Mine, which opened its doors two years ago, started out very small. I opened my dance, fitness, and parenting studio as a one-woman shop. I did all the administrative work. I taught all the classes. I offered all the services. When I started thinking about transitioning from a contractor-about-town to a brick-and-mortar shop, my friend and business guru suggested I work up a business plan even though I wasn’t seeking any financing. She thought that the exercise of looking at all the aspects of my business from the perspective of a potential lender would be helpful to me at the outset and along the way. Part of that business plan required projections – how many classes, how many students, how much revenue. I hadn’t had to think about these things in a forecasting mode before.
Sharing the results with her and another mentor of mine seemed to indicate a strong growth pattern. The idea took hold. When I was looking for the perfect location for my business – no small task – I did so with the idea of expansion in mind. Nothing needed right away, of course, but for “someday.”
I chose a location that had everything I needed, and there was an under-used but occupied space next door. My guru suggested I have the right of first refusal written into my lease agreement. That seemed a bit unnecessary and premature at the time, but I figured it couldn’t hurt and could only help. That one line of print in my lease kept the idea of expansion in my mind, and when the space became available in January I was ready and eager to bargain with my landlord for the second storefront.
Thanks to my mentors, planning and searching, I’m thrilled to report that this week I have been able to welcome students to my new, expanded space. On the 2nd anniversary of opening my studio, I have twice as much space as when I started and I’m about to oversee a team of eight instructors and two admins. Had the idea of growth and expansion not been planted in my head in the early moments of realizing my dream, there is no way I would be where I am this week.
When you’re setting your goals and making your plans for your business, spend time thinking about where, in your wildest dreams, your business could be in two, five, ten or even twenty years. Make plans that can work with you on your growth potential. It can pay to think big, even while you’re starting out small.
Malik Turley is the proud owner of Hip Circle Studio in Evanston, IL. Through the dance, fitness, and parenting studio she works to help women and their families find Confidence, Health, and Joy in their lives. She is mom to three tall children and wife to a very supportive husband.