Experience the best two minutes and thirty seconds of the season - AmeriCheer


Cheer Pros Weigh In: Why Mentoring & Networking Matter

Cheer Pros Weigh In: Why Mentoring & Networking Matter

Intrigued by our story on mentoring and networking and its growing importance in the all-star industry? Hear testimonials from three cheer professionals who swear by making the connection:

“I make it a point each year to attend as many conferences as I can. These conferences allow me to learn from others’ experiences and ways they’ve dealt with certain situations. I believe that attendance at professional and social events has the ability to greatly raise a business’ profile. I have found most industry leaders to be open, honest and really helpful! I wouldn’t hesitate to contact anyone I admired.”

—Lindsay Balent, Maryland All Stars

“Today, with all the social media, I find it amazing how there is a vast variety of ideas that are exchanged.  You would think after being in business all these years you would know everything. All gym owners face the same challenges every day and we are here to help each other, grow our industry and help keep each other sane.”

—Karen McKinley, All Starz Gymnastics & Cheerleading

“Networking is the only way we as an industry can grow. Most coaches and gym owners are too busy when at competitions to ‘talk shop’ with each other, so (conferences) are crucial for getting to know the gym owners and coaches in your area. I have gotten everything from layouts for running two teams at once on a mat to marketing tips while talking with other owners. We aren’t fighting against each other; we are trying to make all-star cheer the choice that athletes choose over [other sports]. Once owners realize this and start playing nice, they will be able to see how much of a resource their fellow owners can be!”

—Cari Ann Bulzone, Infiniti Elite Athletics

The Info on Incorporating

The Info on Incorporating

Considering getting incorporated? We asked legal expert Trippe Fried to give us the skinny on several types of corporations that may work well for gym owners:

Subchapter S-corporations (“S-corp”): Profits and losses flow through to the owners. There are some requirements to qualify, the key one being that all of the owners must be U.S. citizens or have U.S. residency. LLCs function very much like subchapter-S corporations, but the nomenclature is different. (For instance, LLCs have members instead of shareholders).

Subchapter C-corporations: These are subject to double taxation (i.e. on both profits and dividends). For start-up businesses, that often does not matter or only has marginal consequences.

Close corporations: Some states recognize what are called “close corporations.” These will have a small number of shareholders and the filing/paperwork requirements are often less stringent.

Visit our “Biz Docs” section for handy forms and resources.

Vitamins and Supplements to Know

Vitamins and Supplements to Know

Now that you know all about supplements and whether they’re right for you and your athletes, here are four to consider for better health and performance:

B Vitamins: Provide energy for cellular function in active adults and athletes, who are often lacking the necessary reserves. Sleep deprivation and stress can be a culprit in depleting the body’s stores.

Zinc: An essential mineral that assists with proper function when it comes to digestion, metabolism and growth. For athletes, sub-par zinc levels in the body could impede recovery from injuries.

Vitamin D: Builds strong bones and assists with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, magnesium and zinc. Muscle aches and restless leg syndrome are often associated with Vitamin D deficiency.


Amino Acids: Considered the building blocks for muscles. Some amino acids (such as glutamine and glycine) are produced by the body naturally, but others (like leucine and lysine) must be obtained from food. Because amino acids are sourced from proteins like meat and eggs, strict vegetarians and vegans often require supplements.


What’s In a Name? A Lawyer Weighs In

What’s In a Name? A Lawyer Weighs In

Need a legal leg to stand on when it comes to others copying your gym? One attorney says that your imitator may be liable of “causing confusion.”

“There’s no reason in the world why a gym cannot have a trademark in its name [or] its logo. And there’s no reason that a gym can have a trademark in its color combination the way a university may have,” says James Astrachan, former chair of the Intellectual Property Committee of the Maryland State Bar Association.

If you trademark your team’s name, logo and/or colors, your gym is referred to as the “senior user,” Astrachan notes. He adds that a gym owner is then protected from “a junior user—a johnny-come-lately using those logos and colors.”

Another gym using your brand marks can be embarking on “infringing conduct,” because this is likely to cause confusion between them and you as the senior user, he says, or imply an affiliation or endorsement that is not there.

Trademarks are protected federally under the Lanham Act of 1946, and even slight variations of a trademarked logo are not acceptable. “If there’s likely to be confusion, there’s infringement,” says Astrachan, who also teaches Trademark and Unfair Competition at the University of Maryland Law School. The Lanham Act forbids, in part, that which “is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection or association of such person with another person.”

His recommendation is that new gyms go to a lawyer and order a trademark search, as there are databases full of registrations, articles and other information that can be mined to determine that your intended name, logo and/or colors have not already been trademarked.

“A lawyer would give somebody a clearance that the mark that you have determined to use is not likely to cause confusion with another existing mark in your marketplace,” Astrachan says.

Starting a Gym 101: Keeping Tabs

Starting a Gym 101: Keeping Tabs

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Number 10 on our list is to set up a recordkeeping/accounting/in-house office system for your services. Many new business owners tend to put this on the back burner or contract it out to “someone who likes math,” and it can soon become cancerous. Improper record keeping or accounting can become a business owner’s worst nightmare, so attention to detail is extremely important.

Financial Management is the process of managing the financial resources, including accounting and financial reporting, budgeting, collecting accounts receivable, risk management and insurance for a business. The financial management system for a small business includes both how you are financing it as well as how you manage the money in the business.

In setting up a financial management system your first decision is whether you will manage your financial records yourself or whether you will have someone else do it for you.

Bookkeeping refers to the daily operation of an accounting system (recording routine transactions within the appropriate accounts). An accounting system defines the process of identifying, measuring, recording and communicating financial information about the business. A bookkeeper compiles the information that goes into the system, and the accountant takes the data and analyzes it in ways that give you useful information about your business. They will be able to advise you on the systems needed for your particular business and prepare accurate reports certified by their credentials.While software packages are readily available to meet almost any accounting need, having an accountant at least review your records can lend credibility to your business, especially when dealing with lending institutions and government agencies.

The most crucial part of your small business will be setting up an accounting system, collecting bills and paying employees, suppliers and taxes correctly. Unless you are well versed in accounting and bookkeeping, this is likely to be your nemesis if not handled appropriately.

The basis for every accounting system is a good bookkeeping system. What is the difference between that and an accounting system? Think of accounting as the big picture and bookkeeping system as the nuts and bolts of your business. The bookkeeping system provides the numbers for the accounting system. Both accounting and bookkeeping can be contracted out to external firms if you are not comfortable with managing them yourself.

Even if you outsource the accounting functions, however, you will need some type of recordkeeping systems to manage the day-to-day operations of your business – in addition to a financial plan and a budget to make certain you have thought through where you are headed in your business finances. And, your accounting system should be producing Financial Statements. Learning to read them is an important skill to acquire.

There are also several financial software options to choose from such as Peach Tree, Quicken and QuickBooks. We recommend trying the different types of software out and see what works best for you. Some software can work directly with your online registration software and your bank, so it’s best to investigate those options to save time in the future.

Clearly, financial management encompasses a number of crucial areas of your business. Take time to set them up right. It will make a significant difference in your stress levels and in the bottom line for your business.

Read more: http://www.smallbusinessnotes.com/business-finances/financial-management/#ixzz2o3hcFGT5

-Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris

Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Setting Up Your Space

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 

Starting a Gym 101: Setting Up Your Space

Starting a Gym 101: Setting Up Your Space

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Obtaining a building, space and equipment is number 9 on our list.

An inefficient design of your facility can greatly affect your bottom line. A lot of businesses go too big too fast. Getting the most amount of kids in the least amount of space is how businesses become profitable.

Every square inch of your facility should be viewed as a way to earn money. You will be paying for the space, so you should be earning on the space. Areas that you cannot make a profit on (office, front desk, etc.) should use minimal space, as this will allow you to maximize your moneymaking areas.

In addition, we highly suggest getting an equipment company that can also do a design layout for your facility. With most equipment/design companies, the money you pay for the design will go towards equipment you may want to purchase. Designing pit layouts, in-ground trampolines, etc. takes industry and architectural knowledge, and having a professional design your layout will save you time and money in the long run.

Before finalizing your budget numbers, remember to research codes and permits for your city to ensure your building is up to code regarding ADA, bathrooms, sprinklers, parking spaces, etc. A lot of the times new businesses forget to add those expenses into the cost of building or renovating their facility.

Equipment can be expensive and hard to obtain, financially, while you are starting out. We suggest starting with the minimum amount of equipment you need, and as your business grows, you can purchase more equipment. Depending on what programs you offer, your startup equipment list will vary. Just remember, it’s easier to add equipment once you start turning a profit. There are also websites that sell used equipment from facilities that are closing or wanting to get rid of their equipment—just be cautious and research what you are purchasing.

-Carrie Harris & Stephanie Beveridge

Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 

Sponsored Post: GTM is Taking Spirit Design to the Next Level!

Sponsored Post: GTM is Taking Spirit Design to the Next Level!

GTM Sportswear is introducing Ultrafuse Sublimation. What’s sublimation? It’s a process that combines color and design in a single process. Why is this important to you? Your color and design are heat-infused directly into the fabric. This results in a fabric that allows comfort and mobility in a lightweight breathable uniform for those long game nights and competition weekends.

Each uniform is made of 100% polyester fabric featuring GTM’s moisture management technology. So you don’t have to be afraid to break a sweat! Plus, add colors, logos, mascots, names and design elements without any added cost. With hundreds of style and color combinations, create the team look you want. Click here to learn more: www.gtmultrafuse.com.

Inspection in the Trenches: Buying Used Equipment

Inspection in the Trenches: Buying Used Equipment

So you’re right in the middle of the battlefield—the gym equipment shop. Mission: inspect prospective purchases. As a companion to our primer on buying used equipment, Tumbl Trak’s Stacey Finnerty has got some useful advice on how to carry out an inspection:

**For steel products that may be welded, tap the welds with a rubber mallet. If the paint cracks after you tap it, there is a problem.

**For air products, ask the seller how long it stays inflated. If the answer is less than an hour, there’s probably a leak. If you suspect a leak, determine if there is a hole that can easily be fixed or if the leak is coming from the valve area where a fix may be more difficult.

**For mats, especially thicker mats (8” or more), beware of those that are lumpy. Foam breaks down over time and will need to be replaced soon if the mat appears lumpy or the vinyl seems loose.


Starting a Gym 101: Getting Financing

Starting a Gym 101: Getting Financing

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Number eight on our “Starting a Gym 101″ list: Decide on any financing you will need and how you will get it. In other words…show me the money!

For startup businesses, this can be one of the biggest obstacles in getting off the ground. Funding is a challenge for almost every small business, and this especially includes cheer/gymnastics facilities. The space and ceiling height requirements for a gym make the start-up cost even more than a regular new business.

