Friday, January 15, 2010


So in listening to Janet Jackson on repeat today on my iPod I was reminded of my love for her music!  Mostly her older stuff, but I do have strong sentimental attachments to some of her newer music as well.

I didn't try to break down the words of this song and figure out how it applies to my life... but it made me think about how I get and take feedback for the studio.

Do you ask parents for feedback as a studio owner?  How do you do it?  Is it important to do at all?

Another teacher shared once at a conference that she has sit down appointment at the end of every year that she lets parents sign up for 10 minutes of time to come in and give her feedback.  She doesn't respond to any of it, she just listens and takes notes.  She then continued to say that at the end of all the meetings she threw out all the sheets of paper she had taken notes on!  She could remember herself what was a few things she agreed with and would improve on those, but didn't let the rest of it bother her.

I actually think this is a great idea, but I don't think I would be very good at it.  I get overly sensitive about things when it comes to my studio and decisions I make that I think are best for everyone.  I find that most parents are speaking from a selfish place when it concerns their kids, and they forget I do try to look out for the best interest of everyone at the studio.  But I guess that's to be expected.  I'm a very defensive person, especially when it comes to my studio and something I am very passionate about.  But on the other hand I am also a business owner and I make decisions based on my business needs/demands.  It's not like you walk into The Gap and give them feedback on how to set up their store or sell their merchandise.  But we are dealing with people's children here, and every parent always thinks they know best!

I guess maybe the reason this has been successful at this other studio is because it gives parents the chance to be heard and then they feel important.  I want my clients to feel important at my studio, and that they can always come to me with and talk.  From experience I know that parents come to you with ideas of how they think something would be better, or an idea that they think would be good for the whole studio.  My initial reaction is to say, "then open your own studio and do that!" but I bite my tongue most of the time and try to hear them out. I want to be able to take their ideas without them feeling like they are in control of the studio, because when you give an inch you have to give a mile!

My favorite line ever from a parent goes something like this, "well, at out old studio we used to do it like this!"  Great... then go back to your old studio if it was so wonderful!  Every studio does have it's unique differences and business plans and I respect that as a studio owner.  I guess some parents do think that all dance studios are sanctioned by some big dance studio guru who tells us how to do things.  However, we are all navigating every detail as we go.

I guess once you get set in a way that works for you tend to never want to receive feedback on how you can change it.  But in doing so we might be missing out on a great opportunity to make things easier for ourselves or more efficient for our studios.  I don't know if parents are the best group of people to ask for feedback from on your business, but on a daily basis we don't get too many other opinions.  It's why I love dance teacher conferences or just sharing ideas with other teachers through writing or on the internet.  I want to hear feedback from other studios and know what works for them, so I can at least try them.  I don't want to make a point that my way is the best way and the only way it will ever work, because then I would stop learning, growing and improving!

More immediate forms of feedback, like anonymous comment boxes, feel to me like a way for just direct negative feedback.  If you do have parent meetings, at least it gives them an opportunity to not just focus on the negative to your face.  I'm sure they are prompted to feel the need to tell you how great things are as well, and that would make it all seem worth it to me.

I don't right now openly ask for any feedback as a business owner, but maybe I will try something this year that allows parents to make some comments.  I have to figure out which method will bruise my ego the least, but also I realize that I need to learn to accept feedback in order to help my studio grow.  It also allows me the chance to have a reason to drink more wine when I get home... not that I really need to add to that list!  I'm working on the poster now...

Parent Feedback Opportunities at Dance Fusion
-10 minute one-on-one meeting with the Director
-Sign up below for a time
-$15 or free admission with a donation of a bottle of Merlot

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I suggest you ask for feedback from the parents of the recreational students rather than competitive students. Find out what those parents think rather than the parents of the elite competitive students.