Imagine yourself in the middle of a child’s messy room. No one knows how to destroy a room better than kids! Toys, clothes, food—you name it, it’s in there. Where is the bed? Literally, how do they sleep at night?!
Now you tell this child it’s time to clean up the room. What kind of reaction do you get? Probably complaining, whining, screaming, and tantrums. It doesn’t matter how old they are either. Their reaction is based on the feeling that it will take forever to accomplish, it’s too overwhelming, and they don’t know where to start.
There was a time when my studio’s financial status was like that messy room. And I didn’t want to even look, let alone clean it up. The bottom line was too scary (and too low). I didn’t have a good handle on what my numbers were, and we weren’t making significant headway toward our goals. I was working way too hard and making way too little.
If that sounds familiar, take comfort in knowing my story ended well—and yours can too. Within four months of deciding to “clean up our room,” we had developed and implemented four ideas that added $40,000 to the bottom line. Those ideas led to a turn in our business that we are forever grateful for. I’m here to tell you it can happen for you.
After I got done throwing an adult-size tantrum to my mentor, she calmly asked me one question. “How much money do you need to not just survive, but thrive?” Together, we discovered a $40,000 gap that we needed to fill. That’s an overwhelming gap! I knew we had to set some extremely big goals in order to get there.
If you’re also filling a financial gap, remember that a positive outcome doesn’t require a heavy load of worry or stress. Take a deep breath. Gain clarity of where you are and where you need to be. Study the numbers. And follow these principles.
Do your homework
When you teach young children to clean up their messy rooms, it’s too intimidating for them to just “get started” and make it happen. Instead, you help them break it up into smaller, bite-sized pieces. You might say, “start with picking up the dirty clothes” or “take all your dirty dishes to the kitchen first.”
When it comes to generating new revenue you have to start small, setting a goal. With our 10 month season, we determined that we needed four ideas that would net $1,000 each month. I didn’t have all the answers yet, but I had achieved the first step. It was just enough to get my messy room looking a little better. Start with just one piece of your financial picture: somewhere there is a gap that needs fixing.
Identify problems and opportunities at your studio
The problems at your studio right now are most likely the opportunities that will bring you added revenue. For example, we had students who didn’t want to compete and had nowhere else to go, so they just left the studio. We also had an awkward amount of vacant space during the day. I took these two problems (and others) and started thinking of solutions, turning them into opportunities to generate revenue.
Tap into your own resourcefulness
Resources are limited, but resourcefulness is unlimited. Looking strictly at resources you will see excuses and all the reasons “it won’t work.” But I’m begging you (yes begging!) to change your mindset. Your space that is too big? That’s an opportunity. Your space that is too small? Also an opportunity. If there isn’t enough money, enough students, enough teachers, then that’s precisely where the opportunity is. You can start this immediately by acknowledging your reality and then asking yourself, “But what if there’s another possibility?” Let your imagination soar into creating something you had not yet considered.
Engage your team
Your team is integral to the success of your studio—you know that. They are also integral to the implementation of any new ideas. Ask them questions; get their feedback. They understand your students and can help you shape ideas into what will work for the studio. I had to trust my team and equip them to follow through on our new projects and take pride in their contributions.