A few ideas for financing your start-up:

1.    Work a second job to fund business (check CheerProfessional’s upcoming winter issue for more on this!)

2.    Major in business, as some business schools can provide connections to help a business get started

3.    Ask a friend or relative

4.    Dip into personal savings

5.    Apply for and secure a bank loan

6.    Approach individual investors

7.    Go for a government-guaranteed loan

8.   Try websites like www.gofundme.com (or similar sites)

9.   Work with venture capital firms (angel investors, etc…)

Using personal funds is the most common, and few banks will loan to people who are not risking some of their own personal funds too. While it may feel as if it’s impossible to start a business without having your own deep pockets or knowing someone who does, loans do exist and—with good preparation—are even relatively easy to get.

When seeking external funding, being prepared is essential. Write a business plan, have your financial statements ready to go, line up your references, develop a clear definition of what your business is and look at your credit rating, financial history and business planning; these are all things lenders consider in awarding loans.

Visit http://www.sba.gov for more information on Small Business Loans.

-Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris

Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 



Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Starting a Gym 101: Pricing Your Services

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Number seven on our list is pricing your services! Pricing your service (tuition) is extremely important. “How much is it?” is usually the first question a customer will ask and—while you don’t want them to gasp for air at your answer—you want to be profitable and competitive with your market.

Your tuition cannot out-price your target market, yet a profit for your company must be made in order to keep your lights on. There are several approaches to pricing; ours is just one version for making pricing decisions that take into account your costs, the effects of competition and the customer’s perception of value.


  • Cost is the total of the fixed and variable expenses (costs to you) to provide your service. (Rent, payroll, utilities, etc…)
  • Price is the selling price per unit (monthly, 6-week session, a year etc…) customers pay for your service.

Price has to be set higher than the cost in order to turn a profit. How the customer perceives the value of your service determines the maximum price customers will pay.

Perceived value is created by an established reputation, marketing messages and your facility’s environment/personality. What do parents want for their children? What do parents value? Students learn life lessons, goal setting, courage, the humbleness of defeat and the glory of winning, etc. Parents know that these traits are valuable to their children and will more likely pay for those skills in addition to their child learning a back handspring. How are you different and what does your gym do better than your competitor? This will play into perceived value as well because your customer will compare you to other gyms.

Use cost-based pricing along with value-based pricing to come up with a price that is fair to your customer and profitable for you!

-Carrie Harris & Stephanie Beveridge


Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 


Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Starting a Gym 101: Licenses, Permits & Insurance

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Number six on our checklist of key steps that every business should take to start their business on the right track is to get all necessary licenses, permits and insurance. There is so much to do when opening a business that sometimes people overlook the important legal requirements. In addition to the information we are providing below, please seek help from your city’s chamber of commerce, a lawyer or other trade associations serving the cheerleading industry.

Federal Requirements

With the exception of Sole Proprietors, most business types must apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Most businesses do not require a federal license or permit.

State Requirements

Business licensing requirements vary from state to state; however, we have listed the most common types below:

Business Licenses: A state business license is the most important document required for tax purposes and conducting other basic business functions.

Occupations and Professions: State licenses are frequently required for occupations – the cheerleading profession does not have this requirement; however, if you have a daycare type facility (keeping children for over 3 hours usually) you may want to check your state requirement.

Licenses Based on Products Sold: Some state licensing requirements are based on the product sold.

Tax Registration: If the state in which you operate has a state income tax, you’ll have to register and obtain an employer identification number from your state’s Department of Revenue or Treasury Department. If you’re engaging in retail sales, you will need to obtain a sales tax license.

Trade Name Registration: If your business will only be operated in your local community, registering your company name with the state may be sufficient.

Employer Registrations: If you have any employees, you’ll probably be required to make unemployment insurance contributions.

-Carrie Harris & Stephanie Beveridge


Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101 



Journaling: Turning the Page

Journaling: Turning the Page

Were you intrigued by our journaling article? That’s not surprising—after all, journaling isn’t only helpful for athletes. If you’re a cheer professional whose mind is constantly racing, it might be time for a “brain drain”—aka writing morning pages.

The practice of writing morning pages is a tenet of The Artist’s Way, a creativity book and lifestyle pioneered by Julia Cameron. The idea is simple: write three pages every morning upon waking to prepare for the day ahead. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write. “It allows you to clear your mind for the day and becomes a moving meditation,” says Kelly Morgan, who has taught an Artist’s Way-inspired course for 20 years. “It helps you get past some of the calcified beliefs you have about your world. This means getting into the present, forgetting about everything else.”

Much like any new endeavor, journaling takes a bit of practice at first. However, the work is often worth it, as Morgan notes that writing morning pages serves to “weed out” some of the negativity and tendency to judge. “Journaling enables people to open up to a different vision, to seeing themselves in a new way,” she says.

Three Must-Know Social Media Tips from White Echo

Three Must-Know Social Media Tips from White Echo

In this week’s guest post, Danielle McAnn from White Echo shares her top social media tips for cheer professionals:

For those who feel daunted by the prospect of engaging their audience on this new medium, here are some basic and important tips to keep your social media feed above average.

Keep regular: To keep in contact with your audience and keep their attention, you will have to establish a satisfactory rhythm. This means updating really regularly, as a part of your strategy. Updating regularly does not mean, however, that you should bombard your followers with multiple updates everyday, because overdoing it will result in being unfollowed. Regular updates means finding a satisfactory timeframe and sticking to it. Market research shows that once every two days works well. It may vary on your audience, however, so get in contact with a social media expert for more information.

Quality and quantity: Don’t confuse regular updates with updates for the sake of updates. Everything you post should be good quality. Each time you post, ask yourself how it might be considered “value-added” for your reader. Is it funny? Is it interesting or informative? Does it offer them important information or an attractive deal? If you were a follower, would you click on this update? Would you like to be a part of what they are posting about? Look around at the social media of your competitors, and take what you like from their approach.

Use multimedia: Don’t make all of your updates text-based—mix other forms of media in there too, like images and videos. These are proven to be very popular and good at boosting social media attention.


Trend Alert: Rebel Athletic- All-Star Style

Trend Alert: Rebel Athletic- All-Star Style

At this point, who isn’t wearing Rebel Athletic? From Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders to Cheer Athletics, Rebel Athletic custom uniforms, practice wear and warm-up designs are dominating the way cheerleaders express themselves—bringing a fresh breath of innovation to all-star gyms, competitions, and schools everywhere.

Couture Innovation. Rebel has set the new standard as “the innovators of cheer apparel.” They were the first to introduce the BodySkort©, a one-piece fitted uniform featuring a skort which provides the athlete superior movement and comfort for stunting and tumbling, but is also super-flattering. Rebel recently unveiled the Full-Body Appliqué on Cheer Athletics’ Panthers Uniform at 2013 Worlds (the most talked about uniform of the weekend)! After USASF announced new rules for cropped uniforms, Rebel released The Illusion Midriff© featuring Fleshtone Lycra to comply with the new rules while paving the way for a new revolution of full length uniforms at competitions. Total Rebels.

Custom Designs. The Rebel design process embodies a pro-customer approach, allowing personalized one-on-one consultations with their designers so that you can be a part of the design process from start to finish. Each of their designers possesses a high-fashion background, always bringing you creative and unique designs that aim to set trends. Rebel’s designers take your ideas and make your dream a reality, offering you several design sketches to tweak and customize to your exact specifications. Once you approve the design, you can see and feel your customized luxury garment when your free prototype arrives. Completely custom, completely you.

An Honest Approach. Rebel was founded with the promise to eliminate the stresses gyms were used to facing when it came to ordering uniforms and apparel. By only accepting a limited number of new customers each season, Rebel commits to firm delivery dates, ensuring you always feel like their number one customer.

Join the Rebellion. Whether you have a design in mind or need inspiration, have a strict budget or the sky is the limit, Rebel is available to make your apparel ordering experience enjoyable and fun. Visit www.RebelAthletic.com now and contact your regional Rebel Representative to get started. If you decide to “Join the Rebellion” to customize your team’s apparel with Rebel Athletic, your athletes will make their mark as a trendsetting team, exuberating the confidence and teamwork needed to put the “cheer” back in cheerleading.


Announcing our Young Entrepreneur Competition with Nfinity!

Announcing our Young Entrepreneur Competition with Nfinity!

Is your brain abuzz with a dynamite business idea? Do you think you’ve got what it takes to open an innovative cheerleading business or gym—and just need the resources to do it? We’ve got the goods to get you there, thanks to Nfinity’s Young Entrepreneur Competition.

We’re partnering with Nfinity to offer this exciting new venture designed to help up-and-coming cheer professionals get started on their professional path. Prizes include a $5000 cash prize from Nfinity, booth space at multiple events, a print ad in an upcoming issue of CheerProfessional and graphic design services for your business logo and ad.

To be considered, contestants must be 25 or under and submit the following business plan components to marketing@nfinity.com by 11:59 p.m. on August 16, 2013:

  • projected overhead
  • revenue sources
  • projected revenue
  • start-up costs
  • past and/or present marketing strategies
  • executive summary on your product or service (250 words)

So what are you waiting for? Go get started on your business plan to be the cheer industry’s next big thing!


Summer Issue: Sneak Peek!

Summer Issue: Sneak Peek!

The summer issue of CheerProfessional is headed for a mailbox near you! Designated as our “Athletes’ Issue,” this edition is designed to help you get up to speed on all things athlete-related. From collecting overdue bills to hiring an athlete onto staff, you’ll find it all in our pages, along with stories like:

The Long & Winding Road for LGBT:  Have the industry truly come a long way? CheerProfessional explores the treatment of gay athletes in all-star cheerleading, talking candidly with cheer professionals from FAME All-Stars and ACE Cheer Company to see where we stand.

Shades of Grey: Our writer Janet Jay talks with gym owners from Cheer Athletics, CheerGyms.com and more to find out where the line should be drawn between “good” and “bad” recruiting. Has your gym been on the receiving end of dirty recruiting? Tell us about it by emailing jen@thecheerprofessional.com.

More Than Business: Forming strong bonds with athletes is par for the course, but where should cheer professionals draw the line? This article explores the close-knit relationships many cheer professionals form with athletes—and the positive and negative ways they can affect the gym as a whole.

Two Sides: Are too many at-large bids being given to Worlds? Debbie Sprague of Capital Elite All-Stars and Theapia Best of New Jersey Spirit Explosion debate.

Cheer Pro-files: This issue is chock-full of great profiles of some of the industry’s most prominent faces and figures. Don’t miss our story on USASF “rules guy” Les Stella (and get a peek into his “Day in the Life!”) Also, meet the trio behind Texas’ perennial powerhouse Cheer Athletics—Brad Habermel, Jody Melton and Angela Rogers—and find out how they went from humble beginnings to hit machine.

Those are just a few of the stories we have in store for you this season—can’t wait to hear your feedback!





