April is the perfect time to start thinking about your studio’s year-end plans, and to get the ball rolling on promotion and registration for the fall semester. Many studios and teachers like to mark the end of the year with a party. Often it happens at the same time as the year-end recital. Determine early on whether the party will take place within class time, and if parents will be invited. As a dance studio is much like an extended family, having a party at the end of the year that brings all students and parents together is an inclusive way to reinforce that notion.
Having parents attend the party has other advantages as well. The end of the year is a great time to remind your students to sign up for next year’s classes. In a party atmosphere, after a year of working together, students and parents will feel doubly inclined to solidify their commitment to dance. Teachers can assist by staffing a registration desk so that parents and students can register on the spot. If this isn’t possible, consider printing a flyer outlining the fall classes and schedule, as well as the date that registration begins. You can distribute this flyer to everyone at the party, as well as email it to them closer to the date of registration.
Another year-end tradition that many studios embrace is year-end photos of classes and individuals. If you’re hiring a professional, remember that photographers get busy in the spring with weddings, graduations and other celebrations, so book early. Provide parents with as much advance notice as possible, especially if you’re requesting that students wear uniforms or special costumes. If you don’t yet have a relationship with a photographer, ask other dance studio owners for references. Photographing groups of children can be challenging so you want to be sure your photographer knows what he or she is doing, is able to make everyone comfortable and is good with children. You may also want to line up parent volunteers to assist with this initiative.
Pride and Promotion
The end of year is also a great time to decide whether or not your studio will invest in some branded materials. Dance bags, t-shirts, sweatshirts and water bottles are very popular – and useful – items. Brand them with your studio’s name and logo and watch them fly out the door. Because the dance studio is like a family, students feel a great sense of connection to their teachers, fellow students and their studios. Studying dance is a real part of their identities. Hence, branded items allow students to express their pride in connection to their studios. Branded items are also a great way for you to promote your studio, as students will likely use these items at summer schools and workshops over the break. If you do decide to purchase branded items for resale, remember to shop around to compare offers and contrast prices. Many suppliers can offer good deals and quality products and you want to be sure you can offer your swag at prices your students and parents can afford.
With year-end performances to plan and organize as well, starting early on these additional initiatives will ensure a smooth conclusion to your year.