Image courtesy of Ian West/PA Wire
With the UK’s favourite dance show well underway, we take a look at this year’s contest to see what small businesses can learn from Strictly Come Dancing
It may not seem like there’s much to take away from BBC’s hit show Strictly Come Dancing for small business – but at its heart the aim is the same. The dancers – like businesses – are looking to impress both fellow professionals (the judges) and the British public.
Here’s what we’ve learned from Strictly so far:
1. Play to your strengths
Jamelia’s ballroom almost got her kicked off the show, while the elegant Katie Derham failed to set the dancefloor alive with her Latin moves. While practice and preparation can help you overcome these hurdles, it’s always best to play to your abilities.
A lot of small businesses want to expand quickly in the hope they can corner their market. But trying too much, too soon could lead to disaster. Know what your strengths are and build on them to create a solid foundation for a long term, sustainable business.
2. You can’t hide behind glitz and glamour
If it’s one thing Strictly has in bucket loads it’s glitz and glamour. The lights, music, glitter and sequins can hide a multitude of sins on the dance floor. And while they might fool the audience, they don’t fool the judges.
They might applaud the performance, but what they’re really looking at is the technical ability. It was a lesson Ainsley learnt – behind the crazy faces and high-concept routines, there was little substance.
Don’t spend all your money on flashy websites, high-end marketing material or fancy uniforms if you can’t do the basics. You might attract more customers initially but if you can’t deliver on your flashy promises they won’t be returning.
3. Appeal to the audiences
Yes, it’s the judges who have final say over who stays or goes – but the audience plays a big part in who faces the dance off. Many dancers have put in good performances and been given high scores only to find themselves in the bottom two – and vice versa. The ones at the bottom who have avoided the dance off so for this season (Carol and Jeremy) all have audience appeal due in part to their day job on radio or TV.
From social media to customer service phone lines, you’ve got to engage with your customers. Talk with them as people, not consumers. Even when you get a bad review, engage with the customer to find out what you can do to make it right.
4. Put in the hard work
It’s the one thing all the contestants comment on – how hard it is. Not just the mental stress of having to learn a new dance and routine every week but the physicality of it all. It’s no wonder they’re all out of breath at the end. The older competitors might be able to get past the first few weeks on ballroom and bravado, but come the mid-point the mistakes will start to show as the hard work catches up with them.
Running a small business, especially at the start, is hard work. The thing that defines whether you succeed or not isn’t a great idea or product – it’s how much work you’re willing to put into making it a success.
5. Mistake happens
One week you could be riding high like Jay and then, following a slip of the foot, you could be worrying about being bottom of the pile. In work, as in Strictly, things can change in a moment thanks to a simple mistake. It could be a mistyped bank account number, an email accidently sent to a client or a wrong order.
Try and bounce back like Jay – if you survive to fight another day learn from your mistakes. This could include performance reviews, going over your processes to iron out areas mistakes could happen or giving your customer service team a pep talk. Hopefully, you’ll be stronger for it.
6. Your partner matters
Officially, the winner of Strictly is the best celebrity dancer. But we all know that it’s really the couple that wins. From choreography to training, who the celeb is partnered with is important. Anton might make Katie whirl, but his lack of Latin knowledge showed as she failed the basics. Kevin and Kellie, though, feel like they’re joined at the hip.
Whether it’s an old school friend or an angel investor, who you decide to go into business with is important. What do they bring to the table? Is it simply money or do they offer connections in the industry? Can they train you or do they offer morale support?
Posted by The Secret Businessman