many hours, attended master classes. For the first time, the director of the studio gave me a discount on acquaintance, and the training itself cost only about 10,000 R. The second time I spent about 17,000 R: the cost of the training itself increased, and there were more additional expenses for food and travel. Both times I received certificates.
I spent on additional training in pole dance
There were no competitors in my city at that time. We had only seven dance studios: three taught street dances like hip-hop, breakdancing and locking, the rest were aimed at children, taught modern and classical choreography and ballroom dancing. In fitness clubs, they mainly taught go-go and oriental dances. I decided to take a risk and become the pioneer of a new direction in the city.
First Studio: 3m Ceilings and a Stolen Idea
In May 2012, I started looking for a space to launch the project just in time for the start of the school year. I discussed all the details like equipment, technical issues and the learning process with the directors of the studio in Yekaterinburg when I studied half-dance there.
The room had its own requirements:
- Ceiling height - at least 3 meters, so that poles - pylons can be installed.
- The ceiling slab must not be hollow, but must be at least 30 centimeters thick. The pylons must withstand a weight of up to 150 kg. If the ceiling is thin, the mount simply won't hold up.
- Rent — up to 15,000 R per month. In my experience, it would be difficult to cover the amount higher with the number of subscriptions, and if something happens, I could find that kind of money to cover a failed month.
What should a business consider when signing a lease
Not all landlords agreed to damage the ceiling, the thickness of the ceiling was not always suitable for my needs.
The deal failed with the first hall. Due to the peculiarities of the ceiling, an additional structure had to be made there. The landlords agreed to do it themselves, and I would have paid for the work, but at first they doubled the price, then increased it even more, and then refused to cooperate at all.
A few months later, I found out that they wanted to steal my idea and open a similar studio.
Fortunately, their attempt failed: they could not find the appropriate teachers, because only I had such a certificate and knowledge in the city. But the problem with the hall remained: I was already promoting a group on Vkontakte and recording for the academic year. The students were actively recruiting, but I had nowhere to receive them.
I couldn't just make excuses by telling a story about unscrupulous landlords and kept looking everywhere I could: on websites, in local newspapers, driving around the city, looking for signs about rent.
As a result, the opening had to be delayed for two months: due to the specifics and restrictions on the rental price, the premises had to be looked for for almost six months. A former colleague helped: he learned from mutual friends that I was opening a studio, and his friend was just renting out a small hall.
We have agreed that part of the repair costs will go towards rent. I did a facelift in a few days and bought equipment.
I did the repairs on my own — for example, I painted the walls myself. If it was necessary to attach pylons and arrange heavy furniture, then she called for help from familiar men. They spread linoleum on the floor and nailed it in places.
Pylons are installed quite quickly if there are no problems with the ceiling and floors: you need to drill a hole, attach the pylon, level it, and that's it. Detailed installation instructions are always attached to the pylons. We set up the first pylon in 2-3 hours, the rest were faster.
An important part of the cost for a dance studio is mirrors. They were made in a local company in my city to order. I ordered one-piece large mirrors to the floor. Due to the large size, there were difficulties with transportation: a special vehicle with equipment for transportation was needed - plastic windows are usually carried in such vehicles.
They could not be moved or installed by one person, and they could hardly fit into the aisle. Plus, there were difficulties with fixing: if the wall was not perfectly even, then any slightest deviation could be seen in the mirror - at the joints, in reflections.
But the mirrors themselves were excellent, and I then transported them to new studios, breaking the part along the way and ordering new ones. As a result, my friends came up with the idea of custom-made huge plastic frames, like for plastic windows, where we inserted mirrors. So they were easier to transport and install.For a pylon, a hole is drilled in the ceiling slab and fixed with screws. If the ceiling is not strong enough, the pole may come off during the trick and cause serious injury. Source: Pole4you This is what the studio looked like after the repair - huge mirrors were made to order at the local production
At the same time I registered an LLC, I was the sole founder. I chose LLC because I planned to open branches in other cities - it seemed to me that it would be easier to do this than with an individual entrepreneur.
By the way, it would be better if I opened an IP. The LLC was not useful to me later, I had to close it, and this is more difficult than an individual entrepreneur. In the second hall, I had to negotiate with the landlord so that he would give me a legal address. He reluctantly agreed, and I had to pay for it. The LLC also needs to submit a large number of reports, but I did not have the necessary accounting knowledge. Until I hired an outsourced accountant, there were delays in submitting reports and fines.
