Claire Walford has been the Principal of Razzamataz Yeovil since January 2011 and Razzamataz Street from May 2011
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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I don’t have a business background so after deciding to retire from professionally performing it was the memories of Razzamataz on Dragons’ Den that set the wheels in motion. I was really inspired by the brand and the business model and because it is a franchise business we receive a lot of help and support from Head Office as well as on-going training so I can make Razzamataz Barnet the success that I believe it can be. In the last 12 months, I have doubled my student numbers in a very competitive market and I have now clear plans on how I would like my business to progress this year,Michael French, Razzamataz Barnet
9th August 2016
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