One of the very first things we do after hiring a new teacher is give them an official teacher kit. These are the basic items that we think our teachers need in order to be successful. Every preschool dance teacher needs a few tricks up his or her sleeve to make classes more magical. Here are some of our favorites:
Silicone spots: Seriously, you need these. Little ones need a designated space that is their own. This is one of the top items that will set your class up for success. Pro: You can use them over and over. Downfall: You’ll always have that one kid who wants to pick hers up and move it. Click HERE for spots. A great alternative is duck tape to mark spots.
Lummi sticks: Some of my earliest dance class memories involve sitting in a circle and tapping my sticks to “M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E.” And for good reason. These are so instrumental in helping children establish rhythm, and the kids love them. Get yours HERE.
Scarves: Ahh, the versatile scarf. Scarves can be leaves, snow, butterfly wings, or even just a scarf while doing a freeze dance. Your options are endless and you can find them HERE.
Beanbags: Beanbags are wonderful for teaching balance, as well as body awareness. There are so many fun beanbag songs out there that you really should have these in your repertoire. Click HERE for beanbags.
Ribbons: We love our ribbon circles, and the kids love them even more! Are we the only ones out there that get a little sick of the primary colors that dominate the preschool world? Well, we took matters into our own hands and created our own that were on-brand. We absolutely love them, and the kids have a blast each time they’re brought out in class. Get yours HERE.
Shakers: “Shake, shake, shake, Señora…” Yes, shakers are a blast. Be prepared for giggles and wiggles whenever these are whipped out in class. They are another great tool to increase rhythm and musicality. Click HERE for shakers.
Crowns: What little girl doesn’t love to wear a crown? We’ve even found that the boys in our classes like to act like princes as well. Want to take your imagery to the next level? Whip out some crowns, and see what happens next! #Winning. How adorable are THESE?
Mascot: Teaching leaps or grand jetés is so much easier with the help of a friend. However, the usefulness doesn’t stop there. Use a mascot to help teach proper arm placement, incorporate into a dance, or even set one or two up as an “audience” as you’re preparing for recitals and go over your recital rules. Every one of our teachers have a Bitty the Ballerina in their dance bag, and we have Ms. Toula for our Studio To Go purposes. She’s also been known to make an appearance in our sister company’s classes from time-to-time. Of course, we can’t forget about Bo the Ballerino. We use our mascots to be inclusive of everyone. Not only do we have a boy and a girl, but each can be customized in any skin tone.
Wands: Wands are up there with tiaras. Want to hear shrieks of delight in your classes? Bring out your wands and watch the imaginations soar! Wands are great for teaching piqués ( I have my dancers sprinkle magic on their toes), for incorporating into a dance, using during freestyle, or using for leaps at the end of class. Star wands found HERE.
We hope you enjoyed our list of favorite teaching tools. We have a lot of fun seasonal props that we incorporate as well and hope to share some of those with you in the future. Happy Teaching!
*Please note that some of these items are affiliate links
It’s a new year, which usually means everyone is thinking about how to improve this year. Common resolutions include health, home life, money, and business. Personally, I don’t do resolutions, BUT I am a huge goal setter.
For me, setting goals happens multiple times throughout the year, but there is a special magic to it around this time. As business owners, this is the time of year to set your business up for success. As a dance studio owner, this is the time of year to get your studio on track for the remainder of the dance season, as well as to start thinking about the coming dance season. It may seem never-ending!
Are you someone who doesn’t naturally do well with goal setting? Well, let’s take a look ahead at some of the things you should be focusing on this time of year:
1- Recitals: I’m sure most of you are already on top of this one, but just in case you aren’t, recital prep should be at top of mind. There’s the obvious (costumes being ordered and sorted), but there’s also the things you can do now to save you time and hassle later. What items do you usually wait until the last minute to cross of your to-do list? Could you go ahead and spread those out across the course of the coming months to lighten your load?
2-Financials: Yeah, I know. This isn’t my favor either…and I’m assuming it isn’t yours. After all, we didn’t choose to go into finance. However, it is key to the health of your studio. Reflect back on last year’s financials. Are there areas you could shave unescessary expenses? Where would you like to be in 2018? Take the difference and find ways to get there? Could that mean going to digital announcements instead of paper to reduce costs? Could that mean adding on 15 new students to increase monthly revenue? Whatever it is, you need to have a tangible goal and a course of action that will get you there.
3-Summer: Summer camps and any classes or workshops should be finalized now. Parents register children early, and you don’t want to miss the boat. In addition, check in with your staff and find out what their summer plans are. Many will welcome the extra income opportunities.
