Case Study - Claire Larkin

Claire Larkin lives in Warrington and has been the Principal of Razzamataz Chester since September 2011.

How did you hear about Razzamataz?

I went to university in Carlisle, which is where Razzamataz Head Office is based. I was lucky enough to be involved with the overseas summer contracts as well as working with the UK based schools.

What’s your background?

I did a BA Hons Drama and Musical Theatre degree

Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes I have but to be truthful it was always something I thought I would do in the future. Initially I was accepted on a drama course in London but the cost was so huge that I decided against it. When the opportunity to buy a Razzamataz franchise came up I felt that it was to good an opportunity to miss. I signed my contract when I was only 21 because I felt there wouldn’t be many opportunities to combine running my own business but still be creative.

How did you finance your business?

The launch was through personal savings but I also got finance through Razzamataz Head Office

What are the best things about being a Razzamataz Principal?

Being my own boss and the flexibility in which that provides is great. The weekly running of the school is the really fun bit and the feedback from parents who say I am helping to build their child’s confidence is really rewarding.

What are the most difficult aspects of running your own business?

I don’t love sitting in front of a spreadsheet! You have to be really organized and self-motivated as there is a lot to get through on a daily basis if you want to succeed.

What advice can you offer other people going into business?

Surround yourself with the right things and positive influences. I have an ‘Inspiration Wall’ where I keep everything I have achieved like cuts outs from local newspapers, theatre programmes from Razz shows and letters from parents. It really helps me stay motivated if I can see all that I have achieved. I also think it is really important to keep in touch with other Principals to share ideas and just generally keep your spirits up.

What’s a typical day like?

Monday is usually my banking day, as I like to get that out of the way and just generally catching up on phone calls and enquiries. I try to structure each working day so I focus on one thing. For example it could be a day for planning shows or reviewing my marketing or PR plans. Fridays I always keep clear for preparing for Saturday’s Razz.

Case Study - Deborah Bond

Deborah Bond lives in Plymouth with her two children and has been the Principal of Razzamataz Plymouth for three years.

How did you hear about Razzamataz?

Initially I saw Denise on Dragons’ Den in 2007 and then some of my dance school pupils told me about a branch opening near one of my dance schools.

What’s your background?

Dancer and dance teacher. I have been running dance schools for 22 years.

Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes definitely. I have a passion for everything to do with the theatre and have always wanted to work in this industry.

How did you finance your business?

Savings.

What are the best things about being a Razzamataz Principal?

Although I run dance schools, Razzamataz is very different because it allows me to get involved in the other aspects of performing arts. I have a real passion for choreography so being able to put on big Razz shows is a lot of fun.

What are the most difficult aspects of running your own business?

It is incredibly time consuming because you never really switch off. In a paid job you just turn up, do your work and go home. The rest of the time is your own but when you are running your own business you are always thinking of how you can improve it to be more successful so you have to be careful it doesn’t take over your life completely.

What advice can you offer other people going into business?

Be prepared for the hard slog and appreciate it is not always going to be easy. Make sure you are passionate about what you are doing because that is what brings you the most satisfaction.

What’s a typical day like?

I don’t have a particular routine to my work, preferring to concentrate on different Razzamataz priorities as and when needed.

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