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“People want to be a part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust. ” Howard Shultz, CEO, Starbucks I believe that in a many cases successful business has a great personal story behind it. The reason for that is the passion behind the business, an excessive desire to fulfill dreams and make a change in people’s life. That is why when we received this assignment I thought about all the things I adore and love and that is how the idea of opening a Ukrainian Folk Dance School came to my mind.
I used to attend Ukrainian traditional folk dance school on a regular basis when I was a child. When I turned 14, due to various peer influences and distractions, I decided to quit Ukrainian dance school and join a modern dance studio instead. During my recent conversation with my mother, I told her, that she should have never allowed me to quit folk dancing and forced me to attend the classes.
I regret till date that decision. As the saying goes, often parents try to live their dreams through their children, I feel like I have started it already.
I do not have my own children yet, but I already know that they will attend some dancing classes. Meanwhile, in my research paper I will dream about opening a Ukrainian Folk Dance School in Stamford, CT. Core values Mission for my company is to provide a caring and inspiring environment for young dancers in the Ukrainian community.
Vision is to become a dance company in CT where youth will be encouraged and motivated to learn their own culture. Values we share are: commitment to the Ukrainian community and culture, exploring Ukrainian traditions by the history of its dance, and ncouragement of growing generation to be proud of their ethnicity.
Unique Customer Experience We believe that our dance company will offer a unique experience to Ukrainians who live in CT and NY. Stamford has a big Ukrainian community with its own church, Sunday school, museum, and grocery store. People want to remember their roots and place where they came from. Ukrainian dancing school would lead young generation to better understanding and relating to their own culture. It is also very common for the post-Soviet union countries to have their children learning national dancing.
When I was a kid I used to learn Ukrainian dancing 3 times a week for few years, so did a lot of my friends. I have confidence that parents here in Stamford and its area will be very pleased with an idea of having dance school locally. The closest Ukrainian dance school is located in NY or NJ. By learning our national dance, its history, and wearing traditional outfits, kids would be able to understand their culture better, and be proud that they are Ukrainians. Situation analysis and SWOT Strengths:
Location – After conduction of a basic online research, I was able to state that Ukrainian Folk Dance School’s location will be to its a great advantage. The closest Ukrainian dance school is located miles away. Strong community – Stamford has a big number of Ukrainians who live here permanently. As it was mentioned above, there are a Ukrainian Sunday school, Seminary, church, museum and grocery store. For more than 40 years Ukrainian-Americans have an opportunity to attend Connecticut State Ukrainian Day Festival at St. Basil Seminary.
They are able to socialize, taste Ukrainian food, enjoy kids performances and art collections. Learning about Ukrainian Dance culture and tradition – Learning the dance itself will lead to better understanding of customs, traditional clothing, time spending, etc. Extra-curricular activity – Despite the fact that sometimes kids are overwhelmed with the amount of homework, they still need to be engage in some extra activity. Ukrainian Folk Dance School would be a great opportunity for parents to occupy their kids. Health benefits – A raditional folk dance mostly consists of various high steps and spins in very fast tempo, which will build great physical condition. Weaknesses: Small target market – Most likely that only Ukrainians and people with some Ukrainian heritage would be interested in having their kids learning folk dance. Lack of interest towards Ukrainian dances – People may not be ready to commitment required form the folk dance in order to become at least a decent folk dancer. As any form of art or any other activity, dancing requires constant training and improvement of your technique.
Opportunities: Future expansion – If Stamford School becomes successful, we could open new branches beyond this area and offer transportation for the children from nearby cities. Advanced Training – Depending on the level of the dancers we could groom for future star performers. Growing interest in the Ukrainian Culture – An interest in Ukrainian culture, extension of the community would be a great opportunity for our potential business. Threats Socio-economic conditions – Due to the fact that a lot of Ukrainian-Americans came to the USA not so long ago, their economic situation may not allow them to have extra expenses in their budget.
Emergence of other popular cultural activities – Nowadays it became very popular to have kids learning martial arts for the self-defense purposes, Brazilian sport dance capoeira, for health and physical benefits. All these activities would lead to lower interest towards our school. In order for any product or service to be successful, the right marketing strategy should be chosen. During this semester we have learned that traditional ways of marketing itself are not as effective as they were few years ago. With the rapid emergence of new technologies, marketing has changed drastically.
More and more companies choose to promote their service or product online, due to lower costs and ability to reach out to more people. It also became much easier to tune out of the traditional media channels. People don’t read as many newspapers as they used to, they have an option to skip the commercials with DVR technologies, and they can buy free-add aps for phones and I-products. Despite the fact that traditional marketing loses its impact, I still think that the best results could be reached by combining traditional and online marketing strategies.
