the Recession Affects Your Classes
And What You Can Do About It!
over the news, it’s online, it’s everywhere—the United States
is likely headed for a recession which could very well ripple
around the world. The doom and gloom is depressing, and totally
unwarranted. Yes, a recession will affect your classes. The
good news is there’s plenty you can do to counteract those
issues and keep your classes going stronger than ever.
issues with attracting students are ever-present. They’re just
more pronounced during hard times. Here’s what you’ll likely
start hearing from your current and prospective students.
1: Gas is Expensive
to and from class is a big issue for many people, especially
if you teach in a rural area without public transportation. I’ve
actually had students quit simply because they couldn’t afford
the gas. Encouraging your students to carpool is a great idea,
but not always practical.
do much about the price of oil, or Middle East politics, but
you can try setting up classes where people already gather.
It’s far cheaper for you to go to the class than for the class
to come to you. Decide on your minimum class size and advertise
“Get 6 students together and I’ll come to you.” There. No
travel required for the students, and you may pick up some
new ones along the way. Plus, beginners always have more fun
in class if they are with folks they know.
obvious place is to do this is in the workplace--after hours,
before hours, or during lunch. I’ve taught elementary school
teachers who gathered in the gym after school. Larger corporations
often look for new fitness alternatives for their employees,
too. Start with your current students and ask if any of them
are interested putting together a group where they work.
with the traditional—think “outside the classroom.” A lunchtime
workout could give your schedule some diversity, so you’re
not always teaching in the evenings. Want to add some morning
classes? Try the local hospital—doctors and nurses coming off
the night shift might enjoy a relaxing class.
people already gather? How about housing communities or senior
2: Childcare is Expensive
great number of students are moms, and childcare takes a huge
bite out of their budgets. If you can find a way to let them
take class without paying for childcare, you’ll remove one more
financial stumbling block. Some teachers allow children to play
quietly in the back of the room during class, but this can lead
to problems. Make sure you have guidelines in place to deal with
any disruptive issues that arise.
some easier ways to deal with the problem:
to pay a teen you trust to watch kids in a separate room
- Hold class
at a local “Y” or gym with available daycare.
- Team up
with a dance studio and hold concurrent “adult” and “kids”
Issue 3: Little
or No Disposable Income
means everything is going to cost more and people’s extra income
gets eaten up with the everyday items. I don’t know about your
part of the country, but my weekly grocery bill has nearly doubled
in the last few months. There’s simply not enough left over for
“luxuries” like a dance class.
to address this problem head on. Your marketing should be understanding
and proactive—acknowledge the problem and offer solutions.
Students will feel better knowing you understand that it’s
tough all over. But they shouldn’t ignore their health and
emotional well-being either.
kind of solutions can you offer?
for extended enrollment or multiple classes each week
reduced fees for mother/daughter signups
2 friends-get ½ off your enrollment
up gift certificates for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Birthdays,
- Get grants
to cover partial scholarships for students in need
with corporations or health organizations for “get healthy”
you can come up with lots of other ideas. The whole point is
to make it as easy as possible for your students to afford
class without sacrificing your income.
Mira teaches sword technique as a specialty class
more advanced students coming back for more.
Marketing is more
important now than ever before
tempting to pull back your marketing efforts during tough times,
but that’s how studios (and big corporations, for that matter)
die. Sticking your head in the sand won’t keep you afloat. You
must get the word out about why belly dance is essential to good
health and emotional well-being. And you must make prospects
understand why they should spend their money with you. Just
putting out a few flyers isn’t going to cut it.
plenty of free or low cost ways to get the word out.
releases entice local reporters to do a story on you.
promotions using video of your class (with permission, of
- Live demonstrations
at area festivals and street fairs
wherever you perform you always put out a sign-up sheet for
people to add their email addresses. They will get caught up
in the excitement and put their name on a piece of paper a
lot faster than they’ll seek out your studio and actually sign
up for a class. Make it easy for people to talk to you.
Having a list of people to contact puts the effort in your hands,
so make sure you follow up with people within a day or two
of the event. You don’t want their enthusiasm to cool.
predicting this recession could last six months to a year.
How long can you stay in business if you’re losing students
the whole time? Get proactive, make a marketing plan, and
follow through—you’ll be just fine.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
2-5-07 Tips on Getting Tips by
don’t know that they are expected to tip. Don’t take it personally.
a Bellydance Studio, Tips for Success by Keti Sharif
She has recently retired fully from bellydancing but
offers great advice on business plans for dancers wishing to
expand their hobby into a career.
Contractor or Employee? by Taaj
The important thing is that the relationship between
worker and payer be classified correctly for tax purposes so
that you are aware of what taxes and filings you are liable for
Night at the El Morocco in Las Vegas by Anajim
God, now we have to stay or be rude. I had a brainstorm, and retorted, "Well,
I only like Armenian music. If you can play any of that, we will
Conversation with Dr. Mohamed Geddawi Ahlan Cairo
Nights, August 4, 2007, Dallas, Texas by Catherine
Mo is attentive to the workshop participants, giving a breakdown
on each combination, and provides individual attention when someone
has a difficulty. His no-nonsense style of teaching is informative,
making you think about why you dance, how to dance, how to be
a better dancer, and making you laugh.
Night at Wahib's Roxxanne Shelaby's "Pure Sharqi" video
and photos by Lynette
January 19, Gilded Serpent was in Los Angeles for Pure Sharqi,
a special evening of live music and dance, hosted by Roxxanne
Shelaby (Hypzotica Productions), at Wahib’s in Alhambra.
The evening featured the house band, led by Mouhamad Salem, along
with invited dancers Aubre, Alexandra, the Lumina Dance Company,
Debbie Smith, Sahra Saida, and Roxxanne herself, in addition
to the regular house dance company the Sahlala Dancers.
Invitation to Haiku the Bellydance by Najia Marlyz
often does not take itself or its subjects too seriously and
is simply word images and sensory feelings conveyed by means
of three lines only.