Andrea White has been the principal of Razzamataz Bognor since 2014 and has just opened Razzamataz Horsham
I’ve been involved in performing arts all my life, as a professional dancer and dance teacher, running my own dance school for more than 20 years. But after I moved to a completely new area, I knew I needed a kickstart to get a new school off the ground because I know how slow it is to progress an independent school. I didn’t know very much about franchising, but Razzamataz definitely seemed to offer the most.
Worries or concerns
I really wanted to create a family atmosphere with a good reputation and offer a place for children to feel safe and happy. My only worry was that I wouldn’t be successful in this but when I looked at the constant support and training you get at Razzamataz, I knew this was the best route for me.
Start of your journey
Initially, it was a slow start and if I was on my own, I would have definitely got disheartened and felt like giving up. But the difference is that when you are an independent business, you have ideas but not enough resources or understanding of what to focus on first. With Razzamataz, you get told what to do in a step-by-step process, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Today, it is a very different story, and it is such a pleasure and I love running the schools, in fact, I feel energised by them.
The work is very adaptable so although I have a plan for the year, month, week and days, I can be very flexible. The joy is that if I need a break or have other things planned, I can make up the time to best suit my lifestyle.
Questions to ask a franchisor
Ask about the level of support that you receive and how that’s delivered. Is it through a dedicated support manager like we have at Razzamataz or is it just through a manual? Find out about the training. At Razzamataz, we can attend numerous free training events all throughout the year, which is very valuable. Find out if you have regular meetings and conferences like we do and what the financial obligations are. You must understand if you are free to run the school in the way you want to under the franchise agreement.
Advice to others
If you are going down the franchise route, make sure you join one that is enormously supportive. The other franchisees within our network are also fantastic and it is wonderful to meet with like-minded people.
Ask for help when you need it. There’s really no point struggling on your own because there is always someone who can help, whether that is the head office or a fellow franchisee. You need to develop good customer service skills and business sense but above everything, you need to be passionate about your school.
Highlights and rewards
We have had some amazing opportunities with numerous high-profile guests from the performing arts industry such as singing with G4 in Chichester Cathedral, performing with Cassidy Janson, and having guest judges Arlene Phillips and Danny Mac judge Razz’s Got Talent. But still, the best reward for me is seeing the progress of the children. From a shy child who will struggle to leave parents to seeing them full of confidence with a beaming smile, it really is – happy student, happy principal.
Looking to the future
I’m very excited to get my second Razzamataz school up and running and creating another place where children can thrive and be happy. You need to develop good customer service skills and business sense but above everything, you need to be passionate about your school.