When Lada and I opened Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Michigan 12+ years ago, we were hands-on with the day-to-day activities. She devoted her energy to teaching and to leading the teachers, and I helped the studio run every day.
Over the years, we’ve evolved as the business has grown. The best business owners work ON their business, not IN it, empowering others to run the day-to-day activities and tasks so we can focus on growing the business and looking at the big picture. It’s an evolution, and we are on the precipice of our next stage of expansion.
Now, as we expand to open more studios in Michigan, I have to take yet a different role. It’s time to delegate more of the day-to-day responsibilities to our talented team. I must cultivate new talent, attract leaders, empower others to make sure our students are satisfied, that everything runs as smoothly and professionally as possible.
For most of my career, I’ve excelled at marketing, and led the charge in sharing our message and expanding our brand footprint. Now, I must help others to open studios under our umbrella within the state of Michigan, and oversee their success. That’s a big transition, but one that I am excited and poised to make.
This means we’ll constantly be looking for new dance instructors and entrepreneurs who may not know the dance world but who are great at running a business.
It can be hard when roles change to maintain the same synergy we’ve always had. For instance, there are times people just want to deal with me, because that’s the way we’ve always done things. I have to gently explain that while I love working with them, it’s time to hand the torch to someone else who can and will focus on their needs as well (maybe better!) as I have.
A huge part of being a successful entrepreneur is learning to focus on the bigger picture in order to truly grow. You cannot work IN the business while you work ON it. They are two different roles, and you must decide which one you’re going to be – a person doing the work or a person creating opportunities for so much more work, to touch more lives, and make more people happy.
I’m excited for this new stage of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Michigan. I’m always looking for new challenges, new opportunities to grow and succeed. It’s exciting to say, ‘OK, we’re going to the next level, working with new people and helping them become successful studio owners vs. just us being successful.’
It’s time. Time to let go of control and welcome other people into leadership roles, to bring this brand and all it offers to so many more across our great state.