We have currently applied for the Chase Mission: Small Business grant. We would greatly appreciate your support in order to achieve our goal of spreading the joy of dancing throughout the nation. We need 1000 votes within the next 24 hours. Please click on the link below and follow these four simple steps. You can read our proposition directly below it and tell us what you think.
1. Go to https://www.missionsmallbusiness.com, Click Log In & Support
on the bottom right.
2. Log in with your Facebook account.
3. Type in “Dance With Me USA” under business name and press enter or
click search. You do not have to choose a state or city.
4. Click “Support”
Its that simple and only takes a few seconds!
Please read our submission below…
1. Tell us about your business; how successful is it and why is it unique?
Dance With Me Dance Studios is a group of social ballroom dancing schools that provides a one-of-a-kind social dance experience to our students, as well as their friends and families.
On an individual basis, we strive and have a proven track record of changing many of our students’ lives. We provide a supportive environment that allows students to focus on themselves, set goals, and achieve individual success. Our students have told us numerous times that we have helped them improve their self-esteem, enhance their health, given them a newfound confidence, and are their second family. We provide a comfortable, tranquil and positive environment that is conducive for learning new skills, focusing on themselves, and fostering friendships and social interaction that is missing more and more from today’s digital interactive society.
What makes Dance With Me Dance Studios so unique is that we have found a way to create an experience that is different for every single one of our clients. Our highly skilled instructors treat each client with respect, dignity, and specialized personal care. It seems like a simple thought and concept, but from the moment they walk into our doors, we provide a different environment that caters to our clients’ unique speed and their own capacity to improve. Everything we do highlights their strengths and supports their weaknesses. We’ve helped people overcome depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder through the joys of dancing for their own pleasure, and many students have lost weight and learned to live a healthier lifestyle as a result of dance.
Every week at each studio, we have open social parties for students to simply invite friends and family to enjoy a night of dancing together. We bring their families into ours and foster our clients meeting new people, forming new friendships, and socializing. Even for those who want to take dance to the next level, we offer students a platform for showcasing their talent through showcases, competitions, and other special dance events.
One very recent special event that we sponsored was an opportunity for our students to dance and travel. We had students travel to Cuba, learn about the culture and dance, socialize, enjoy the Cuban lifestyle and along the way, create a bond with a country through dance.
We believe we are a unique and special dance studio because from the moment our students walk through the door, they are captivated by the enchanting world of Dance With Me.
2. How is your business involved with the community you serve?
Dance With Me has literally participated with every single local charity that has contacted one of our dance studios for a donation, involvement, or participation in any capacity. We have provided support in the form of cash, a donation of dance performances at charitable events, as well as providing free dance instruction as a donation.
Most recently, we participated in a local New Jersey Autism organization, MarbleJam Kids, where Dance With Me Studios provided event dance performances as well as a special celebrity instructor dance service to their silent auction.
Several of our instructors at Dance With Me volunteered to entertain children in the oncology center at a leading New York City hospital through a prominent pediatrician who was friends with one of our students. Dance With Me SoHo also recently donated several thousand dollars to a local high school in Manhattan where we hosted a dance show at Martin Luther King High School and donated the majority of our ticket sales to the NYC Department of Education totaling approximately $3,000.
Our Stamford, Connecticut Dance With Me studio donated dance services at a local women’s convention in Stamford and provided free lessons to all women who were interested in learning to dance as well as provided dance performances at the event. Also in Connecticut, we did a gala dance event for Near & Far Aid, where Dance With Me provided special celebrity dance services for a silent auction as well as provided free dance services to the event attendees. We also recently supported Live Strong locally in Connecticut and provided free dance service instruction to the organization.
These are simply a few of the things we have done in 2012. Historically, each Dance With Me Studio provides support to local charity organizations approximately 10 times each year. We believe the community is the foundation of who we are, so we have always made it a priority to get involved.
3. What would a $250k grant mean to your business plan and how will you utilize the funds to ensure long-term growth and stability?
