No one in our industry would question that producing a recital takes the TOP spot for biggest project of the year. Coming in at a close second, however, is the process of ordering recital costumes. From concept to selection, from measuring to ordering, from try-ons to exchanges and alterations, recital costumes can be almost as time intensive as putting on the show! The costuming process presents an important opportunity for studio owners—it’s a chance to delight dance families with great service, cut down on wasted time and effort, and make a profit for your business.
Here are 5 TIPS to make your recital costume process a positive and profitable one.
#5 – Order EARLY.
You know how we all tell our kids not to lose points at competition on the obvious (e.g. not pointing toes)? Well, ordering early is the “pointing toes” of costumes. It’s plain silly to know you can earn an early order discount with most companies and not do it. Spend some time over Thanksgiving break to get your ducks in a row for an early December order. If the early order discount doesn’t excite you, then get excited over the idea of a timely delivery!
#4 – Measure and order ACCURATELY.
When I started my studio 17 years ago, all of the teachers would measure the kids in their own classes. I did it that way out of necessity—I didn’t feel I had any extra resources to pay someone to take that on. Well, my system may have been “free,” but it wasn’t without cost. With 15 different teachers measuring 15 slightly different ways, our costs on exchanges went through the roof. In addition, there were missed orders for kids who registered late and got missed by teachers altogether. I changed my process about ten years and now we have one person in charge of all costume measuring and ordering. Accuracy is up and exchanges/missed orders are down. Getting one person to champion this project saves me way more than I spend for her time.
The next 3 tips will supercharge your savings!
- Break up with your phone.
Have you ever closed your laptop and said, “That’s enough for tonight” only to crawl into your bed and scroll Facebook for another 40 minutes? I’ve been there and it’s a BAD idea for a number of reasons. Science tells us that the blue light coming off of our devices destroys the melatonin we need for a good night’s sleep. And, if you DO get to sleep, you might be woken by email alerts from a parent who forgot their child’s shoes, but is just remembering to write you about it 2 a.m.
Now let’s talk about mornings. Do you roll over after your alarm goes off and start thumbing at the screen lock for a peek at the activity that you may have missed while sleeping? I know all you want to do is take a quick peek around your email, texts and social to make sure everything is okay before getting out of bed. I get it. The problem is that in doing so, you effectively hand over the steering wheel of your day to someone else’s agenda. You are now in reactive and not proactive mode, which is a close second to starting-the-day-without-coffee on the list of bad ideas for entrepreneurs.
- Start owning your calendar.
Recently I blocked the following into my Google calendar: Morning Reading and Devotional Time, Exercise, Writing, Business Development, Lunch with Husband, Time with Kids, Email and Phone Calls. Yes, I write them with capital letters because to me they are proper nouns—as in if I don’t treat my time properly no one else will. Now when somebody wants to do a call, go to lunch or meet at the office I literally have take something of real value to me OFF the calendar to make room for the new activity. If I look at my calendar and have to choose between another evening meeting at the studio or Time with Kids, my kids win almost every time. But, if my calendar is empty, I’ll just fill with things that take me away from the kids. The truth of the matter is that I can always attend another meeting, but I’ll never get a second chance to raise my kids.
- Eat the bullfrog first.
Here’s a math problem for you:
You have a list of ten things to do.
Seven are easy and three are hard.
What do you do?
The seven easy things, of course, because we love to feel accomplished and crossing things off of our list helps us to feel like we are really getting things done. But are we? What about the three meaningful, but hard things, get transferred from list to list until you’ve spent more time rewriting the difficult tasks than it would’ve taken to just do them.
The reality is that for as many hats as you wear at the studio, there are only a few functions that really move the business forward. To that end, may I suggest re-organizing your to-do to begin the day with the hardest/most meaningful task. That’s “eating the bullfrog first” is all about—tackling the ugliest, yuckiest project on your list and getting on with more pleasant things after that. If you can eat the bullfrog first, everything else after that is easy.
Are you ready to get back on your A+ game? Then turn off your phone, fill up your calendar with your own proper nouns and eat the biggest bullfrog in your day before noon☺
Looking for more great expert advice before your spring recital? Check out:
- Dance Recital Ideas: 7 Ways to Produce a Dance Recital that Pays
- Dance Recital Tips: 6 Ideas for Planning a Great Show
- Backstage Management Tools for Dance Recitals
- Tips for a Backstage Bravo!
The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.