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Inspirational Women Q&A: Laura Sandham-Smith, Laura Sandham School of Dance

Laura Sandham Smith

Laura owns and runs hugely successful dance studios in Lancaster and Preesall. Here she shares her inspirational Lancashire woman in business story.

What does your business do?

As a business I have two dance studios, one in the centre of Lancaster and one in Preesall. The two schools are very different with my Lancaster branch offering Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Streetdance, Pointe work, Cheerleading, Latin and Ballroom, musical theatre and Tap.

We do a huge show at the Lancaster Grand Theatre every two years. We enter competitions and we do exams which are QCA recognised. The Preesall branch is a freestyle school. We don’t do exams but we do multiple performances throughout the year.

Why did you start your own business?

I have danced since a very young age. I have come from a dancing family and I was a talented dancer in my younger years but at the time I didn’t believe I was which led me not to audition for professional jobs. Instead, I bought the good will of my auntie’s school and relaunched the business as the Laura Sandham School of Dance so that I could give children the opportunities I didn’t get to do. My goal is to give every single student that steps through my door the tools to be the unique dancer they want to be.

What has been your biggest business breakthrough?

My biggest breakthrough has been surviving the pandemic and being able to think out of the box. Myself and the team taught 56 classes a week on Zoom. We created engaging sessions, which even the little ones enjoyed, we also managed a fun and creative audition class, which resulted then putting a mini showcase together in between lockdowns and we also managed an awards evening too.

What has been your proudest achievement in your business?

I have had lots of achievements over the years in different areas of my business but my most recent showcase in May of this year at the Lancaster Grand Theatre was by far the best show I have put on in my career. The feedback was overwhelming and the team spirit with all the pupils (115) was next to none. I am still buzzing!

What is the most effective support or guidance you have received?

Six years ago I started my journey with Jane Binnion at the Growing Club who taught me to delegate and not try and do everything myself. Since then I have invested in a new website, employed a virtual assistant and I’ve built a whole new network of people that I work alongside. I have been privileged to work on some amazing projects in and around the Lancaster area.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

When things get tough and I’m feeling overwhelmed I ask for help from my amazing team. I also make a note of the amazing experiences I have had, which helps me get back on track! I also try and take some time out before burnout hits as when your firing on all cylinders and problems occur, you can manage them better.

What are your best 3 tips for maintaining your wellbeing?

I always try and have some time out for me, which is difficult when you’re in demand but so important at the same time. Whether that’s going to a class at the gym or treating yourself to a massage. Surround yourself with positive people.

Maintain a healthy balanced diet and really think about what you are putting in your body. I am also a proud business owner of forever living products and I take supplements that help me with both my physical and mental health.

What advice would you give to a female entrepreneur starting a business?

Don’t ever think that you are on your own. Find a safe female networking group locally where you can support each other. Have clear sustainable goals and break them down so you can easily manage them. Talk nicely to yourself.

This is easier said than done, I know, but you are important. Write down what your grateful for and find some affirmations that you can relate to that will help you have a positive and productive and productive day. Be organised. Website: www.laurasandhamschoolofdance.co.uk


Would you like to see your business grow? So would we. To speak to someone from the Growth Hub about business support, contact Boost online or call 0800 488 0057.


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