How to register an LLC from home
I opened the studio at the beginning of November. I was ashamed in front of the students, but they waited and almost all of them came.
To open a studio, I took out a loan, so after the opening, most of the proceeds went to payments to the bank - 20,000 R per month. For the entire time the business has been running, I have taken several loans, on average, 30,000-50,000 R for a period of 3 to 5 years. The total amount of all loans was 200,000 R.
Expenses for opening a studio in 2012 — 200,000 R
|Equipment: mirrors, pylons, fixtures
|95 000 R
|Cosmetic repairs: wall painting, flooring
|53 000 R
|Training and professional development before the opening of the studio
|27 000 R
|14 000 R
|Music center, locker room furniture, hangers at the entrance and other small items
|11 000 R
Equipment: mirrors, pylons, mounts
95 000 R
Cosmetic repair: wall painting, floor covering
53 000 R
Training and advanced training before opening the studio9000 000 R
Music center, locker room furniture, hangers at the entrance and other trifles
How much did I earn
The first studio was small — there were only three pylons, and I could not teach more than an hour six or seven people. This allowed the studio to earn an income of about 65,000 R per month.
There were two main sources of income: group and personal lessons.
Group lessons were by subscription only. The most popular, for eight classes a month in the evening, cost 1800 R. Evening is considered the most profitable time, because more people come. There was a small discount for the daytime.
Personal lessons were by subscription and one-time. A subscription for eight classes cost 3000 R, a one-time visit - 500 R. At first, the income from personal classes was small: with group classes, I did not have time to take more students. When more teachers appeared, I could only go to personal classes, and the revenue from them reached 30,000 R per month.
A regular waste was the purchase of alcohol: it is rubbed on the surface of the pole to remove dirt and sweat and improve adhesion to the skin. Alcohol had to be bought in canisters from doctors I knew - we needed a concentration of at least 70%, and this is not for sale in the public domain. It took 2000 R per month.
The largest turnover was from the spring of 2013 to the spring of 2014: 140,000-170,000 rubles. And the largest net profit was about 60,000 rubles.
Revenue for December 2012
|Subscription for 8 lessons
|27 000 R
|Subscription for 12 lessons
|12 500 R
|Subscription for 16 lessons
|12 000 R
|64 500 Р
Subscription for 8 lessons
27 000 R
Subscription for 12 classes
12 500 R
Subscription for 16 classes
12 000 R
8000 8000 °
Personal classes9000 5000 5000 °
64 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 R
Studio expansion: moved four times in five years
The studio lasted only six months in the first building: the landlord changed plans and we had to move out.
I already wanted to move out myself, because the room was small and I could not teach more than seven people in an hour. To support myself, support the studio and repay the loan, I needed to sell 20-30 subscriptions a month. If I bought less, I no longer had enough money for all expenses. It was necessary to expand and increase income, and for this, another room was needed. In just five years, we moved four times - each time to a new area of the city.
In March 2013, I took away the mats and the music center and moved to another room - almost three times bigger than the old one. I had to take out a loan again, because the old pylons did not fit in height. For 150,000 R I bought five new pylons and changed the flooring. The move cost 300,000 R, including rent for two months.
I spent on moving
There were no problems with the purchase of poles: even then in Russia there were several specialized companies that produced professional poles for dance studios. The best and most famous is located in St. Petersburg - Pole4You. You place an order on the website, choose a convenient delivery method - I had "Business Lines" - and they send it. Two weeks later I received the pylons.
|Lesson in the second hall after renovation. The floor had to be re-laid - it should be soft high-quality linoleum so that the students do not hit their knees and do not get hurt when they fall
|This is the third hall we have moved to. There I seriously invested in repairs, laid carpet on the floor, repaired the locker room and shower for students and teachers
The rent of the premises was three times higher than the previous one, the communal apartment was included in the price. In addition, you had to pay for security. All together it cost me 50,000 rubles.
There were no cheap premises, so the choice was either to continue or give up the dream. I decided to take a risk, and the risk was justified: the business grew rapidly. After the move, we already taught 10-12 students per hour and earned an average of 150,000 R per month.
