Opening a Belly Dance Studio

Updated on September 4, 2018
Tricia Deed profile image

Tricia Deed has taught dance and exercise. Loosing weight and toning muscles produces the energy and athletic bodies needed by dancers.

Decorate your studio to add to the culture and atmosphere of the dance instructions.
Decorate your studio to add to the culture and atmosphere of the dance instructions. | Source

The Belly Dance Business

After dancing for many years you have a deep desire to open a belly dancing studio business. In fact, the desire to operate your own business is on your mind everyday. What is holding you back? Do it!

We all fear failure and the unknown. But, this fear is a temporary emotion. You need to acquire facts, knowledge, and finances to start a business. You already have your dancing abilities, and your performing and teaching experiences. Confidence in yourself will overcome fear.

Before starting a business, review your finances. Do not borrow money. In fact, do not embarrass yourself by asking for financial backing. Banks, friends, and family members will do everything in their power to prevent your business venture.

Stop and Think:

  • Banks rarely loan money to finance a high risk business. They would see you as an inexperienced business person because this is your first enterprise.
  • Borrowing money from any individual or institution means payback. Should a loan come your way, you are in debt before you open the dance studio.
  • Operating a business is a long term commitment and there will be a need to supplement the business during off times. What personal employment can you do to keep money available when needed?
  • Operating a business is very similar to raising a child. It is not a smooth ride. There will be minor and major bumps, environmental changes which cannot be controlled, and unforeseen emergencies. Whether or not money is received from loans or gifts, there will be a need for personal financial investment too.

Post Studio Sign

A sign will need to highlight your studio location. Signs are expensive. Select a portable unit or paint your business name on door or window front.
A sign will need to highlight your studio location. Signs are expensive. Select a portable unit or paint your business name on door or window front. | Source

Location

I am assuming that you have taught in your home, garage, private instruction at clients’ homes, tourist locations, and community centers. Your base of dedicated students is growing and it is time to acquire a commercial studio location.

It is exciting to take a big step into a commercial location. Research, think, and stop before leaping into the unknown. Before signing any leases understand every word or have your attorney review it. In my opinion a lease should be within three or seven pages in length..

Consider one year leasing contracts with renewal options. This will allow for any mishaps during the first year of business. After one year of occupancy plans may change to meet studio expansion.

One of the best rental arrangements that I ever had was a no lease, pay monthly rent on time. The management took care of street lighting, ground maintenance, external building maintenance, and security. I rented this location for ten years without any problems. I admit, this is a rare situation.

Location:

  • Find a suitable and safe location

  • The space includes the dance floor, office, waiting room, dressing and bathroom spaces

  • Is the building ready for occupancy?

  • Is there a need for construction, mirrors, flooring, painting, and other maintenance or remodeling?

  • Is the lease agreeable? What are the penalties for a broken lease?

  • Is the rent or purchase price affordable?

  • One of the major items that was important to me when renting a studio was the parking availability. Are there street lights to protect the building and the parking lot for night classes?

  • I recommend renting a space that is smaller than what you think you will need. The rent will be affordable during slow periods of business. Do not worry if your classes become crowded; students will think it is because of your popularity. The solution is to schedule more classes to accommodate new students.

Open Floor Studio Design

The first studio can be a simple empty room as floor space and mirrors are the two most essential tools for the instructor and students..
The first studio can be a simple empty room as floor space and mirrors are the two most essential tools for the instructor and students.. | Source

Business Licenses, Permits, and Insurance

Licenses, personal and business liability insurance, and an attorney will be necessary before opening the doors of the dance studio. The CPA (certified public accountant) or an accountant will be added after a few months of conducting an active business.

  • Acquiring licenses and permits is a necessity. Check with your local and state government for business requirements.

  • Hire an attorney. This person will help advise you in setting up various types of corporations, partnership, or sole proprietorship.

  • Insurance for protection of self, customers, property and other liabilities. Other miscellaneous items may also include a fire extinguisher and other safety features as recommended by the fire department.

  • Hire an accountant or CPA unless you, a friend, or a relative is tax knowledgeable.

  • Music royalties may be required. Speaking from experience they will find you if you do not know how to locate them.

Patterned rugs are not only functional but add to the Middle Eastern theme.
Patterned rugs are not only functional but add to the Middle Eastern theme. | Source

Company Name and Logo

What’s In A Name?

A lot!

The name of your company is critical as it will brand your business for many years.

While you were a student and gaining teaching experiences this was also the time to research, select, and test possible business names.

The company name will need to be filed with the state and there is no guarantee that the name will be accepted. The attorney will conduct a statewide search to be sure that it can be used. Be prepared with three different names.

Design and select a logo. If you are not able to design a logo, contact local art schools and colleges. These students would love the experience of preparing for a real business situation and it may not cost as much as a professional artist.

Photography and Video Taping Stage

Use one wall for the dual function of practicing in front of a stage and for photographing or video taping promotional material.
Use one wall for the dual function of practicing in front of a stage and for photographing or video taping promotional material. | Source

Planning and Organizing

Planning, scheduling, and organizing will be an ongoing process during the operation of a dance studio.

  • Plan and organize everything about your dance studio. Formulate a business plan, make a list of money making products and activities, and create opportunities for success.

  • Formulate a business plan of ideas, creative projects, budgets

  • Post procedures and policies

  • Formalize the class schedules, lessons, and prices

  • Retail products; costumes, jewelry, assorted accessories

  • Offer recitals, workshops, seminars

  • Dance services; entertaining for profit and non-profit

  • Photography and video taping

  • Community programs both paid and nonprofit

  • Entertainment packages with their pricing

  • Advertising and marketing strategies

Beaded Curtains

Beaded curtains for doorways and  room dividers add ambiance.
Beaded curtains for doorways and room dividers add ambiance. | Source

Advertising, Marketing, and Selling

Advertising, marketing, and selling are the three mainstays of continuing to be in business and making a profit. Belly dancing is a lot of fun, but we do have to wear a business cap to continue our pleasure and make a living from it.

  • Advertising is broadcasting the company name in order for people to familiarize potential customers to your existence..

  • Marketing is the technique or strategy which captures clients.

  • Selling is finalizing the transaction with a financial payment.

The Business of Belly Dance - Start a Dance Studio Business

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