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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:


Here are my 5 Ways to Find a Mentor:

  1. Approach someone who has a business you admire

    One of my local grocery stores, Festival Foods, has some of the most excellent customer service and community engagement I’ve ever seen and has been an inspiration for me since I started in business. While I was shopping one day, it occurred to me that I could learn a lot from the way Festival Foods runs its stores.

    It didn’t take long before I was able to set up a meeting with its founder, Dave Skogen, who soon became my mentor and friend. Think about your local business neighbors; what business owner could YOU establish a relationship with?

  1. Network in local business groups

    Networking to find a mentor in your community can be as simple as joining the right groups, such as your city’s chamber of commerce or local arts council. In those places you’ll find business owners just like you who are looking to connect and develop deeper business relationships.

    Try attending the next breakfast meeting or mixer, and begin getting to know who’s who. Remember that you all already have one pretty big quality in common: you want to better the community with your product or service.

  2. Check your mutual connections

    While it’s convenient to have a local mentor, long-distance can work too! Check the connections you have through social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to see who might be a potential mentor-match for you.

    Perhaps you’ll be inspired to reach out to an old boss or a friend-of-a-friend who could become a mentor to you through phone calls, Skype meetings, or email. Ask your family and friends if they know of someone who seems like a good business-match for you. I have an accountability partner from Canada that I exchange emails with on a monthly basis.

  3. Look into a business coaching program

    Business coaching programs can steer you on the right path to finding an effective mentor, either through the program’s leader or its other members.

    A coaching program that is dance-studio specific (such as my studio affiliation program, More Than Just Great Dancing®, Clint Salter’s Dance Studio Owner Association, Suzanne Blake Gerety’s DanceStudioOwner.com, or Austin Roberson’s Studio Owners Academy) could be a great fit, or it might be worth considering a broader business program (such as Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership’s All-Access).

    Once you find a program you like, see if you can talk with a representative about your wants and needs in mentorship, or ask to experience a trial period before investing in a full membership.

  1. Meet a mentor through SCORE

    Formerly known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, SCORE is a business mentorship program through the U.S. Small Business Administration. SCORE mentors are volunteers who are current or former business owners and executives.

    A volunteer can be matched to you by location or industry. Based on your goals and timeline, they can offer you mentorship in person or via email.

Having a mentor by your side through the highs and lows of business ownership is truly invaluable! While there’s no exact formula for finding the right mentor, these 5 ways will give you some excellent traction to get started. Remember that you are developing new business relationships through this process: take the time to introduce yourself to prospective mentors, ask a few engaging questions, and follow up with a thank you message.

In the comments below, tell us how you plan to proceed with finding a mentor—or share with us how you connected with your current mentor. I also invite you to connect with me @mistylown on social media to continue the conversation about how having a mentor makes a difference in your life. I can’t wait to hear more about your mentorship experience!

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.

More Than Just Great Dancing

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.