Believing in dance as a medium of entertainment and fitness, Thump Entertainment a dance academy was launched. In an interview with Ankur Sethi, Co-Founder, Thump Entertainment, he shares the journey and aspirations from the brand with us.
Abha Garyali (AG): How did ‘Thump Entertainment’ come into being? How has been the entrepreneurial journey of the brand so far?
Ankur Sethi (AS): The economic slump has given birth to Thump Entertainment. It was in early 2008 when slump had started affecting the US market. I was part of a recruitment business where we were recruiting for most of the US & UK based MNC’s. Revenues had started going down and so being the partner in the business our profits started moving down phenomenally. The entrepreneurial bug’s venom was still high in me so the brainstorming sessions for suitable business were being run in my mind.
One day, Pallavi, Founder, Thump Entertainment, suggested the idea of using dance as a medium of entertainment and fitness. Exploring the idea, we started with a community centre as an area of experiment, which proved out to be a good fruit-yielding experiment and after that we never looked back.
Today, we have state of the art dance studios where people have all the facilities that our customer needs to keep fit and entertained at the same time. With presence in over six states now, we are expecting a much-penetrated growth of about 200 studios by year 2014.
AG: What is the USP of Thump Entertainment?
AS: Thump Entertainment is not a one dance form school, rather it teaches six different dance styles on a monthly basis. Moreover, clients also get a lot of fitness regimes on a daily basis. We are not focusing to be another dance institute in your neighborhood, where a local guy just starts training a bunch of friends or kids, but a place where a four year kid, or a corporate leader or even a grandfather can be a part of these classes and grow physically and mentally. Anyone joining in our institute is made to go through a virtual analysis by the trainer who gets to understand what regime is required in the student’s fitness plan.
AG: When and what inspired Thump Entertainment, to adopt the franchise route for expansion? Where do you see the brand five years down the line?
AS: About 18 months back, we realised a strong foothold on our business and felt confident in seeking the franchise way. Franchising is one of the best mediums to grow your business as far as you have a strong hold on business operations and Thump certainly has attained it. Our five-year plans are already in place, so we shall have a multi continent presence along with a very deep penetration in India.
AG: What according to you is the scope for aspiring franchisees in this business?
AS: A Thump franchisee has a scope of being millionaires in themselves. With the kind of USP’s we have and the target audience that we focus on, we are confident enough to make each of our partners worth millions. There is a lot of potential in the market for a Thump Dance Studio due to our strategy and our vast target audience. However, when we plan a partnership, we conduct a detailed catchment study on the geography, which is to conduct the psychological analysis, SWOT analysis to design the curriculum and be successful.
AG: How many franchisees do you have presently? What is your future expansion plans?
AS: We have recruited six franchisees so far in different states. We plan to penetrate in respective states with their proficient experience. We plan to expand further with models like COCO (Company Owned, Company Operated), FOCO (Franchise Owned, Company Operated), FOFO (Franchise Owned, Franchise Operated) with an almost equal market share in each vertical.
AG: What are the qualities and qualifications that you seek for in your franchisees? How much investment is required by aspiring franchisees?
AS: Thump’s franchise partner is just expected to be a regular intelligible partner in business who has a fairly valid inclination towards performing arts and holds a strong financial backbone to sustain business till the time of break-even. Partners must also have a strong belief on the scope of concept and should be able to match to our vision of growth. Initial investment varies in between Rs Six to 15 lakh, subject to location and magnitude of the marketing required for the studio. Break even is achieved anytime between six to nine months.
AG: How does the company support and train its franchisees?
AS: Thump supports each franchisee on an end-to-end basis starting from searching for a choreographer, training of choreographer for a month directly by our founder at our head office, marketing research, SWOT and designing of marketing campaigns, training of hired staff.