Maybe you aren’t tired. Maybe you are actually working just as hard, if not harder, as when you threw your doors open.
Or, maybe profits are tanking while customer complaints are increasing.
So, what’s a ladyboss to do? Read every piece of literature on the latest digital marketing trends? Follow the big box fitness gym plans? Join a dozen new networking groups, hoping someone has the secret sauce to get past the hump?
The truth is that every business is unique. Your industry is unique. Your brand is unique. So, the solution will be unique, too.
A lot of us creatives and head-strong, type A personalities forget to review the basics. We plunge forward with our own idea of what will make our studio successful. But, most of us open our studios without ever having taken a business course. When I opened my Bellydance studio while still in college, it never occurred to me that I would need to learn some business basics. I knew my industry, I knew my technique, and I knew how to teach.
But when I hit my plateau, it was learning the core conventions of business that saved me. I was able to systematically evaluate each aspect of the business end of my studio.
So now as a certified business coach that focuses on unconventional entrepreneurs, I want to share that info that saved me:
Here are 11 ways to methodically clean up your business systems and find the source of your hang-up.
- Review the business start-up checklist. Did you skip steps in a hurry to get the doors open, the customers paying, and the momentum going? Take the time to work through a business plan.
2. Re-evaluate your branding. Many of us create a brand around what we personally like best or what we think our target customers want. But, quite often, real market research shows that your brand isn’t speaking to the clients you really need.
Are your advertisements and social media campaigns aimed at the fitness industry, entertainers, or the everyday woman? Are your classes inclusive to all body types and genders? Is that reflected in what you’re showing and selling? A lot of us need to take moment to re-evaluate who your target audience is and what your brand message is to reflect that.
3. Inspect your products, processes, and team. This is usually where an objective assistant can make a huge difference. Hire a secret shopper to take some classes and evaluate your instructors and the atmosphere. Offer a free demo class in a pop-up location and have a 2-3 question survey for students to hand in when they’re done.
4. Get a handle on your financial flow. Your cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. If you don’t have your finger on your business’s pulse, she could bleed out before you’ve even caught on to a problem. I know most of us creatives hate number-crunching. That’s why I have a chapter in my book and a course on my site called Financial Milestones for the Chick Who Hates Number Crunching.
Sit down with a pen and paper and get your goals and projections in order. Forget the mood board and the mindset collages. Crunch some actual numbers to find out how much money you need to cover business expenses and personal expenses. Compare it to how much you’re actually bringing in. Calculate how many clients you need each month to hit your goals. Track your marketing ROIs and determine how you need to adjust your model in order to realistically hit your financial goals.
Moon Cat Grip
Mooncat grip – this mystical model is able to turn you into a fantastic cat. Choose this model and fill each of your movements with feline grace, and each element on the pylon with feline dexterity.
5. Take a leap of faith by investing in a growth stimulator. After Step 4, you’ll know which branch of your business will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Upgrade to that premium CRM service. Hire an assistant. Invest in some real advertising.
6. Stop trying to do everything yourself. Our biggest growth inhibitor tends to be our time. Take it from Shark Barbara Corcoran, who says, “Every great entrepreneur is most reluctant to spend money on an assistant, because they feel like they can do it all themselves, but it’s the most important decision you can make—to let go of the detail into the hands of someone whose just as able as you are.”
Even if you think you’re in no financial position right now to bring on help, start a plan. Find out how much the most basic assistant might be (use platforms like Upwork or Freelancer.com to find remote help or look into internships at the local college for business and marketing students). Then brainstorm areas you can cut a few dollars a week or add a few dollars a week over the next year to start saving toward hiring help.
7. Invest some time in continuing your own education. Take a class in a new satellite skill. Burlesque is fun for incorporating vintage style dance moves. Bellydance can teach you new ways to isolate the core. Yoga offers a great way to increase flexibility while maintaining strength and giving a mind-body connection. Or consider something that might help you connect with your students. Body positivity courses or therapeutic events for victims of domestic abuse have given a few of my clients a whole new outlook on supporting students who fall in love with pole-work as a way of regaining confidence and control.
Immerse yourself in a retreat. Get re-inspired and re-educated with your market.
8. Learn how to manage your time better. Creatives are often not so great with time management. But that’s not to say we can’t practice at it.
My favorite time management guidance comes from Lee Cockerell, the creator of the leadership and management program used by over 40,000 Disney cast members. He says, “Efficient” is being able to get things done. “Effective” is doing the right things in the right order and making sure you address everything that is urgent, vital, and important in every part of your life.”
So, are you finding yourself constantly busy without actually being productive? There is plenty of help for this. (My workshop for this is called Time Management for Creative Scatterbrains, if that helps!)
9. Take an honest look at your marketing efforts. If you’re only relying on social media marketing and email campaigns, you’re ignoring about 20 other advertising channels that might be a hell of a lot more fruitful for you. Too many of us are falling prey to the lure of the “passive sales funnel” touted by digital marketers trying to sell a course or their services.
In a world of too much content and digital noise, maybe it’s time to re-engage in some human-to-human contact in order to close more sales.
10. Find a way to re-ignite your passion. Turning a passion into a paycheck can lead to burnout fast. After that point, your work no longer fun, and apathy does build a successful business.
Liz London is a bellydancer, serial entrepreneur, author, and certified business coach. She’s run a global dance studio and produced a seasonal Vaudeville variety show, collaborating with aerialists, burlesque dancers, cirque performers, and other unconventional artists. Her book, The Business Bible for the Unconventional Entrepreneur, can be found on Amazon.
Liz can be found coaching performers and studio owners in the art of running a great business, as well as providing community for badass female business owners over at