Get Juiced: Home Juicing Recipes

Get Juiced: Home Juicing Recipes

Inspired by our juicing article to go the DIY route? Here are some recipes to help you get started:



“Beet” the competition with this detoxifying, antioxidant-rich juice recipe from Cynthia Sass (300 calories):


  • 1 medium pear
  • 3 beets
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1-inch fresh ginger root 

Get your fix of greens and fruits with this healthy concoction from Jared Koch (approximately 140 calories):


  • Approx. 6 medium kale leaves
  • 1 large pear (add more pear if more sweetness is desired)
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 inches of ginger
  • 2-3 celery stalks

**Add ½ cup water if juice is too thick 

Fill up on antioxidants with a cell-cleansing juice recipe from Jared Koch (under 150 calories):


  • 5 large, cleaned carrots
  • 2 cups fresh cleaned blueberries (or other berries like strawberry or raspberry)
  • 1 cup (packed) spinach or other leafy green

**Note: choose organic whenever possible.

Pressed for time? Outsource your juice habit to cold-pressed, organic juice delivery companies like Paleta (www.paleta.com) or Cooler Cleanse (www.coolercleanse.com).

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Starting a Gym 101: All Things Legal

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Number five on our checklist of key steps that every business should take to start their business out on the right track is the Legal Requirements for Starting a Business.

To operate a business legally an organization needs to meet all the laws of the federal government, state government and the city and/or county where the business operates. 

Most businesses are going to need an Employer Identification Number even if they don’t have employees. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides clearly written documentation of what is required in terms of reporting. Other agencies may also have legal requirements. If you have employees, you will also have labor laws that you will need to follow. The Small Business Administration operates local offices in every state. These offices can be a great source of information about other local regulations you may need to be following.

There are laws and regulations governing the actual registration of the business and the business name, and there may also be licenses and permits needed to operate certain types of businesses. For instance, if you offer childcare at your gym, you may need to have special permits from social service or educational agencies. You can find out more about such regulations from your state business resource offices.

Helpful websites:



-Carrie Harris & Stephanie Beveridge


Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101




Who should be Americheer & CheerProfessional’s 2014 Coach of the Year?

Who should be Americheer & CheerProfessional’s 2014 Coach of the Year?

Do you know an amazing coach who deserves to be recognized? Here’s your chance to give that person the spotlight he or she deserves!

This week, we are excited to announce our brand-new partnership with Americheer: “Dreams for Coaches, Too,” which will honor 20 show-stopping coaches for consideration as 2014’s Coach of the Year at the 2014 International Championship. The top 20 nominated coaches will receive:

  • Custom Tote
  • VIP Coaches Club Status
  • Limo from Disney’s All Star Resort to Victory Party
  • Champagne Toast at Private Coaches Reception at Disney’s Hollywood Studios following the Victory Parade.

One lucky coach will be selected as the 2014 Coach of the Year on Sunday, March 23rd at the HP Field House at Disney’s Wide World of Sports! The winner will receive:

  • Designer Tote
  • Custom Coach of the Year Jacket
  • Featured Article in CheerProfessional
  • Airfare and Hotel Accomodations for the 2015 InterNational Championship
  • Up to $1000 to compete at any AmeriCheer, AmeriDance or Eastern Cheer & Dance competition for the 2014-2015 season.

Nomination forms are coming soon—to find out more about eligibility and this exciting new program, click here….and make a coach’s dream come true!




Varsity merges with BSN Sports

Varsity merges with BSN Sports

New news from Varsity today — the company has merged with  Texas-based BSN, a marketer and distributor of team sportswear. See an excerpt from the official press release below:

Herff Jones, Inc. (“Herff Jones”) has signed a definitive agreement providing for a business combination with BSN Sports, Inc. (“BSN”). Dallas based BSN is a leading marketer, manufacturer and distributor of team sports apparel and equipment to institutional markets and team dealers in the United States. Under the agreement, BSN, the majority ownership of which is currently held by affiliates of ONCAP and Andell Inc., will merge with Herff Jones. 

“Through my career at Varsity, I was very familiar with BSN and was intrigued with the similarities between our cultures and our business approaches,” stated Jeff Webb, Herff Jones President and COO. “The BSN team has built a great company and we look forward to working with them as we provide our school customers and the young people served by both enterprises the highest level of quality and service.”

“We welcome the men and women of BSN to the Herff Jones family. Our companies share core values and a dedication to serving the people in our schools, communities and affinity groups,” said Joe Slaughter, CEO of Herff Jones. “The merger of these two outstanding companies is the next logical step in our efforts to meet the diverse product needs of our customers.”

“I can think of no better culture to align ourselves with than Herff Jones, which is an outstanding employee-owned organization,” added Adam Blumenfeld, BSN’s CEO. “I feel fortunate we have found a partner that not only complements our business, but also embodies our values and traditions.”



Just Press “Play:” Training Game Tips

Just Press “Play:” Training Game Tips

Inspired by our “Game Night” story and want to play during practice? Here’s how:

Stay simple. Sarah Swicegood Macrow of CEA began giving out colored string bracelets to athletes who had mastered certain skills, and soon the bracelets themselves became a badge of pride (and a bragging right). “All it takes is walking into the toy section,” says Macrow. “We run out of ideas all the time, but you just make up your own game. All you need is sidewalk chalk or a deck of cards.”

Keep them competitive. Cheer attracts athletes who want to be the best. Melissa Meriwether’s 50 Day Challenge at Spirit Xtreme works because it allows her athletes to both compete as individuals and work together, and Spanich’s spotlight sessions accomplish the same end. Give your athletes a chance to have fun, to shine as individuals as well as part of a team and they’ll be motivated to work harder.

Tech Tools: CheerLive!

Tech Tools: CheerLive!

Tech tool: CheerLIVE! (www.cheerlive.net)

What it is: Obsessed with watching routines on YouTube? Take your viewing habit up a notch with CheerLIVE!. The website provides both live streaming and video on-demand of various gym showcases (such as Cheer Athletics, Spirit of Texas and Cheer Extreme) and competitions like The MAJORS. For free, guests can listen to the CheerLIVE! radio library and watch top videos, and for a subscription fee of $9.99/month, members get full access to all benefits including video in-demand and competition webcasts.

Why it matters: During competition season, it’s important to stay current on who’s getting bids, who’s wowing the crowd and who’s setting the trends. CheerLIVE! provides a central place to watch national competitions around the country and put your finger on the collective all-star pulse. If you’re interested in broadcasting your own gym’s showcase, it can be a viable option on that front as well.

Quick tip: Want to get the most bang for your buck? Sign up for a full-season pass for $49.99 (a savings of $70).

Similar services: Varsity TV (www.varsity.com/VarsityTV); IASF Video On Demand (http://iasfworlds.org/worlds/video/)

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Starting a Gym 101: Making the Big Decisions

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

One of the most overlooked aspects of business is the relationships you create. During our 13 years of business, we cannot count the number of times that we have been grateful for the friends and professional relationships we have made and their contribution to the success of our business.

Any time you are looking at making a major decision, you should get a second opinion. This will invariably save you time and money in the long run! At a minimum, you will want to have someone you trust in finance, law and insurance.

Here are some overall tips for choosing a professional to assist you:

• Ask your accountant, lawyer, friends and fellow business owners to introduce you to the professionals whom they are familiar with. Professional conventions are a great opportunity to network with other like-minded business owners and get recommendations.

• Check with your local chamber of commerce to find out which professionals and banks are active in the community.

• Look for a complementary personality. This is very important! You need a person that you can relate to and that makes you feel comfortable. A professional should never be too busy to address your needs and concerns.

• Find out how long they have been in their current position or owned their own business.

• Tell them about your business and the form of organization so they can tell you how they can assist you.

• Ask about billing rates and payment process upfront, as well as what fines and/or penalties that professional is willing to take responsibility for if they occur (this will be based on the services they render). You should not make a decision on pricing alone, but always look carefully at the charges for services.

• If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification.

Choosing a bank:

Approach this as a long-term commitment and choose wisely. You should compare financial institutions and choose the one that will best serve your business’ needs. You will want them to be able to assist you during the different stages of your business. We would recommend looking at your local banks, as we believe supporting your community is important. However, if your local bank is not able to meet your needs, then by all means keep shopping around!

Ideally your bank should be able to help you with the cash management needs, investment products, loans and advice.

Choosing an accountant:

You will want an accountant that can assist you with: bookkeeping structure, tax planning and payroll. We recommend finding someone that has worked with businesses similar to ours. The uniqueness of our business can make it very difficult to find competent help in this area.

Taxes and payroll are two areas that you do not want to mess up! If you do not have this type of experience, we HIGHLY recommend having a professional handle it for you. We also recommend educating yourself on the basics so that you can question and double-check what is being done for you. Don’t assume that they are working to your benefit until they have proven it to you!

Choosing an insurance agent:

In these times, it is almost inevitable that something will happen that will make you thankful you have proper insurance. Whether it is a natural disaster or lawsuit, your insurance company should be able to help you keep your business afloat during the difficult times. This is one area that we definitely recommend someone that is industry-specific. There are so many aspects of our business that require a professional familiar with our needs. Your insurance will be based on the services you offer and your enrollment, so be sure to update your agent if you add a program or increase/decrease your students. We cannot stress enough that you MUST read the fine print and ensure that everything is covered. Sometimes you will need to ASK for specific coverage for natural disasters—we have seen a few businesses get shafted after the hurricanes hit because they didn’t realize they weren’t covered!

Choosing a lawyer:

Your lawyer will become one of your most important advisors. You may also need to change attorneys as your business changes, but it can be an expensive process so it is best to take your time and choose the right person the first time. We recommend interviewing at least 2 or 3 attorneys. Most will waive their fee for a short interview. Stay focused when interviewing them, and ask for references of other small businesses they have assisted. Do not ask for legal advice during this process. You may also ask if they have knowledge in our field, how they charge, how you can help reduce fees and what they feel their strengths are.

Your attorney should be able to, at a minimum, assist you with contracts, leases, securities, patents, trademarks, legal advice and litigation.

-Carrie Harris & Stephanie Beveridge


Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101


Guest Post: The Epic Brands Road to Worlds

Guest Post: The Epic Brands Road to Worlds

What does it take to make it to the Cheerleading Worlds each year? From tryouts to the final flight of the season in Orlando, FL, we got the scoop from a few EPIC coaches that are headed to the 2013 Cheerleading Worlds: Fame Super Seniors Coach Phil Logan and Pro Athletics Coach Jason Graham.

The first look at what the new season might have in store for your Senior Level 5 team starts at the summer tryout. This is the first time you have all your returning veterans, new athletes and those athletes that are ready to take the next step to being on a level 5 team. As a coach, keeping in mind that all your teams are just as important, making the decision of which athletes make up each team is the first battle. There are some tough decisions, but there’s a reason why you’ve been given this decision to make—and these decisions play a key role in determining if your teams can grab the coveted Worlds bid.

