In today’s episode – Your Best Foot Forward, Michael is in conversation with Sarah Gittins, an inspirational business owner who shares her journey to success and provides great insights for anyone wanting to create or grow their own business.
Starting out in business, it’s easy to downplay what we do. We pigeon-hole ourselves, and focus on the job, rather than the business. In Sarah’s case, she’s a dance teacher and it took her a while to realise how much more there is to creating a successful business than just standing in front of a class and teaching. As her business grew, she continued to think in small terms of “just” being a dance teacher. Until she had a moment of revelation, which was all about mindset. We can “just” be a… whatever it is our business does.
Or we can run a business that provides that product or service. So her first leap in changing her way of doing business was to change her thought pattern around what it was she did. This is one of the many insights and tips that Sarah shares with the audience.
Gradually, over the next few years, Sarah learnt more and more about how to create and run a successful business. She understood how to build on strong foundations, and what would happen if they weren’t in place. She’s clear about what you need to put in place in order to have that strong foundation. Ideas that puzzled her in the early days, like marketing to an ideal client, became really obvious. This enabled her to build a successful dance school, that has multiple venues, hundreds of students, and employs other teachers.
As her own business grew, and her knowledge and understanding of business practice grew alongside it, Sarah discovered she wanted to help other people in her niche. As with any business, though, a lot of what she has learnt, and the lessons she shares, can be applied more universally to any business. In the beginning, she wanted to give everything she learnt to others, even while she continued to learn, both through formal study and practical experience.
Now she’s more methodical, having reflected on the process. Sarah talks about the importance of having the right information at the right time, but not being overwhelmed by information overload, or constantly distracted by the next great idea. Just as she didn’t understand the concept of ideal client initially so trying to implement strategies that built on that idea would have failed, so any business owner who doesn’t have the basics, to begin with, will fail to effectively utilize more advanced strategies.
A Step Back
The pandemic hit so many businesses very hard. And businesses that are built on in-person interaction, such as dance classes, suffered. Alongside that, other parts of the arts industries were equally hard hit with the lack of live performance opportunities. Sarah managed to find her own way through these difficult times. But it also gave her an opportunity to take a step back and reevaluate what she does, how she does it, and what she’s going to do next.
Sarah talks freely about her own ups and downs, the challenge of juggling family and multiple businesses, and the learning she gained along the way. All of these lessons can benefit other business owners.
World Stage – your best foot forward
These days Sarah’s dance school is still going and is still successful. But she also mentors other business owners in the creative arts and education industry – dance schools, theatre schools, music schools. Her reach is global as she shares her own learning and experience, helping other businesses to thrive. She is putting the final touches on a new programme that will launch very soon. Tune in to find out more about it.
Michael CraneEntrepreneur, Business Owner, Presenter
Michael has built and runs a successful business for the last twenty years. He’s learned many lessons—some of them the hard way—and he’s met and talked with many other businesspeople. He’s sold thousands of products and learnt the one hundred and one things needed to run a thriving business. Now he’s bringing this knowledge and experience to educate, motivate and inspire other entrepreneurs.
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