I was on a Skype call with one of our program members two weeks ago and I was mentoring her through a challenge she was facing.
Like most dance studio owners, she was really struggling with how to setup and manage an effective administration department. Now, when I say “department” I don’t mean a staff of hundreds. It could be you and an Office Manager or you, an Office Manager and a Receptionist or two.
The thing is…having more staff doesn’t necessarily mean more gets done. The key to more getting done and having your team operate as a powerful productive unit is to:
- Have a clear outline of what each position in your admin department does on a daily, weekly and monthly basis
- Create a recruitment process that includes a trial period
- Systemize your administration processes through training videos and step by step procedures
- Set extremely clear expectations upfront so that all staff are on the same page
- If you have an office manager and a receptionist, ensure you equip your office manager with the skills and training to manage your receptionist
- Be a leader and a mentor to your staff
I could write a book about how to create your rock solid front office team (and I may one day), but for now these tips should give you enough to do a mini-audit on your administration department.
When you have set up your team, you now want to streamline the admin in your studio. Here are 2 of my top 8 tips for cutting down the abundance of admin that tends to occur.
1. Get Studio Software & Spend Time Learning It
Last week, I ran a live event for Dance Studio Owners (Dance Studio Makeover Live) and when I asked who uses a studio management software system only a handful of people put up their hand. WAY too many studio owners are still using Excel spreadsheets to store all their data.
I do understand the hesitation of some studio owners who avoid the change. You look at a software system and think there won’t be time to do a big change-over. The thing is, in about 3-6 months you could be saving about 8-10 hours a week in admin work by jumping over to a software system. At the beginning, you’ll need to spend time changing over…but that is to be expected. Nothing great ever comes from no pain, right? You might have a few moments of confusion, but trust me, cutting out hours and hours per week of admin in your business is worth a few headaches in the short term!
If you already have studio software…
Congrats! The next part of this tip is that many studios who use software are not using it to its full potential. Actually, I’ve found when I start working with a studio that they may only be using 20-30% of the functionality of the software. So many of the dance management software companies have awesome customer service and will be able to give you a roadmap for getting the most of their product, so make sure you reach out!
We are fans of Jack Rabbit Dance and DanceBiz. If you’d like an exclusive trial of these software systems, simply type in success as your code when you sign up for your trial and instead of 30 days you’ll get 60! This offer is exclusive to Studio Success Formula.
2. Jump onto Asana and Slack
I’m really pushing for you to use technology and cloud-based software to help you get your admin department firing on all cylinders.
Look, I was certainly a fan of the journal or diary in the office where I shared notes with our staff…once upon a time. But, I’m afraid those days are over. I mean, I still love a notebook and I use one for my own purposes, but not with my staff. I suggest to our studio owner members to use Asana and Slack which will inevitably reduce the admin hours and will increase everyone’s productivity in a very short period of time.
Asana helps organize projects and allows you to communicate and delegate tasks to your team while always being able to see where different projects are at in your studio. It’s free and you can add team members to the platform. Asana means you get less email from your team as everyone can comment on specific tasks. It’s powerful! We ran our entire business from a project management side using Asana and know many of our studio owner members do too. You can check out Asana here.
The new kid on the block when it comes to effectively communicating with your team is Slack. Over the last 6 months this communication platform has taken the world by storm! It’s a real-time messaging service, which means you can say goodbye to back-and-forth emails. All of those quick questions and answers can be done in Slack, plus it gives you one place for all communication instead of sifting through hundreds of emails to find that one piece of information you’re looking for. Best news…Slack and Asana work together, meaning you’ll save even more time by using your project/task management tool (Asana) and communication tool (Slack) together! Check out Slack here.
Extra: Both Asana and Slack have apps that are great to use on the go for you busy Dance Studio Owners.
Don’t be afraid! Ha, I know you. I work with Dance Studio Owners everyday and I know when I start introducing technology to make their life easier and to help grow their business, they get scared.
It’s ok, though. I get it. But think about this…does growth ever come from staying firmly in your comfort zone? What happens in life and business when we just get comfortable? Simple…we stop growing our business, or we could get fat, or we end up sitting on the lounge not speaking to our partner. Before we know it, we’re 80 years old and wishing we really LIVED!
So, what I’m saying is pretty simple…commit to growth. By committing to growth you’re committing to take on new things that will take your studio to the next level.
Bring on technology, I say. Especially because it will not only make your life easier but your business will run more efficiently!
Let me know if you’re already using technology in your studio to help get more productive below or jump over to our Facebook page and tell me your story there!
All my best,
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