First time on the floor
As a coach, this is the first time you get to see if the team you picked might have what it takes to be a 2013 World Champion. As an athlete, the pressure starts here. Not only to impress your coach and keep your last tumbling spot, but also knowing that your video will go global in a matter of minutes. The pressure then swings to the coach.  After seeing how your athletes stack up, you are now in control of your team’s health, positive attitude and getting them to the right event with the right bids.

The Paid Bid
Not only do you have to win a bid to Worlds, you also want to win the bid that pays for everything! Talk about a happy parent that does not have to pay a dollar for their athlete to compete! Picking the right event to win a bid is sometimes just as tough as picking your uniform. As a coach, you want to go for a paid-bid, but know these are limitedly given throughout the season.

Going for Gold
Over 10 months, you practice to win a bid, win a bid, practice to win Worlds and then win Worlds. It is the yearly cycle of a World bound team—from the exciting new Worlds sports bras to the craziest superstitions picked up along the way. You have created a bond between 20 to 36 completely different cheerleaders. The excitement of flying as a team, practicing outside in the Florida sun and competing in a packed arena at the Wide World of Sports adds up to be the most impactful weekend of these athletes’ lives. They will remember that road to Worlds for the rest of their lives…or at least until the following season, when they do it all over again.

-Season Daugherty

Tech Tools: Jackrabbit

Tech Tools: Jackrabbit

What it is: Want a cloud-based gym management solution? You should know Jack. Used by gyms like East Coast Nitros, All Star Legacy and Cheer Force One, Jackrabbit provides a web-based way to easily manage registrations, as well as automate payment and other processes. The program can also collect other types of data and connect to other programs like QuickBooks and Payroll Express Plus. Pricing plans range from $45/month (for up to 100 students) up to $245/month (for up to 3000 students); a free trial is available.

Why it matters:  Say goodbye to bulky paperwork and hello to an entirely cloud-based gym management system that can be accessed from anywhere (a plus for gyms with multiple locations). Along with online registration and accounting, Jackrabbit also offers other features such the ability to send mass emails, view customer data, track employee hours and store new leads.  Parents like it, too—for the added convenience factor of being able to register, pay and view their accounts online.

Quick tip: Cut down on collections and save your customers late fees by implementing the auto-pay feature.

Similar services: iClassPro (http://www.iclasspro.com); eSoftPlanner (http://www.esoftplanner.com/cheerleading_facility_scheduling_software.php)

Update from GrowCheer.org

Update from GrowCheer.org

Many cheer professionals have been asking for an update about the GrowCheer.org proposal and whether the USASF has responded. The companies affiliated with GrowCheer.org have sent us the following update to share with the community:

GrowCheer.org would like to thank all of those in our industry that have voiced their support for our efforts, both publicly and privately. We would also like to thank Jim Chadwick and the USASF BOD for recognizing GrowCheer.org and agreeing to an initial dialogue after receiving our formal proposal. It is out of respect for the USASF, and an earnest desire to make all of the changes that we have proposed, that we will not be commenting publicly while discussions are ongoing.

Since the creation of GrowCheer.org, we’ve all noticed an increase in discussions about additional changes that should be made in the future with the USASF and our sport in general. While it is this kind of creativity and “what if?” thinking that will eventually make our industry better and growing again, we emphasize that the primary mission of GrowCheer.org is simply to create an independent and transparent USASF that can tackle these issues in the best interest of all of our members.  

We also reiterate that while we are prepared to financially help the USASF gain independence, our only expectation in return is a truly independent and transparent USASF. To repeat, NONE OF THE FOUNDING COMPANIES OF GROWCHEER.ORG HAVE A DESIRE TO REPLACE VARSITY AS THE CONTROLLING ENTITY OF THE USASF.  No sport or industry should ever be controlled by special interests within that organization if it truly wants to grow and get better.



Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Starting a Gym 101: Writing a Business Plan

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Step three on the Starting a Business Checklist = writing a business plan. This is another crucial element that many current business owners still do not have. This is like going on a vacation without an itinerary or any idea of what you are going to do. You need a clear picture of what is in store for your business and the resources needed to get you where you want to go.

A well-written business plan is the story of how you will run your business, and almost every lender will require some form of business plan before lending money to a business.

The essential components of a business plan are:

Executive Summary: An overview of the entire plan along with a history of your company

Marketing Analysis: Illustrates your knowledge about the particular industry your business is in and presents general highlights and conclusions of any marketing research data you have collected

Company Description: How all of the different elements of your business fit together

Organization and ManagementYour company’s organizational structure; details about the ownership of your company; profiles of your management team; and the qualifications of your key staff

Marketing and Sales Strategies: Your outline to attract and service customers

Service or Product Line: What are you selling/providing?

Funding Request: The amount of funding you will need to start or expand your business

Financials: The critical financial statements to include in your business plan packet

Appendix: Additional supporting information such as: credit history (personal & business), resumes of key managers, product pictures, letters of reference, details of market studies,  licenses, permits, or patents, legal documents, copies of leases, building permits, contracts, etc.

Once you have gathered the information for the essential components, you can reformat it to fit a variety of needs (such as expansion, new business, plan for a lender or plan for personal records). Once you know exactly what information you need for your business plan, search for a basic Business Plan template online to assist you in the process. The majority of the information should come from the business owner because what gives a business plan “life” is you telling the story of your dream and how you are going to make it a reality.

-Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris of GymKix

 Past posts:

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101


Universal Scoresheet: Will It Ever Happen?

Talk of a universal scoresheet has permeated the industry for years. In 2010, the Independent Event Producers (IEP) made an official recommendation to the USASF stating that its 22 independent companies felt a universal scoresheet would be in the industry’s best interest. “We have made great strides toward legitimizing our sport and scoring is one area where we have not achieved legitimacy,” says Cheer America’s Colleen Little, who sits on the board for IEP. “The IEP recognized that our sport had reached the point where a universal scoresheet was the next logical step.”

Though the initiative stalled, talk resurfaced at the NACCC meeting in Doral last May, and in October, the NACCC released a position statement from its Universal All-Star Judging System Summit. “In order to enhance the integrity of the industry, the NACCC along with event producers have implemented a plan to develop a Universal Scoring System for All Star Cheerleading competitions,” the statement reads. “To ensure quality, fairness and consistency, a committee made up of judges, coaches and event producers will utilize their expertise and experience to create a structured scoring system to benefit the athletes, coaches, spectators and event producers. The development process for the system is scheduled to take up to 24 months which will include careful analysis of available systems, assessment and editing.”

As development and discussion continue over this 24-month timeline, the debate continues among some circles about whether it will truly be beneficial. Karlette Fettig of Indiana Elite sees both sides. “From the gym’s perspective, it would be easier not to have to worry about the differences between competitions; once you put a routine together, you know you won’t have any nuances from competition to competition,” she says. “However, I do understand from an event producer’s perspective that it takes away a piece of their individuality. I’m not sure it’s fair to them.”

Spirit Celebration’s Billy Smith is one event producer who’s all for it. “I am so excited to see the coaches getting organized and taking control of their industry,” says Smith. “This idea has been presented for years and shot down by the USASF without the support of the larger event producers. Now that the coaches are leading the crusade, I think it can really happen.”

Harlem Shake: All-Star Style

At this point, who isn’t doing the Harlem Shake? From the University of Georgia Men’s Swimming & Diving team to the KSLA News in Shreveport, LA, to even the Peanuts gang, it seems like pretty much everyone is in on the dance video craze—and, of course, cheer gyms are at the forefront of the trend. Here are our favorite all-star gyms that are “shake”-ing things up:

Cheer Mania of Welcome, NC, and their coach, Kevin Hansford:

Ohio Extreme All-Stars of Avon, OH:

Gym Tyme All-Stars of Louisville, KY:

Hawaiian Heat All-Stars of Waipio, HI:

Got a link from your own gym to show off? Share it in the comments and we’ll add the video!



Industry Reaction to GrowCheer.org

Industry Reaction to GrowCheer.org

Yesterday’s announcement about GrowCheer.org and the push for an independent USASF sparked a range of reactions throughout the industry. While USASF has declined to comment on the matter, we were able to speak with Varsity’s VP of Public Relations Sheila Noone to learn their company’s stance. “Everything Varsity does is with an eye towards what is best for the young athletes we serve,” says Noone. “No one has more of an interest in growing all disciplines of cheerleading than Varsity, and we feel we have been a strong partner to the USASF and its members.”

Read a sampling of what event producers and gym owners around the industry had to say:

Independent Event Producers (IEP): The Independent Event Producers, IEP, was not consulted, informed or involved in any formation of this proposal. The IEP fully supports a proposal for a fair and transparent governing body. It is our hope that all constituents of the USASF have equal representation. The mission of IEP remains our focus today. Our main objective is to “collectively influence the cheerleading and dance industry, to promote independence and work to ensure our long-term viability in the industry.”

Dave Sewell (Extreme Spirit): Xtreme Spirit has not renewed USASF membership for the 2012-2013 season due to its Varsity control. We feel the current system is in place to maintain control over the Industy’s growth. We will follow the USASF rules, but with exceptions designed to help struggling gyms retain their higher level athletes and also showcase the advanced tumblers out there that are beyond Level 5.

Jody Melton (Cheer Athletics): This is a very interesting proposal that could potentially lead to some needed reforms for our sport. I like the group’s willingness to at least try to work with the USASF/Varsity to iron out some of the issues, rather than starting by creating a competing organization.

The USASF has given us many positive changes for our industry, and it simply would not exist without the leadership of Varsity and its employees, money, guidance and support. They should be applauded for their tremendous work over the last decade. However, it is time to take another look at the USASF structure to ensure that the entire industry is fairly represented. It seems obvious that no single individual, gym, program, company or conglomerate should have significant & permanent influence over our governing body.

There are obvious details that would need to be filled in and some questions to be answered, but on its surface – this looks like a potentially great way to help transition the USASF into an even better & more transparent governing body.

Scott “Crasher” Braasch (Cheer Tyme): I am a staunch supporter and critic of the USASF. I believe our industry has been served well by those in leadership and applaud all their efforts. Our governing body for the sport/industry of All Star Cheer is not just important to our continued growth, safety and structure—it is a must. For this reason, I have always supported the USASF and its mission. I have also been a critic of the USASF and its origins from the cheerleading industry’s largest vendor. As a huge supporter of Varsity brands, I respect and appreciate their financial and intellectual contributions to the origins of the USASF; however, I believe we have come to a point where USASF should truly stand and govern our all star industry independently. This letter shows a divide in our industry that has been developing for years. A governing body that is so closely intertwined with the largest vendor in our industry does not insure that all decisions made on behalf of the governing body are in its best interest, but rather implies that they are in the best interest of the vendor. What other format in our world today has a for-profit entity that governs or is perceived to govern a non-profit entity whose decisions reflect and/or could reflect the profitability of the for-profit entity? This proposal sounds fair and seems to alleviate reasons why so many question the relationship of Varsity Brands to the USASF. I look forward to the outcome of this proposal and sense yet another defining moment in our sport/industry ahead.

