How to Validate your Cotillion Business Idea


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Cotillions are programs that teach essential social skills and boost confidence in middle schoolers through lessons in manners, etiquette, and partner dance. Cotillions have been around for decades but these social skills programs are experiencing a resurgence as parents, educators, and employers are noticing a severe lack of soft skills in young people (especially the COVID generation).

If you are considering starting a cotillion but are unsure how it will be received in your community, you should validate your cotillion idea.

Validating a business idea means doing research ahead of time to see if your idea is viable before you jump in and invest a lot of your time, mental energy, and financial resources. Pretty smart, right?

And if you’re still in the dreaming stages and not ready to validate just yet, start here: 7 Steps to Start a Local Cotillion Program

Here’s how you validate a cotillion business idea

(For this example, let’s pretend we’re starting a cotillion in NYC)

  1. Create a form to collect contact info from parents who want more information. I call this the “Invite List” and I made this video showing exactly how to create one.
  2. Purchase the domain Domains are very reasonable (around $12 for an entire year) and lend SO much credibility to your business. Pro tip: I prefer “polite” in a domain name because cotillion and etiquette are so hard to spell. 🙃 Then forward your domain to the Invite List you just made. (This step isn’t as scary as it sounds- the link above includes how to do this as well).
  3. Create a Facebook page called, let’s say, New York City Cotillion.
  4. Make 3-5 Facebook posts introducing yourself and the basic idea of cotillion. End each post with something like “Add your family to the Invite List at” – I’ll even share the exact wording I use on these initial Facebook posts! Contact me if you want a copy.
  5. Share, share, share! with everyone. See list below.

Sharing Your Invite List

Once you create your Invite List, you’ve got to give a SOLID effort on promoting your Invite List so you can know for certain whether families are interested in what you have to offer. Here are some ideas on how to share:

  • Share to your personal social media pages (and your Story!)
  • Share in local community Facebook groups
  • Ask friends to share a post or to make their own posts including a link to your Invite List
  • You could also consider paying to “boost” your post on Facebook to reach more families in your area
  • Talk about it around town
  • Post a video of yourself explaining what cotillion is (even if you don’t have exact details in place yet)
  • Design a smart looking flyer on Canva and post it at the coffee shop
  • Visit local schools to see if they will let you send flyers (either hard copies or emailed PDF versions) home with students or even just out to staff members
  • Contact local parent groups (online and in-person) to see if they will share with their members… PTAs, Mom Groups, Homeschool Groups, etc

What not to do: Make one post on your personal Facebook page that only gets a couple likes and comments, and say to yourself “Oh, nobody must be interested.” You may have to talk/post about cotillion several times before the word gets out.

Possible Outcome #1: IT FLOPS 🤦

Welp, you’re out the $12 you spent on the domain.

You hold on to the info for those few families who requested an invitation, let the Facebook page lie dormant for a bit, and perhaps try again during a different season to see if you get more interest.

——> You haven’t promised anybody anything that you didn’t deliver, you haven’t lost big deposits on venues you have to cancel, and you haven’t taken anybody’s money that you have to refund.

And you definitely didn’t “fail.”

You simply made a smart business decision to investigate your market before investing your time, energy, and resources. Well done, you!

Side note: Don’t forget to deactivate the domain annual auto renewal.

Possible Outcome #2: IT TAKES OFF 🚀

Great! Keep going!

You’ve validated your idea that there are families in your area who are interested in cotillion. This doesn’t mean everyone who requested an invitation will be willing to pay when it comes time to register. And for this reason, I encourage you to try to get at least 100 families on your Invite List before your proceed, but it does show the interest is there and it’s just a matter of getting the word out to everyone!

Keep going with the Cotillion Launch Collective

If you decide to move forward with planning a cotillion, I’d love to invite you to join the Cotillion Launch Collective. The collective includes:

  • instructional videos regarding the business, etiquette, and ballroom dance aspects of cotillion
  • customizable templates to share with your students and parents
  • mastermind community of other women who are in the process of starting or already successfully operating cotillions around the globe

Email me if you’d like to see the full video unpacking everything included in the collective or if you have any questions about getting your Invite List up and running!

Cheering you on,

Sydney Dunn



Some links in my blog posts are affiliate links.


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