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Break the Routine – for Good!

Sometimes we get so used to the daily routine that it can become almost invisible. Then when we return from a holiday – or even a long weekend – we remember how restricting it is to have to get up early in the morning, travel to our place of work or study, put in a day’s shift and then travel back again. If we’re lucky, we might have enough energy left in us to spend an hour or two doing something we enjoy such as a Dance Fitness class before repeating the pattern the next day – and the next.

Have we got it the wrong way around? Yes, we all need to make a living, but sometimes we get so used to thinking of our ‘job’ and our ‘hobbies’ as separate things that we forget to look for opportunities such as becoming a Dance Fitness Instructor to combine the two. After all, a mixture of talent and intense interest makes for a potent force, one that can be harnessed to bring success.

One thing that can put people off turning their talent into a full-time career is that they can’t get used to thinking of themselves as business people. Perhaps they imagine all business owners to be shrewd number crunchers or suave diplomats and they feel they don’t measure up. In reality, there are all sorts of personality types striking out on their own, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

To start out on the road to a rewarding career in the dance fitness industry, you don’t need to drastically transform yourself into the next Sir Alan Sugar or Deborah Meadon. You only need to add a few essential business skills (like planning, basic book-keeping, marketing and time management) to the skills and dedication you already have, the rest will come with experience. By the time you need to be thinking about complicated accounting, computer databases and the like you will probably be earning enough to employ an accountant or administrator.

How quickly you make the transition from employed hobbyist to self-employed business boss depends on your personal circumstances (how many hours you work, family commitments, financial status, etc.) but by making wise choices with how you spend your time and money (e.g. booking a day off work and investing the £285 to get your Street Fit® Dance Fitness Licence), you can start taking the little steps that will one day put you in the enviable position of being able to ditch the routine once and for all.

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.

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.

Ever Thought ‘What if?’

Saying no can become a habit; before you know it, you’ve automatically rejected a suggestion out of hand and are now coming up with justifications for doing so. Lateral thinking guru Edward de Bono realised this stumbling block, and suggested swopping the word ‘no’for ‘po’, reminding ourselves that an idea is worth considering before making a final decision.

Are you addicted to the N-word? How about setting yourself a challenge. For the next week – or longer – whenever you dream about doing something out of your comfort zone, whether it’s taking up a team sport or running your own Street Dance Fitness classes, don’t dismiss it as fantasy. Try thinking ‘what if?’ instead.

Supersize your dream

You may have been told to scale down your ambitions in the past, to aim for something more ‘realistic’. Not this week! For this exercise you need to raise your expectations. Don’t aim to join a team, aim to be the captain; don’t plan to start a Street Dance Fitness class, plan to start the best Street Fit Dance class.

When you take the brakes off your aspirations, you release the power of hope and this, according to University professor and ‘hope scientist’ Shane J Lopez, is responsible for more than 10 per cent of productivity in any workplace.

So you’ve decided, for example, to start the best Street Dance Fitness business in the area. What next?

Prepare for the Bumps

You may already be thinking to yourself, ‘that’s just wishful thinking – nothing runs smoothly.’  True, so after harnessing the excitement of having a big dream you need to plan for major hiccups. What if no-one responds to your adverts? What if your chosen Street Dance Fitness Course venue proves to be unavailable or unsuitable? What if your day job becomes more involved and you need to devote more hours to it? You should begin to realise that no obstacle is insurmountable if you plan for it, and that planning takes away a lot of the fear that stops you from acting. A ship’s captain uses all of the knowledge and navigational aids available to get an accurate view of potential hazards – he or she doesn’t stay back at the harbour worrying that there may be hidden rocks.

Get some ‘intrusive support’

If you’ve been used to turning things down all your life, you may need reminding to break the habit. Enlist the help of a friend to provide that service. Lopez calls it ‘intrusive support’ and is another key to what he calls ‘strategising hope.’

So for one week (at least) try a novel approach: replace ‘no’ with ‘what if?’, dare to dream big, add in some contingency planning  and ask for some peer support. Make a change, start your new life, book one of Street Fit Dance Fitness Instructor Course now Here’s to your success!

Is Your Venue Suitable?

One of the first things on the mind of any aspiring Dance Fitness Instructor is, of course, the venue. It goes without saying that you will want to find somewhere that is in the best location possible for your intended market and at a price that’s right. But once you’ve got a shortlist of potential candidates, you will need to dig down a bit deeper into the pros and cons of each before making the big decision.

Here are a few factors that you should definitely bear in mind before signing any hire agreements.