How I built my work with teachers
I recruited teachers from former students: I chose those who had the potential for this or that direction, loved classes and knew how to communicate with the team. There were three main teachers, I took one or two more for additional directions like go-go.
She tried to make the work of teachers a pleasure: she gave salaries higher than the market, bonuses, paid for their education and advanced training, gave part-time jobs. The average salary in the city for teachers at that time was 2500-4000 R per month for 2-3 lessons per week. I paid 7000-8500 R, if I gave out a bonus, then it came out about 10,000-11,000 R. I gave out bonuses to those who attracted new students to their classes and, most importantly, kept new students. Or those who came up with something interesting like New Year's contests.
Teachers went to Yekaterinburg to improve their qualifications. It cost me 500-3000 R per person. I myself taught until the fall of 2013, and then I decided to leave only to manage the studio, since classes took time and effort.
Promotion: mostly word of mouth worked
The very first I had a group in Vkontakte — I started recruiting the first students even before the opening of the studio from former students. When I started to develop the group, I asked my friends to join it and make reposts, every day I posted posts, photos and videos to attract people. About a year later, the group had 1000 subscribers, and since 2013 it began to develop actively.
The popularity of the project was also influenced by the uniqueness of the project: half-dance in the city was a new exotic direction, people from the media sphere became interested in this.
Basics of marketing for business: advertising
My main clients were girls 25-35 years old with an average income and a little higher.
Here's what I used to promote.
Regularly updated accounts on Vkontakte and Instagram. I photographed a large, beautiful, spacious hall with high pylons, people reacted and signed up for classes. We wrote about the studio every day, posted posts, asked all our acquaintances and friends to tell about us.
Involved in the promotion of the community of teachers. In the new building, I already taught with three coaches, whom I found among former students. They posted recruitment announcements for groups on their social networks, made photo sets and videos for Instagram. Friends of acquaintances came - it turned out such a word of mouth.
Made a website for the studio. It cost about 13,000 R. I made a beautiful clip on the main page, added photos, information about teachers and a class schedule. After the site appeared, calls began to arrive twice as many.
I spent on the site
I invited photographers and cameramen to work on a barter basis. The direction was new in the city, so they were interested in working with us free of charge. Sometimes they did provocative reports like "Half-dance: striptease or art?", but in any case, publications brought us fame. There were about 15 permanent photographers.Photos from the performances of studio teachers at concerts and events. These are dances on canvases. Photo: Dmitry Kaiser
|An example of a photo shoot that we came up with with a photographer. Photo: Dmitry Kaiser
|For them, it was new and unique content that no one else had done in the city. Photo: Dmitry Kaiser
Posted ads about the studio. I have published on local sites, 2GIS, Flampe and Avito. She advertised several times through Yandex Direct. Local sites and 2GIS did not give any results, but promotion through Yandex Direct and Google Ads worked.
I was engaged in promotion, at the very beginning I asked a friend to figure it out and help set up advertising. Usually, new campaigns were launched before the season - at the end of summer to attract students for the new school year, and at the end of winter to attract people for the spring. The advertisement lasted 1-2 weeks, the average budget per campaign was 7000-15000 rubles. We did not have to negotiate with them: they themselves found out that a new dance style was being taught in the city, and they wanted to talk about it.We have worked with both beginner and well-known photographers. All this helped to promote the studio, but the most unusual ideas were suggested by already experienced photographers. For example, this photoshoot with canvases in nature. The canvases were fastened directly to the trees. Photo: Sergey Skorobogatov
Development of the studio: new directions in the city
Everything was spinning at breakneck speed. Soon I brought new dance styles to the city: aerial gymnastics on canvases and acrobatics on the ring. This trend had already begun in Yekaterinburg, and I knew that it would soon come to our city. It was necessary to have time to be the first.
At first, all this was not in demand, because it was hard and difficult for the students. It is very painful to practice on the ring and canvases: after the lesson there are huge bruises from hoops and burns from the fabric.
Imagine: you are hanging in the air and you are being held by a rag digging into your body.
But then the direction unfolded: beautiful photosets and clips with dances on canvases appeared in all social networks, competitions began to be held in cities, dance studios made enticing advertisements.
I was the first to develop this direction in the city, so the students immediately came to me. Once I organized a competition to draw attention to dancing on canvases: for the best photo on canvases, I gave a subscription to eight classes in the studio.
