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Hove Dance Centre owner, Jake Hooker, discovered software could the key to growing his studio during and post lockdown

Jake Hooker, owner of Hove Dance Centre shares how he was able to grow his business, client list, and services during COVID by signing up for TeamUp. Follow along as he shares every step of his journey.

"And certainly, when I set up, it was great because, you know, there's that feeling where it seems that you want to you really want to know, how to describe it. The support team really do want to help you with all of your things. And it could be an outrageous request of like, how do I do this? How do I do it? And then they make it really simple."

Why I signed up for TeamUp during lockdown

I'm Jake Hooker. I'm a dance teacher in the UK, predominantly, I teach ballroom and Latin and I have a studio down in Brighton and Hove called Hove Dance Centre. The studio itself has been running for about, well, longer than 50 years now. And I recently took it over actually at the beginning of 2020, which was all, you know, it started off great. But then with obviously everything that happened, we had to try and very quickly try and convert it into something a little bit different. I mean, I've been dancing now for about 16 years now, and I've gone through sort of like just dancing it as, you know, a young sort of like child and then sort of like growing up around it and then just getting into the grips of, you know, teaching and everything like that. And then, yeah, here we are really. The studio has been doing as well as it can for, you know, certainly sort of like the last year, you know, it's been difficult, but we've taken everything online. And that's where, you know, TeamUp has been great in terms of providing a good sort of service and platform to do that.

I mean, it all started, I mean, I was I didn't know what TeamUp was. A local personal trainer actually told me about it during, right at the very beginning. He was very, very quick to use it. And then I looked into it a little bit more and I thought, this is the type of and sort of like, you know, software that that would make things easier if I understood how to use it and utilize it in the right way. One thing I was looking at was how do we move to an online platform with it being easy of booking and tracking and payments and everything like that. And, you know, a calendar having the usability of having different classes and things like that. And, you know, at the very beginning, I thought I could try and do that all through our website and use the, you know, the website's versions of booking and stuff like that. But the problem is with that is it was getting well, it was looking like it was going to be a bit buggy with trying to do classes and private lessons and things like that online. So what was really good was when I looked at TeamUp was the fact that I'd be able to use different things so I could have it as a one-person only feed like for the class, or I could have it for a particular amount of people, or I could have it completely open and just let the class be as big as it needs to be, which is really useful for the fact that we have a range of things within our dancing industry.

So we have private lessons, one to one or if it's with a couple or whatever, and our classes, but then also one of the big things that we have in dancing, especially with ballroom and Latin is our social events. So that might be dancing socials. You know, I mean, we've been a little bit more inventive within the year. So we did the pub quiz thing. We did bingo. We did an online karaoke thing. And I mean, with the karaoke thing, it was, yes it was a bit funny because a lot of people were in the front of their room and they're sort of performing it to a camera like this. And, you know, it didn't have quite necessarily the same effect, but it's still worked, people enjoyed it. And then we had dancing along with it as well. And it's allowed us to sort of do Q and A's and sort of like panel things as well. We got a new thing in February that, you know, we're trying to plan on the back of what we started this month going into 2021, which was the idea of a dancing festival which hadn't necessarily been done in the same format. I mean, we've, you know, over the last well since March last year, there have been online workshops and that's nothing that's new. But what I wanted to try and do to kick start a good 2021 and sort of forget about 2020 was was to try and do something where we can engage a wider community that's not just my studio, but everywhere else.

And we came up with this idea of Jan Fest, which is basically from the 10th of January up until the 31st. We have something that's dance-related. It might be a workshop, a Q&A, a workout, something which any dancer would utilize. We've backed it on more of our ballroom and Latin side of things rather than any other style of dance because that's what we're known for. And it's been really successful. I mean, it's been something that I didn't anticipate to be as big as it was. I thought that internally it would be a great opportunity for my pupils to see and also meet other dance teachers that they see on the circuit. But we put it in place that we could set up, you know, discount codes and things like that for the lecturers and teachers coming in so that, you know, their pupils could come in, basically at a sort of reduced rate and, you know, likewise within our studio and we to put things in either sort of a drop-in, so you just do it as a one on one thing or you could buy in packages of, you know, I mean, overall, we've had we've actually had seventeen sessions for like lecturers and other teachers coming in. Sixteen of those have been proper workshops and one of them has been a Q&A.

