Tricia Deed offers proven business suggestions based on her experience.
Starting a Belly Dancing Business
Opening a belly dance studio is very exciting. You may feel nervous and have doubts about your decision to become a business owner. But have no fear, you will lose these feelings: in fact, on the day you open your doors for business.
Your business plan will include so many things to do that the responsibilities of maintaining a healthy business will push any unnecessary worries out of your mind.
A solo owner operating a dance business will have to wear many hats every day. If you can get others to put on those hats once in a while, that can help.
Other helpers may be family members or friends. They have skills and talents that will help your business.
- Plan, design, and decorate the dance studio.
- Set up and organize office area.
- Prepare class schedules.
- Manage show promotions
- Create and design a website.
- Create advertising and promotional material.
- Offer marketing ideas.
- Answer correspondence from customers and businesses.
- Video shows
- Retail merchandise to buyers.
- Sew costumes and make accessories
You may be able to do all the above by yourself or you may welcome volunteers from family and friends to help.
As sole owner, you will work every facet of the business to produce an ongoing income. Lending institutions label entertainment businesses as “high risk,” use your own money to finance your company. I have been told to never borrow money to operate a business. This practice will bring added debts instead of profits.
Your working hats will include:
- Owner: Responsibility for everything that concerns your school.
- Advertiser: Let everyone know about your business.
- Marketer: Discover the best method for selling your products and services.
- Salesperson: Sells merchandise and services.
- Secretary and treasurer: Keep records and do banking.
- Contract writer: Prices and payment programs for performances, classes, and other special events.
- Collector: Minimize collections by writing a contract which includes prices and refund policies.
- Accountant and bookkeeper: Do your own bookkeeping, but hire a professional accountant to prepare taxes.
- Counselor: Offer understanding and encouragement to students.
- Planner. Plan every day, so you can keep your working goals on target.
- Visionary, creator, and researcher: Create choreography and any ideas that may help your school to prosper.
- Scheduler: Arrange the everyday class schedule.and special events.
- Promoter: promote both non-profit and profit shows.
- Costumers and prop designer: Knowledge of appropriate costuming and props needed for performances.
- Photographer and videographer: Take promo shots or hire a photographer.
- Housekeeper: Clean the studio.
1. Lesson Plans and Classes
As an instructor, schedule different grade levels in the school—beginner, intermediate, and different levels of advanced—and set the cost for each level. Design a schedule for the number of times the student will attend and a payment plan. After the student has completed a program, celebrate with a graduation recital or party.
What can the student do after taking a basic course?
- Offer further training with a masterclass.
- Offer performing routines and entertainment skills for soloists and troupes..
- Offer other types of classes that you or hired instructors may teach. Teach Egyptian, Turkish, Moroccan, Modern styles for cabaret or night club performing, Folkloric, Ethnic, and the new American tribal dances which are emerging.
- Specialty classes might include cane, sword, drums, assorted veils, drumming and advanced zill patterns, costume design and construction, acting and performing skills for private parties, conventions, and cultural weddings.
2. Retailing Merchandise
Retailing merchandise is essential for dance studios. Belly dancers need costumes, accessories, jewelry, dance props, percussion instruments such as zills and drums, music CDs as well as DVDs,
Where can you sell merchandise? Outlets include other workshops and seminars sponsored by others, local consignment shops, outdoor performances, and online.
3. Revenue From Performances
Party grams or belly grams are private party performances popular in homes and work locations. Birthday celebrations and employee promotions seem to be the most favored.
Other paid shows include public performances at national and international gatherings, graduations, weddings, restaurants, cruise lines, movies, DVDs, television, schools and colleges, other special celebrations, corporate product promotions and advertisements, and conventions,
There are students who want to become performers. Train these students to do so and they will become loyal performers for your business.
Take advantage of outdoor shows in cultural events. These events are excellent for building dancers' confidence in front of large audiences. Stage performances are best at belly dancing workshops and seminars.
Performances can generate additional income when:
- You are hired for paid gigs.
- Students are hired for paid gigs (price includes agent's fee).
- Private parties
- Instructor/performer at belly dancing seminars and workshops
- Cruise lines
- Cultural weddings
- National and international events
- Product promotions
How to Get Gigs
Advertise and market in traditional ways, or more important, build a website that is open to the world. Market your services and products through these pages.
4. Advertising Props (Logo Merchandise)
Sell T-shirts and other advertising props with your school logo. This is a two-fold profit situation. When the customer pays for the T-shirt, he or she contributes to both advertising costs and income.
Belly Dancing Veils
5. Workshops and Seminars
A workshop is usually for a day; seminars are 2 days and 3 nights. Typically, Friday and Saturday include night performances for the general public, and Saturday and Sunday include day classes. Tickets are sold in package units to prospective students. Charge an entry fee per individual for the evening performance. Sell snacks and beverages.
These classes may be taught by you or by a hired national or international instructor.
Dance School Owners: Are You a Successful Owner of Your Business?
- Do you specialize in teaching one style of belly dancing, or do you teach several styles?
- Do you include retailing in your business?
- Do you hire out performers?
- Are you teaching on a national or international level?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Tricia Deed