Celebrating with their certificates. Swimtime’s Richard Wilson (back left) and Swimming Teacher, Matthew Di Rosa (right) with the children from Siddal Moor school.
A group of specially selected Siddal Moor pupils recently took part in a pilot exercise run by the school to get students swimming.
Staff from the school alongside ‘Swimtime’ teachers held sessions at The Village Hotel in Bury over a number of weeks.
Some of the students that took part could not swim at the start of the sessions but were able to complete at least 25m unaided by the end of it.
The students enjoyed the experience so much that they will be returning to the pool for more sessions after the Christmas holidays.
Swimtime teaches thousands of swimming lessons every week in over 200 pools across the UK.
All independent swimming teachers working with Swimtime follow industry best practice guidelines.
They hold top teaching qualifications, are lifesavers, have insurance, and current Enhanced CRB Disclosures or equivalent.
The independent swimming teachers are all kind and fun and as highly qualified and motivated.
Linda Price, elected to the role of British Franchise Association (bfa) Forum Chair for the North of England
Recently Swimtime was chosen by Theo Paphitis as one of just six lucky businesses to win his Small Business Sunday (#SBS) competition. The weekly campaign allows businesses to pitch their business, via a tweet of 140 characters to Theo, who then selects the most interesting ones to promote.
Each week Theo reviews and chooses his favourite lucky six who are then re-tweeted. As he has over 400,000 followers, this provides a massive boost to the lucky businesses.
Following on from the all important announcement, Swimtime was invited to submit an article to SBS on how the business began, how it has grown and where it has succeeded.
You can read here about how the #SBS win has helped Swimtime build its online connections. If you’d like to read the article that is currently on the SBS website, then keep reading!
Swimtime’s Linda talks about her business’s journey
As a trained swimming teacher I was determined that my daughters would learn to swim when they were young, so they could learn to enjoy water safely. When the time came to find local classes however, there seemed to be a serious drought!
Initially I taught them myself and this led to me teaching other children how to swim, and Swimtime was born. As with any essential life skills, there is a constant demand for good swimming lessons driven by parents who want to feel confident that their kids will be safe around water, at home or on holidays…read more
Swimtime’s founder, Barry Price, is featured in this month’s Real Business magazine, talking about the five things he’s learned since franchising the business.
As an experienced franchisor, Barry is sharing his experience and providing expert advice to companies considering the franchising route so they can view the business model with their eyes wide open.
We’ve pasted the article below, or you can read it here!
5 things I learned from franchising my business
1. Hand over control: When you own a business you are in control, when you franchise your business you are handing that control over to other people, many of whom you may not have known for very long. This is a much quicker process than, say, if you were succession planning and grooming over time a new MD to take over your business. You can be too reluctant initially to stand back and let people get on with it but you need to trust your model and change your mindset completely.
2. Take the right advice: Once you have created your model you need to get the right documentation in place, from accounts to contracts. A franchised business isn’t the same as a regular business. We didn’t go to a lawyer or accountant with franchise experience initially and this caused a few hiccups in the early days, as one size doesn’t fit all. Instructing professionals with genuine knowledge of franchising protected us, protected the franchisees and enabled us to grow with confidence. It might end up being more expensive but it’s worth so much in the long term, so be prepared to spend money to do things properly.
3. Understand the benefits of the trade associations: By getting involved with the British Franchise Association, you get access to advice and networking. The BFA carries out regular accreditations of your operation, which builds credibility and trust with your franchisees and their customers. It’s great brand association and an association that should be utilised. Some franchisors go from a standing start, feel isolated and learn things as they go but associations enable you to meet other franchisees and learn from their experiences.
4. Keep a professional distance: As a franchisor it’s very easy to treat franchisees like family. Not everyone is as honest as you’d like to think they are and getting too involved can cloud your judgment and leave you open to poor practice, brand damage and even deceit. We learned the hard way. The first sign of trouble in a franchise is the last sign you want and it’s easier to react and deal with any issues, in the interest of your entire franchised operation, if you remain professional.
