Well my friends, the time has come. To raise the roof and have some fun. To throw away the work to be done. Let the music play on.
It probably doesn’t take much to figure out that I went to the party last night. It was kind of a special occasion in the Famous Franchise world. The founder and namesake’s birthday was on April 4th. Well, he’s long gone but I guess it is still his birthday so we had cake and lots of trivia in between songs. I think they were hoping to do more since the original announcement talked about student demonstrations but with Kid T gone and Z away on business/vacation, that all went out the window.
Still, it was fun to get out and do a little dancing. It was weird walking into the studio and not seeing Kid T. OwnerGuy and JoNY did what they could to keep things rolling though.
Towards the end of the night, OwnerGuy came over to ask me how I was and whether it felt weird coming back. I was only gone a week but I believe this is the first time I’ve taken a self imposed time away that wasn’t a vacation. He did thank me for coming to the group class and party. It was nice. The idealist in me says he cares about me as a long time student. The cynic says he’s more concerned about keeping a paying customer. The realist says it is probably a bit of both.
It got me to thinking a little more about the business side of things. I may have gone through these ramblings before because it sounds familiar in my head but I can’t remember what I’ve just thought about and what I’ve actually written about.
Is the best business model for a franchise to do some kind of turn and burn. OK, I don’t know what that means but I just made it up and it sounded good. What I meant was are they better off just maximizing student volume but not having students go beyond full bronze. Given the short half life of instructors, this would seem to help because you’d minimize the number of times someone has to change instructors. Plus, you potentially don’t have to invest as much in training if you don’t need to have instructors who know Silver and beyond. So are you better off just getting people in for their wedding and those who have an event and want to learn to dance but don’t really want to do it long term.
But, if you don’t have any “lifers”, then you’re in trouble given the natural ebb and flow of people starting dance lessons. There might be some lean months if you were just trying to churn as many students as you could through the program. Those of us like me who have lots of lessons on the books represent a guaranteed source of income – provided we actually keep taking lessons.
I think that if you have a group of more advanced students, then you are more likely to have a bigger crowd at things like Showcase and then you might get some who are interested in competing. But I don’t know if that really add anything to the bottom line of a studio. It would be true that if someone is competing that they’ll probably end up taking more lessons than your average student. But there is the cost of the competitions and events and I know those aren’t free for the studio. I think I overheard one of them talking about losing money on Showcase so maybe they only make money because people who are serious about Showcase are going to take more lessons. That would certainly be true for someone like me who like to do my solo routines. Takes a lot of lessons to get one of those down.
But if you get too many advanced students, then you need advanced instructors or else your Owners get spread too thin teaching and don’t have time for other studio business. (I know I’ve said that before). You certainly can’t kick students out but it sure seems like there is some optimum ratio between advanced and beginners that you need to have.
Look at what they have to do for me. OwnerGuy is teaching but I’m using JoNY as a partner. That takes away time she could be spending on other lessons. I suppose you could argue that she’s getting some free training by working with me but I don’t know if it balances out in the end.
I suppose I could also just say that this studio has been there for many years so I guess they are doing something right. We certainly don’t seem to be a hot bed of ballroom so keeping a studio going for many years is a good accomplishment. Not sure why I’m thinking about this so much though.
Well, sorry for have rambled on about things I don’t know anything about. The main point is I went to the party last night and danced and had a good time. It was only 45 minutes so it didn’t qualify as All Night Long but it was still good.