4-Fall scheduling: We’re not quite there yet, but in the coming months (usually around March for us), we go ahead and get our teacher’s availability for the coming year. Who isn’t coming back? Are we adding classes? Do we need to hire? It’s always better to be ahead of the game in hiring. That way you get first pick of the talent out there and you can take your time to hire the right person. You don’t want to be caught desperate and settling for someone that isn’t the right fit for your studio.
5. Marketing: It’s the perfect time to evaluate your marketing efforts. What are those efforts? What is working? What isn’t? If you’re doing incentives like Bring a Friend Week, how many new students does that get in the door? Could you add an additional one each year to increase enrollment, or maybe make it evergreen and hand out current families a few “passes” to bring a friend in during certain times of the year? How are you communicating to families? Could it be improved? Are you utilizing social media to your advantage? Take a look at your goals for 2018 and determine how you can use marketing to get you there.
6. Staff: You’re not the only one who is feeling motivated this time of year. Use this time to nurture your staff. Have some weak links? Provide them some extra training, and if they don’t improve, it’s may be time to see them go after this dance season. Have some rockstars? Nurture them. Check in and see how you can help them with their goals in 2018.
7. Yourself: We’ve all heard it, “You have to take care of yourself first.” It’s true. This is the perfect time of year to start taking care of you. Your business will never be at its best if you’re not in a good place. Make some healthier choices. Whether that be 5 minutes of meditating each morning, trying out yoga, bringing healthy meals to the studio with you, walking 20 minutes a day, committing to making more time for friends and family, etc. Whatever it is, find something. You can start small, but at least start. A 1% change over the course of the year brings forward huge results!
Make 2018 a great year for you and your studio. At Studio To Go, we believe that business should be successful. We also believe that there should be a lot of fun and joy in your business. It’s never too late to make a new start, and setting measurable goals is the fastest way to get the results you desire!
We all know that feeling. Running around from errand to appointment, calling back parents, planning classes, a quick meeting with a Teacher, all the while trying to grow & expand your business. Well friend, I am here to tell you that technology can play a huge role in reducing administration hours, increase business awareness and generally help save your sanity! Technology is a fundamental part of our society today, with social media being a prominent part of our everyday lives, for social or business reasons. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have a spare minute, I am generally scrolling through Facebook. I am not encouraging this, nor saying it is beneficial, however a HUGE portion of our clients and potential clients are also doing the exact same thing. With over 2.07 billion users on Facebook & 1.15 billion daily active users, our prime advertising demographic is ready & waiting! (Source: zephoria.com) There are so many technology-based tools out there that can be a game-changer for your studio. With these tools you can produce more traffic to your website and studio, attract your dream students, stay organized and up-to-date with your team, promote your studio and even grow your business beyond your wildest dreams! In this post I will discuss what technology tools I personally love, and that you can’t live without for your studio!
Tech top tip #1: Social Media Marketing & exposure
We all know the major ones (*cough* Facebook & Instagram) and those are the ones we generally need to focus on. But, sometimes it can also be beneficial to reach out to new platforms or try to master a platform that may go under-utilized such as a platform that 79% of US teenagers (13 – 18) are currently on and using frequently… Snapchat (source: expandedramblings.com). It has fun filters & the ability to share photos for a short period of time. Now, Instagram has also launched an ‘Instagram Story’ feature which also boasts pretty much all of the same features (awkward). But, Snapchat (and Instagram stories) are a great way to communicate with your current students and also potentially reach out to new members (friends of your current members). Through Snapchat, you are able to set up fun features like geo tags where students are able to access a specific filter within your building or studio location (can I hear you say branding opportunity everyone?).
For Facebook, an amazing feature that is currently being pushed is Facebook groups. It is a fantastic way to connect with your current families (without having to be friends on Facebook), keep your team up-to-date & also connect with potential new clients. #winning
My top tips for Facebook groups with current studio members:
- Set up a Private group for your current studio members
- It is a great way to communicate important dates, share blog posts, remind families to return notes, build camaraderie and a sense of community.
- My team and I regularly share practice photos & videos to the group along with other VIP info that is not shared on the main page. (Your team can also be invited to the group to share info & footage without having to go through you or be friends on Facebook.)
- It is a fantastic way for parents to share student accomplishments in & out of the studio as a wonderful place for everyone to celebrate.
- New events & workshops? A Facebook group is a fantastic way to set up a marketing plan for your current customers to be exposed to.
- It is also fantastic when leading into peak enrollment periods to share reminders, build interest and urgency to re-enroll.
My top tips for Facebook groups with potential new clients:
- Join the local community groups in your area (or studio location)
- There are generally a HEAP of local community boards available to join in your local town or region. Be sure to join up so you can start sharing!
- Make sure to read the group rules. (Sometimes you may only be able to post ads on certain days, etc). This will ensure your posts get through to the group and you don’t get deleted or blacklisted.