From the outside, these dances seem dangerous, but there have never been any accidents in my classes. Classes are necessarily held with special mats that soften the blows if someone suddenly falls. Teachers are trained and know how to avoid injuries. Before the start of classes, my clients got acquainted with the instructions for safety rules and signed it. Nevertheless, adults understood their responsibility, no one took risks once again.For classes on canvases and rings, you need to buy additional anchors - these are such fixtures in the ceiling - and soft mats on the floor for safety
In general, there are few incidents in this area. I heard only about one case: in Yekaterinburg, a girl flew off a pylon and broke her arm. But it was a pylon of a different design - a portable one that stands on the podium. It is less stable than a pylon bolted to the floor and ceiling in a studio.
I first looked for teachers at the local circus school, we have a pretty strong one. But we worked with them for a couple of months and did not agree, so I sent several students to study in Yekaterinburg at my own expense - so that they could conduct classes.
I spent on the introduction of a new direction
The introduction of new directions cost 44,000 R: 38,000 R was spent on canvases, anchors and rings, another 6,000 R were spent on training teachers.
Children's dance school and missed grant
My students and parents of former students regularly asked to open dance classes for children: variety dances, stretching, modern choreography.
This would help expand the business and reach a different part of the audience. I knew for sure that the project would be successful: I had already worked as a choreographer with children aged 6-7, I had a reputation and potential clients.
There was no free money to create a children's school, so I decided to look for a grant and found a suitable one - the competition of the Entrepreneurship Fund. To participate in it, one had to take courses and defend a business plan.
I did not learn anything new during the courses, since I already had an economic education. The next step was to write a business plan and submit an application. I asked for money not just for a children's school, but for business development.
I collected a package of documents: statutory documents, certificates of no debts to government agencies, a certificate of completion of courses, several questionnaires from the foundation itself, a business plan and checks confirming the costs of the project - 15% of the requested amount.
I got to the children's dance school
As a result, I won the competition and received 300,000 R.
Everything went well, but again there were difficulties with the premises. I needed a hall with an area of 50 m², and these cost 50,000-100,000 R, and not in the center, but on the outskirts of the city. I couldn’t take on such obligations and pay more than 100,000 R for the premises of an adult and children’s studio: I had loans, and if something went wrong, no one would help me.
I tried to search for premises through state auctions and the city administration, I turned to the mayor for help. She offered to do free classes for children from orphanages or large families. But no one came towards me. We have a small city, culture and education are not particularly developed here.
There are factory workers in my city who prefer to drink and watch TV after work.
It was not accepted to get involved in something or have a hobby, so it is difficult to develop in a creative environment.
As a result, the school could not be opened. I spent a grant on an existing studio, and the foundation accepted it, because I originally asked for money to expand and develop the business. So the grant was well spent.
Despite the history with the grant, 2014 was a successful year: for the first time we held the first major dance event in the city — a pole dance competition. At the same time, it became possible to open branches in other cities: I found two halls and a representative, and I could launch three schools at once. But she was afraid of responsibility and put it off for the future.
How I got a grant for 100,000 R
I was afraid to carry such a large financial burden on my own, especially the simultaneous payments for four rents. I also wouldn’t have had enough time to manage all the studios myself, and there was no one to delegate.
If I created a network of dance studios, it would raise the status of the project, bring in additional income and allow the sale of the franchise to start. In the future, I did not have such opportunities.
Went into the red and started again from scratch
In the winter of 2014, things went badly. At first I thought that it was just the off-season, winter and summer in this area are disastrous months. I had a small airbag with which I closed the holes. But in the spring it ended, but the situation did not get better, and the business went into the red.
Just then, the financial crisis happened, and it hit my city significantly: salaries dropped a lot, people began to save money - and first of all on hobbies. The city has a poor population, business is not doing very well, and financial shocks have a strong effect.
It seems to me that my business went into the red mainly due to two reasons:
- Some of the teachers turned out to be unscrupulous - they conducted additional classes in the studio past the cash desk. Or they were trained at my expense, and then left and poached students. I noticed this just in the fall of 2013 and in the winter of 2014, I was losing 20,000-35,000 rubles a month because of this.
