Are you interested in starting a dance studio from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a dance studio business with NO money and no experience. This might be attributed to the rise in popularity of TV programmes like you think you can dance and dancing with the stars that promote dancing these days. Whichever way, it creates an opportunity for would-be entrepreneurs in this field.

What Does It Take to Start a Dance Studio?

If you want to start a dance studio business, you must be passionate about dancing and about people because you will have to be involved in teaching people how to do different kind of dances and you need to be able to engage them and make them feel included. This might be frustrating at times, but your passion will see you through at times like this.

To learn about starting a dance studio business, it is best to work at different roles in a dance studio for some time before starting your own business. This way, you will have first-hand experience of how to run the business effectively by taking on different roles and learning how to interact with different customers.

You can choose not to teach dance lessons if you don’t want to, but at the initial stage it is a cost effective way to manage your business. This can also be a good way of getting to know your customers on a first-hand basis. In the case that any of your dance instructors disappoints you, you can also fill the vacuum yourself.

You need to make a decision on the kind of dance you will be teaching in your dance studio before opening it and if you have the requisite skill set to teach it. You really don’t have to know all types of dance styles yourself; you can always bring in an instructor from time to time to take dance styles that you don’t know. You might also want to know what the trending dance styles are so that you can incorporate it into your dance studio routine as this can provide growth opportunities for your business.

Running a dance studio business requires you to be a highly disciplined person, have good organizational skills and be business oriented so that you won’t be running your business as charity. Running a dance studio is not all about dancing; there are other aspects to the business such as taking care of the administrative aspect of the business.

23 Steps to Starting a Dance Studio Business at Home With No Money

1. Understand the Industry

The dance studio business industry is indeed a growing industry despite the recession of 2008 which affected a lot of industries. The industry has experienced annual revenue growth over the last five years. The number of dance studios is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.2% resulting in an estimate of 8,264 studios.

Interesting Statistics About the Industry

The industry has been positively affected by the popularization of dance TV shows and the interest in dance as a form of exercise and keeping fit. According to USA Dance Inc, the number of people taking ballroom lessons and attending ballroom events has witnessed a 35% rise during a 10 year period ending in 2011.

The industry generates $ 2 billion and employs about 50,266 people. It is highly fragmented and the majority of dance studios carry out their operations from a single location while catering to the local market. The dance studio industry is expected to post positive average annual revenue growth over the next five years to 2018.

The improving economic conditions are expected to result in greater per capital disposable income growth, which will foster greater spending on activities like dancing. Apart from this, the rising income will also boost the demand for high-profit merchandise sales and lucrative private classes which will benefit the revenue growth of dance studio owners.

The market is not saturated and still has a lot of opportunities for new entrants. The market share concentration in the dance studio business is very low as four top companies account for less than 10% of the revenue in 2013. It is a highly fragmented industry and the latest Economic Census conducted in 2007 shows that 98.9% of the companies in the industry operate a single location.

The factors and incentives that makes entrepreneurs venture into the dance studio industry is the ability to get good returns on your investment. It is a financially viable business that is cost effective. In this kind of business, you don’t have to hire workers if you don’t have much capital at the initial stage. You can multi-task and take on multiple roles in the business while getting your friends and family to help you.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of the people who require the services of a dance studio instructor cuts across men, women, children and people getting married that need to learn a particular dance step for their wedding and people looking for a recreational activity to indulge in. These people are especially youths and upwardly mobile people.

The following represents the list of people that needs the services of a dance studio.

  • men
  • women
  • children
  • brides
  • grooms
  • special needs students

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

In setting up a dance studio business, there are a couple of niches ideas in the industry that you can choose from in this industry. Tapping into the niche market helps you distinguish yourself in terms of the dance services you offer to your clients.

The following are some of the niches / areas that a dance studio company can be specialized in;

  • aerobics dance
  • ballroom dance
  • pole dancing
  • ballet dance
  • salsa dance
  • hip hop dance
  • belly dance
  • yangko dance

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The dance studio industry is a highly competitive industry like any other industry if you want to be successful in what you do. To survive in the dance studio industry, you have to keep a level head because you will be dealing with people with different emotions who need to feel that they are a part of the dance classes being taught.

