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What made you start a business?

When you turn your passion into a business....Miss Ava shares why she started DanSci and the advice she would give to others wishing to start a business

DanSci Dance Studio is the result of personal frustration. I struggled to believe that a city could not have its own purpose built dance facilities. As a Dance Scientist and at the time Dance UKs Healthier Dancer Agony Aunt I knew the reasoning and importance of safe dance space with proper facilities. My own small ballet school, a franchise of babyballet was operating out of church halls and community venues. Considered adequate for the under 6 year olds of the school, it just didn’t fulfil the niggling feeling that these children deserved better, plus it certainly did not live up to that dream moment entering a ‘real’ dance studio for a child’s first ballet lesson.

In the summer of 2013 my husband came across the details for a disused supermarket just off the main high street of Exeter. The building was in disrepair but with its central location, public transport links and suare footage it was an ideal candidate for a dance studio.

With no financial backing it was time to pull in the purse strings and go cap in hand to the bank. The building needed a new roof before Harlequin could fit a permanent sprung floor, Casacade vinyl covering was chosen for its versatility, Air to air conditioning installed to keep the environment at the best temperature for dance, every scientific angle was considered to create the perfect space. Like many projects there were major set back s and extra finance needed to be raised taking the build of the studio to over six months and £35,000 of loans before the doors finally opened in January 2014 for official DanSci Dance Studio classes.

It has been a major battle but then I feel I have gained so many new skills. I am challenged and surprised everyday and I am lucky to be working in any area I am so passionate about. I don’t think you could go through all the stress and financial strain without really loving what you are trying to achieve. Long hours and forgoing family trips, holidays, nice things can not only be exhausting but also frustrating. I just try to keep my mind on the end game that down the line it will pay off. In the meantime I am lucky I enjoy what I do, that has to be better than working a nine to five in a boring sector of work, making money for some else. I may not have a nice car or fancy clothes but at least I can plan my day around the children and always be there to pick them up from school-even if they then have to come dancing!

I would advise anyone starting out in business to research, research, research! No matter how much you believe in a product or idea you need to know that there is a market for what you want to create. It is going to be a lot of hard graft. Surround yourself with like-minded people and use networking events to make connections. Even now a lot of my friends and family just ‘don’t get it’ Having a business is like having another child it will be all consuming and take up far more time than you can anticipate. You need to have enthusiastic, understanding people to turn to on those troublesome days, others that have been there and understand the pressures. Oh and importantly a good accountant! Or at least a set of people who can pick up on the jobs you don’t like doing so you can focus on the areas you are passionate about as this will grow the business much more readily.


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