Dance Studio Secrets is the Amazon bestselling book by Clint Salter, featuring the extraordinary stories and experiences from members of the Dance Studio Owners Inner Circle.
Pull back the curtains for an up-close and personal look into how other studio owners are creating thriving businesses and fulfilling lives both inside and outside of the studio.
Check out this week’s sneak-peek into our Inner Circle dance studios, featuring Prestige Dance Academy‘s co-owners, Amanda Hunsley & Lisette Stein.
Very few Dance Studio Owners can operate a partnership as successfully as today’s featured guests. Amanda and Lisette have together built a phenomenal business both in their recreational and intensive program. It’s a rare delight to see two business-women and great friends who are able to capitalize on their strengths for the greater good of the business.
What are your top four tips for Social Media success?
Amanda: We turned the corner to really be leading in terms of that, was when we decided we needed to hire a professional to help us with the photos and the videos because we were trying to do it. We needed to take it to the next level so that it wasn’t just a dance studio, it was a more professional look. The photos and videos, they have to be professional and they have to look amazing, because they are representing your business. We have ours done by professionals so we couldn’t go back now.
Videos have been essential to our growth. We’ve always been apprehensive, because in some ways I feel we don’t want to be bragging about the success of the children or how strong they are, but it’s also important to share what they’ve accomplished so people see what we do.
Empire Media Worx, which has done all of our professional videos, has completely set us apart from all of the businesses around us, from just a professional standard. We work at a professional standard, even though we are an amateur studio. Our goals are always professional standard goals.
Lisette: Next is having innovative and modern ideas. We’re always trying to think outside the box and be who we are. Everything that goes on our social media is planned out and thought out. We try and make our photos and videos emotionally captivating, so that you want people to love the video. Even people have said to us, they wanted to watch that video over and over and it gave them goosebumps. Making sure that you emotionally captivate people to think: “Wow, that’s beautiful. I want my child to dance at their dance studio.”
Make sure you’re showcasing the diversity at the studio. We showcase our Recreational Program, our Intensive Program, our Sessional Programs, so we try and make sure we’re doing all of that, within our social media posts.
What qualities make you successful leaders in this competitive industry?
Amanda: We’re always growing as leaders and every time we get to a good point, we learn to be even better.
Lisette: We’re very transparent and relatable as leaders, and very honest. That’s something that our staff relates to and that we can then feel more related to. Even to our staff and clients we’ve often said, “You know what? We don’t have all the answers all the time. We are not going to pretend that we do, but we are going to figure it out the best way we can.”
That’s really allowed our staff to feel like they can have a transparent relationship with us and feel like they can be vulnerable and come to us with different things, because we work very much on the ground level with them and understand them.
If our staff was describing me, I think they would say thatI can inspire people to produce good work and to not settle for anything less than what they can do. And not because I necessarily demand it of them, but I’m very hard on myself personally and I have very high expectations, but people are excited to rise to those expectations.
When our students feel that they receive positive feedback from achieving the best they can do, it’s absolutely worth it. And they are thankful that they’ve pushed themselves to that degree.
Amanda: Our team would describe me as organized, always trying to make sure everything that needs to be planned out is ready. Forward-thinking, always trying to make sure that we’re on the leading edge and being very open. We communicate a lot. We probably over-communicate, but it really works for us. We typically know how each other are feeling about things and support each other in our ideas and dreams. Sometimes I’ll suggest something that might not be exactly what Lisette would be considering, but she would support me if she felt that I thought I was really passionate about it and that’s exactly the same thing. If she comes to me with an idea of something that’s inspiring her, we 100% support each other.
We do the same with our staff. We’re very loyal to each other, to our clients, to our people who work for us. We respect everyone who works for us very much and we treat everybody the way we would want to be treated. If we do something wrong, we just own it and we don’t pretend that we’re perfect. We apologize, we make things right. We try to be very fair.
Sometimes we move children down levels or take children out of things, or we make a big drastic change, and that can be so hard. We always put the children’ best interests at the front of our mind, always. Sometimes we make those tough decisions for that. Then we can justify it because it’s in the best interests of the children, then we know we’re doing it for the right reason.
Above all, we hold high professional standards for our staff and for the education of our students.
What do you do in your business to ensure your ideal clients keep coming back each season?
Amanda: It’s about connection, and relationships. The dancers who have showed up on our doorstep at two years old and graduate at 18, that’s because of relationships and human connection.
We truly care about these children. For example, our children that graduated last year, we sent them care packages to their college dorms. they are no longer clients, we have nothing to gain from them financially, but we want to show them that their relationship with us did go beyond that of just being clients.
We get invited to their graduations; they get four tickets to graduation, and we’re sitting there next to mom and dad. That’s how we keep them it’s and from a real and sincere place.
Lisette: We use the Inner Circle onboarding process to make that connection right away. We have sent flowers to our clients when parents pass away, we write cards. We just make sure that we go above and beyond all the time because that’s what we would want, too.
When I’m dealing with other businesses and I’m the client, I often think: “What did they do wrong here? And what am I doing wrong in my business? How could I have made this a different call and left my client with a happier experience?”
A big part of it is being introspective and going above and beyond all the time, and making it about more than just dance. It means so much to us that they continue to come to our business year after year. We do value them and we do want them to be treated the way we would want to be treated.
Amanda: We also ask for a lot of feedback. When someone brings us their feedback, we want to use it to help make us better because we’d rather someone come and talk to us about what they feel we could do better. Then we could learn from it and grow our business in a better way.
Amanda Hunsley and Lisette Stein are the owners of Prestige Dance Academy in Alberta, Canada
Since opening Prestige in 2002, with the singular goal of sharing the love of dance, Amanda Hunsley is known for her passion, innovation, and kindness, Amanda motivates and inspires students, employees, and small business owners throughout Calgary.
Amanda holds a degree in Applied Business and Entrepreneurship from Mount Royal College. She has completed level two of the National Coaching Certification Program, and is also a certified teacher through the Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers (ADAPT) program.
Lisette Stein is the co-owner and artistic director of Prestige Dance Academy. She is well known for her insightful, innovative and masterful choreography which has won numerous awards both locally and internationally.
In 2017, Lisette was named Jazz Director for Team Canada, and led the team to gold in Poland at The world Dance Championships. This amazing success has brought her back to the choreography panel in 2019.
Lisette lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, Keith, and her loving dog,Toby.
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