Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Linda Hendricks, Co-Founder of Detroit Dance Center, located in Detroit, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a dance center that caters to dancers ages two through adult and emphasizes conservatory-type dance training to students living within the metro Detroit area.
Tell us about yourself
DDC comprises of three women who are not only corporate and educational career professionals but also grew up dancing and share a passion for teaching dance to students for over 15 years. We believe in proper training for dancers, which provides structure and meaning in everything they do, with an emphasis on those who live within the city of Detroit and are interested in the performing arts.
What got us started in the opening of DDC was the pandemic, where many dance studios ceased classes, as well as the studio we were teaching at. During that time, we had many discussions on, “If I had a studio, I think I’d like to do this…. If I had a studio, I envision it to look like that….”. The discussions turned into planning, and the planning started to be implemented. A little over one year later, Detroit Dance Center opened its doors to over 60 students in September 2021. What motivates us to continue to hustle hard to make DDC the best it can be, is the faces on the children when they walk through our doors daily, excited to put on their dance shoes and run into the classroom ready to dance.
We received many accolades from families living within our neighborhood, so excited to enroll their children in dance classes because we are within walking distance of their homes. Our studio is in an area where approximately 70% of the households are considered low-income. Therefore, transportation can be considered a deciding factor if a child can attend extracurricular activities or not. And our location is able to help fit that void.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment as business owners is our common desire to provide a clean, safe space for dancers and wanting to give our dancers the type of training that can prepare them to be competitive with other dancers who train across the country and all over the world. Additionally, our studio has grown leaps and bounds, even as we enter our 2nd year. Within our first year, when we were operating in multiple temporary spaces, we closed out the dance season with over 125 students. Now that we are in our new permanent location, we’ve already surpassed over 120 enrolled students before the start of our new season and have a “knock it out of the park” goal” of reaching over 200 students by the end of next year.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is the work involved in building the business. All of DDC’s owners also work full-time career jobs, then switch over to business owners and dance teachers after 5:00 pm. The majority of his time is made up of not only running the day-to-day operations of the business but also planning the event that comes with running the studio. For example, in the fall, we must start planning for our costume photo day and year-end concert; in the spring, we must start planning for our summer programs, in the summer, we must start planning for the fall. So it’s a constant rotation on running what’s currently going on and planning for the future.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you have support from family and friends. Especially for women who may be responsible for a family, family support is key. There will be times that you need to complete a task and/or need to attend a last-minute meeting. The family “tribe” is needed to either pick up the kids from school, maybe babysit for a few hours, or run some errands for you if you cannot be in two places at the same time. You have to acknowledge that you cannot handle it all on your own.
- Invest in yourself. This can range from attending conferences to learning about new techniques or the new happenings in the industry you’re starting your business. In addition, you cannot rely solely on grants, donations, and investors to start or grow your business. You must have some skin in the game. If you believe in your business, invest in that dream and let the grants/investments received help take that dream further than you would’ve ever imagined.
- Plan, plan, and plan more. Be patient and plan properly. Plan what you want to do over the next 90-days and execute them. If someone shares an idea with you that you think is great and wants to implement, put it on your list for your next 90-day plan. If you try to implement everything at the same time, nothing will ever get done.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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