Megan and Casey Marlow (Pacific Coast Magic): Awesome concept. Awesome news!!!! Been in this industry for 15 years. So happy to see something truly moving and changing happening!

Chad Mulkey (XPA All-Stars): This is the best news that has been introduced to this industry since its inception. The stronghold has held back a SPORT that has grown tremendously. While Varsity can be thanked for its contributions for the inception, it is clear that this step is crucial as it grows. Excited, excited, excited!

Pam Swope (Storm Elite All-Stars): I totally agree!!! There should be NO company that controls the USASF – no more than the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is! There can’t be a company profiting from the use of a governing body for a sport to grow and thrive. MLB and the NFL are not owned by NIKE – so Varsity should not have control over the governing body of USASF.


BREAKING NEWS: Seven Industry Companies Unite to Urge and Facilitate USASF Independence

BREAKING NEWS: Seven Industry Companies Unite to Urge and Facilitate USASF Independence

CheerProfessional has learned that seven industry companies (Cheer Zone, GK Elite, GTM Sportswear, Motionwear, Nfinity, Rebel Athletic and Team Cheer) have united in an effort to facilitate the USASF’s independence from Varsity Brands. Their plan includes assuming the USASF’s loan from Varsity, revising the Board of Directors and moving the USASF office and employees to a neutral location. Read their full proposal and react in the comments section:


Proposal to the United States All Star Federation

GrowCheer.ORG is a group of unrelated industry companies with a singular purpose to grow the sport of cheerleading.

As such, we believe that the first (and most important) step in fostering future growth in our sport is a FREE and INDEPENDENT United States All Star Federation (“USASF”).

How are we going to accomplish this?

Central to our plan is to replace the current loan(s) that the USASF has with Varsity Spirit Corporation and/or affiliated companies (“Varsity”).

It is understood that the reason Varsity controls a majority of the seats on the USASF board and why Varsity owns the trademark of the USASF is to secure repayment of these loans.   We firmly believe that in order to have a unified industry, no single organization should be unduly influenced by and/or controlled by another.

We propose to assume the loan with essentially the same financial terms that Varsity has given to the USASF.  We are prepared to do this immediately after the 2013 USASF Worlds competition.

Other key provisions relating to our plan are as follows:

1)   Require an immediate external audit of the USASF financials by an independent accounting firm that we mutually agree on.  We will bear the cost of this audit.

  1. This firm would determine the amount that remains outstanding to Varsity.
  2. The firm would examine the relationship between the USASF and the IASF and confirm that all monies paid to the USASF by American gyms would be used for the support of American programming, not international programming.
  3. The firm would examine the relationship between the USASF and the host site to make sure only the USASF received benefit from the relationship.

2)   All USASF property held in lien as security for outstanding loans with Varsity, including but not exclusively intellectual property (i.e., trademarks), would be released to the USASF.

3)   Immediate rewriting of the Articles of Incorporation, By Laws, and Operating Agreement to abolish all permanent Board of Directors seats and create a provision for an organized election to be conducted as soon as practical.  The new Board of Directors would be composed of equal representation among all segments of our industry – gym owners/coaches, event producers and industry vendors.

4)   Future production of USASF World competitions would be granted to a qualified event producer after an open bidding process administered by the Board of Directors.

5)   The office and employees of the USASF would be moved to a neutral location in Memphis.  If necessary, we would subsidize payment for the office space until it could be supported by the cash flow of the USASF.

6)   After the first year, or as soon as practical, the Board of Directors would interview and select a professional management company to assume the day-to-day operations of the USASF.

7)   The USASF would be reorganized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is recognized by the IRS as such.

We believe very much in this industry and recognize Varsity for its past foresight and support, but we have come to a point where we can no longer afford to see our governing body indebted to and controlled by a profit motivated company with a clear conflict of interest.  In a time when so many are calling for the industry to break apart into separate factions, we feel that the best solution is to step in and provide a practical way for there to be just one, FREE and INDEPENDENT governing body.  And we believe that we have proposed a workable solution to this matter.

Your acceptance of the above terms is expected by March 1, 2013 to GrowCheer@gmail.com so that we can make provisions for a seamless transition.



Cheer Zone ™

GK Elite Sportswear, L.P.

GTM Sportswear, Inc.

Motionwear, LLC

Nfinity Athletic LLC

Rebel Athletic ™

Team Cheer™


United States All-Star Federation, USASF, ISAF, USASF Worlds, Varsity are all Registered trademarks of the Varsity Spirit Corporation, Memphis, TN.


Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Starting a Gym 101: Legal Forms of Business Ownership

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Last month we provided a list for new business owners to follow in order to start up a new business successfully. We elaborated on the first step: picking a business name and registering it with your county (DBA – Doing Business As); this month, we will delve into checklist item number two: deciding on the legal forms of business ownership.

A major decision you will need to make as a new business owner is how you want your company structured. This decision should not be made lightly, as it will have long-term implications. When trying to decide, please take into account the following:

·     The size and scope of business you hope to attain

·     The level of control you wish to have

·     The level of structure you are willing to deal with

·     The business’s vulnerability to lawsuits

·     Tax implications of the different ownership structures

·     Expected profit (or loss) of the business

·     Whether or not you need to re-invest earnings into the business

·     Your need for access to cash out of the business for yourself

There are four basic legal forms of ownership for small businesses:

·      Sole Proprietorship

·      Partnership

·      Corporation

·      Limited Liability Company

The legal form of your business should be handled by a professional. If you are the sole owner, then an attorney can assist you with deciding what works best for your interests and future goals. If you are partnering with others, we highly recommend that each of the partners consult with an attorney separately first to discuss his/her options. Keep in mind that business partners, especially if they are not related to you, can become a serious liability. There have been numerous gyms that have been decimated by partner disagreements, divorces, and poor planning. It is reasonable to assume each partner will want to ensure that his/her interests are protected in the event that the partnership dissolves.

In our case, our gym started as a partnership between just us (Stephanie and Carrie). As the business grew, we added our mother as another partner. Because we are family, and new to the business world, we never consulted an attorney about our partnership agreement. When our gym grew even more and we took classes and attended business conventions, we realized that a change would be needed. We consulted with our attorney and he recommended that we switch to an LLC (Limited Liability Company)to limit the liability incurred by us as individuals. Talking to a lawyer will also help you find the best option for your business.

-Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris


A Cheer Parent Muses: How Far Is Too Far?

A Cheer Parent Muses: How Far Is Too Far?

The right makeup can help a team stand out in a good way.

In the world of competitive cheer, dance and even pageants, the parents and kids are required to put on “stage makeup” and put on a uniform or costume that gives them an edge in the judge’s eyes. The gym owners and/or coaches are always looking for the next best thing in regards to makeup and uniforms that make the team look their very best. I watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” on TV and laugh at the crazy moms and the lengths they go through to make their daughter (sometimes son) perfect in the eyes of the judges. Hair extensions, facials, fake teeth (flippers), fake nails, tans, eyebrows waxed, and then on the day of the pageant, they spend hours making their little girls look older and all dolled up. We have all seen the pictures, we all know the stories, and usually we laugh and think it’s all crazy. However, to me, the world of cheer is becoming the same.

The right makeup can help a team stand out in a good way. It’s one thing to see the older girls with their hair all done perfect, all the bright red lipstick and glitter makeup in midriff-baring uniforms with the tan, but when did it change to having the same for the Tiny and Mini teams? When we first joined a competitive gym, our owner believed in doing “Dallas Curls” with natural-looking eye makeup and clear lip gloss and I loved it. When we moved, our 7-year-old’s new team required bright red lipstick. I affectionately called “Tijuana lips.” When we moved again, I was so looking forward to getting rid of the lipstick but soon found out that our new (and current) gym used the same lipstick color—and now we were going to add glitter eye shadow to the mix. Now my daughter was on a team with older girls and I get that she has to blend in and look the part. I do follow our gym’s policy and put all the makeup required on her and it looks great!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you that for the past six months, my 10-year-old has been getting her eyebrows waxed, not because I force her to do it but because she doesn’t like the whole uni-brow look. On competition day, our almost 3-year-old asks for makeup; I let her have a little mascara, some glitter and maybe some lippy. It is cute, I agree. But where do you draw the line? I don’t want my kids growing up too fast.

I love that our gym has our Tiny team wearing full length tops that keep them covered; after all, they are little girls who need to be covered. There is no reason to send them out and about trying to look like they are 16 and not 5. With the new rule about cheerleaders being required to put on a shirt or jacket over their crop top uniform when not performing, I thought we were moving in the right direction. Yeah, but that is not really happening or being enforced. At every competition we have been at, I am seeing the majority of the kids still walking around with just their uniform on and not covering up.

I understand the concept of having all the teams look the same, but we have to take a stand somewhere. Where do we draw the line? I will admit, the little girls all dolled up look cute, but it’s not cute when their butts are hanging out of their shorts because they are too short. I have heard that the reasoning behind the bright red lipstick is to “allow the judges to notice their facials”—okay, I get that. What is the reasoning behind the 4-6 year olds wearing crop top uniforms and/or shorts with their body parts exposed and the fake hair pieces? Have we gone too far in pushing our children to grow up too fast?

It’s a hard line to draw. I know my younger daughter wants to be exactly like her older sister. She even wears a sports bra and spanks to tumbling and is so happy when they match. Where do you draw the line? Or do you? Is it okay to allow young kids to dress like teenagers in the spirit of competition, under the assumption that it’s just for the stage? Do you have your child cover up when they aren’t performing? Do you allow the use of hairpieces, spray tans, etc. because you feel it gives your team or child an edge? How far is too far? In our world that is always pushing our children to be the best, will there ever be a line drawn in the sand that we shouldn’t cross?

This post was written by Kristen Roeder and originally appeared on our partner website Cheer Parents Central.

Get-It Gear: Sweet Beats

Mix your own cheer music with these DIY editing programs.

