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Misty Lown

Misty Lown is the founder, president and energized force behind More Than Just Great Dancing™. Misty shares her methods of creating a professional environment where people learn and grow from the life experiences lived in the dance studio. Sharing information, providing helpful observations, and giving feedback to parents, teachers and students is an essential part of the learning process that Misty delivers with More Than Just Great Dancing™. Misty's new book, "One Small Yes," is now available on Amazon.
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The 7 Most Important Marketing Tactics to Implement at Your Studio

I don’t know about you, but marketing is at the VERY top of my priority list at this time of year!  With back-to-school enrollment underway and goals to meet, achieving success at my studio—for my studio—depends greatly focusing our marketing tactics and message.  After all, there is no mission to serve if we haven’t attracted the right clientele to our programs!

First,  my team and I establish our strategy; that is, we figure out the overarching objective we want to meet and the way in which we want to approach it.  For this year, our objective is to increase total enrollment in the studio and participation in each class. Our strategy is to use key messages about our youngest dancers’ potential and our special opportunities for all ages.

Since marketing is all about bringing the information you want people to know about your studio right to their fingertips, you want to do so in a way that is both educational AND appealing.  But too many marketers focus on the “WHAT” (dance classes). You want the tactics you employ to pique someone’s curiosity and prompt them to want to know more about WHY you do what you do and how you do it.

The best ways to market are always evolving of course …. as they should!  You always want marketing for your studio to feel fresh and exciting with every step, not stale.  Keep reading for my 7 Most Important Marketing Tactics to Implement at Your Studio!

Interested in more articles about dance studio marketing? Check out these articles from the TutuTix archive:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Dance Recital Day for the Studio Owner: What Should my Day Look Like?

Dance Recital Day for the Studio Owner

Have you ever gotten to the day of recital and been surprised by something you know you could have prevented, if only you had prepared ahead of time?  Yep, me too. I’ve been in those shoes before and boy do they hurt!  With time and experience though, I’ve learned better tactics for planning out my dance recital day.

I distinctly remember this one dance recital moment early in my career as a studio owner when we had mounted an ambitious opening number to “Be Our Guest,” complete with seven-year-old tap dancing waiters! The first show went off without a hitch and so I didn’t check to see if all of the classes were in place for the second show.  There we were, mid-production, with a faculty member gesturing to the side of the stage to usher in the waiters …. and NO WAITERS! You should’ve seen our faces of shock! We finished the dance, found the waiters, and ran the number again. And you can bet that’s an oversight I never made again.

While surprises will pop up, the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to plan your work and then work your plan.  The effort you spend upfront will save you from mishaps, when the last thing you need is to put out one more fire (or find a class of missing waiters!).

Keep reading to learn 6 Steps to a Satisfying Dance Recital Day.

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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I Need Help! (Part Two) – 5 Tools to Implement for Business Growth

5 Tools to Implement for Business Growth

Business growth: it’s something every studio owner desires!

Whether it’s more students, more staff members, more space, more financial freedom, or more time at home, at some point or another, we all want MORE for our studios.

Growth can be great! It means your business is healthy, and healthy things grow! But business growth usually doesn’t come without a few growing pains. As your studio expands to accommodate more people or more space, or as you step out to spend more time at home, you’ll probably notice that some of your existing systems don’t work as well anymore. I often tell the dance studio owners that I coach, “Every time something your business doubles, all of your systems break.”

If you are in a position where you are seeing your numbers rise and your systems aren’t quite keeping up, take advantage of this opportunity to make some key updates in the way you organize and communicate before the new year starts. Keeping up with your studio’s growth—and then staying ahead of it—will allow you to maintain its health. Don’t ignore the warning signs that you need to make improvements. Warning signs might include things like customer confusion or dropping balls on details and follow up.

If these types of things are happening to you, it’s probably time to dig in to some new resources that will help improve your systems!

Keep reading to learn about my 5 Tools to Implement for Business Growth.

 

Looking for more dance studio staff insights? Check out these other articles and resources:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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I Need Help! (Part One) – Hiring Additional Studio Staff

Hiring Additional Studio Staff

Top 2 Tips For Smart Hiring

Overloaded. Scattered. Forgetful. Late. Have you ever felt that any of these words describe you as a studio owner? I once did. Other studio owners tell me often that they too, have been consumed by their work and feel like they are constantly in need of help. The one thing that made a difference for me? Hiring the right studio staff for my team. An amazing group of employees is a huge game-changer. I call mine the Dream Team.

