Childhood hobby is the inspiration for creative entrepreneur
“I want to give local children the same experience I had because it really changed my life and gave me a passion to succeed.”
Profile: Meet Ross Thompson, age 26 and the new franchisee of Razzamataz Manchester South and former Razzamataz Carlisle student.
Background: Ross joined Razzamataz when he was eleven and stayed until he was eighteen. At the time, his Principal was Denise, the Founder and Managing Director of Razzamataz Theatre Schools, who guided him to develop a love for performing arts and gave him the knowledge that this could be a career as well as a hobby. He attended Salford University and graduated with a first in theatre and performance practice and went on to work professionally as a performer, acting in theatres across the UK as well as in film and music videos. Ross also runs his own theatre company.
Business experience: “Very little. I set up a theatre company while at university, so I had a little bit of experience in marketing, timetabling and being organised but nothing on the level that you need to run a theatre school business. The one thing I did understand was what made a fantastic theatre school from a student’s perspective, but I knew I needed a lot of support to run a thriving business.”
Why Razzamataz: “I know the brand well and know what a friendly, supportive environment it is, so I was comfortable putting my name to it. I love the ethos and how community driven they are, which is very similar to my own values. Even when I was a student, I always thought that I would love to run my own theatre school but at that age, it just seemed like a pipe dream really. I knew that there would be a lot of challenges starting my own business, but after attending the Team Discovery Day in Pineapple Studios, Covent Garden, with the Razzamataz Head Office team, I discovered more about what it would take to run a school and met many Principals and heard their inspiring stories.”
Why franchising: “For someone new to business, franchising feels a lot safer than going it alone. You are surrounded by people with the experience and knowledge and they ensure that you have all the information, resources and support you need to be successful. For example, we are walked through all the legalities and employment contracts and many elements that if I’m being honest, I would not have even considered. Although I’m just a few months into my journey, Head Office have been amazing about responding to all my questions and there is always someone available to talk you through any queries.”
First steps into becoming a franchisee: “Surprisingly simple. I was invited to a Discovery Den which tells you more about the brand, franchising and what it takes to run a successful school. I was then given some tasks to do at home, which helped me consolidate my feelings about whether this was the right move for me. I then had an informal interview with the Founder Denise who talked me through the highs and lows. The whole process was completely transparent and allowed me to fully appreciate what was expected of me and what I could expect from the business. The process was friendly and informative and I felt that I could ask questions at every step along the way.”
Any worries or concerns: “I’m a working-class lad so the finances and understanding if I could afford it did worry me. I asked myself would it impact my life negatively if something goes wrong but nothing in life is guaranteed and I believe my concerns about finances would propel me to be successful. I also wanted to ensure that every student had just as good a time as I did and to do that, I knew that it was imperative to get a strong team around me. Plus, of course there is always a worry that you are not going to get enough students but all these concerns and more were answered for me during training, putting my mind at ease.”
Training: “It’s a perfect mix of virtual and face to face with opportunity to absorb what you have learnt and get immediate feedback via small home tasks. You meet with lots of different experts who can talk you through specific parts of running a theatre school covering everything from selecting your team through to digital marketing and so much more. We also visit a flagship school, which absolutely cements everything that you have learnt to see it in real life. I really enjoyed the whole training experience and although there is a lot of info to absorb and it’s very in-depth, it does put your mind at east that all bases are covered.”
What are your business goals: “The launch day for Razzamataz Manchester South is September 16 so my immediate goal is to create an exciting open day for the young people to enjoy. Within one or two years, I would like to have a full school and hearing from other Principals, this seems possible as many do this much faster. Longer term, I would love to train up managers to continue to grow the brand and create further opportunities for students.”
What is your mission: “I want to help children meet like-minded people, have fun, build confidence and try new things. Manchester is a thriving hub of opportunities, so I plan to use my experience and connections to give students prospects within the performing arts industry. I know through my own experience that amazing things can happen when you are a student at Razzamataz.”
How will Razzamataz will fit into your lifestyle? “I will continue to work as a professional actor because Razzamataz is very flexible. The more I work in the industry, the more I can bring back my experience, knowledge and connections to share with students. It was very important to me that I can build a business while continuing to actively be a part of the industry that I love.”
What are you most looking forward to in becoming a Razzamataz Principal? “I’m really looking forward to building a fantastic team of teachers and team members to ensure the students get the best experience possible. I want to create a work environment where everyone feels supported, nurtured and has the opportunity to be creative. I know from working in schools that children face a whole host of different challenges, and I can’t wait to be a part of a team building their confidence and transforming their belief in themselves.”
Advice and top tips: “Organisational skills are a must and you need to get to grips with time keeping in order to stay on top of the various different tasks. If you are launching a business for the first time like I am, don’t be scared of the financial side. There’s lots of advice out there and because Razzamataz is an experienced franchisor, many banks will lend you money or you can go down the Government backed loans or The Prince’s Trust. Be mature about the finances but don’t let it put you off. I know for me it’s going to be worth it, and I can’t wait to welcome students to Razzamataz Manchester South.”
Make a difference to young lives in your community
Join us NOW for a 2023 launch. Current fee is £12,995 plus VAT or ZERO upfront fee with a flat fee return, ask us about this!
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Training takes place regularly at the Razzamataz Head Office in the beautiful Lake District and Flagship school Razzamataz Carlisle.
Week commencing 25th September 2023 for a January 2024 launch.
Week commencing 18th March 2024 for a September 2024 launch.
Contact us to secure your place on our next short informal virtual Discovery Dens
To book contact 07801843077 or click here to book your place: https://www.razzamataz.co.uk/franchise-opps/book-discovery-den/
Razzamataz Theatre Schools is a BBC’s Dragons’ Den backed theatre school franchise established in 2000. Every school offers FREE taster sessions for all potential students to try, and every team member will have access to the Razzamataz Training Academy, a platform that we believe will revolutionise the ongoing development of our staff. Upon completion of the course, each teacher will receive a diploma that is recognised throughout the network. We are proud our average network turnover running as a mainly part time business is circa £80-100k in our network with our top performing franchise partners operating the business full time reporting turnovers of circa £300k with a 70% gross profit!
Neither Razzamataz Ltd, nor any of its directors, associated companies, employees, professional advisors or associates makes any representations, warranties or guarantee as to the reasonableness or accuracy of the financial information supplied to franchisees or the likely financial performance of individual franchisees. The information provided above is purely based on a number of general assumptions based on a full school however the individual performances of franchisees will vary depending on factors such as local competition, pro-activeness of franchisees to follow the systems, the promotion of the brand & other factors.