Footloose and free: 
Available for both Windows and Mac, Audacity is a free, open-source download that can be used to edit different types of sound files; copy, splice or mix sound effects; and alter the speed or pitch of a recording. Newbies rave that Audacity is user-friendly and easy to learn—translation: great for putting together cheer music in a pinch. (Free; http://audacity.sourceforge.net)


Beats on ACID: Combine DIY convenience and powerful pro capability with Sony’s ACID Music Studio. The software’s Beatmapper tool allows you to import your songs and MP3s of choice for easy remixing; you’ll also get free access to the Sony Sounds Series loop library. For those looking to experiment, a free trial is available for download. FYI: for PC only. ($64.95 and up; http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/musicstudio)


Just add turntable: Easy-to-follow visuals and simplicity of editing make DJ Audio Editor a beginner’s friend. Windows users will appreciate the ability to mix and match effects to create entirely original sounds; plus, effortlessly save files in an array of audio formats so that they can be compatible with any sound system. ($39.95; http://www.program4pc.com/dj_editor.html)


Totally effect-ive: Mac users, take heed—though some music editing programs are PC-only, plenty of great options exist for Apple aficionados. If you’re a sucker for sound effects, look no further than Logic Pro 9. With more than 15,000 loops, 1,700 sampled instruments and 4,500 presets for plug-ins, you’ll have a deep library of resources to create one-of-a-kind cheer music. ($199.99; http://www.apple.com/logicpro)

Other programs we like:

FL Studio ($49 and up; http://www.image-line.com/documents/flstudio.html)

Acoustica Mixcraft 6 ($74.95; http://www.acoustica.com)

Magix Music Maker 2013 ($59.99; http://www.magix.com/us/music-maker/detail/)

Adobe Audition CS6 ($349; http://www.adobe.com/products/audition.html)


Guest Post: Starting a Gym 101

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

After seeing the popularity of Gym Kix‘ Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris’ Expert Q&A on starting your own gym, we’ve decided to tap their expertise even further! This post marks the first of a series on starting your own gym—from two veteran cheer professionals who’ve been there, done that.

Starting a gym is no easy task. To help new gym owners in getting their businesses set up professionally, legally and thoroughly, we have comprised a checklist of key steps that every business should take in order to start their business out on the right track. These steps are guidelines to follow after you have already completed the necessary research as far as competitors, demographics and feasibility for starting your new business.

1. Pick a business name & register with your county (DBA–Doing Business As)
2. Decide on the legal forms of business ownership
3. Write a business plan
4. Set up professional relationships (bank, business consultant, accountant, attorney, etc)
5. Ensure all legal requirements are met for starting a business
6. Get all licenses, permits and insurance
7. Decide on prices for your services
8. Decide on any financing you will need and how you will get it
9. Obtain a location, building, equipment, etc…
10. Set up recordkeeping/accounting/in-house office system for your services
11. Hire employees
12. Develop a daily operating/managing system for your staff and your business

Each of the above tasks needs to be taken into consideration if your business is to become a successful reality. In this post, we’ll start with the first task on the checklist and then explore each one individually in future posts.

Picking a business name and registering it

A business name is an important part of your business efforts and should not be taken lightly. Know your target market and be sure your business name fits what your services are. Some people say be creative and others say be descriptive when picking a name for your business. In the end it will be solely up to you, but whichever way you decide, be sure and visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark office’s (USPTO) online system to search all state and federal trademark registers to see if their proposed name is being already in use.

In addition, domain names should be searched to ensure your website will be easily accessible. You don’t want your domain to be www.powertumblecentralnewyork.com because there are three other gyms with Power Tumble as a domain name. Keep it simple and be unique! It is also important to be aware of how your web domain might be misinterpreted, take a look at these unfortunate examples:

• A company selling CAD software and Learning CDs was called ViaGrafix – quite innocent until a blue pill hit the market. The company is now called Learn2. Their website was: www.ViagraFix.com

• If you’re known as Big Al, why not call your online fish supplies store for Big Al’s Online?
 His website is: www.BiGalsOnline.com

Once you have decided on a business name you will need to register your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located. There are a few states that do not require the registering of business names.

A logo for your gym is also an essential part of your brand. If creativity is not your strength, hire an outside business to help create a good logo that represents your business and the impression you want your customers to have of you and your gym. Do not rush this process. This is your main form of marketing and your first impression. Keep in mind that if you have a logo that only looks good printed in four different colors, which can be expensive for printed and clothing items! A busy logo may also be hard to decipher and not immediately grab the attention of your target market.

You will never regret taking more time, but you will regret rushing through such a vital part of your business’s future.

-Stephanie Beveridge & Carrie Harris


America’s Best Athlete Does Her Best to Help Newtown Families

America’s Best Athlete Does Her Best to Help Newtown Families

As the industry—and our nation—tries to get back in the holiday spirit after last week’s tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., a cheerleader named Janie Pascoe is doing her best to restore hope. After being named Athlete of the Year at America’s Best National Championships in Kansas City last weekend, Janie requested to donate her $500 scholarship prize to the Newtown Memorial Fund for the victims’ families rather than using it toward her Indiana University education.

“It is an honor to receive this award, but I feel the money would be better used in the hands of the New Town Memorial Fund rather than mine and maybe this will encourage others to help as well,” said Janie in a statement.

Though it’s an unconventional approach, America’s Best Championships and The JAM Brands were more than happy to oblige Janie’s selfless wishes. “I couldn’t help but tear up at how amazing this young athlete truly is,” says Chad Lemon of The JAM Brands. “It is so refreshing to know that there are great, positive role models out there and Janie fits that bill to a tee. I think Janie’s small act of kindness shows that she truly is ‘America’s Best’ Athlete of the Year.”

Cheers to Janie for showing what the true holiday spirit is all about.


Expert Q&A: Varsity vs. Jam Brands Scoring

Expert Q&A: Varsity vs. Jam Brands Scoring

Question: Since different companies have different scoring grids, is there a way to compare them (i.e. a Level 2 Mini first-place score at a Jamfest competition of 79.950 and a Level 2 Mini first-place score at a Varsity competition of 54.36)? 

Jeremi Sanders of JAM Brands

Answer from Jam Brands Scoring Director Jeremi Sanders: Since different companies use different standards and rubrics to score teams, it can get complicated when trying to compare one event company to the next. Since scoring systems are mainly based on what is allowed per level, routines tend to be similar. The difference factors in when certain skill sets are weighted more or less from company to company.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for our Winter 2013 issue, in which we’ll have a feature story on various scoring systems and how they stack up — including interviews with Jeremi, Varsity’s Justin Carrier and more!



Candid Coach: Trisha Hart of All-Star Legacy

Candid Coach: Trisha Hart of All-Star Legacy

Meet Trisha Hart, now in her 10th year as co-owner of All-Star Legacy (a decorated cheer gym with three locations in Virginia and West Virginia), coach for the program’s Mini Level One and Youth Level Two teams, and cheer consultant/choreographer. We snagged this busy cheer professional for a candid Q&A—read what she had to say below:

CP: What is one thing you wish you’d known when starting out?

Trisha: I would have liked to find more balance from the beginning. In this industry, you work from the minute you wake up until the minute you go to bed, and at first, I sacrificed a lot of my personal friendships and family relationships to bring the gym great success. I also invested a lot of emotion into the clients and kids, which I wouldn’t take back, but in retrospect, I wish someone had told me not to take it so personally when kids would leave and go to a different gym.

CP: You spend a lot of time training coaches from other programs. What’s one thing you think coaches could do differently as a whole?

Trisha: After seeing Worlds on ESPN or certain YouTube videos, coaches often have expectations that their kids will be able to do those things, but teaching them how to get there is something we’re lacking. A good test-taker might be able to get credentialed very high, but at the end of the day, hands-on training and being able to communicate with different athletes is bigger than anything else. Going to a gym or practicing 3-10 hours a week and having them repeat bad habits won’t get progress. Coaches need to be more hands-on, and I blame that on lack of training that we’re offering as an industry.

Q: Name something you wouldn’t do again as a coach.

Trisha: Relying on parent volunteers to be the communication of the business. We’ve worked with a lot of parents to get messages to the masses—each team has one or two parent representatives. I’ve learned that giving them the reins can sometimes bite you in the butt, as your words can be misconstrued. It’s great to have parent volunteers, but not necessarily as a main line of information.

CP: Talk about trends you’re seeing in choreography.

Trisha: Right now, it’s too skill-based. Look at any event producer’s scorecard—in order to get a quantity score, you end up jam-packing two minutes and thirty seconds with so many skills that you lose all the flashy fun. Showmanship and entertainment value are what competitive cheerleading was originally built for, but we’re starting to get away from them. We have to do so much in a routine that we’re counting the number of elements and skills versus appreciating the creativity of what we do. In maximizing the scoresheet, we lose the creative overall effect and appeal. I’d love to see it all be one big package again, but the only way that will happen is by not expecting so much.

CP: How would you sum up your coaching approach?

Trisha: Passionate and energetic about our industry and coaching, with high expectations for all athletes’ growth and development—no matter what age or ability level.

Owner’s Manual: Tara Cain of Maryland Twisters

Owner’s Manual: Tara Cain of Maryland Twisters

In our “Owner’s Manual” column, we ask gym owners to take us “under the hood” and give us their secrets to what keeps their gyms running so smoothly. Find out how Tara Cain puts her own “twist” on attracting athletes below:

Vital Stats

Name: Tara Cain, Owner

Gym:  Maryland Twisters All-Stars, Inc.

Location:         Glen Burnie, MD

Founded:         1998

Size:                500+ athletes; approximately 26 teams (cheer, dance & special needs)

The Dish

As a business owner, I’m not just looking at filling up my teams—I’m also generating business for camps and classes. Unlike many all-star gyms, we welcome athletes from everywhere to participate in our classes, private lessons and/or camps. You do not have to be a Twister to benefit from our training. Professional, high school, recreation & other all-star athletes are a part of our training curriculum. We really want everyone in the cheer arena to feel we are the primary training facility in Maryland; so far, that has worked to our benefit. Some of our classes include stunt class, flyer flexibility, tumbling classes by level, trampoline class and open gym.

In previous years, before we grew so big, we focused on attracting new athletes with many creative plans. We would go to various fairs and places our audience would be and perform or set up a booth to generate awareness about all-star cheerleading. (Some people still don’t even know what it is here in Maryland.) We also provided a referral fee as an incentive during certain times of the year. At one time, we also had a direct mail piece to everyone who has ever walked in the doors—once around tryout season to promote tryouts and another at the beginning of the year to create awareness of summer camps. It was sent to anyone who has ever taken a class or attended at camp at Maryland Twisters. Those are the people you’re actually targeting, as they’ve already been to your gym and met the staff.

We have partnered with our county recreation programs to “train the trainers” on stunt technique, safety, and other types of cheer training. Some of those programs have also rented our floor space for their teams as they prepare for county competitions. We have explained to our rec friends that we are not a threat. All-Star isn’t for everyone—but cheerleading and gymnastics is. We would like to continue to strengthen our sport throughout Maryland with no attempt to recruit. Inevitably, a few of their more serious athletes may transition to our all-star program, but that is few. [We want] those coaches to know we are not doing it for our team gain; we are really there to help & be a resource to them as well.