The process of hiring can be one of the most daunting tasks for a studio owner. You feel a lot of pressure (from yourself!) to make a good decision; one that at best, could benefit your team for years to come and that at worst, could create a toxic environment. Hiring someone who is a good fit for your business is truly win-win: you get the help you need to run an organized and efficient studio, and your new employee obtains a job at a meaningful place to work.

Before taking the first step in your hiring process, be sure that you know what it is that you’re hiring for. I recommend writing up a job description: include the job title, responsibilities, and the qualities desired in your ideal candidate. This job description will be for your internal use only, so expect that it might change somewhat once you’ve found a great person to hire and want to adapt the position to their strengths. For now, the description is simply your guideline. Having it prepared gives you a starting point for the way you need to advertise the job opening, and for the types of questions you might need to ask during interviews.

Once your hiring needs are clear, it’s time to prepare a job listing or advertisement. This is the information you’ll post online, such as on Indeed or Craigslist, or through other hiring avenues, such as your local university or community newsletter. Be sure to tell your current staff members that you’re looking to hire; I often find that getting referrals from my employees is far more successful than any other method. Birds of a feather do flock together after all!

After your job description and job listing are complete, it’s time to focus on the big task ahead: the hiring process itself. Your diligent attention to the details can make all the difference! Normally I have a whole list of tips and ideas for you for each topic, but hiring is different. There are really only two rules you need to heed for hiring.

Keep reading for my “THE ONLY 2 TIPS FOR HIRING” so that you can build your very own Dream Team:

Looking for more dance studio staff insights? Check out these other articles and resources:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Dance Studio Owners: 5 Ways to Find a Mentor

dance studio owners - finding a mentor feat

Dance studio owners know that running a studio is a rewarding and joyous experience; there’s truly no other life like it! From the moment you open your doors, your mission is to make an impact on the world through dance. But even with the greatest of missions, there will still be times when things get tough—times when you question yourself or don’t know where to turn for help.

When those moments happen it can be helpful to talk with your peers, just to have someone who understands really LISTEN to you. But do you know what is even more beneficial? Seeking out a mentor—someone who can not only listen, but also inspire you to be your best, solve problems, raise your perspective, help you develop better leadership strategies, and coach you through big decisions.

Finding the right mentor can sometimes take a bit of work, but the payoff is awesome when you’ve found someone you respect and trust. Having had a few different mentors over the past two decades, I can honestly say that each one brought a unique and timely perspective to my life when I needed it.

Before you search for a mentor, think about what you want to achieve from the relationship. Do you want to work with someone who has knowledge of the dance industry, or would you prefer to have a mentor who comes from a different professional background? Do you want to meet on a consistent schedule, or keep things open-ended? How much time do you hope to spend with your mentor?

The answers to these questions will help prepare you to find a mentor who is the best fit possible. All it takes is a little planning, and a willingness to put yourself out there and meet new people.

Keep reading to learn about my 5 Ways to Find a Mentor:

Looking for more insights for dance studio owners? Check out these other articles and resources:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Should I Step Back From Teaching to Focus on Studio Business?

Studio Business

Should I step back from teaching to focus on studio business?

There are only 2 questions you need to answer to make this decision.

I meet a lot of studio owners in my travels, and there seems to be one thing that unites us—we all have a similar backstory. Somewhere along the way in life we fell in love with dance. We became dedicated to creating a career out of dance; we were passionate about the power of dance to change lives; and we were resourceful at using our skills and connections to make a difference in the lives of others.

I believe that studio owners are unique in this way, and this passion for sharing our love of dance is what drives us to succeed. But as we grow in our studio careers, we realize that the job of running a studio is about so much more than dance. We discover that we need to learn how to lead people, manage accounting, develop programming, understand new marketing trends and more. As your studio grows, the business needs can begin to rival the artistic side for your time and attention.

When this happens, you might feel like you’ve come to a crossroads. I know I did! This is where you have to start making decisions about the best place to direct your focus in this new season of life.

Should you step back from teaching to focus on studio business?  Continue reading to see the only two questions you need to answer to make this decision.