It would mean the world to Dance With Me Studios in both big and small ways, and make a huge difference in our growth plans. We have had many requests by people who have heard of our studios to open locations throughout the nation. We are the fastest growing independently owned Ballroom Dance Instruction Company because we have opened 4 studios since 2005, and without any franchise help. We grow our studios organically, from the ground up. We believe that our formula for success is proven. We are a stable, profitable, and growing business.
This grant would accelerate our rate of growth, which would exponentially increase our ability to expand in the future. Each studio has a sizable start up cost due to the renovation of the studio environment, which includes high quality hardwood flooring as well as interior design that is in line with our brand image. In the past, we have only grown by re-investing our profits back into the studios. Although we are growing, it is slow relative to our ability if we had more liquid funds. So while we have a reputation of quality that is highly sought after, as a young business, we are still underfunded when it comes to our growth. It would take us many years before we can achieve our goal of opening studios beyond the Tri-State area and across the nation.
With $250,000 we would be able to open 2 more locations immediately. This alone would ensure that at least 50 new jobs would be created over that time frame at each location. This would also accelerate our ability to open more studios in the near future.
4. What types of challenges can you identify with your plan and how will you overcome them?
One of our biggest challenges historically was finding the most suitable locations. Some of our challenges simply relate to the actual building and its structure. We must have a large open space with no columns to be suitable for a large dance floor. We also have to find a location in generally high traffic areas, with easy access, and at a rent level that makes sense for our sustainable growth.
If we were to win a grant, we would first focus on spending our efforts carefully selecting the best location. Once we launch a new studio, we would require exposure to traffic and pre-booked lessons prior to launch in order to ensure we begin to have a platform of growth. We would need to become entrenched in the local communities, their boards, local events, and basically become a part of the community even before our doors open. It requires us hiring local PR and guerilla marketing staff as well as a local studio manager, as our studio ambassador, immediately.
Finally, the most critical challenge is to find and train the right personnel to be part of our unique family. Instructors in our studio must fulfill specific criteria to be an ideal Dance With Me team member. We require them not only to be great dancers, but most importantly excellent teachers, sociable, likable, respectful, and individuals of the highest integrity.
Our corporate teams would need to invest time along with the manager to find the right people and train them. These are not easy challenges to tackle, but we have been successful in the past. In fact, in opening the four studios that we own to date, we have learned that each studio has unique challenges and each community is special in its own way. We have learned to overcome the challenges by investing our time in the beginning and entrenching ourselves in the community to understand them and their needs. From there, we build the teams that fit both our standards as well as have the same heritage as the community itself.
5. Describe the talent on your team and how they make your business successful?
We have amassed a truly fantastic team of dance instructors. Most of them have come from the competitive Dancesport world, and are truly passionate about dancing. Some have notable accolades including multiple World Championships, National Championships, European Championships , and International Open Championships. Our dance instructors have very notable career highlights and are very well respected in the dance world. Our team has choreographed for numerous prestigious shows and events including the annual NYC Viennese Opera Ball, Las Vegas Show spectaculars such as La Reve, and NYC off-Broadway shows.
Dance With Me Studios also brings in international world-class coaches to train our staff and students in each of our four studios. This gives our students additional/special coaching sessions to take their dancing to the highest possible level.
Further, our team is the most hardworking, dedicated, and passionate people. They do not treat this as a job, but a way of life. It is crucial that in addition to their dance talent, they are first well-mannered and selfless people. The Dance With Me team is the foundation of who we are. We truly credit our rapid success to the incredible individuals who make up this team.
6. Additional relevant information you would like to share:
We invite you to look at the numerous local news stories we are in. We would love for you to visit and check out the gallery for each studio to see the real difference in our studios from others from a design and environment perspective. It is part of our differentiating factor. We also do believe strongly in the idea of old world social ballroom dance charm. It is in the design of the studio and all the events and showcases we host.
But we are also a modern evolution of that old world ballroom social charm. So we believe not only in fostering this supportive environment for personal connection and interaction while in studio, but also if you visit our studios Facebook pages, you will see that we encourage continued interaction of our students with one another beyond our facilities.
We thank you for this great opportunity to apply for the Chase Grant. We believe this country is built on small business and local communities, and appreciate what Chase and Living Social is doing to support more small businesses like our own.