“Building a business from the ground up”
Megan Snyder is a mother, a sister, an aunt, a wife, but she is most proud of her success as a business owner. Snyder opened Debut Dance in 2008 when she was just twenty-four years old. Along her journey she has watched her dancers grow into amazing young adults, had three little rambunctious boys, faced many unforeseen hardships along the way, and learned valuable and important life lessons.
“Owning a business at a very young age, I have actually encountered more ageism than sexism,” commented Snyder. “To be honest, early on in my career I was very intimidated by the parents of the dancers at my studio. At the time, most of them were 10 to 20 years older than me. Now that I am thirteen years into studio ownership, I feel a lot more confident in my decision making. The age gap is much smaller, and I feel more respected.”
Snyder prides herself on her business being completely debt free. Her new hires start getting paid well above minimum wage and are offered benefits.
The toughest challenger Snyder says she has ever faced while running her business has been the global pandemic. The studio decided to close its doors mid-March, hoping to return a few weeks later and still put on an end of the season show. Unfortunately, the pandemic’s growth across the globe and in the state of Iowa did not permit that to happen.
“In the summer , it felt like I had stepped back 10 years in my business and was essentially starting over,” explained Snyder. “This fall we lost 50% of our recreational students. I know we have made it through the hardest part, we are now in the process of rebuilding. With the help of two PPP loans, the studio is still open and building momentum. More importantly it has remained a ‘happy’ place for many of our dancers, families and staff members…myself included!”
Building a business all alone is one grueling challenge, but Snyder was not all by herself to face these hardships, her family helped her on her journey to success. She had a support system by her side all the way.
“It was my husband who really pushed me to open a studio on my own, it was my mom who helped me develop my business plan, it was my dad that gave me the pep talks to keep going, and it’s my children (especially my oldest son) that makes it all worthwhile,” said Snyder. Currently, two out of three of her boys dance at the studio on the competition team.
In ten years Snyder said she sees herself playing a mentorship role full time. Mentoring dancers, young instructors, and possibly fellow business owners.
“My number one piece of advice for young, aspiring female entrepreneurs would be to remain PATIENT. This is so hard for all us who live in the world of instant gratification,” commented Snyder. “It honestly took about 10 years to get the business and the brand to where I really wanted it to be. So stay patient, it takes time to build a successful business. There are many bumps and hurdles along the way.”