Looking for more dance studio owner insights? Check out these other articles and resources:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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When is it Time to Add a Second Show to Your Recital? 4 Factors to Help You Decide

add a second show

There’s nothing more satisfying than the feeling you get when your studio is thriving! When the hallways are buzzing and the classes are full, you feel such pride in having grown your business to a successful place. But it’s not all sunshine and daisies, of course. Success can also mean growing pains in every facet of your business—especially at recital time.

As your studio gains families and dancers, you will inevitably need to decide how to present your recital in the best way possible, which may mean adding shows as you grow. The single 90-minute performance that worked well five years ago might no longer be a reasonable option if you’ve doubled your student count since then. While there’s no magic enrollment number that equals two shows (or three or four!) there are certain factors you can consider in your planning process.

If you are at the tipping point, keep reading to learn about the four factors to consider when deciding whether to add a second show for your recital:

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Are Dance Competitions Worth It? Three Questions to Ask Yourself

Are Dance Competitions Worth It? Three Questions to Ask Yourself

There’s plenty to consider when asking the question “Are dance competitions worth it?” for your studio—-the endless hours of preparation, the cost to attend and the time it takes to travel. And yet the results for your students can far outweigh the headaches if competition opportunities are an important part of your studio goals.

If you already participate in competitions, then you know how much work the dancers put into learning and practicing their routines, and how much money their parents invest in their classes and rehearsals. You also know the stress that can come if you are unprepared for an event, if your expectations were off, or if the competition doesn’t feel like a good fit. Then there’s that amazing feeling of watching your students onstage and earning well-deserved recognition for their hard work. Indeed, competing can be a roller coaster!

So how do you really know if that roller coaster is a worthwhile ride for your studio?

Keep reading to learn the three questions you should consider when asking yourself, “Are dance competitions worth it?”

Looking for more great info on dance competitions? Check out the following articles:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Dance Studio Growth: 5 Ways To Support And Connect To Your Studio

Dance Studio Growth: 5 Ways To Support And Connect To Your Studio

Whether your studio is in its first season, its fifteenth, or its fiftieth, chances are you want to see it grow! And when I say “grow” I’m talking about making real progress, which for your studio might mean increasing enrollment, nurturing your current customers, gaining square footage, developing leadership roles for your staff, improving your culture, redefining your mission, or all of the above.

You may already be experiencing the growing pains that can happen as you, the studio owner, shift focus in order to navigate growth of any kind. For me, as my own children have grown, I’ve shifted more and more time leading our faculty at our studio and less time teaching in the classroom.

No matter which type of growth your studio goes through, it most likely means that it will depend on you less and less for its day-to-day operations, and that your physical presence there will likely become less as well. But your personal connection to the studio—to your employees and to your dance families—will still be essential to supporting its success as it shifts and changes over time.

So how do you keep your relationship with the studio feeling vibrant and effective, even during different stages and phases of growth?

Keep reading to learn more about my 5 Ways To Support And Connect To Your Studio As It Grows.

Looking for more great info on dance studio growth and other studio management topics? Check out the following articles:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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3 Best Practices For Coaching Your Dance Studio Staff

3 Best Practices For Coaching Your Dance Studio Staff

By now your studio’s season is officially in full swing and your classes are humming along. Your students and their families are getting used to their new dance schedules, school commitments, and carpools. Your staff members have also settled into your new routines around the studio and you are starting to find your “new normal” with the fall schedule. It can be such a satisfying feeling as a studio owner to finally feel like the pieces of your puzzle have fallen into place!

It’s completely fine (and encouraged!) for you to celebrate the success of starting off the new season right. But don’t let that satisfaction turn into complacency when it comes to your leadership: your team is on the front lines of service every day, and they need your active support, direction, and motivation to keep moving forward and offering up their best selves.

It’s probably been at least a few weeks – maybe more – since your new-season kickoff meeting with your team, which means it is the perfect time to re-cast your expectations and set the pace for the year ahead.

Keep your staff members feeling excited to come to work and on the right track by implementing these 3 Best Practices For Coaching Your Dance Studio Staff This Fall:

Looking for more great studio staff management ideas? Check out the following articles:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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4 Ways to Boost Dance Studio Retention Early In The Season

4 Ways to Boost Dance Studio Retention Early In The Season

You’ve held your open house. You’ve put out your back-to-school social media campaigns. You’ve advertised in a local parenting publication. If you’re like me, you are feeling like you are on a roll for getting new students into the studio this time of year!