I tend to do cloth shopping online once in a while. And I think that stores such as Express and The Limited have been successful using internet and traditional marketing. For example, I receive daily emails from both stores with their online and in store deals. The email heading instantly captures my attention, especially now, in holiday season. For example, it says: “Get $60 Off! + 30 % Off Sweaters! ”, “40% off going on now! ”, etc. At the beginning of each month Express sends me coupons with different discounts and brochure with the latest clothing available on their website or in store.
Express also offers a mobile marketing – receiving commercial text messages on your mobile devise with the latest promotions and deals. The Limited emphasizes more on the holiday season, and uses logo: “Make a Wish, and take it home. ” They had in store promotion, where customer could take a piece of chocolate and on the back of its wrapper find different discounts lasting till December, 24. Both companies have their Facebook and Twitter pages, the websites are easy to navigate and search.
Since both stores are very popular, customer can find reviews for most of the products available on the website. Customer service is very helpful if you’ve got any questions. Thus, based on the experience I received from these two stores, for my prospective dance school, I would also use both types of marketing. Before the actual opening of the school, I would use a lot of media and traditional marketing tools in order to create a buzz and have people waiting in anticipation for the grand opening. Every year in September the Connecticut State Ukrainian Day Festival is held.
My objective would be to take advantage of this festival by handing in flyers with the information about the school, its programs, cost of the classes, and teachers’ background. I would be present at the festival to answer all the questions people may have. Discounts for an early sign up would be offered at that day. For traditional marketing I would also choose local TV channels for a 30 sec add on prime time. There would be a printed add in Stamford Advocate, and we will be present in the online version of the newspaper as well.
Hand out flyers would be also available in the Ukrainian store on Hope Street and at the St. Vladimir Cathedral on Wenzel Terrace. My school would also have ongoing ad on the Russian radio station broadcasting from Brooklyn. Online marketing tools would be the website itself, Facebook page, Ukrainian/Russian social websites, blogs, and search engines, etc. Our main goal is to create a pleasant looking, easy to navigate, full of necessary information website for our school. The website would be bilingual, containing information in both Ukrainian and English languages. There would be pictures of our staff performances and videos with different kinds of folk dances (they vary by region).
The website would have information about age groups presented in the school, the clothes needed for the classes, the curriculum for the kids, dates for possible performances, cost of the classes, etc. I would create a Facebook page and ask my friends to like it. As a Ukrainian Folk Dance School page, I would like Stamford page, Ukrainians in Stamford page, and all the pages related to Ukrainians, dancing and Stamford. The more people would like us on Facebook, the more people would come to know about the school. Twitter is one of the most popular social websites nowadays, but I would not create Twitter page for my school.
In my opinion, it would not work for this particular target market. Most of the people I know don’t even have Twitter. Ukrainians who came to the US recently, like and are more active on other social media websites. There are plenty of Russian and Ukrainian social websites. For instance the equivalent of Facebook is presented by Russian social network website – Vkontakte. ru. The idea of the network is very similar to Facebook, so I would create a page there, and try to get as many followers as possible. I have friends who have their own web pages and blogs, I would ask them to post information about my school on their page.
Writing and reading blogs becomes more and more popular, so I would use it to my advantage. In the blogs, I could post regular class updates, children’s progress and success, our future plans. Our blog would be open to discussions and would be a great tool to receive our customer’s feedback. Parents would be encouraged to make a use of the blog, follow our updates, and post their comments and concerns. The school name would also come up on the most popular search engines, both English as well as Ukrainian, when typing related words such as dance, Ukrainian, folk dance, etc.
When someone googles a word “dance” Google provides a “map for dance”. It is basically a map of the city you are located at with the different dance schools and its contact information within 15 miles radius. In order to have our relationship going with the parents and children who attend the school, we would send weekly generated emails. The emails would have information about upcoming events, our schedule, and the list of necessary traditional costumes for the concerts and where to get them from. It is crucial for our business, as pretty much as for any other business, to know how we are doing and know the ways to measure our success.
When new people come to our school, one of the first questions in their application would be: “How did you hear about us? ” Based on those answers, we would be able to identify what marketing tools work the best. Our school would be open to the conversations and discussion; we would encourage parents, and kids themselves to leave their feedback on our website, blog, or one of the social networks. On a regular basis we would conduct a short survey to find out if the kids enjoy their time in school, what they like the most, the least, and what they would like to change if they have a chance, etc.
Hopefully in 5 years from now we will have a strong Ukrainian Folk Dance School, which would be attended by many kids of different ages and different levels. We hope that our school will be well known among Ukrainian-Americans in CT and beyond the state. We expect our kids to become good dancers and participate in different festivals, concerts and competitions. We also wish that our marketing campaign creates a buzz for our school. We want our school to be popular, profitable and enjoyable for the younger generation. In order to do so, we need to keep up with the internet trends and latest technologies.
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