In addition to our teams and class business, we also have developed a dance program that houses two competitive hip-hop teams. That has also extended our business into dance classes (tap, ballet, hip hop, jazz, etc). We are still growing that division, but it has certainly attracted kids who are not at all interested in cheer or gymnastics. It’s another great avenue for those all-star athletes who are ready to “retire” and transition into something less demanding.

We pride ourselves on NOT recruiting all-star athletes at other gyms during events or competitions. If a parent or athlete approaches us, that is one thing.  But we don’t proactively seek them out.

Creating a certain atmosphere for walk-ins can also be a good recruiting tool. We have three viewing areas for parents and articles written about us up in the lobby, along with a display of our Worlds trophies. The employees in the front office are trained to create the right first impression. Having the right staff in place will also attract families to not only feel welcome, but stay within our Twisters family for the long-term.

Different Strokes: Athlete Learning Styles

Different Strokes: Athlete Learning Styles

Like snowflakes, no two cheerleaders are alike. Though athletes may be a sea of energetic smiles out on the floor, off the mat is a dynamic mix of personalities—from social butterflies to wallflowers and from Type-A perfectionists to laid-back types. That diversity often translates to learning styles as well, a difference that is less obvious but critical to maximizing team performance and efficiency at practices.

New Zealand teacher Neal Fleming’s popular VAK model states that are three principal styles of absorbing new information: visual (learning by seeing), auditory (learning by hearing), and kinesthetic (learning by doing). Typically, most people fit primarily into one category that works best for them to retain information, though each style contributes to the overall learning process.

According to learning specialist and author Kevin Roberts, coaches should create a multi-sensory learning experience that can meet the needs of every team member. In the gym, this may mean teaching a new stunt by first explaining the sequence verbally, then showing a video of the stunt sequence or having another group demonstrate, and finally, letting the athletes test their grips and positions on the ground before building. It’s also important to acknowledge various emotional needs (like showing patience with someone who asks many questions) and to be sensitive to non-verbal cues that show an athletes’ receptivity to learning.

“Endeavor to understand the learning styles of each member of the group and hit all the styles in the presentation of a skill,” Roberts advises. “You can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach.”

At Cheer Ltd.’s cheer camps and clinics, president Gwen Holtsclaw and her team put those principles into practice—in the literal sense. “The key isn’t as much in the teaching/presenting of the information as it is the repetition, illustration, and practical application,” says Holtsclaw. “Methods of reinforcing information can be diverse and create a much better result of every type of learning style.”

Guest Post: Are We Taking The Cheer Out of Cheerleading?

Guest Post: Are We Taking The Cheer Out of Cheerleading?

If you’ve been listening to the buzz around the parent viewing rooms at your gym, you’re sure to know that USASF recently released its Worlds packet for 2013. I was surprised to see the addition of “Section V – Athlete Behavior” to the rules and regulations. When I was reading part A, subsection c of this new rule, it made me a little bit sad for the athletes competing this year. No more high fives, team rituals, running out and hugging coaches. No more collapsing on the mat at the end of the performance. No “displays of public affection.” There is some bite behind this rule: any violation can be a 2-, 4- or 6-point deduction.

So why? I asked quite a few people that went last year and I read a bit of the buzz on the Internet about their thoughts. Everyone agreed that time is an issue at Worlds. Teams need to get on and off the performance area in a timely manner to keep things running on schedule. But wouldn’t any delay caused by excessive celebration already be penalized under Section V, part A, subsection a where teams get 30 seconds to enter and 30 seconds to leave the floor? If a team can get off of the performance floor within 30 seconds, should they be penalized if they do so while hugging or holding hands? I started wondering—are we taking the cheer out of cheerleading? It’s the marriage of elite tumbling, gravity-defying stunts and beautifully choreographed dance held by the glue of energy and exuberance that draws so many to this sport. Are the rule changes slowly chipping away at what we love about cheer, or are they necessary steps in the growth of the sport?

First came last spring’s rules change bombshell: Difficulty restrictions, uniform regulations and the unfortunate singling out of the “flamboyant ” male cheerleader (which, thankfully, was removed). And now—no excessive celebrations. It reminds me of the rules put into place by the NFL starting in the 1990s into the 2000s. Coaches, fans and players agreed that some celebrations were out of hand (does anyone remember Chad Johnson performing CPR on the football?), lots of fans complained and said the player celebrations helped to make the players more energized and the game more entertaining. The league eventually found a compromise and today Gronkowski of the Patriots gets his big spike, New York’s Victor Cruz gets to salsa and everyone in Green Bay loves the Lambeau leap. Hopefully the USASF will come to the same conclusion and allow a bit of celebration.

For many athletes, Worlds is the culmination of years of hardwork and dedication. If it all comes together for you and you’re flawless for two minutes and thirty seconds—shouldn’t you be allowed a fist-bump, a hug or a couple of high fives?

This post originally appeared on our partner website Cheer Parents Central.


Expert Q&A: I Want To Open a Gym — Where Do I Start?

Question: I am in a market where there is not a gym or all-star program and have almost 20 years of cheer experience but would love some help with getting a gym opened! Do you have any advice for a budding gym owner on how to get started? – Ali

Business experts and Gym Kix owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge

Answer from Gym Kix co-owners Carrie Harris and Stephanie Beveridge: First and foremost, we applaud you for having the enthusiasm and bravery to start your own business. We could probably write an entire novel full of tips for a budding gym owner.  We thought back about our first years and decided that there were a few things that are “must know” tips:

***Before starting any venture, especially one as unique as the cheerleading business, we would ask that you evaluate your reason for starting a business. Do you want to make money? Be your own boss? Do you love children? Do you enjoy the sport of cheerleading? What exactly makes you want to start up a business? (Because that is what it is—a business!) Most people start in this industry because they love the sport and they love working with kids; however, it has to be more than that or you will get burnt out. You have to understand that you must treat your business like a business or you will get frustrated and be left broke. Always remember that the owners of McDonald’s love business, not just burgers. You must be a business owner first and a coach second if you want to stay around for years to come.

***After evaluating your motivation, you will want to find a trustworthy accountant, insurance agency and attorney. I have seen many gym owners start up their business and start coaching without a full understanding of balance sheets, payroll, insurance, leases, taxes and the many other facets that can overwhelm even the most veteran business owner. Without consulting honest professionals before making decisions such as signing a lease or writing paychecks, you can have your business torn apart faster than you can say 5,6,7,8.

***In addition, I would network with other business owners in our industry, out of your state if possible. (Conventions are a great way to do this!) You will quickly find that your time is your most valuable asset so please don’t try to reinvent the wheel!  Invest the time up front in researching how the successful programs got to where they are. You will want to ask how they register people, how they run their seasons, how they bill and an overview of their day-to-day operations. Find out how others have become successful and tweak it to fit your personality and business model. We have personally assisted numerous new businesses and we are always open to helping new business owners get started by sharing our forms, facility information, operating systems, advice and more.  Businesses that have been around will know what works and what doesn’t, and they are usually eager to help other entrepreneurs.

Once you have your location and business items in order, you will need to get an effective marketing campaign started. We recommend the following to ensure your clients can find out information about your business even before your doors open:

  • Listing in Phonebook: We recommend using the least expensive listing to save money. Most people don’t consult phone books, so your money is better spent on good signage and having a good online presence. We also cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have your phone answered as much as possible by a real person. If it isn’t possible, then you must ensure that customers are called back in a timely manner. It sounds simple enough, but most places tend to neglect this very important tip!
  • Website: We use Jam Spirit Sites as they are affordable and it is very user-friendly.
  • Social Media: At a minimum, you should have a Facebook page and Twitter account for your business.
  • Business-to-Business Relationships: Join your Chamber of Commerce and start networking with daycares, doctors, schools, real estate offices, local stores, nail shops and the library.  Many times, they are willing to place your flyers in their business if you offer to do the same.

Don’t forget to track where you are getting referrals from, at least for a couple years. This will allow you to see where your marketing money is most effectively used.

With these basic tips you can choose your business’s destiny. After years of business, we have come to the conclusion that new cheer businesses are either destined to be a stick of dynamite or a dynamite factory. A stick of dynamite will definitely get attention, but the fuse burns quickly, then it explodes, and then nothing is left but devastation. However, with proper planning, the right motivation and a business mindset, your business can be the dynamite factory:  profitable, long-lasting and an asset to your community.

Now go produce dynamite!

Stephanie Beveridge & Carrie Harris of Gym Kix



Guest Post: To My Team Before Competition

Guest Post: To My Team Before Competition

So today is the day: the last practice before we head out to Ohio and compete for the first time. There are a lot of emotions going into today. We have also had some major setbacks. Our uniforms (due to Hurricane Sandy) didn’t get shipped out, so our tumbling director drove to Pennsylvania to pick them up today. One of our bases had heart surgery last Friday and her first practice back is tonight. Stress factors? Sure, but this team can handle anything.

As a coach, I try to take everything in stride and not let my team know that anything is bothering me. I will say that I am rather calm for it being the last practice before competition. I don’t have crazy nerves, no urge to throw up at the mention of warm-up times. What I am is proud. I’m proud of my team for how far they’ve come in the past 4 months.

Four months since our building collapsed in a tornado during practice. This team has been through so much. They are bonded by something most people can’t imagine. It is my hope that this weekend brings them together even more as a team and shows them just how amazing they are. So going into this last practice, I put together a motivational piece for my Dream Team. It has the voiceovers plus song choices from the routine. It has their name in huge letters across the bottom. Then it has my words:

Dream Team,

The time is here. The moment where hard work & dedication meets destiny. This is YOUR time to shine. Who would have thought that almost 4 months to the day after our building fell, we would be competing? We are going to shock the world when we step on stage. This team is 150% stronger & more talented RIGHT NOW than you were in May at US FINALS. Each of you brings an element of greatness to this routine. Have the confidence in yourself & your team and you are already coming out on top.

I am so proud of each of you & how you have bonded as a team & stood up to the challenge. July 8 is a day none of us will forget – but it has given you strength. It has given you a motivation to be better than the best.

“Never compete with someone who has nothing to lose.” – Baltasar Gracian

We have nothing to lose. We have been through the worst. Make them FEAR THE TEAL.

I leave you with 4 words – I. BELIEVE. IN. YOU.

This piece was originally posted on Cheer Parents Central by Cheer Fusion coach Mandi Spina.