5. Insist on centralised suppliers: Franchisees will often tell you that they can source printed marketing material locally at a great price. This may be true but the reality is that working in this fragmented way can cause costly damage to your brand. We tried it both ways and now insist on all franchisees using centrally appointed printers, social media experts, PR services, etc. This maintains consistency across entire franchise, delivers good prices through economies of scale and helps build brand recognition, which benefits everyone in the long term.
Swimtime has been nominated for the What’s On 4 Junior Awards for the third year running. We’ve been nominated in five categories including the Best National Activity for Children 5–12. Check out our video (above) and vote for us here! Thank you.
Learn how to teach this vital life skill to others!
Swimtime Training is thrilled to announce details of our 1st Swimming Teacher Training Course which will be held at the Village Hotel in Cheadle, Cheshire in December. There are limited spaces available so please contact us directly at email@example.com or call 0161 960 0124 for detailed information.
We will shortly publish a list of courses which will run in 2014.
Swimtime are proud to be in partnership with the STA (Swimming Teachers Association. All instructors teach the STA International Learn to Swim Programme.
The International Learn to Swim Progamme (ILSP) is an exciting, motivational, interlinking and progressive Awards Programme that engages children at every stage of their development.
All levels have clearly defined standards, teaching objectives and learning outcomes, and all levels incentivise and reward with colourful badges and certificates.
We have just presented our swimmers with their brand new up-dated STA badges & certificates so please click here to see how your child is doing against the various stages of development. You will know already know how many badges your child has, so check out what has to be achieved for the next level.
All Swimtime offices now have their own Facebook pages. So please “like” your local office to receive details of lesson promotions in your area and competitions with great prizes.
All you need to do is enter your postcode on our home page, click “FIND” and then click the Facebook image on the centre of the page. We will do the rest!
Swimtime was recently featured as a case study in Greater Manchester Business Week, the business supplement of the Manchester Evening News. Director, Barry Price, explained to journalist, Ben Rooth, how Swimtime has evolved over the years for a feature on ‘The Business of Sport’.
We hope to be able to provide a link to this article soon but in the mean time you can read what Barry had to say to the journalist, below.
Swimtime was founded in Manchester in 1997 by husband and wife team, Barry and Linda Price. The business now provides swimming lessons to thousands of people, of all ages, across the UK every week.
“We originally did everything ourselves, from finding pools, to marketing the classes, to getting in the pool and teaching the four swimming strokes. Having started out in Manchester, demand grew and we came under real pressure from swimming pool owners and parents of swimmers to deliver more and more classes. We knew our model needed to evolve into something else.
“We tried to run everything from Manchester but it was becoming too fragmented to manage day to day and was restricting our growth. We were also adamant that we didn’t want to lose the personal service that we had become known for. To ensure this face-to-face culture, which set us apart form the competition, we had to replicate the owner manager passion nationwide, so we turned our business completely on its head and began franchising.
“Our franchise model has worked brilliantly for our brand in terms of maintaining the reputation of Swimtime and enabling people with entrepreneurial spirit to build their own ventures. Our franchisees know that we provide support in terms of marketing, training and also advice around funding, which helps gets them up and running quickly.
“We are also members of the British Franchise Association and have been approved as an established franchise model by Nat West and this means our franchisees can get better access to finance to allow them to invest in their own franchise.
“Our business meets both consumer and business needs. Demand will always exist for swimming lessons, particularly around summer holidays and following inspiring events such as London 2012. All governing bodies of sport must include Long Term Athlete Development in their training and this is something that our teachers deliver. Kids begin to “Learn to swim” at the age of four when they start to understand not only about water safety but develop physical literacy.
“For us, becoming a franchisor was a scary but necessary move which has ultimately allowed us to develop into a successful national company based in the North West.
“Swimming is about life long learning so by staying true to our business values there are really no limitations to our future growth.”
(Manchester Evening News – Greater Manchester Business Week, 15 August 2013)
Our Lancashire franchise is working on an innovative programme to offer swimming lessons to children in Brooklands Childcare, a nursery in Leigh. Franchisee Richard Wilson is aiming to expand the service in the coming year.
“Not only are the children learning to swim they are also keeping fit and active with the walk to and from the pool,” says Richard