This month we hear from Caroline Sparks, Commercial Director of Turtle Tots, the fun and innovative swimming school business. Caroline talks about her background and that of her business partner Gaby Lixton, how they wish to expand Turtle Tots throughout the UK and abroad and what this exciting franchise opportunity can offer to those mums who are looking for a lucratie, flexible and rewarding business.
To find out more about the Turtle Tots Franchise click here to visit their profile page.
My business partner Gaby was a highly experienced swimming teacher for several years and she saw a gap in the market for a new type of baby swim class – an exciting brand with excellent customer service. She then started Turtle Tots in Bristol.
I worked in marketing and communications for a large telecommunications company but after children wanted a more flexible career. I started a baby and toddler exhibition business and sold it before joining Gaby to launch Turtle Tots as a licensing business.
How is Turtle Tots different to other competitors?
Turtle Tots is a unique swimming programme that begins with aqua-natal yoga for mums-to-be and continues with specialist and progressive baby and toddler swimming classes, held in warm water pools. Our lesson plans are endorsed by personal trainers and contribute to post-natal fitness – in fact mums (and dads) can burn up to 250 calories in one of our classes!
Running a Turtle Tots business is challenging and stressful at times, but also incredibly fun, rewarding and lucrative and of course there is no ceiling on what you can earn.
Turtle Tots is a proven business model, and buying a Turtle Tots business is buying a “business in a box” with help and support from head office and also over 40 existing licensees.
Turtle Tots licensees receive world-class extensive aquatic and business training, then have access to a comprehensive document library and training videos, and a private online licensee forum.
Once a year we also hold “Licensee Development Days” for all licensees to attend.
We look for people who have a “Just Do It” attitude, excellent interpersonal skills and a thorough understanding of their target market. Most licensees had very different careers before they retrained to become Turtle Tots licensees, but bring with them a host of transferrable skills that they can apply to their business.
Almost all of our licensees are mums of young children, who didn’t want to return to their corporate job, but wanted a career that was flexible, rewarding and lucrative.
50% of our licensees were Turtle Tots customers with their own babies and loved the classes so much they decided to become a licensee.
Our licensees had varied careers before they joined Turtle Tots and these roles include medicine, accountancy, teaching and even biochemistry! We help each licensee retrain and become as qualified as they possibly can be through the Swimming Teachers’ Association or the Amateur Swimming Association.
We currently cover around one fifth of the UK, and have one licensee in Ireland so want to continue to increase our coverage of the UK and Ireland. We have a licensee launching in Melbourne, Australia in 2016 and are also keen to expand internationally – particularly in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UAE and China.
Meet with the licensor and find out as much as possible about the license. A responsible licensor will be very transparent and give you thorough information regarding the license contract, cash flow template and what’s involved in running the business, plus the initial and on-going support you get from the licensor.
Also, speak to a couple of existing licensees to find out about their experience. The licensee-licensor relationship is fundamental to the success of your business so don’t ignore your gut feeling when you make the decision!