Q: I have been the sole ballet teacher at my studio since we opened five years ago, and I have built a good reputation in my community for my qualifications and teaching style. But we are growing, and I am finding myself being pulled in too many directions. I would like to focus more on the business side of things, but I am worried that parents and students will be upset that I won’t be teaching the open ballet classes anymore. Is this a wise decision? Do you have any suggestions for how I can positively present this change to my students and their families?
A: Because you have built your studio reputation on your expertise, it could be a mistake to abruptly replace yourself in that role. Reducing your teaching and focusing more time on business is best done gradually. Focus on slowly building a team of great teachers who share your standards of excellence and who will inspire your students as you do.
Determine your core strengths and interests, and assess where your time and talent best serve your business. If your passion and talent ultimately lie in artistic direction, you may want to find the right office staff to help you manage the day-to-day business. Then you can still be the manager without having to do each task yourself.
However, as your studio and faculty continue to expand, the demands of overall studio ownership will inevitably take more of your time and focus. As with any new change, introduce the transition as an exciting improvement that will benefit students and parents. For example, share the positive advantages of learning from a diverse faculty. They will trust your judgment and commitment to providing quality dance education. Your leadership will be appreciated and become the essence of your reputation.
Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.