Case study: Claire Walford

Industries 
Razzamataz is a leading provider of performing arts, dance and theatre classes to children around the UK. Endorsed by Duncan Bannatyne of Dragon's Den!
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Razzamataz

  Opportunities:
In the UK
  Business Type:
Franchise
  Minimum Investment:
£12,000
  Training Provided:
Yes
  Home-based:
Yes
  Part time:
Yes
  BFA Membership:
Member - Associate

Claire Walford, 42, lives in Yeovil. Claire has an 11 year-old daughter and 9 year-old son. Claire has been the Principal of Razzamataz Yeovil since January 2011 and Razzamataz Street from May 2011.

Razzamataz Franchise Opportunity

Claire Walford, 42, lives in Yeovil. Claire has an 11 year-old daughter and 9 year-old son. Claire has been the Principal of Razzamataz Yeovil since January 2011 and Razzamataz Street from May 2011.

Q. How did you hear about Razzamataz?

Claire: My sister was the dance teacher at Razzamataz and when my daughter did a community show with her own primary school I saw my sister and the Razzamataz students in action.

Q. What’s your background?

Claire: As a child I did all sorts of dancing and then moved on to amateur dramatics so the performing arts has always been of interest to me. I am an accountant by trade, which has been enormously beneficial in helping me to run my own business.

Q. Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Claire: To be honest, not really but when the opportunity to take over the schools came up, it was something that I discussed with my sister. After we spoke to Head Office, we decided that my business background would lend itself well into being the Principal while my sister is now my Creative Director.

Q. How did you finance your business?

Claire: Through savings.

Q. What are the best things about being a Razzamataz Principal?

Claire: I’ve always worked but when we had the children it was a conscious decision that I always wanted to be in the playground in the morning and afternoon. Being a Razzamataz Principal is really flexible so I can do just that as well as working part-time as a bookkeeper.

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

Claire: I take most things in my stride as having a background in accountancy means you are exposed to all aspects of business. I suppose the hardest things to control are your work relationships with people because that is an unknown quantity. It is so important to develop and maintain good relationships with parents, your staff, the people at your venue, press etc because they are a large part of making your Razzamataz a success.

What advice can you offer other people going into business?

Claire: Get as much information and preparation done up front before you open. Get good systems into place. Sort out your office space so you have a dedication space to work. I started at a desk in my bedroom but it soon became clear that I couldn’t sleep in the same room where I work. I lay day by day To Do lists in front of me so I can give myself plenty of time to get through everything and also allow myself time off without feeling guilty!

What’s a typical day like?

Claire: I’m always around in the mornings and after school for my children, which is really important to me. Two mornings I work as an accountant and bookkeeper and the rest of the time I dedicate to Razzamataz. Monday is my finance day, which can include straightforward stuff like checking what t-shirts are sold, paying bills etc.

I tend to pick one other day that I devote to Razzamataz sorting out long term and ongoing projects. Sundays and Wednesday I take off because I’m at Yeovil on Saturday and Street on Friday so it is good to have some balance.

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