You also have to deal with the issue of other competitors poaching your student, take for instance, competitors coming into your parking lot to recruit students for their schools. At times, your top or best dance instructors can quit to set-up their own dance studio and leave you in the lurch. Some can even open their dance studios near your own studio and poach majority of your students for their own dance studio.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

There are some well-known brands in the dance studio industry and you can hardly talk about dance studios without mentioning the likes of “The Dance Club” based in Utah and “Impulse Dance Project”. The following is a list of leading dance studio companies:

  • The Dance Club
  • Impulse Dance Project
  • Southern Strutt
  • Murrieta Dance Project
  • Rock Center for Dance
  • DC Dance Factory
  • Mather Dance Company
  • The Dance Center
  • The Rage
  • Envy Dance Artistry
  • Dancers Edge
  • Strictly Rhythm Dance
  • CC & Co. Dance Complex
  • Tapio School of Dance and Gymnastics
  • Dance Industry
  • Bunker Las Vegas
  • Temecula Dance Company
  • San Diego Dance Centre
  • New England Dance Center
  • Tawn Marie’s Dance Center

Economic Analysis

To start a dance studio business, there is a need to carry out critical economic analysis to ensure that the risks and threats associated with setting up a new business or investing in a new business idea are reduced.

Starting a new business is not all about getting an office space and furnishing the place. Getting customers for the business is a major priority for any business as these are the people who will keep the company in business through their patronage.

On the average, starting and running a dance studio business is expensive, but you can still be able to minimize cost when you don’t hire too much staff at the beginning. If you have a good company profile, highly trained, highly qualified and highly experienced staff members on your team, you won’t have to struggle much to get people who will use the services of your dance studio.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

If you want to start a dance studio business, you need to think about the best approach for your business, if it is to build up the business on your own or to become part of an established network? If you want to build the business from scratch, you will have complete control over all aspects of the business. This way, you can build a brand which can be sold as a franchise later on or one that you can easily transfer to your children if you so wish. It is an exciting experience when building a business from scratch but at the same time exhausting.

If you don’t want to go through the process of building up a business from the initial stage, you should consider buying the franchise of a dance studio company that is successful. By doing this, you become part of an already established community. Buying a franchise also gives you worldwide name recognition when you buy the franchise of a dance studio that is identified with unsurpassed excellence in the industry.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

In the dance studio industry, both new and established companies are subject to threats and challenges. One of the greatest challenges is the problem of getting good dance instructors and staff. What you can do is to reach out to universities and local colleges for potential instructors so that you can have a consistent network of teachers you can get for your business. Training your current students is also a way of grooming potential instructors to work in your dance studio if the need arises.

At times, you have to deal with problematic parents of some of your students who are never satisfied with any decision you make. These kinds of parents have unrealistic expectations and they need you to offer explanations for any policy you put in place. They are capable of spreading negative things and gossip about your dance studio. At the end of the day, the business relationships between you and these kinds of parents don’t end up well. If their child gets kicked out of your dance school, they take you out on social media and at times they don’t pay up the balance they owe.

Newly established dance studios are also faced with the problem of competition from other well established businesses in a location where their business has got a strong presence.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

The type of legal entity you decide to use for your dance studio is a factor that can determine how big your company can grow. You have to put a lot of things into consideration before making a choice. Talk to an accountant and an attorney as there are different laws for business structures in different states. Your decision can affect your personal liability, the amount of money you pay as tax and how much money you can borrow and so on.

The different legal entities that exist for a dance studio business that you can choose from include sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), partnership, C corporations and S corporations. Each one of them has its own advantages and disadvantages, therefore it is imperative to choose the one that is applicable to your business situation.

If you are setting up a new dance studio company, consider using sole proprietorship and LLC for your business. Sole proprietorship is easy to set up and it gives you full control over your business.

