Help! I'm a Studio Owner Who Can't Delegate

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Q: After running my studio six days a week for 20 years, it's time for me to delegate. How can I transition into a shared-workload system with my teachers?


A: Start by assessing which areas of your business you provide the greatest skill and value to—teaching, choreographing, studio outreach, parent relations—and then continue doing these tasks. From there, take time to identify your staff's skill sets and interests. For example, your office manager may be great at posting tuition payments, but someone else may be better at creating e-mail newsletter content or handling parent concerns.

We recommend you start small and first delegate low-skill tasks such as filing papers, organizing and cleaning. Then you can train teachers for the bigger roles. At our studio, for instance, our office manager creates the class schedules and annual calendar and does the billing. We also have a dance-team manager/studio assistant director who manages much of the day-to-day communication with students, oversees artistic direction and interacts with parents over any concerns.

You will be most effective with your team when you are clear about dates and deadlines related to all projects and tasks. Consider using a project management tool such as Asana, Slack or Basecamp to track and organize your internal projects. It's useful to provide a set of instructions or checklist for what is to be accomplished daily, weekly and monthly. It will take some time to set it up, but having this information in writing will make your expectations easy to follow and track.

Have regular meetings to get status updates. You can even meet virtually by using a Google hangouts or a Facebook Live video hosted in a private group.


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