This month we hear from Carla Hamilton who runs the Bolton & Bury Tumble Tots Franchise. Find out what made Carla decide not to return to work once her maternity leave ended and how she became a Tumble Tots Franchisee.
To find out more about the Tumble Tots Franchise click here to visit their profile page.
I have a young family of two boys and whilst I was on leave with my youngest son I found that I didn’t miss my job at all and wanted to have a better quality of life with a work/family balance.
Previously I was out of the house before my eldest woke up and we rarely got do anything during the working week.
Doing the simple things like being around to take and pick up from school started to make a big difference to me and my family and I realised I wanted to change my life.
I started looking into the skills I had gained over the years and where to go next. I had been going to Tumble Tots with my youngest son and always found it fun and enjoyable and knew I liked being around little ones.
I decided to look into the franchise and how it was run as I knew I had experience especially in the business side of things.
Previously I worked in a sales office in the manufacturing industry looking after a team of 8 in internal sales. I was also responsible for personnel and marketing which gave me a good background for the franchise.
The finance was raised through savings and a loan.
The training you receive initially with head office is very supportive and informative from running a business, through to marketing and the technical programme. I know that any questions no matter how trivial I can just turn to one of the team at head office and they will help. On our opening day at our first two centres we have assistance from head office as they came along to help and support us technically and on the admin side. The feedback we got was overwhelming on how professional we were and this has continued.
Where do I start ……. The challenges have been huge but extremely rewarding. At first I wanted to do everything but quickly realised that to grow a business it takes time and to do things one step at a time.
Starting a business from scratch is definitely not for everyone and be prepared to go on an emotional rollercoster. There is a lot to do in the first year whilst juggling family life as well which meant rather a few late nights sat in front of the computer.
My first year as a franchisee has been very hard work and a balancing act. Trying to find out what works marketing wise whilst not over spending, building up my team who have been fantastic and I have been extremely lucky to find.
Tumble Tots has definitely changed my life and for the better. All the hard work that I have put in so far has been extremely rewarding.
I have had many teary occasion when a child has overcome an obstacle, a baby has started walking etc. People love what we do and see the benefits in the programme whilst having fun. It is the first year that I have got up to get ready for work and never had the feeling of not wanted to go.
The people and children you meet are lovely and for some it’s the highlight of their week. It is fantastic to be part of so many lives and to make a difference.
Don’t underestimate how much working capital you need and how much work you need to put in away from the classes. The first year is tough and you will be unlikely to make a profit. We have been lucky and not had to put any extra money into the business but we were pessimistic on the number of children which resulted in our targets being met.
You rarely switch off from the world of Tumble Tots but you do need to take time for yourself every now and then. One of the most important things is your team. If you put the effort in, get to know them, listen to their ideas and get them involved as much as possible, then this positivity shows through when the classes are running. You make the final decision but your team are a major part of your business.
To grow and develop the business to make it a huge success year on year. In year one we opened three centres with 12 classes and in year 2 we are opening 2 more centres with 19 classes. The key aspects I will be focusing on is staff training so that we get the best out of the programmes, to develop the team as a whole and get them involved in more aspects of the classes and developing the children.
110% I would, this is definitely the life style and career I want. I know that the first couple of years are extremely hardwork but very rewarding. I can definitely see my career future much happier plus I am around a lot more for my family to see them grow up. Being able to make happy memories both in work and at home is something to really treasure.