LLC gives you the benefits of a corporation and a sole proprietorship without the hassles involved. This legal entity protects the business owner from having their personal assets confiscated when the company runs into debts.

You can start your dance studio company as a LLC and later upgrade it to a corporation or S corporation whenever you have plans of going public. This way you will be able to compete with major players in your industry.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

When you are about to choose a name for your dance studio, there some factors to be considered in doing so. Have it at the back of your mind that some of the names you are thinking of giving your new business might have been taken already by other dance studios. The name you eventually settle for will define your business and your brand.

The following are a list of catchy business name ideas that you can use for your dance studio business:

  • Artistic Steps
  • All About Rhythm
  • Beats & Rhythm
  • Buzz Till You Drop
  • Dance Hall Events
  • Dancing Queen
  • Dance Princess
  • Dance with me
  • Studio Dance Time
  • Merry Legs
  • Fit as a Fiddle
  • Diva Dance Troupe
  • Royal Dancers
  • Time to Dance
  • The Dance Arena
  • Souza Legworks

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

You need to insure your dance studio business in the case that something goes wrong. In the course of dancing lessons, there can be bodily injury to students or other people. There can also be damage to the property on the premises where you use for your dance studio. Your typical insurance policy should cover all this legal expenses in the case that they occur.

You can contact an insurance broker to help you in choosing the best insurance policies that you can use for your dance studio company. They will help you assess your risks and give you advice on the best kind of insurance policies you need for the business.

The following are the kind of insurance policies that you will need if you intend to start your own dance studio company:

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Business Owner’s Policy
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Accident & Liability Insurance
  • Accident Medical Insurance
  • Premises Liability
  • Participant Liability
  • Personal Property Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Non-owned and hired Auto Liability

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are in the process of starting your own dance studio company, you should contemplate filing for intellectual property protection. By doing this, you will be able to protect your company’s logo, documents, your software applications and of course the name of your company.

To file for intellectual property protection and also register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing your application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to review of attorneys a requirement by the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

A lot of professional associations offer accreditation and some form of educational program for dance studio instructors and teachers. These certifications and courses helps you develop lesson plans and learn proper movement and alignment.

You should consider getting the following certifications for yourself and staff if you have any.

  • Dance teaching certification
  • National Dance Council of America Certification
  • DVIDA Professional Certification
  • Dance Studio Owner Certification
  • Royal Academy of Dance Certification

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

In the dance studio industry, you are required to meet up with the legal document needs as stipulated by the constitution of your country, register your business name in your state and get the necessary business licenses you need to operate at both state and local level.

To operate your dance studio business successfully, the following is the list of legal documents that you need to put in place:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Public Performance License
  • Criminal Records Bureau Check
  • Employment Agreement
  • Operating Agreement
  • Company Bylaws
  • Insurance Policy
  • VAT certificate
  • Federal tax identification

13. Write a Business Plan

If you want to set-up a dance studio company, talk to an expert who specializes in writing business plans to write a workable business plan for your business. In order for the company to run successfully, it is one of the first things to put in place in the course of starting the company.

A Business plan is the blue print that you need to run a business successfully; having a workable one in place will help you reduce trial and error in your approach towards running a business. Management of the business then comes with purpose and precisions; you know what to do at any given time and how to handle challenges, growth and expansion within the business.

So if you want to start your own dance studio business, you are expected to write a detailed business plan that won’t flop when subjected to reality test; you should work with the facts, figures and other indices in the dance studio industry as applicable to the country you intend starting the business.

Putting a business plan together is not just for the sake of having a business document in place; it should be a detailed guide on how to effectively run the business from scratch. The business plan should outline and cover strategies on how you will manage and grow your business. Be careful not to over project when putting figures on income and profits in your plan. As a matter of fact, it is to underestimate when writing a business plan so that you won’t be so disappointed when you start the business.

The following important areas should be covered in your business plan;

Executive summary and Company’s descriptions

In this place, you are expected to write about the concept of your business, the descriptions of your company, your company’s mission statement, vision statement, the location of the company and also indicate if you intend selling out franchise or opening outlets in other parts of the world.