- I would recommend doing some research on the best times to post for engagement in your area and also post content (photos and videos are best!) that people are likely to pause on and watch or look at, rather than continuing to scroll through.
- No local group? Why not set it up? You can always be the admin while the group is growing and then pass it on to someone else who is interested in running it.
- They are fantastic exposure to your target market and also a great way to reach out and collaborate with other business owners in your area or to let people know your students are interested in performing.
- Try to find a ‘Mother’s group’ style group
- These are focused on parents with young children, so it is a great way to target parents in the community who may be new to dance and looking to do something with their child in this arena.
- You can also share informative articles about different ways that music & dance is beneficial for development, as well as at home activities tips and tricks.
- Ensure you follow the rules as mentioned above.
Aside from Facebook groups you should also be posting to your page regularly. For potential new clients cruising on Facebook (or Googling for a dance studio in your area), they won’t have access to your group so it is important to have a consistent presence on your public page. Remember! A lot of these platforms have ‘sharing’ features where you are able to share easily from one to the other. In my opinion, you want to be sharing different content to different platforms (variety is the spice of life after all), but sometimes hitting ‘share’ is just so dang easy!
“How do you have enough time for all of this?” You may ask….. Check out my top tips for social media scheduling programs!
Tech top tip #2: Social Media scheduling programs
While it is all well and good to say that everyone should be posting to their Facebook and Instagram pages multiple times a day, if you don’t have the resources to hire a social media manager, the posting is left up to you! With this in mind, it is important to plan and prepare to ensure consistent posting = less stress for you and more clients!
The following programs are highly recommended software that have a lot of amazing features for ‘smart posting’ (in my opinion….) where you are able to batch-load posts into specific groups to load whenever there is a ‘gap’ in posting, marketing plans, list & job allocation, calendar viewing (great for seeing your posting schedule) & more!
Be sure to check out the following programs (all paid, but generally have a free trial):
- Coschedule: my personal favorite! It works with WordPress so I am able to plan and schedule blog posts as well as share content to my Facebook groups, Instagram, Facebook & more!
- Panoly: Used by the wonderful Studio To Go team!
- Meet Edgar: I have used in the past, but Coschedule gave me a lot more power and flexibility.
- Buffer: very common and useful!
If you aren’t wanting to add an expense at this time, you can also pre-plan all of your posts straight through Facebook. There are also some free Instagram apps out there that send you a reminder to post. However, the paid programs are well-worth the money in my opinion.
Tech top tip #3: Planning and creating systems
If you have read any of my posts in the past you would be aware of my absolute obsession (some may consider it unhealthy ha!) about systematizing your business for success. I have a complete Masterclass all about how to set it up in your business. But, in my opinion, all business systems and operations need to be established online or in a cloud based system so that multiple people can access it from wherever they are in the world.
My absolutely FAVORITE program is Trello. It is a free program (there are paid options, but I have never needed it) that you can create different boards for your team members, daily operations, marketing plans & my favorite…. A studio systems hub board.
Other programs you might want to check out are Asana & Google Calendar!
Tech top tip #4: Communicating & training with your team
Raise your hand if you hate emails…. *puts both hands up* If you are anything like me, when you go into your inbox, somehow you look up and 3 hours has passed, which is not ideal when you need to be focusing on growing and expanding your business, rather than working IN your business 24/7. With this in mind, my team and & I have a rule. NO EMAILS! Instead we use a program called Slack to ask questions, check on projects and basically move the business forward. Slack, combined with Trello, is the perfect blend for us! Slack is a little app on my computer that allows me to directly message particular team members or even create groups for admin-specific tasks or where multiple people are requiring updates.
Some other services that you might like include: Messenger, Azendo, Fleep & Jostle. A lot of these programs have similar benefits, with obviously a few distinct changes.
Now, when it comes to training your team, in-person meetings and session are paramount. However, depending on geographical locations, schedules & times of the year, this isn’t always possible. Time to step up and go tech! There are a heap of video conferencing software out there, but my favorite by far is Zoom! It allows me to record trainings for my team, share my screen when having meetings with my VA as well as schedule in one-on-one meetings & more. Some other great services to check out are Skype & Google Hangouts.
So, there you have it folks! My 4 top tips for integrating technology into your studio! There is so much techy goodness in this blog post, I hope you find it valuable and are able to integrate some into your studio to help systemize, automate & scale! Be sure to check back next week for some more tech insight for your studio. 🙂
Are you a Dance Studio Entrepreneur who dreams of having a studio that doesn’t require them to run it 24/7? Are you just starting out and don’t know where to start? Discover how to practically systemize your studio & scale your business into a dance empire that dramatically increase your profits, whilst creating more freedom. Find out more here: http://www.claireosheacoaching.com/systemiseforsuccessvideo