Name: Sherice Banton
Course: LLB Law
Tell us more about Spotzo
Spotzo is a new website which allows you to find dancers and dance classes across the UK. No matter what your style of dance is, your age or your ability level, you can simply go to one place to find your next dance class, or showcase your talent in order to attract work and performance opportunities.
Having a dance background myself, I know how difficult it can be to find a dance class when they’re marketed on so many different platforms – some are just on Facebook, some are just on Instagram, some have a website and some don’t – honestly they’re everywhere! It is also a real challenge to pinpoint a class that has everything you’d like from it such as the opportunity to compete or a class that’s just for experienced yet non-professional adults. Spotzo was the solution to this, and the idea evolved to serve dancers too.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
In several ways. First financially – I successfully applied for a Do It Award of £3000 which I was incredibly grateful for. Secondly, they helped me to actually develop my business plan which I needed to submit as part of the application for the Do It Award; a member of the Enterprise team gave me advice and helped me to gain responses for my market research as he happened to know some dancers. That was priceless.
Thirdly, I had an Insider Insight with 4 different businessmen and women who all offered practical advice on various aspects of the business from media relations to sales and marketing. Similarly and finally, I was paired with a mentor for 6 months. He was brilliant; always quick to respond and he helped me to rationalise my thoughts when I was having an off day. Speaking to all of these people was amazing as they understand what you are going through and you could never predict the advice that they were going to give.
All in all, UEA Enterprise was great - there is a hell of a lot to learn when you’re starting out and having this kind of support will help you massively.
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
Funnily enough, the things that worried me the most are relatively small problems in retrospect but they seemed like huge barriers at the time. One example is the logo I had – I wanted to trademark it but was worried that it looked similar to an existing trademark because of the red dot, so I had a big dilemma over whether to change my whole logo and colour scheme to avoid being sued – it was a small problem in hindsight. The designs could have easily been changed if there was a problem; I was getting hung up on issues that didn’t exist. I kept to my original logo and colour scheme in the end and it’s been fine.
What motivates you?
My main motivation has always stemmed from a fear of regret. I know that if I don’t put 100% into this, I will regret it, and there is nothing worse than feeling regret. I’m also motivated by knowing the kind of life that I would like to have; I want to work doing something that I enjoy and care about, work wherever I want to work and on my terms, have a large home and be able to provide everything that I want and need to provide for my children (children being in future). Keeping this image in mind spurs me on, but even then it is knowing how much regret I’d have if I didn’t fight for it that really motivates me.
How do you define success?
For me there are three key pieces: the first is that I have created an engaged community that is getting genuine value from Spotzo and the content that I am putting out and that is being done on a wide scale; the second is that I am earning enough money so that I do not have to worry about bills; the third and most important is that I am enjoying what I am doing. With those I would confidently consider myself successful.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I attended a dance event and there was a famous dance group there. I happened to be walking by them and I knew it would be awesome if they were able to do a video message about Spotzo, so I took the plunge and asked them and I was taken aback by how easily they said yes – they were completely up for it! In that moment I can’t tell you how happy, grateful and excited I was (I won’t say who the dancers were as I haven’t put the video up yet but you’ll see it soon on my social media!) The fact that I almost didn’t ask them out of fear that they’d say no makes this moment stand out even more for me. Always ask.
What piece of advice would you give to university students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Absolutely go for it with all of your energy because if you don’t you’ll regret it, but don’t fall into the trap of believing that your business is going to be a success just because you have a good idea. You may have the best or most revolutionary idea but it is only ever the work that you put in that is going to determine whether you succeed.