Six Ways to Strengthen Your Business

Whether you’re already up and running your own Street Dance Fitness business or still unsure whether you have the skills required, this information is for you. All successful businesses need to be competent in the six areas below, and if you have those areas under control you have the makings of a successful Street Dance Fitness enterprise.

1. MARKET RESEARCH

This is probably one of the most difficult areas to get right as a start-up business. Hiring a specialist market research team is beyond the budget of most small companies and yet it is vital that you understand what your potential customers are looking for. Online software and processes such as bulletin board and webcam focus groups have made DIY market research more common, but you still need to know how to interpret the results so consider taking a short market research course.
Many small enterprises opt to study a smaller sample of people in more depth and rely on talking to people and listening carefully to their responses. You probably know people who are already attending dance fitness classes, so ask them why they chose those specific classes, what the pros and cons are and how they could be persuaded to go to a class like yours.

2. WISE INVESTMENT

There are so many people offering opportunities in business that it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Clearly you have to spend some money to get going: few people will trust an unqualified fitness or dance instructor, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone offering free qualifications. On the other hand, don’t fall into the trap of equating cost with value. Just because a franchise runs into five figures, it doesn’t follow that your path to success will run smoothly. Street Fit® have been careful to price our Instructors’ Courses to be affordable to the majority of people who are serious about making a future for themselves.

3. EFFECTIVE SYSTEMS

While you won’t need many of the business systems that big corporations do (production, HR, distribution, etc.) you will need to be organised in two main areas: customer records and accounts. But don’t panic! Neither of these areas need to involve much more than a spreadsheet or two, and there are plenty of cheap and free software programmes about. It can take some shopping around before you find a system you’re comfortable working with, but once you’re set up it’s just a case of organising your time so that you keep on top of the data entry. Some people choose to nominate ‘admin days’, whereas others prefer to work on a day-by-day basis. If you’re not comfortable with using spreadsheets and databases, there are plenty of affordable IT courses that would be worth considering.

4. FINANCIAL DISCIPLINE

It can be easy to get excited and blow large amounts of money on marketing campaigns or business systems that promise the Earth. A more sustainable approach is to set aside a small percentage of profit for sales and marketing and think carefully about what you are going to spend it on. Track the results over a month or two using promotional codes or web-based analytics as appropriate.

5. KEEP UP-TO-DATE

Every industry is in constant change, driven by competition and new trends and technologies. In particular, the dance fitness and fitness instructor industry never stands still, so you should be constantly staying on the pulse and making use of new styles, concepts and technologies.

6. BUSINESS PLANNING

A basic two or three year business plan is essential to keep you focused on your performance and targets. This should include a profit and loss projection and a cash flow projection to ensure that you will:

a)    Make a profit
b)    Have access to the cash needed to keep the business going

See our previous post for more detailed information on business planning.

So What’s Your Look?

Creating your brand’s look (or in business language, its ‘corporate identity’) is one of the most fun parts of starting a new Street Dance Fitness business. But just as with choosing a name, you can really hinder your success by not giving this process your full attention.

Your Street Dance Fitness business name, your logo and how they are used will be the first experience many of your customers will have of your business. These first impressions must be two things:

a)      Attractive (to your target market)

b)      Memorable

Some big brands with huge budgets for awareness campaigns can get away with being quite obscure and confusing, but most start-up Street Fit® Instructors will not have that luxury, so it’s probably best to keep it simple and not be too clever.

Creating your look

One of the first questions you might ask yourself is whether your Street Dance Fitness business name is enough, or whether you need a pictorial logo to go with it. There are no definite answers to this, and you will find there are as many companies out there that use logos as those who stick to stylised text. If a picture really jumps out as being relevant to you it is probably worth experimenting with. If not, you might just want to concentrate on colour and typeface.

Colours are very powerful symbols to the unconscious mind, and typeface (the style of the lettering) can also add extra meaning to your name. For example, you would be very brave or foolish to try putting the following businesses on the marketplace:

If you are marketing yourself as a dance fitness instructor you will probably want to choose a look that suggests movement, action, excitement, speed, health and energy. If you are specialising in street dance/hip-hop you might want to add an anti-establishment feel, but this would be a mistake if you are also offering more formal styles (e.g. ballet or ballroom).

Look around at your competitors and similar businesses for inspiration but do not copy them. ‘Passing off’ as another company, particularly a big brand can land you in hot water. Besides, it’s much more ‘street’ to be different!

How much will it cost?

How much you spend on creating your look is up to you, but you should get advice from other people before committing to anything. The design process itself can cost anywhere from nothing (if you are a competent designer) to tens of thousands of pounds. You should be able to get something very professional from a graphic designer for £100 to £200 but make sure you research their previous work and understand exactly how they charge. Crowdsourcing design work is a popular alternative to using a designer, while a print shop will often have a budget option for under £100.

