Swimming is known to be the fourth most popular physical activity and one of the best cardio exercises for all age groups. Whether you are a pro or a novice, a professional or someone who simply loves the activity, you will need an experienced coach to help you perfect the sport.
Angela’s Swim School is one such training institute that offers lessons to children and adults of all ages with effective techniques. We delved deeper into the training institute and here is what we learnt.
Following are the excerpts from the interview:
Give us a brief overview of your company, its vision, and its journey since inception.
We are now a franchised limited company created by a former Team GB international swimmer, Angela Wilson, Founder and CEO. What begun with one instructor in one pool has become a major provider of swimming lessons, that has taught thousands of children to swim. We offer classes to children from four months old, with some provision for adults. Under normal business conditions currently around 3,500 swimmers join us each week for term-time lessons in 20 locations. Opportunities for further franchise expansion will allow us to extend our reach beyond our current locations in London and the South East of England.
Please list the popular solutions that make your franchise standout from the competition.
We’re the swim school that gets results. Our own unique swim teaching syllabus and badge reward scheme, Swimstylers, reflects the training and experience of Angela’s own professional career. The syllabus helps beginners of all ages, even babies, to master our four pillars of learning to swim:
- body position
Turning away from unrelatable animal characters, the Swimstylers are inspirational child role models who demonstrate how young swimmers get from absolute beginners to ultimately achieving 1500m, equivalent of a mile. Our syllabus is achievement led, with distance rewards at each level. For the best learning experience, we only ever offer small class sizes.
What competitive advantage does a prospective franchisee receive when they become a part of your company’s franchise chain?
We offer a complete and tested package of franchisee features and support, as well as full use of our long-established brand. The franchise will be backed by our in-depth knowledge of the sport and the best guidance in how to run a successful franchise within it. With access to US-based management expertise we ensure that our standard compliance, development and marketing methods continue to fully comply. Also, 2021 will see the launch of our brand new online, interactive booking and e-commerce platform.
As the Founder-CEO, what is your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the fitness industry and its franchising market?
Even before the disruptions of the current pandemic struck, figures showed that about half of the UK’s under-12s can’t swim. We hear that the US finds itself in a very similar situation. Now that our pools are reopening after having been closed for much of the past year the interest in having swimming lessons hasn’t reduced. In fact, it’s looking like it might have actually increased. Parents really value the opportunity to get their children exercising – especially as we’re all so well aware how interconnected positive physical and mental health can be. As a swim school, we genuinely believe that franchises are a great first step to improving health at a national level, as learning to swim not only saves lives but it’s a fantastic sport to build and maintain fitness.
In your opinion, what could be the future of the fitness industry post the COVID-19 pandemic?
The general mood seems very positive – in our business it really does sound and feel that people want to put the recent past of lockdowns and restrictions behind them. Instead, there’s a keen interest in getting life back on track and doing exercise for real. Online classes just aren’t just the same. No amount of bath-tub splashing can make up for the feeling of being fully stretched out and supported by water. Also, as we get used to living with COVID-19 and future pandemics there will be wider understanding of how to safely conduct lessons with minimal disruptions.
If given a chance, what is the one thing that you would change about the franchising ecosystem in the fitness industry?
It would be a huge benefit to the industry if there was a quality standard (a kitemark) that franchisees could achieve – in the same way that hotels have their star ratings. It’s a fact – not all swim schools are based on the same levels of sport knowledge and teaching experience. If this could be more easily reflected to clients, it would clearly identify premium products and help potential customers appreciate what sets the businesses apart from one another. This would greatly assist marketing within the fitness industry. Plus, it would give clients greater confidence, so they do not have to choose on location, price and word of mouth alone.
As an established busines leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the fitness services or franchising industry?
Having real passion in business is so important. The very best fitness franchises thrive when behind them is a leading force who want to help others achieve their goals and get the best results. Make sure that you feel true passion for what you’re doing, and it is infectious. It will definitely help you find staff and new business opportunities.
How do you envision on sustaining your company’s competency in this ever cutthroat and volatile business ecosystem? Where do you see your company in the next five years?
We survive, and will continue to do so, because we always fall back to working with two main strategies. The first is sticking to what we do best. That is, offering quality swimming lessons that get results and produce strong, independent swimmers. After that, we look to the future and the opportunities that will allow us to grow. It’s that attitude that’s taken me from being a single instructor in my own school to a franchised business across numerous venues. It’s that attitude that will see me being a growing presence in the US franchise market in the next five years.
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