Floor size and type

This will probably be the most crucial factor in ruling a potential Dance Fitness Course venue in or out. The dance floor must be big enough for your classes and has to be of the right type for Hip Hop dance. So bring a tape measure and your dance shoes.

In terms of size recommendations vary, but a floor of 90-100 square feet should be adequate for a class of twenty; size up to 120-135 square feet for thirty members and to around 225 square feet if you are planning to accommodate fifty.

In terms of material, there are as many advocates for traditional hardwood as there are for cheaper alternatives such as artificial floor tiles. What is vital for the health of your members is that the floor is not laid onto a ‘dead’ surface such as concrete. Hip hop dance is high-impact and requires a cushioning layer between the dance floor and the floor surface; sprung dance floors are very popular for just that reason. Types of surfacing also vary, and you will need a medium-quick surface for a Street Dance Fitness Course. Factor in maintenance costs as well (if they are your responsibility).

Ventilation

In an ideal situation, you should be able to precisely climate control your venue with a mixture of heating and air-conditioning. If your dance hall gets too cold you increase the risk of injuries, while a stuffy environment will feel uncomfortable. It can be difficult to find a venue that is perfect, especially since everyone feels the temperature differently, but as long as you avoid the extremes you should be OK.

Facilities

It is nice to have coffee and tea facilities, but crucial to have a functioning bathroom or two. Extra plug sockets can be handy for lighting, music and maybe even a TV. Think about what other things might make your life that bit easier, like Wi-Fi, storage facilities or a snack machine, for example.

Parking and Transport

This is another huge, but easy to overlook, aspect of your Dance Fitness venue location. Is it within safe and easy walking distance from public transport, or would your members face a dark, secluded trek on a winter’s evening? If members are arriving by car, is there adequate parking (preferably free). Remember to give your venue’s post code on the contact details, for SatNav purposes, and check on various online map applications to see if the directions are accurate.

Neighbours

Some people have had the misfortune of moving in next door to the neighbours from Hell, and your dance studio/hall may have neighbours too. Ask local residents and businesses if there is much trouble in the area, and look around for evidence of vandalism or other anti-social practises. On the other hand, be wary of antagonising locals who may be a bit suspicious of street dance and Hip Hop culture. Be professional and welcoming to anyone who shows an interest in what you’re doing.

The Street Fit Dance Instructor – Six P’s Test

Are you the type of person who can be successful in business? Successful in Street Dance Fitness Industry? How do you tell? There are men and women of all ages and from a variety of ethnic, social and economic backgrounds making a name for themselves in the Street Dance Fitness Industry in the world of business, but what is it that sets them apart from those who are more suited to being in paid employment?

Street Fit Dance Fitness we’ve put together six attributes that we think all would-be business owners should have (or develop) if they are to make the grade. Could you pass the ‘Six P Test?’

1.       Personality

What do Richard Branson, Alan Sugar and Donald Trump have in common? Despite their considerable differences in approach and background, they are all very much their own people; you wouldn’t exactly call them shrinking violets! You don’t have to be an all-out extrovert to be successful in business, but it helps if you are comfortable in being yourself and always act from your own heart.

2.       Perseverance

One of the most valuable attributes for any business owner is the ability to just keep on keeping on. There will always be challenges on the road, but as long as you find ways around or over any obstacles you meet you will eventually get to your destination. Think about it! How can someone who never gives up ever really fail?

3.       Passion

If perseverance is the engine that keeps you powering through the tough times, then passion is the fuel that feeds it. We all look outside on some days and find it hard to look beyond the grey skies. Think back to why you started your business in the first place, and what you intend to bring to your community. You’ll soon be up and running again.

4.       Patience

Tempering your desire to succeed should be the patience to do things properly and wait for real results, rather than rushing the process. If you are a dance fitness instructor, you will make a real impression with your members if you take the time to help them through choreography they are struggling with. Also remember to be patient with yourself. If you make a business error (and you will), don’t be harsh on yourself. Every mistake has its value, even if it just means you will never repeat it.

5.       Pluck

When you go into business for yourself, many of life’s certainties suddenly vanish and the sense of freedom can be tinged with a dread of the unknown. That’s just a healthy reaction to venturing into unknown territory, so don’t let it paralyse you; accept the feeling and move forwards with courage.

6.       Professionalism

Being professional doesn’t mean being stuffy, overly formal and unapproachable. It just means you need to adopt a serious and respectful attitude towards your business and its customers. Everything you do must be aimed towards making your street dance fitness business profitable and keeping your customers satisfied (two sides of the same coin!)

