Teens are always hungry for a place to go and be among their peers outside of the normal boundaries of school or home. This is why starting a teen dance club would be a popular choice in just about any community, provided it is done right. This means that the right types of safety measures are in place to discourage negative activities and ensure that the club is accessible to teens in the community.
Determine how and where you will get your start up money. For any new business that is starting from the ground up, seed money is needed. Figure out the best way to get money to invest in your teen dance club, be it from monetary gifts from family members or through a business loan. If you opt to apply for a business loan, you will need to draft a sound business plan explaining what the goals of your club are and how you plan to run it and succeed in this particular business. When you are doing so, keep in mind that you will constantly have to come up with innovative ways to capture the attention of your teenage clientele; kids are fickle, and what's hot, fresh and exciting today is usually stale within two weeks.
Scout out locations throughout your community. The more accessible your teenage dance club is, the more likely it is to succeed. If possible, choose a location that kids can access on their own, without having to ask a parent or family member to drive them there. Not only is this safer because teenagers are certainly not known for their expert driving skills, but with neighborhoods --- think family members --- nearby, you are more likely to see appropriate behavior from your customers.
Get the right types of insurance. Every business needs insurance and the types of insurance for this type of club would likely include general liability, property insurance, accidental injury and of course, for the employees, workers' compensation for your employees. Liability is the more expensive of the group. Check the Resources section below for more information about club insurers. To be sure you know exactly what kind of insurance your teen club needs, send an inquiry to the relevant department in your state government (this may be Business, Commerce, or Insurance) and find out what kind of insurance you will need for your club to cater to a teenager clientele.
Determine what type of atmosphere your club will have. Do you want your dance club to be low-key and more of a spot for teenagers in your community to hang out? Or do you want to replicate the high-energy clubs frequented by college students? You must first determine your direction before you can proceed so you know the proper way to market yourself.
Take your time and carefully hire knowledgeable staff. Working with teenagers takes a special kind of patience. After all, they are going through some many new experiences, both physically and emotionally, so they can be moody, combative, overexcited, loud, obnoxious and rude. You need to hire staff members that don't mind working with people like this and can resolve problems without losing their temper. People who have worked in schools or community centers will not only know how to deal with problems, but may also have ideas on how to promote positive, healthy activity through camaraderie and re-direction versus confrontation and violence. It is also important to hire a DJ that is knowledge about about today's music; the first thing that will run your club right into the ground is a mix of music that is nowhere near what teenagers today are listening to.
Put together a promotional team of teenagers to help spread the word. Keep in mind that traditional forms of advertising likely won't work here. You will need to reach the kids in the same ways that they communicate these days, meaning cell phone text messages (this is where your promotional team comes in handy, as they can capture the contact information of the members of their individual peer group) and social media outlets. The most popular --- and the ones that will help you be successful --- are MySpace and Facebook. Put together pages on both of these sites and begin to collect "friends." This will give you an easy way to spread the word about your new club and generate excitement!
Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.