How many times have you found yourself in a pinch with staffing? If the answer is “Too many!” then it’s time to create solutions at your studio by cross-training your team members or hiring new ones for very specific roles.

It’s never convenient to be stuck in an unexpected situation or faced with making a quick decision to solve a long-term problem. Help yourself react more calmly, with more confidence with these proactive ideas:

Situation: Subs are needed often for hard-to-teach classes.

Solution: Pre-build sub plans that are needed for these classes and require other staff members to review them for familiarity. Ask teachers to prepare notes, music, lessons, and/or video demonstrations in advance so it is easy for any staff member or sub to take over at a moment’s notice.

Situation: Someone on your team is going on maternity leave, or has to take an unplanned family or medical leave.

Solution: Implement cross-training efforts as soon as possible, with the intent of having one or more current staff members step in for increased responsibility (and reward). If that isn’t an option, start interviewing ambassador-level parents who are familiar with your needs and willing to be trained for a temporary staff role to fill the gap.

Situation: Media interview opportunities and community events are plentiful, but you are stretched too thin to participate in them all.

Solution: Establish a community coordinator role for a current staff member or new hire, or consider hiring a public relations firm to represent your studio. Cross-train your team members on the studio’s values and key messages so they are always prepared with a culture-driven sound bite!

Cross-training and hiring are ongoing solutions to the staffing situations that plague every studio from time to time! Don’t let the unexpected catch you off guard: be ready to react with a proven plan of action.

No one in business likes receiving complaints, so what if you could prevent them from happening in the first place?

With an open mind and a commitment to great service, you can stop many complaints in their tracks by soliciting client feedback. Understanding pain points allows you to implement solutions before issues have a chance to grow beyond repair. While it’s true that not every concern can (or should) be addressed, many concerns can be mitigated with a keen eye on what people want.

Get ahead of problems with any or all of these feedback-gathering methods:

Family Survey
Through an online survey platform (or Google Forms), ask questions about how your clients would rate their experience with your company. Plant seeds of core values in your questions, such as “How would you rate your child’s enthusiasm for dance class?”

Program Questions
Using just two or three targeted questions to a small group, ask for your clients’ feedback about a specific class, opportunity, or event, such as whether your competitive students desire more or fewer hours of commitment.

Focus Group
Hand-select parents who represent different cross-sections of your studio population (like preschool, elementary, competitive, or special needs) and invite them to participate in a one-hour onsite discussion about a specific topic, such as recital or class levels.

Social Media Poll
An informal poll on social media can give you quick insight into busy parents’ lives and how you can serve them more effectively. Ask simple questions, such as their preferred form of communication or the easiest day of the week for costume pick-up.

Your success often parallels your productivity—but not all productivity is created equal! Sometimes what feels “productive” is really just “busy.” True productivity is rooted in spending focused time in your zone of genius, otherwise known as your sweet spot. For some studio owners, this is choreography and classroom work. For others it is creating new programs and marketing them, or building spreadsheets of financial plans. 

While all areas of your business need attention, the best use of your time is in the area that gives you joy and satisfaction. With that in mind, how can you better focus your time on what actually makes you more productive—and more successful?

Check in with yourself in these five areas:

  1. Delegation. Ensure the other areas of your business are well-tended, such as hiring rockstar teachers or a monthly bookkeeping service. Equip your employees to make confident decisions and take on assigned tasks with enthusiasm. They also need permission to work in their zones of genius!
  2. Automation. Systems streamline regular tasks and compress the time required for completion. Automate the predictable tasks, such as email or social media marketing, trial classes, registration, and more to free up your workflow.
  3. Organization. Prioritize tasks and use a calendar that works for your lifestyle. What works for someone else might not be a good fit for you! Don’t let clutter—on your desk or in your mind—get in the way of your work.
  4. Procrastination. Resist the urge to put off important or difficult tasks. Handle them first, in the early part of the day if possible, and feel the freedom to focus attention back into your sweet spot.
  5. Distraction. Learn what works to focus your workflow. Is it shutting your office door for a specific window of time? Answering emails only in the afternoon? Dedicating uninterrupted family time three evenings a week? Commit to limiting distractions by taking control of your time.

Get proactive with your productivity and there’s no limit to your success!

Your employees are an invaluable resource to your business. They are arguably your biggest and best investment in order for your studio to achieve its mission!

But sometimes it’s a challenge to keep your staff engaged. They may seem disconnected or burned out, especially after these past two years. So how can you lift them up and empower them to do their best work?

Try these solutions to take your employees to the next level:

  1. Equip and trust them to make decisions. That also means creating space for them to make mistakes. Gradually offer more training and responsibilities, allowing them a chance to prove themselves.
  2. Role model positive problem-solving. Let them openly see how you handle conflict resolution and discuss what worked (and what didn’t).
  3. When they bring a problem to your attention, ask “What do you recommend?” Listen. When possible, try their suggestions or allow them to take the solution to the finish line.
  4. Celebrate wins, even small ones. Teams bond over shared effort. Be sure to reward your people for a job well done when goals are met.

As the studio leader, you are the coach—so don’t try to be one of the players! With your direction, patience, and encouragement, your team will step up their game.

Your studio’s culture is built from your values; it’s the way your mission and vision influence the atmosphere around your staff and students. Over time though, you may notice that the studio culture has shifted. It makes you wonder, “How did that happen? What can I do to fix it?”

The answer is to conduct a culture audit of your business. Evaluate these five questions about your studio culture, and respond to any “no” answer with immediate action steps to make improvements. The best part about making changes is that you will start to see (and feel) a positive shift right away!

Is the mission of your studio prominently displayed and understood?
Consider adding a culture poster and using it as a training tool for your staff and a discussion point for your students.

Is the work being done consistent with your business goals?
It’s key to communicate to your employees how their work affects the organization. Include them in goal-setting exercises when possible, and reward them as milestones are achieved.

How well does your studio handle problems and conflicts?
Every business has problems to solve, but if you are experiencing the same problems on repeat, it is time to explore different solutions.

How are people recognized for their efforts and milestones?
Everyone likes to be acknowledged for a job well done. Find out what is meaningful to your team members so that you are prepared to reward them when the time comes.

Are there meaningful growth opportunities at your studio?
Growth opportunities help your people see what they are capable of. Your new staff member might be ready for more responsibility, or your veteran teacher may want to add an admin role. Young students may want to try a performing group, and older ones might be interested in assisting in the classroom. Develop the opportunities so you can develop the people!

As the business owner, you naturally get pulled in many directions when you are at the studio. Trying to get proactive work done in a reactive environment can feel impossible. Sometimes it can feel like the hours of day disappear right before your eyes!

Is it possible to take control of your time and still feel productive at the studio? Yes! But it requires planning for specific time intervals with specific objectives.

Here’s how to get more strategic about your studio presence:

20-minute solutions

30-minute solutions

40-minute solutions