Other key aspects that should not be missing in your business plan are products and services offering, SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, market goals, pricing, costing and financial projection, marketing and sales analysis / strategies, target market, publicity and advertising strategy, expansion and growth strategies, budget and start-up capital generation.

14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis

There are several expenses that you would have to incur before you can open your own dance studio. Stating the location you choose to launch your business is important because it will definitely impact on the overall cost of starting the business.

These are some of the basic cost you will incur when starting a dance studio:

  • The Total Fee for incorporating the Business – $750.
  • The budget for Insurance, licenses and permits – $5,000
  • The Amount needed to rent a suitable office facility with enough (Re – Construction of the facility inclusive) – $50,000.
  • The Cost for equipping the office (computers, printers, fax machines, furniture, telephones and filing cabinets) – $15,000
  • The Cost of Launching an official Website – $700
  • Legal fees – $1,000
  • Office supplies and stationery – $500
  • Brochures – $250
  • Signage – $500
  • Additional Expenditure (Business cards, Adverts and Promotions ) – $2,500
  • Other miscellaneous – $1,000

Going by the report from our research and feasibility studies, you will need about $50,000 to set up a small scale dance studio company. On the average, you would need over 120,000 US dollars to start a medium scale dance studio company. If you intend to start a large scale dance studio, then you should look towards budgeting about 2 million US dollars and above.

15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Setting up a dance studio on a small scale does not require as much money as when you intend to set it up on a large scale. Setting up the dance studio on a large scale requires huge capital that you alone cannot bear. This requires that you raise more capital apart from what you have so as to be able to set up the business.

If you are starting the dance studio business on a large scale, you need to get an office space, equipment, furniture, capital for supplies and capital to pay the salaries of your staff for about 3 months. You can fund your dance studio business through the following means:

  • Raising capital from properties, personal savings, and selling off your personal stocks.
  • Applying for a bank loan
  • Raising capital from business partners and investors
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for funding from donor organizations and angel investors
  • Sourcing for loans from your close friends and family members
  • Raising money through subsidies and grants
  • Raising money from venture capital

16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

In starting a new business, the right location is important to the growth and survival of a business, the same goes for when you are setting up a dance studio business. You should consider engaging the services of a consultant when you are making the decision on where you intend to set up the company for your dance studio business. Setting up office in the wrong location can affect business negatively and you might have a hard time trying to make ends meet, thus leading to the eventual closure of your company.

Nevertheless, if you succeed in building a flourishing dance studio brand, your Business model will be a huge success anywhere it is located in the world. As a newly emerging company, ensure that your business is located within an area that has good business potential.

The following are the factors you should consider in choosing a location for your dance studio business.

  • The style of operation
  • demography
  • The volume of foot traffic in the area
  • The availability of competition
  • Nearness to other businesses and services
  • Accessibility of the area
  • If there is parking space for your clients
  • Presence of traffic and security
  • The infrastructure in the building in terms of the requirements needed to support the high technology needs of contemporary business

17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

If you are thinking about starting your own dance studio business, you need to invest in good dance studio management software to manage all aspects of your business. In getting an office space where you need to set up your office, go for a place that has enough space to create a studio or where you can knock down walls to create bigger space for your studio

You can start a dance studio company by being the only member of staff at the initial stage, when you start making some money, you can then consider hiring more staff. Hiring of staff depends on how financially buoyant you are. Your staff requirements will include a Chief Executive Officer or a president; this is a role you can take on as the business owner, a human resource officer, Accountant, Front Desk Officer and one teacher to teach students, you can hire a teacher who knows more than one style to avoid hiring too many teachers.

On a medium scale, you can run your business with an average of 6 key staff. You can explore the idea of going into partnership with others in your line of businesses to offer services in the niche that you are not specialized in.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

The service process in this industry is initiated by the customer who calls or come to your office to make enquiries about your services. Once a customer accepts to be your student, both of you will now decide on the best payment plan for the student. The student will have to make an initial down payment if full payment cannot be made before dance lessons commence. In the case that the student cannot make the full payment, an agreement is made on when the rest of the money will be paid. Once the issue of the payment process has been agreed on, the student can commence dance lessons.

