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08 Oct 2019
Recently I had a refreshing chat with both Jaime and Paul Richmond from Vibe Studios in Melbourne. They provided an inspiring summary of the journey Jaime took to buil... Read More
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Recently I had a refreshing chat with both Jaime and Paul Richmond from Vibe Studios in Melbourne. They provided an inspiring summary of the journey Jaime took to build her business into the vibrant and prosperous dance studio it is today. With 14 years in operation and approximately 800 students currently enrolled, Vibe Studios has developed the right moves for success. During our chat, Jaime and Paul took me through the studio’s beginnings and Paul’s initiation into the dance family. We also discussed the elements he and Jaime have implemented to make it the successful dance studio it is today.
In 2005, Jaime took over a friend’s dance studio in Carnegie and soon after that started up another studio in a scout hall in Mooroolbark. Running both dance studios and struggling with the distance between them, Jaime let go of the Carnegie studio and kept the Mooroolbark site. At that stage, she had only 65 students on her books, but Vibe Studios soon grew too large for the scout hall. Consequently, Jaime purchased a nearby shopfront in Mooroolbark. This studio worked for a couple of years until the demands of Jaime’s cheerleading program required her to search for another space to accommodate tumbling and jumping. Jaime found a factory in Bayswater to suit her dance studio’s growing needs.
During these years of building and expanding her business, Jaime had significant support from her family, particularly her mother Sandi. She also drew on significant determination and grit, playing every role in the business from teacher, bookkeeper, sales, marketing, administration, human resource and owner. These years were very challenging, and her love of teaching dance is what got her through them. A kind word from a parent and a drawing from one of her students are some of the elements that got her through those tough days.
After many years of developing her business and offering a range of dance and cheer programs, Jaime found that running two sites was becoming a logistical nightmare. Particularly for some of her customers who at times needed to ferry their child to both venues in one night for various dance programs. The logistical issues of having two venues and Jaime’s interest in discovering a better work/life balance convinced her that she needed to make some changes.
In 2014 Jaime asked her husband Paul to spend six months working with her to combine the two venues into one large studio and work on some of the back of house elements that Jaime didn’t have time for. At the time, Paul was working in a sales and marketing role and was ready for a different kind of challenge. That was five years ago, and Paul hasn’t looked back. During this time Paul has had a significant impact on streamlining the administrative and accounting processes in the business, freeing up valuable time for Jaime to get back to doing what she loves, teaching dance. Paul assisted consolidating the two dance studios into a large single studio in Kilsyth, with a spacious reception/café area, four dance studios and two cheer spaces with a sprung floor. He has also applied his extensive experience to review Jaime’s business from the ground up, advising and implementing necessary improvements.
Paul concentrated on the areas of the business that are burdens for many small dance studios including administrative tasks across class scheduling/customer management, revenue, invoicing, accounting systems, and human resources. Streamlining systems and processes across these areas can make a significant impact on the bottom line of any business. In the area of class scheduling, customer management and payment processing they had been successfully using the DanceBiz software package.
To complement and build on their payment systems in DanceBiz, Paul trained their admin staff in using Xero financial software. Xero was an excellent choice for their business as it fully integrated with their scheduling software - DanceBiz. This implementation saved Paul and his team hours a week on manual accounting and administration, allowing for more time to be spent developing other areas of the business.
Paul saw a need to focus on and understand the business’s sources of revenue and profitability. He started by reviewing and analysing reports he generated using DanceBiz. With these reports, Paul identified the business’s strengths and weaknesses. Over a period of two to three years, Paul regularly reviewed this data and used it to make important alterations to the business, driving it towards growth in the right areas and increased profitability.
In the area of human resources, Jaime had already excelled in this area with a great team already on board when he started. Consequently, Paul implemented a timesheet system, encouraging staff to submit timesheets on time ensuring they receive their pay promptly. This is an area that various small businesses struggle with and it is something that needs to be done right as it can affect negatively on staff retention and culture.
Another area Paul worked on was updating the documentation of their business, starting with their terms and conditions, and all policies and procedures. Content needed to be checked for currency and relevancy to the industry and any laws. In this day and age it is essential to cover your business and yourself as best you can. Sound policies and procedures are a blessing when disputes arise with customers around conduct or more often payments.
Jaime and Paul shared several of the elements that have contributed to Vibe Studios’ many successes. Don’t give up your dream. Through the years Jaime never lost sight of her goals. Get help wherever you can, adopt time-saving software like DanceBiz to do the admin for you. If financially able, employ staff to assist in certain areas of your business. This will give you more time to spend on the areas that need your attention to grow. Build your teaching staff with care and to the standard you desire. Get the best from employees by providing in-depth training and support, so they are confident in their role and keep to the standard you expect. Overall you need to love what you do and take enjoyment where you can, as running a business can be the hardest challenge in your life, besides parenthood.
If you enjoyed this read and would like to sit down for a chat with me and tell our dance community about your successes, please contact me via email@example.com
Marketing & Sales – ThinkSmart Software