Posted Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 by Akada
The Problem and A New Way of Thinking
After owning my studio for several decades, it was just three years ago that I had my “aha” moment. At the busiest time of year, April through June, we are standing on our heads, barking like a carnival barker and doing the elevator pitch for Re-Registration. We hope that everyone returns for the following dance season, but we need their cooperation and commitment AND we need their registration form.
I’ve been creative with verbiage like:
“As a member of our studio family, you (AND ONLY YOU) are being offered Re-Registration in advance of the general public. Don’t delay – classes fill up and we don’t want you to be shut out”.
Throughout the years, I have offered: The first 100 students that Re-Register before Dress Rehearsal will:
- be entered into a raffle to win FREE TUITION for a FREE CLASS
- get a special limited-edition studio shirt
- get 2 front row seats to the recital
- be entered into a raffle to win $100 Visa gift card
- get my next unborn child, etc., etc.
I did it all and to some extent, it worked. But, what MORE could I do? I was always worried – will my students come back? The anticipation was killing me! They say they will return – but show me the money!
Every year I waited and prayed and every year there was a “situation”. After Re-Registration closed (just before summer classes began) I would issue the following year’s class schedule and of course, I mixed and combined students to fill the classes. After a class was full – inevitably a student would come back at the beginning of September and expect to be back in the class. Parents would say “You knew I was coming back – I’ve been with you 6 years”. Really? My thousand Re-Registration notifications didn’t give you enough incentive to fill out the form. So sorry that my mind-reading skills didn’t work and that I didn’t KNOW that you would be coming back to classes.
Finally, I had enough of this. How is it that we are one of the only businesses, that I know of, that wipe out our clientele and completely start all over again year after year. Who started this and who thought that this was a good business practice?
I needed to run my business in a more professional and competent way. I needed to change my way of thinking about Re-Registration. I needed to be able to project my numbers, make class schedules, hire enough teachers and plan better for the next year.
Why do we handle Re-Registration this way? Why can’t we be like a gym membership or daycare center? In those establishments, you are IN till you tell them you are OUT. Even when I order my hair products on Amazon, they offer auto deliveries for an indefinite time period until I cancel it.
So, here’s how I introduced the new procedure to my students and parents:
ROLLOVER REGISTRATION PROCEDURE
As we come to the close of another dance year, we are aware of how busy your schedules are going to be in the next few weeks. We hope we can help take something off your plate. With the help of our studio software, we are happy to announce that we have instituted a new procedure – Rollover Registration. That’s right, if your contact information has NOT changed, you will no longer need to fill out a full registration application year after year. No need to worry about being closed out of your classes – you are assured placement in the dance subjects you desire and continue to be part of our dancing family. As a current member of our dance studio family, if you are in good standing (accounts paid in full, no studio policy violations), you will automatically be re-enrolled for the next dance season.
If you want to make additions or changes to your classes, all you need to do is inform the office before __________ (date of choice).
Confirmation of classes will be emailed to you by _________ (date of choice).
We have had GREAT results with this new procedure, and I have only one regret – why didn’t I think of it sooner? Now, I can plan teachers’ schedules more efficiently. I know what classes are full or need to be pushed and best of all, I have money in the bank . . . in the summer!!!!!!!!
If you want to take control of your destiny and studio schedule, if you want to enjoy your summer because you know where your business stands, go ahead and sit on the beach because your enrollment is back. I know that not having financial stress and being worried about my enrollment for next year has made me a happier studio owner, and everyone benefits from that!
by Hedy Perna
Perna Dance Center
Hedy has run Perna Dance Center for more than 30 years and is active in dance organizations that promote the education of teachers and students. She is President Emeritus of Associated Dance Teachers of NJ and a lifelong member of Dance Educators of America. Additionally, she has presented for Rhee Gold’s Project Motivate, The DanceLife Teacher Conference, the Dance Life Retreat Center, Dance Teacher Summit, United Dance Merchants of America, is a contributing writer for Dance Studio Life Magazine, as well as a long time Akada Customer.
If you have questions about how to make this registration procedure work in Akada just let us know. We’ll gladly walk you through it. – Brett