It’s one of those tasks that has been on your to-do list for months (or maybe even years) and just keeps getting pushed back into the ‘too-hard’ basket.
Yes, we are talking about studio handbooks.
In this age of communication overload, your studio handbook is fast becoming a real backbone to easing the admin load in your business, so if you don’t yet have a handbook ready, now is the time to bite that bullet and get it done!
So what exactly is a handbook?
Essentially, it is the ‘bible’ of how things are run in your studio. Your policies and procedures, and a ‘go-to’ reference for any dance parent who isn’t quite sure of something in your studio…for example, what is the ballet uniform for 6-year-olds? Or what date is the recital?
Topics you may want to cover in your handbook could be:
– Code of conduct
– Studio Communication
– Picking up / dropping off students
– Payment instructions
– Social Media policy
– Important dates
Once you know what you want to include in your handbook and have the hundreds of post-it notes to prove it, the biggest question is this:
How are you going to write this studio bible?
And this is, of course, the hardest part, which is why we have outlined the 6 Dos and Dont’s of writing your studio handbook.
Don’t – be boring
Despite what you may be thinking, writing out your rules, policies and procedures does not need to be a big fat boring list of what people can and can’t do in your studio. Inject your personality into your handbooks, and look at the language you are using. Keep positivity and engagement at the front of your mind so that you are choosing words and phrases like “We love seeing our students……” or “At ABC Dance, we encourage………..” or “We are passionate about……..”. This is not only far more engaging to read, but also conveys your studio’s culture and values. It’s a happy place to be. So should your handbook.
Do – think outside the box
You know that it’s hard work to read pages and pages of words with no break for your poor brain which loves a bit of colour and excitement, and your readers’ brains are exactly the same. If you want them to read it, they’ll need to take some breaks which you can provide by including images, photos, quotes, hyperlinks, or embedded videos (we are digital – the possibilities are endless!)
Don’t – expect everyone to read it
The point of the studio handbook is not to be read cover-to-cover and studied intently Your dance parents don’t have time for that – what they DO have time and appreciation for is a one-stop place where they know they can refer to at any time and find the answers to their questions. Make this easy for them with a clear table of contents, and a format that makes sense. Keep things simple and clear so they can refer to the handbook regularly and know that they can find the information they need readily.
Do – Invest time in the ‘Big 3’Do – Invest time in the ‘Big 3’
One handbook is great, but ideally there are 3 separate handbooks that every studio should prepare.
1/ Students and Parents
3/ Concert / Recital
This will ensure that the right people are getting the information they need without being
Don’t – sacrifice thousands of trees to get these printed
Your studio handbook may end up being 30+ pages once you have included everything, so don’t waste resources printing a copy for every family in your studio. Sure, have a handful of copies at reception for people to look at, but for the most part, you are best to send your handbook via email as an attachment, in a closed portal on your website, or in your closed Facebook group for quick and easy reference.
Do – take advantage of the experts
It is hard work creating your studio handbooks, which is why we have created this free handbook guide for you – click here for our guide, 9 Simple Secrets To Creating The Perfect Studio Handbooks That Save You Hours which we created just for studio owners like you to help you cultivate the perfect handbook for your studio so you can spend less time answering the same questions over and over again, and start spending more time on the things you love.
Studio owners have been going crazy over this free guide since it literally is a step-by-step walkthrough of everything that needs to be included in your handbooks