However you decide to fund it, the design process should start with a brief, where you explain what you want to achieve and what parameters the designer has to work to. It is usually best to strike a balance between specific (it has to be pink and in Boulevard font) and vague (I want it to be fun and modern). Bring in examples of brands you like and dislike, particularly if words don’t really say enough.

Your designer should produce several ideas for you to look at, enabling you to choose one or two to focus on in more depth. Once you are close to making a decision, your designer should be able to mock-up some examples for print and online use to give you a realistic idea of how your look will translate to the real world. When you’re completely satisfied, make sure that your designer sends you the electronic files in a variety of print and web suitable formats.

Testing your design

Before handing over any cash, it is a good idea to trial your design with prospective customers or at least some honest friends. Some crowdsourcing design sites even create competitions so that you can invite friends to rate short-listed designs.

Your final decision should be based partly on how others react and partly on your own reactions. After all, your brand identity is an extension of your own so you need to create something that inspires you too.

More Words of Encouragement

Becoming a Street Dance Instructor can be a long and tricky road to navigate down, but once you reach the end it will all be worth the hard work and effort you have put in. With spring just around the corner, now is the ideal time to clear away the dead wood of winter and start planning for a bright and active future. We know that can be easier said than done, so to get you in the mood, here are some more inspirational quotes and words of wisdom from life’s winners.

For determination and perseverance…

“It’s always too early to quit.” – Norman Vincent Peale (positive thinking guru)

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” – Jim Rohn (rags to riches entrepreneur)

“Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there.” – Josh Billings (humorist)

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell (Former US Secretary of State)

For courage and taking action…

“Remember, the Titanic was built by professionals, but Noah’s Ark was built by an amateur.” – Unknown

“We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.” – John F Kennedy (US President)

“Shoot for the moon…even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Les Brown (musician)

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers (American actor and cowboy)

“Courage is the first of human qualities – it guarantees all others.” – Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister)

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonard da Vinci (painter and inventor)

For listening and helping others…

“The human body is equipped with two ears and one mouth; use them in that proportion.” – Unknown

“It is better to lend a hand than to point a finger.” – Jackie Phillips (actress)

“It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.” – Harvey S Firestone (businessman)

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister)

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” – Bernard M Baruch (financier)

“If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” – Turkish proverb

Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned Dance Fitness Instructor, times can always be rough, but we hope a few words of wisdom and encouragement will help you get over the next bump in the road.

Why You Shouldn’t Work Towards Happiness

Are you one of the many people who have grown up being taught that if you work hard enough you will create a happier lifestyle? Well, according to some psychologists that kind of thinking is wrong-headed and can actually slow down your path to fulfilment and becoming the best Dance Fitness Instructor you possibly can.

The problem with success

In his research within the American educational system, author and lecturer Shawn Achor came time and time again across the belief that hard work brings success which leads to happiness. He explains that the problem with this idea is that by constantly moving the goalposts of success, happiness disappears over the horizon.

To put this in context, you might set yourself the goal of becoming a Street Fit Dance Fitness Instructor but, after passing the Dance Fitness Course, you hold off on happiness until you’ve started teaching classes. After successfully holding your first class, you switch your focus on turning a profit – and then a larger profit, etc.

In his experience, Achor discovered that external factors, such as the University you graduated to, had little bearing on happiness, since most people habitually focused on the stress and competition in their lives, no matter what their circumstances.

So, if happiness isn’t a result of success, where does it come from?

Creating a ‘happiness advantage’
According to Achor, happiness is all about the way you process the world – the lens through which you see it. And the good news is that you can immediately start the process of ‘rewiring’ your brain to create a happiness advantage. For 21 days, you need to:
•    On a daily basis, think of three things for which you are grateful
•    Relive one positive experience every 24 hours through journaling
•    Take part in physical exercise such as Dance Fitness class to teach your brain that behaviour matters
•    Practise meditation to combat the ‘cultural ADHD’ that multi-tasking has caused in most of us
•    Carry out random acts of kindness (e.g. sending an appreciative email to a colleague)

The benefits of being happy
Achor explains that happiness causes the release of dopamine in the brain. Not only does that cause the pleasurable feeling that accompanies being happy, it also switches on the learning centres of the brain, increasing IQ and mental energy.
He also discovered that happy people outperformed on every business measure and were 31% more productive. In the workplace, he found that happy salespeople made more sales and happy doctors diagnosed more accurately.

Take the first step to success  and happiness with Street Fit Dance Instructor Course today!

Choosing Your Trading Name

Even as a sole trader, you are free to trade under a business name, and choosing the name of your new Dance Fitness Instructor business can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of starting up a business. That being said, naming your venture is not to be taken lightly: there are several things you should bear in mind before making a final decision.