Get-It Gear: Get Amped

Get-It Gear: Get Amped

Stay in tune with our top sound system picks! Four of our favorites include:


Great for large crowds: Plug your iPod into this wireless, battery-powered portable PA system and you’ll be ready to roll. The SW720 by Amplivox features a handheld wireless mic, built-in DVD/CD/MP3 disc player, tone and echo controls, and a built-in 8-inch speaker. Hook it up and reach an audience of up to 500! ($1,259; www.ampli.com)

Light and easy: How about a sound system you can sling over your shoulder and carry around with ease? Despite being just three pounds, the battery-operated Anchor Audio Minivox Lite delivers an impressive 109 decibels of sound. Plug in your iPod, MP3, or CD player and you’ll be ready for audiences of up to 100 or more, with sound clarity both indoors and outdoors. ($329; www.anchoraudiowarehouse.com)

Bose Acoustic Wave

All-purpose elegance: Not too large or complicated, The Bose Acoustic Wave Music System II is a sleek, all-in-one system. It’s great for large spaces—indoors and outdoors—and provides clear, rich sound. Plug it into a standard outlet and play selections from your iPod or tablet (or use the CD player and/or AM/FM tuner). You can also purchase the travel case and power pack for on-the-go needs. ($1,079; www.bose.com)

The price is right: Deliver big and powerful sound using Ion’s Center Stage, a complete sound system consisting of two easy-to-transport, self-powered 50W speakers with stands, a built-in mixer, microphone, and cables. Mic, guitar, other instruments and an iPod plug right into the speakers. Sweet beats, indeed! ($199.99; www.ionaudio.com)

-Jackie Pilossoph

Guest blog from Americheer: In the Eyes of Your Athletes

Guest blog from Americheer: In the Eyes of Your Athletes

Have you ever looked at a team and thought how horribly behaved and out of control the athletes were? Chances are that they were acting the same way that their coach does. If you are a coach, then you are a role model—the two go hand in hand. Your athletes are constantly watching you, and you have an enormous influence over the development of your athletes.  So what role do you play in ensuring good behavior on your team?

Your attitude is contagious, especially in the “good sport” culture that most organizations are adopting. You must remember that their commitment to your team is the biggest commitment in their current life’s endeavors, so naturally you will become one of the most influential people in their lives. Lead by example and show them how to work as a team, to set and achieve goals, to develop time management skills and to promote a healthy lifestyle. This will shape values and behaviors for their adult life.

Although teaching the technical aspect of your sport ensures success in the eyes of your organization, it is the personal development that will encourage your athletes to be good people. Your athletes need to know that you see what they are doing, and need for you to believe in them. Holding them accountable for their performance will make them better at their sport, but giving them that emotional support before and after practice will help them gain the self confidence that they need to be successful for the rest of their lives.


Bullying: Not Something To Cheer About

Bullying: Not Something To Cheer About

On Friday, people across Canada are gathering in memory of Vancouver All-Stars cheerleader Amanda Todd, who took her own life last week after being the victim of online stalking and cyber-bullying for several years. (Before her death, she made this YouTube video to tell her story—warning: video includes graphic images.)

These vigils speak not only to the tragic loss of a 15-year-old, but also to a bigger issue at hand—both in society at large and our industry. Bullying has hit an all-time high, with one out of every four children being bullied and almost half of all children being bullied in some form online. So here’s the question: what can we do as cheer professionals to protect our athletes and make sure the deaths of cheerleaders like Amanda Todd, Peter Blake McCullers, Jeffrey Fehr and others are not in vain?

Here are some ways you can start:

**Sign this petition from Cheer for a Cause to pass H.R. 975, the Anti-Bullying and Harassment Act, which makes it easier for parents and schools to report and act on incidences of bullying and harassment.

**Make a statement. Follow in the steps of the University of Louisville, which posted this photo on Twitter this week to speak out against bullying, or CheerFactor All-Stars and Phoenix All-Stars, both programs which are spearheading anti-bullying campaigns.

**Contact us at CheerProfessional or leave a comment if you’ve dealt with bullying in your gym or want to share ideas for anti-bullying initiatives. We’ll be covering this issue in our Winter 2013 publication and want to hear from you.

Get a free Cheerleading Guide from Cheerleading Blog

The University from Cheerleading Blog (which launched in late 2011) features all of the popular blog series and hot topics packaged as complete guides and available to download for free.

The complete guides cover topics including planning tips for camp, competition and season fundraising, deciding if your team should attend camp and what to expect when you get there, choosing the right competition for your team, keeping your team attitude healthy with conflict resolution tips and much more!

As of August 2012, the library has hit over 2,000 downloads. The top 5 downloaded guides are:

• #1 The Complete Guide To Tumbling for Cheerleading
• #2 Introduction To Stunt Groups For Cheerleading
• #3 Introduction to Motions and Stances for Cheerleading
• #4 Conflict Resolution Tips For Cheerleading Squads
• #5 The Cheerleader’s Guide To Stretching and Strength Training

Get all the tips you need to succeed in cheerleading—the University features information and answers for everything cheer! Visit the blog at www.cheerleadingblog.com to browse the full library and download your favorites for free.

Guest Blog from AmeriCheer: Meal Planner for Cheer Coaches

As college cheerleaders, we had long days of classes on top of tough practices and workouts. People always asked, “Where do you get that kind of energy?” And as a coach, the pace doesn’t slow—practices, games and events take up a lot of time and energy. (Plus, you may have a family and career!) No matter what stage you’re at in your cheer career, eating healthy—and measuring the proper amounts—is the number-one way to keep your energy all day.

My sister realized how stressed I was when it came to meals when I would stand in front of my fridge and pantry trying to come up with something. She suggested a meal plan, but I told her I didn’t have time. She said all it took was five minutes on a Sunday before heading to the grocery store. I decided to try making a meal plan and it’s awesome!

All you need is a dry-erase board and a listing of your favorite foods. It’s fun…and organized! To get started, grab a notebook or type up the following:

× List 10 of your favorite fruits

× List 10 of your favorite veggies (fresh is better!)

× List 10 favorite lunches (such as a sandwich or soup)

× List 5 favorite lunch sides (as simple as a pickle, some crackers or fruit)

× List 10 favorite dinners (Yes, it is okay to choose pizza and takeout once a week.)

× List 10 favorite dinner sides (mainly starches and grains)

× List 5 breakfasts (eggs, toast, muffins, pancakes, waffles—and yes, I do buy the frozen waffles!)

For each day, choose your meals based on your list:

Breakfast Example: Add a fruit and a breakfast item (could be cereal/poptart/muffin/anything)

Lunch Example: Grilled cheese and some tortilla chips. If you pack your kids lunches, add variety every day! They will love it.

Dinner Example: Choose a meat/fish/poultry and 2 sides (veggie and starch)

Once your weekly list is complete, head to the grocery store; this will help save costs and keep your portions reasonable. This is also GREAT for families, as you are not scrambling to decide what to make for dinner. With a meal planner that takes less than five minutes to create, you will be organized, less stressed and have lots of energy for coaching your team!

Cheer Orgs and Associations 101

Cheer Orgs and Associations 101

As the all-star cheerleading industry has blossomed, an array of organizations has also sprung onto the cheer scene—resulting in a virtual alphabet soup of acronyms from ASGA to NCSSE to USASF.  Learn more about each group and how to decipher your options as a cheer professional with this handy-dandy slide show!



American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA)

First founded in 1988, this non-profit educational association is dedicated to safety education. Its more than 70,000 member cheerleading coaches represent areas ranging from youth to high school to all-star to collegiate cheer and more. AACCA also provides ongoing certification opportunities for coaches and administrators, as well as secondary liability insurance coverage.

Website: http://www.aacca.org



United States All-Star Federation (USASF)

The national governing body for the all-star cheer industry, the USASF was founded in 2003 by the collective group of National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA), Cheersport and America’s Best. Today the org has more than 500 member gyms and 130 competition sponsors, all of which agree to follow a standard set of rules set forth by the USASF. USASF also offers coach and athlete credentialing, scholarship programs, and other special programs. In conjunction with International All-Star Federation (IASF), USASF hosts the annual Cheerleading Worlds competition in Orlando, FL.

Website: http://usasf.net

National Advisory Board

National Advisory Board (NAB)

A subset of the USASF, the National Advisory Board is comprised of 25 members, all of whom serve two-year terms and are elected by the overall membership. Its purpose is to “set the agenda for the USASF as it addresses the future in a manner that will democratically represent the entire membership of the USASF.” The majority of the NAB are coaches and event producers (10 each), while the remaining five advisory board members represent affiliates.

Website: http://usasf.net/members/board/


National Small Gyms Association

The NSGA is dedicated to recognizing and meeting the unique needs of small gyms with less than 75 members. (Once a gym grows to more than 150 athletes, it is no longer eligible to be part of NSGA.) In recent years, the NSGA merged its organization with the USASF, and annual fees are now included in overall USASF membership. The association meets annually at the NACCC to further the interests of small gyms across the nation.

Website: http://www.usasf.net/members/smallgym


National All-Star Cheerleading Coaches Congress (NACCC)

Also a subset of the USASF (since 2005), the NACCC is held every January in Atlanta, GA, and is designed to give USASF members from across the country “a voice in the government.” At this industry meeting of the minds, rules changes and other policies of note are discussed and voted on by the membership at large. It now also encompasses the annual NSGA meeting since the group has joined forces with USASF.

Website: http://usasf.net/cheer/


National Council for Spirit Safety and Education (NCSSE)

Headed by Liz Rossetti of Americheer, the NCSSE features an international council of industry leaders whose aims are to provide comprehensive safety training and certification for spirit coaches and advisors. Nine countries are represented in its membership, and its board members include Americheer, British Cheerleading Association, Southwestern Cheerleading Association, Cheer Ltd. and UPA Cheer and Dance.

Website: http://www.spiritsafety.com


Independent Event Producers (IEP)

Founded in September 2009 by a core group of eight companies (Mardi Gras, UPA Cheer & Dance, Cheer America, Pac West, WSA, Spirit Celebration, Champion Cheer and Cheer Ltd.), IEP serves as an independently functioning group of event producers who come together for the greater good. (Eligible members are independent companies with revenues of $5 million+ that are not owned or controlled by any spirit industry entity.) Since its inception, IEP has grown to more than 20 member companies and held its first all-member conference in Las Vegas in 2010.

Website: http://www.weareiep.com


Association of Spirit Industry Professionals (ASIP)

The largest spirit trade association in the world, ASIP features more than 100 participating countries internationally. Among its members are educational organizations, suppliers, publications, competition organizers, safety organizations and gym owner groups. This large-scale organization represents an August 2011 merger between Organization of Spirit Industry Providers (OSIP) and the Spirit Industry Trade Association (SITA).

Website: http://spiritindustry.com/membership/asip-members/


All-Star Gym Association (ASGA)

The ASGA was founded in 2012 to give new voice to gym owners and coaches through “democracy, transparency and free market.” A major part of its mission is to lower overall cost for athletes and increase economic viability for gym owners. It takes an active stance on industry issues, and in spring 2012, published the results of its membership survey on the new USASF rules changes. The organization’s first “Town Hall Meeting” was held in April 2012 in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Website: http://www.allstargymassociation.org