The good news is, new students are coming in and you are VERY glad to see them. The bad news is, maybe you feel like your existing students need a little extra attention now, that they need to be thanked and loved on for choosing your studio.

Retaining students—not just getting them in the door—is at the heart of sustaining your business over time and demonstrating that you have happy clientele. We often think of retention mid-year, when some kids want to quit, or at the end of the season, when we want them to re-register after recital. But this crucial back-to-school time can’t be ignored. It is an excellent time—right out of the gate—to show you personally care about your dance families and appreciate their business.

So classes are in session, and you’re meeting new faces every day….how can you best use this time to show the love? What can you do to increase retention and keep those families engaged?

Keep reading for 4 Way to Boost Dance Studio Retention Early in the Season.

Looking for more great enrollment and retention ideas? Check out the following articles:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Six Keys to a Successful Dance Studio Open House

Six Keys to a Successful Dance Studio Open House

It could be the BIGGEST promotional day of the year at your studio…the open house! You know you want your studio to look its best, and you know you want to positively engage with prospective customers in addition to current customers. This is your opportunity to love on returning clients, WOW potential customers and invite the community to see what your studio is all about.

Among studio owners I know, dance studio open houses are usually two to three hours long on an evening or Saturday, and have a “come-and-go” schedule. Some families will stay nearly the whole time; others will attend just to look around your facility, shop for shoes or obtain registration information.

After you’ve set a date and begun marketing for the event, what can you do to maximize the relatively short amount of time? How can you make this your best Open House event ever? Keep reading for 6 Keys to a Successful Open House:

Here are 6 Keys to a Successful Dance Studio Open House event at your studio:

Looking for more great marketing ideas for your studio? Check out:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Dance Recital Prep: It’s The Final Countdown

Dance Recital Prep: It's the Final Countdown

It’s biggest day of the year for your families. If your students are like mine, they are raring to go! And it’s easy to see why when you consider all of the hard work they have put in over the past year preparing for recitals:

  • 30+ weeks of lessons
  • 2-3 minutes of choreography for each dance
  • Costume measurements, fittings, exchanges and alterations
  • Group photos, recital tickets and t-shirts, flower orders and more!

In fact, for every minute of a dance that appears on stage, an average of 100 HOURS of preparation has already been put in before one sequin ever hits the stage. But before you sign off on your dance recital prep, I want you to put ONE MORE HOUR to make sure your recital day is GREAT.

Keep reading for 8 last-minute dance recital prep tips that will ensure you have the best recital day yet!

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Don’t Miss Promotional Opportunities at Your Recital!

Don't Miss Promotional Opportunities at Your Recital

Literally speaking, producing a recital is the act of looking back and showing what you have learned or accomplished over the course of a school year. It’s all about making great memories that can be enjoyed for years to come. The whole recital experience is full of memory-capture elements such as the recital program book, the celebratory trophy, the annual t-shirt and the commemorative DVD and group photos.

In fact, if you really think about it, most of what we promote at recital celebrates what has already been DONE. Today I hope to convince you that we should be spending as much, if not more time, promoting what IS TO COME at our spring shows.

Don’t miss promotional opportunities at your recital this year.

Keep reading for 5 ways you can serve your audience by promoting what’s coming up at your studio at recital 2017.

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist: 4 Weeks Out

Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist: 4 Weeks Out

I remember it so clearly…during one of my early years of studio ownership, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my head in my hands, completely paralyzed and overwhelmed. We had just crossed into the month of April and there were SO MANY things that I still needed to do in order to get ready for our May shows.

The longer I sat there thinking about my growing list, the more I became convinced I could NEVER get it all done. That’s when my husband stepped in and did what all great husbands do when they see their wives unravelling right before their very eyes: he sent me to bed and said we would talk about in the morning. Smart man.

Morning came and with it returned my ability to see past the loose ends and make a studio owner dance recital checklist list to get things in order before the real show. And, I’ve been building and refining the list ever since.

Keep reading for 30 things you can do now to have a seamless recital experience four weeks from now.

Download a printable version of the Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist here:

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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