So, you know, we've had 16 sorts of like payable workshops from the tenth to the thirty-first and then in the middle we've had sort of like workouts and things like that. And within that, people could buy anything from four to eight to sixteen for the whole thing. And it's been, you know, and it's had a really mixed bag. That flexibility is something that I really liked within the TeamUp structure because you can do it that way. You can, you can assign, you know, a certain amount of pack and sort of like purchases and then you can, you know, allow people to book what they want to.

So by dealing with software, it's made setting up this festival much, much easier to, you know, just so that people, you know, people can do it on their laptops. People can do it on their phones. And it's not difficult. It's quite self-explanatory. The buttons are really obvious. It's not, sort of endless pages to get to what you're getting. And everything's all in a nice hub, and that's something I really liked as well. So, you know, if someone's booking on because of the Zoom integration, when you book onto it and you've, you know, reserved your space or whatever, you can go back onto the app and then you can find the links you need to. But also you when you sign up, you get the email that comes through as well. So, you know, there are lots of ways that it can connect people to make it easy to get onto Zoom. Because I didn't want to get into a position where I was having to send codes out all the time and to different emails because I think things can get lost. And, you know, very much getting into the start of like a Zoom thing, if it's a class or a chat, if you're missing a few people, they're going to be contacting you all the time to sort of get at you. So, you know, it's been quite good that everything has all been pretty streamlined. And ultimately, that's been the wonderful thing about Zoom and also collecting all the sort of money through one stream as well.

Certainly, as a business, it's easy when it's coming through one stream and not multiple streams altogether. You can set up the referral system in TeamUp for your clients, pupils, whatever. And I think that's quite good as well because certainly within what we do as a dance thing if you do a good class, a lot of people have multiple teachers and things like that, which is, it's just part of what we do. A lot of people have their one-off teacher that they go to on a regular basis. But some people like to sort of go and experiment with someone else that, you know, if you were to do that, then that referral within people is, you know, it's a good incentive. It's like a loyalty card and things like that, which is great.

And certainly, from the business side of things, you know, you can't complain when someone gets a little bit longer for a trial. Because I know that there's sort of two different systems and you've got the regular 30-day trial, but then using their referral one, they get that for 45 days to really get going. And I actually think that it's great having a month and that that 30 days, and I actually think you can do a lot of the learning in the setup work in that 30 days, but actually for it to spill over into that next month for, you know, other referrals and you know, people trying the software out is great because you can actually start planning a little bit more than a month. And that gives you that, you know, the scale to sort of see the differences in, you know, not let's say when you're busy times are, but it gives you that maybe that first fifteen days of really sort of utilizing and understanding and booking and setting it up how you want to and then use the thirty days extra.

Sort of after that 15 days to actually use it for your business and, you know, ultimately I was pretty sold within the first week of using TeamUp. I was a bit sort of like I got into it. I did the little things. I got things set up. And then I was like, okay, what else can I do? And that's what allowed me to ask the questions to the, you know, the support team in the button. And you know that really quick on responding. And certainly, when I set up, it was great because, you know, there's that feeling where it seems that you want to you really want to know, how to describe it. The support team really do want to help you with all of your things. And it could be an outrageous request of like, how do I do this? How do I do it? And then they make it really simple. There are nice documents they can send you and you can, you know, call them very similar to, you know, as Zoom call or whatever to talk about how to make things better. And they walk through it really simply. So ultimately, that's been amazing. And again, that stems from all of the back work or background work that TeamUp do, which allows businesses to really get what they want out of it. And there are always workarounds as well. And, you know, it's always pretty simple with things as well. So, yeah, I can't speak highly enough of how TeamUp help businesses.

To hear from more of our TeamUp customers about their experience using our software, check out our testimonials page.

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