What Every Dance Studio Owner Needs to Hear Right Now

Posted by Courtney Little on

Just like every other small business owner in the world right now, you are facing unforeseen obstacles, changing your business in ways you never imagined, and you are tired.  I know, because I am too.  

We all started our businesses with an idea, a hope, a dream, and worked our tails off to make it a reality.  We admired the fruits of our labors as they became everything we had hoped...and then Covid hit.  For me, it was only 2 months and 2 days after I opened my doors.  Talk about a quick dose of reality!  

The stress, the panic, the unknown...that was and is the worst part.  I, at times, feel like the epi-center of all of the studios.  I may not be the glue that holds you all together, but I am a place of commonality...where your students prepare for the place that they call home...your studio.  

In the months that followed all of the closings, I quickly realized a few things, and I'm going to tell them to you right now...

1. You're Fabulous!  Truly, you are.  Your studio was abuzz with music, instruction, dancing and laughing..and suddenly became a building of silence.  I watched studios turn their classrooms & living rooms into television studios.  I watched Zoom & YouTube classes take the place of live instruction, and don't get me started on the recitals...canceled recitals, outdoor, staggered videos, parking lots became stages...it was incredible.  During an impossible time, you're never going to have every single parent on board, so you must do what is in the best interest of your studio, staff & students.  You adapted, and for that you are fabulous.

2.  Stay Present.  After a few weeks of sleepless nights and driving myself crazy, I implemented a technique that I learned after I suffered a great loss.  Staying present.  Every time I feel overwhelmed, I go outside, take a deep breath, look at the sky and remind myself that right now, everything is okay.  Even today, we are still playing the "what if" game.  What if we close back down?  What if I don't make the right decision?  What if, what if, what if.  Stop that.  What if everything works out and you're even bigger and better than ever?  

Once Upon a Time (before my infamous foot surgery in August), I used to go get massages for my neck & shoulder.  After 1 visit I was hooked.  Not only did my pain subside, but every time I left feeling calm, relaxed and hopeful.  My massage therapist, is not only skilled, but an amazing human being.  When I practice staying present, I bring myself back to that feeling of calm when I would leave her office.  Thank you for that Anastasia Kopceuch.

3.  Focus!  Some of you may not know this, but I'm also a dance teacher and former cheerleading coach.  I've had my share of Tiny Tot classes and getting 25 four year olds to do anything your saying is a challenge.   When they would go off the rails, I would stop and say...Whoosah.  An old co-worker would say it to me when I was ranting about something, and of course told me it was an ancient secret he learned in Russia.  I later realized it was from the movie Bad Boys II LOL.  Either way, it worked.  It was a magical word that would suddenly have them looking at me with their hands out to the side, fingers together, breathing...meditating...focusing....

The reality is that none of us know what's going to happen next.  We could choose to stress about the unknown, or we can choose to focus on the future with clear & hopeful lenses.  Remember why you started this beautiful business of yours.  Remember those first days, weeks and months of everything coming together, but don't get stuck there.  You don't live there anymore.  You are in the present (remember #2).  Focus on the students you have today, not the ones that are gone (for whatever reason).  How can you make their day amazing?  How can you make YOUR day amazing?  You have already overcome one of the craziest years in your life.  Every single day, be grateful for this amazing opportunity and use it to move you forward. Repeat those words..."today is an amazing day of opportunity"... Those tiny dancers are depending on you.

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