18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

A dance studio company has to market its services and place advertisements in order to get customers. Making use of online and traditional marketing strategies can help your business get advertising exposure and desirable company growth.

You can market your dance studio company through the following ways to potential customers:

  • Placing Advertisements through magazine ads and company website.
  • Through the use of social media like Facebook, twitter and Pinterest
  • Inform local media to put word out about your company
  • Design and print business cards and fliers to distribute to people
  • Give special incentives to your first set of clients
  • Create a company brochure for your dance studio
  • List your company on local directories/yellow pages
  • Place advertisements on radio and television stations
  • Give special offers to people who recommend their friends to your dance studio
  • Offer discounted classes through a daily deals site like Groupon
  • Plan showcases, presentations and specialist workshops where prospective clients can see what your current students have learnt
  • Give free gifts like t-shirts and dance bags when students come to register in your dance studio.
  • Offer free trial classes
  • Do a tour of local schools and leave postcards with your studio information for children to take home
  • Attend local events and festivals to get new students for your studio

19. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

Being in competition with old hands in the dance studio business can be quite challenging. So you will want to be careful about the type of people that you want on your team so that you can be rest assured that they will be able to lift the visibility of your business.

Study your competitors in the industry and do a comparison of their business idea with yours. Discover where their strength and weaknesses lie, and compare them to yours to see if you can build on your strengths and improve the weaknesses. When your customers get better services from other dance studio company, they won’t use your services again, therefore, it is important to always put your best foot forward in anything you do.

Alternatively, you can go into partnerships with existing dance studio companies in the industry in order to have an advantage over your competitors. This will help you to get more customers for your business.

20. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When you are running a business, customer satisfaction is vital in retaining customers for the business. If you satisfy your client with the quality of service you render to them, they will keep using the services of your company and bring more business for you by telling others about the quality of service your company has to offer.

Having a bad experience on the other hand makes your customer look elsewhere thereby taking your business to your competitors. You end up losing potential customers in the process. Bad customer service is therefore a major reason that makes businesses unable to get customers.

In the dance studio business, practising good customer relationship management practices goes a long way in helping you to retain your customers. One of the ways you can achieve this is by getting your dance studio software, this will help you keep track of all aspects of the business and keep up with your customers. All the important information concerning your business and your clients is at the tip of your fingers and you can use it to communicate with them on important events like anniversaries, birthdays and public holidays.

21. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

The clients you have handled in the past client are essential to the branding of your business. Talk to a consultant who can help you come up with a strategy for publicity and advertising to be directed towards your target market. The following platforms can be used for brand awareness of your dance studio:

  • Advertisement on websites and magazines
  • Listing your dance studio business on local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertising on radio stations
  • By direct mail
  • Making use of social media like Facebook, twitter and Pinterest
  • By branding of your business vehicles and shirts

22. Create a Suppliers / Distribution Network

There is room for networking in the dance studio industry with other established industry professionals; this can be done by joining existing associations of dance studio in your community. One of such is the International Association of Professional Dance Studio Owners.

Alternatively, you can go into partnership with other dance studio companies in the business. By doing so, you can learn from one another and trade valuable information with one another in the business.

23. Tips for Running a Dance Studio Business Successfully

A business is successful when all the workers work in line with the vision and mission of the company. The CEO who is the driving force behind the company is responsible for giving direction to the members of staff. Staff meetings should be held regularly and the feedback from the meeting should be implemented.

The CEO should also be informed about what the feedbacks from the meetings are when he is unable to attend the meetings. Performance appraisals should also be done to find out if members of staff are following the standard operating procedure of the company and the outcome got from it should be used to correct any errors found in the way members of staff carry out their duties.

On a final note, give your staff training to help them carry out their duties promptly; praise them and give them encouragement to keep them motivated, reward your hardworking staff to promote healthy competition be open to encourage your staff to be honest in all their dealings with you.

Ajaero Tony Martins