Making an immediate impact

Unless you have the financial muscle to launch a long-term brand awareness raising campaign, it is advisable to choose a name that leaves people in no doubt as to what you do. In the early days of advertising, companies tended to name themselves after their founder (e.g. Ford, Cadbury’s), but it has become far more common to clearly point out what you do (e.g. Homebuyer or Compare the Market). So, if you are setting up as a Dance Fitness Instructor, putting ‘dance’ somewhere in your business name is not a bad idea.

Don’t pigeon-hole yourself

While you should make it clear what you do, don’t fall into the trap of limiting your services by your name such as ‘Street Fit with Susie’ or ‘Street Dance Fitness‘ with Danielle. You could spend time and money creating a name for yourself as ‘Hip Hop Harry’, but what happens if you decide to add salsa to your repertoire?

Tread carefully

There are certain rules that restrict what you can legally call your business. As a sole trader, you are forbidden from suggesting you are a company by using Ltd., LLP or plc after your name. You are also not permitted to use offensive terms or anything which:
•    Suggests you are a royal or governmental organisation
•    Suggests you are qualified to perform a specialised service for which you are not qualified
•    Suggests you have national prominence (e.g. British)
•    Connects you with an institution that you are not a member of
You will also need to check that any domain name you intend to use is not already taken (most domain name providers will allow you to check for free),and that your name isn’t already registered as a trademark (visit www.ipo.gov.uk).

Try the trademark trick

Once you have decided on a name for your business, there is a great way you can deter others from using it. The mark ™ is a notification of intent to register a trademark, but you do not need to actually pay to register one unless another company tries to do so, in which case you will have the right to register it first. If you do need to register a trademark, current costs are £170. Only registered trademarks are allowed to carry the ® sign.
Changing an existing business name can be costly, time-consuming and a step back in terms of brand awareness. Follow the guidelines above to get it right first time.

Book a Course now with Street Fit and take the first steps to create your own empire!

Being Your Own Boss: 8 Ways to Cope

Becoming your own Street Dance Fitness boss gives you more control over your life, your goals, your time and your schedule than being an employee, but when your Street Dance Fitness business becomes your life, it can be overwhelming at times. In particular, the frustration of not meeting your goals can be very tiring, and the weight of responsibility, especially if you have a family to support, can ramp up stress levels.

If you find life at the helm a struggle sometimes, don’t despair. Here are a few ways you can ease the burden:

1.    Get an extra pair of hands.

Do you have to do it all alone? Depending on your business, it may be possible to team up with someone else, another Dance Fitness instructor, either more or less experienced. If you can work alongside someone who has been in the industry for longer than you, you will have the bonus of being able to pick their brains and learn how they go about things.

2.    Reward yourself

When you work for yourself there is no boss who can reward your good work with a slap-up meal or a social evening, so you will need to do it yourself. Everyone needs to spice the hard work with a little enjoyment now and then, and the bonus is that you get to pick the venue, the activities and the company.

3.    Make time for a hobby

No-one should be a one-trick pony, so make sure you devote time to at least one hobby – no matter how much you love your job. A hobby can be a refuge from the day-to-day pressure of the business and help you to relax, take your mind off things and express other facets of your personality.

4.    Balance your life

One of the main challenges for many self-employed Dance Fitness Instructor is successfully dividing work time from home time. When you work to someone else’s schedule there are usually clear start and finish times, but when you work for yourself it can be tempting to do too much. Try creating a structure for your work day that you try to stick to as much as possible. This shouldn’t be too rigid (everybody has to do overtime sometimes), but it will at least serve as a model of best practice.

5.    Keep on learning

Learning new things will not only improve your skills, it will also add variety and interest to your working life. If you are a Dance Fitness Instructor, try learning a new style and then incorporating it into some fresh Dance Training Choreography. Attend seminars, set up Google Alerts and subscribe to online and/or offline industry publications. Aim to learn something new every day, and don’t forget to keep educating yourself about business itself.

6.    Be patient with yourself

The desire to succeed can make you want to rush through strategies that aren’t ready to deliver. Sometimes it takes a while for actions to bear fruit, so learn to take a step back sometimes.

7.    Find a confidant

The benefit of having someone else you can voice your ideas and worries to should not be underestimated. Not only will it help you clear your mind, and shed light on your concerns, you may end up coming up with novel solutions. The best person to have as a confidant is someone you can talk to but whose security is not affected by your success. Your partner may not be the best candidate, since they may have worries of their own that cloud their objectivity.

8.    Join (or create) a network

Check your local listings or search the internet for groups and associations related to your industry.  If one doesn’t exist, consider contacting other businesses and individuals in your area to club together and form one of your own. Failing that, join your local chamber of commerce/board of trade, a business network that supports businesses of all kinds. If you are a Street Fit® Instructor, Street Fit® Membership can put you in touch with a 24/7 source of peer support where you can get access to tips, advice and moral support.

Become a Dance Fitness Instructor today with Street Fit.