- Clients asked to extend their subscriptions in advance, but never brought money. In the winter of 2014, there were a lot of such cases - about 9— 12 people per month.
As a result, the studio's income fell from 110,000 to 60,000 rubles. I was forced to fire unscrupulous teachers and could no longer pay rent.
I had to move from a good place to nowhere, and the studio stopped working for almost a year - until February 2015.
Despite the closure, I believed in my project and had no idea what else to do. At that moment, the studio seemed to be the work of my whole life. In January 2015, I saw an advertisement for the delivery of a building with four-meter ceilings and two large halls.
By that time, competitors had already begun to appear in the city, who also taught half-dance. Half of my students and all the staff went to them - this time no one expressed loyalty and did not wait for me to solve problems. But the description of the new premises hooked me, and I decided to open again. She recruited teachers from her former students, and also looked for clients through social networks.
The repair of the hall took several months, so the studio opened only at the end of March. With difficulty, but I brought the business to its previous level, launched joint courses with teachers from other cities. I spent 285,000 R on the opening - these are the costs of repairs and rent for three months. I borrowed part of the amount from a friend, I earned part myself - at night I wrote diplomas in economics for students.
285 000 Р
I spent on opening a new studio
How I decided to sell the studio two months. I managed to pay off debts for repairs and reach a stable profit.
In 2016, a lot has changed in my life. I met my future husband, we began to live together, and then we decided to move to another city. The business was irrelevant for me, and I put the studio up for sale.
It was planned that it would be bought by one of the old students who have been in the studio since its foundation. And so it happened. We negotiated with one of the students for almost a month. By that time, I had already closed my LLC and was about to move. Therefore, I sold the studio to her as an individual with the transfer of all rights, property and equipment for a symbolic 100,000 R - this is how much the equipment of the hall cost, taking into account wear and tear.
After the sale, I introduced the new owner of the studio to the staff and students, completed all personal affairs and never returned to this topic.
Expenses for December 2016
|25 000 R
|Premises for rent
|14 000 R
|Drinking water and disposable cups
|42 500 Р
25 000 R9000 Р
What mistakes affected the development of the business
Despite the successful start of 2014, I made mistakes that slowed down the development of the business.
Did not conclude agreements with teachers, because I relied on their integrity and honesty. As a result, they went through training that I paid for, then went to competitors and took students away. To prevent this from happening, I needed to legally fix the training and confidentiality conditions. For example, to prescribe in the contract that the teacher is obliged to work in the studio for a certain period after completing the training or pay its cost, otherwise - a fine.
Gave the keys to the studio to all teachers. I did not follow what the teachers were doing in the studio outside of class, and someone began to conduct classes past the cash register. Usually, an administrator works in studios, and only he has the keys: he opens and closes the studio, marks clients, and monitors subscriptions.
Made the salary too high in the city. I could save about 15,000 R per month on teachers' salaries and spend this amount more appropriately - on advertising or attracting additional teachers during the daytime and weekends.
Didn't introduce strict visiting rules and didn't set up an accounting system. I went forward when the students asked to renew the subscription on credit or pay in installments. Because of this, I lost some of the money: clients went to classes, but never brought money for them, and I could forget who did not pay. If we had a CRM or other customer accounting system, these problems could have been avoided.
Used the premises inefficiently. Instead of opening a second hall and teaching other dance styles, I made a dressing room and an office for employees in its place. In addition, it was possible to sublease the premises in the morning and afternoon, when there were no classes. I was offered this, but I refused. The studio could have a large sum from the evening for the sale of subscriptions, so you would have to keep track of those who rent the hall for sublease - either hire an administrator or do everything yourself. There was no worker for a nominal fee, and I didn’t have enough time.
Did not use all advertising tools . It was possible to attract well-known personalities in the city for cooperation, place booklets and business cards in popular places, launch targeted advertising and more actively maintain a page on Instagram. When I reopened the studio, I no longer invited the press and did not arrange master classes, and as a result, they began to forget about the school, especially since three competitors appeared.
Made hasty decisions. The third move was unsuccessful: the studio was in an area difficult to reach by public transport, too much money was spent on repairs, and it was difficult to get along with the landlords. For example, they promised to install batteries for three months and started working only when I threatened to leave. All agreements with landlords had to be fixed in writing in the contract, and not limited to verbal promises.
Invested in an ad that didn't work.