Making a Year-End Checklist (and Checking It Twice)

The holidays can make this time of year fly by. But busy studio directors know that December isn't the time to rest on their laurels. "I'm constantly thinking of what's coming up next," says Jill Athridge, owner of Stage Door Studios in Sarasota, Florida. "I always say I'm an event planner—running a studio is a series of continuous events."

In our December issue, we've compiled a year-end checklist of things to consider this month, to give your business a year-end boost you might not know it needs. Here's one to try:

Be a gratitude goddess Athridge shows appreciation for her staff by holding two separate holiday parties at her home, one for her faculty and one for her student assistants. The staff party is catered, and she invites her teachers to include their significant others. Everyone brings a cheap gift to play White Elephant. “It’s a good ice breaker for the significant others you might not know, and everybody fights over the gifts,” she says. Athridge also gives out gift cards and baskets.

For her assistant party, she orders pizza or her husband grills burgers. She asks the students to bring White Elephant gifts and gives them personalized presents, like tree ornaments with the studio’s logo on them or specially printed studio shirts.

The “Too Long; Didn’t Read” Version: Write individualized thank-you notes. Athridge starts writing hers in November. “I don’t want it to be, ‘Thanks so much, Love, Jill,’” she says. “I have a staff of 17, so I try to write one or two a day. It’s more heartfelt, and they don’t sound the same.”

Want more ideas (and their shortcut versions)? Subscribe to Dance Teacher and download the December issue.

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