Real Dance Moms have more on their minds than you might think!
My daughter dances after school about 20 hours each week. She performs about 10 weekends out of every year. She does competitions, recitals and conventions. She’s on a competitive team with other dancers similar to her who ALL love to dance. Some of these girls dream of a career in dance (not necessarily performing). And yes, we dance moms get together every now and then and chat.
Want to know what we really talk about? I’ll let you in on a little secret; are you sitting down? A lot of the same things the moms of Abby Lee Dance Studio talk about; and a ton of things they don’t.
Lucky for us, our studio has a “no drama” rule. That’s why, when Dance Moms (the show) actually contacted the owner about doing a season with our studio last fall, she declined. For her, the “opportunity” to be featured was hard to pass up. She has many talented dancers, and the publicity would have generated a lot of interest in her studio. To her everlasting credit, though, she realized the stress it would have put on her team. Furthermore, most of us weren’t in for that kind of “fifteen minutes of fame.”
Now, I can’t even imagine having a camera crew following me around all day. But I’ll share a conversation we had the other night so you can get the inside scoop.
We dance moms met at a local restaurant. After a long weekend at competition, we wanted to enjoy each other’s company away from a dark auditorium pumping with music. Away from hair and makeup. Really, we just wanted to catch up. So we ordered a few bottles of wine and some nice appetizers and had ourselves a lovely time.
Are you disappointed to know there was no yelling or jealous eyeball rolling? We toasted our girls, for they are the reason for our friendships and the pride and joy of each of us. Then, as women do, we dug in a little deeper.
Would you like to know what an average group of dance moms discusses when we get together? Here’s the breakdown…
There were 10 of us at the table. All with girls between the ages of 13 and 17. All with more than one kid. All comfortable enough to be able to provide dance lessons and costumes to our children — something no one would categorize as a necessity. And all with different concerns surrounding our daughters and the world of dance.
Listening to the various conversations going on at the table, these are the general topics we discussed.
- Importance of technique
- Bonding and team-building
- Running a studio as a business (meeting deadlines, billing, ordering costumes, organization, scheduling)
- Our studio compared to others in the local area
- The community of families within it
- The challenge of dance for individual girls — progress, improvement, growth
- The kids’ fun factor, enjoyment, and friendships
- Balancing the busy lives of families/our other kids
- Balance between the children’s dance and their other activities: school/volunteering/church/jobs.
To summarize, dance moms have everyday concerns. And those concerns run a wide gamut!
The mom who was concerned with her daughter learning good technique was not as concerned with the business aspect. The one who valued team-building also valued a cohesive family life. And on and on. Each one of us was unique.
So there you have it; real Dance Mom lives without the drama. All Dance Moms are not the same. And all customers are not equal.
You can learn a lot from this story even if your business doesn’t have anything to do with dance or the suburban mom demographic. You don’t have to follow your customers around with a camera crew. You don’t have to eavesdrop on their happy hour.
All you have to do is ask them.
Inside this eye-opening conversation I decided I needed to know more about the audience I serve. After writing copy for many years, I’ve only recently dived into the world of managing my own website. In other words my list is still relatively small.
Small business owners, just by being close to our clients, may think we know our customers well. We do our research, we observe our competition. We may believe we’ve thought of everything.
This real-life conversation with Dance Moms reveals gaps I could be overlooking in my small business. (I admit it.) When I write for someone, I ask tons of questions. So I should be asking my own readers what really matters to them.
Today I’m making a commitment to simply ASK. I’m sure I’ll be surprised by the things my customers come up with. Just look at the variety of Dance Moms out there. Your niche and mine are no different.
Our goal as small business owners is to meet our customers’ needs and solve their individual problems. We should at least be aware that those differences exist! Understanding the whole range — even if you can’t address each of them — leads to deeper loyalty and repeat business. You will grasp how your offering serves your best clients.
And where does that lead? Happier customers and more effective marketing. When you understand the details, your “target market” becomes less important than your ideal customers.