Did you pass the ‘Six P test?’ Maybe it’s your turn to book a place on our Street Fit Dance Fitness Instructors Course!

Writing a Business Plan – the Simple Way With Street Fit

If you’re about to start up a career as a Street Fit Dance Fitness Instructor you might be wondering whether you need to come up with a business plan. Many successful entrepreneurs claim they have never felt the need to formalise their ideas in a written plan, but it is often an advantage to see everything laid out for you in black and white – which is fundamentally all that a basic business plan is.

Why you might want to write a business plan

Writing a formal business plan is a must if you intend to raise lots of money from a bank or investors, but unless you are really ambitious (e.g. you want to buy a studio from scratch and do it up), this will probably not apply to you.

If you want to borrow a small amount from the bank, then they will definitely want to see something written down to show you have put time in to planning the future. Sometimes a simple letter will be enough, but rather than risk rejection, it is better to compose a concise business plan.

Even if you don’t anticipate the need to raise any funds, a business plan is a great way to focus your thoughts and concentrate on the all-important details that can be lost amidst all the excitement. A business plan can also help you to communicate your ideas to others, whether that is for feedback or promotional purposes.

What goes in a business plan?

If you look around the Internet you will find a variety of templates and guides to creating a business plan, and the important thing to remember is to try and keep it tight and comprehensive. If you find yourself exceeding ten pages of A4, you are probably being more detailed than you need to be.

In a nutshell, your business plan has to explain what your business does, how you are going to set it up and run it, how much money needs to be invested in it and how much are you going to make from it; that’s pretty much it.

An example structure

There is no one way to write a business plan, but here is a structure that should suit most Street Fit Dance Fitness Course Instructors.

1.    What does your business do? One to two sentences is sufficient, and should be interesting enough to spark a reader’s interest.
2.    What makes you different from similar businesses? (Hint: being certified in a unique fusion of street dance fitness).
3.    What are your long-term targets?
4.    Do you intend to borrow any money? If so, how much and when do you expect to be able to pay it back?
5.    Who are you and where did your idea come from?
6.    Who is your competition (put something down – even if it is the latest line in console fitness games).
7.    A summary of local/regional trends in your market (half a page is fine).
8.    Resources needed (such as staff and premises).
9.    Your marketing strategy – how are you going to promote yourself?
10.    Your financial forecasts (profit and loss and cash flow projections for three years are standard). There is a handy guide on these forecasts at https://www.gov.uk/forecast-business-finances.

Once you’ve written your business plan, make sure you review it occasionally to take into account any changes in circumstances or feedback. A business plan is a living document and many business owners create several versions as their business develops.

Take the First Step with Street Fit – Hope is the answer (but only half of it)

There is little doubt that anyone who wants to find success in the Street Dance Fitness Industry is going to need to go into it with an attitude of hope – otherwise why would they get out of bed every morning? There’s nothing that stifles ambition more than taking an overly gloomy perspective on everything. Some people maintain that their depressive outlook is more ‘realistic’ than pessimistic, but there are many people out there who have achieved success against the odds, so the naysayers can’t always get it right. Make sure you achive success and beat the odds with Street Fit.

Hope is not an action

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a brighter future, hope can only provide half of the answer. As we mentioned before, hope is an attitude but it doesn’t actually achieve anything in its own right. Living purely in hope is akin to those people who bury their heads in a romantic book and dream about the man (or woman) of their dreams waltzing into their lives. It could happen that way, but it would be far more likely (and happen more quickly) if they were to put the book aside and concentrate on starting the process of meeting new people.

In a similar way, a new business venture requires a sound strategy, with hope at its foundation, if it is to bear fruit. If you are looking to get started in the dance fitness industry, then a Street Fit Licence is a good practical base on which to begin building your future life.

But sailing through your Street Fit® Instructor’s course and sitting at home waiting for members to hunt you down will leave you sorely disappointed. Certification is only the first step in the process and you will need to actively promote yourself and the Street Fit® brand if you’re going to get feet in the door.

Learn to walk first

If you are daunted by the thought of all the things you will need to do to run your business, remember that you don’t have to go into things full throttle. For example, if you’re nervous about self-promotion, you can start by just talking to people you already know. Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to generate buzz, and you will soon build up the confidence to start approaching strangers. Just as in ‘the Hare and the Tortoise’, persistence will win out, so make a pledge to do a little each day rather than burn yourself out in one go.

The little successes that come to you will then go towards strengthening your initial foundation of hope, and so the cycle continues.