- Premises Based
- Childcare & Education
Founded in the mid-1970s by innovative educator, musician and kinesiologist Robin Wes, The Little Gym® is now the leading children’s enrichment company and offers a unique business franchise opportunity. Robin’s idea was simple – to create a non-competitive, nurturing environment where children could explore their physical development, while also growing socially, emotionally and intellectually. Today, his original vision serves as a springboard for life’s adventures and a fun franchise opportunity.
The Little Gym prepares kids – and kids at heart – for life’s adventures. We promote growth in individuals, families and our communities by serving as a trusted partner on the journey of developing well-rounded, confident kids.
The Little Gym is in 30 countries in Europe, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, USA & Canada.
The Little Gym Europe has been in operation since 2000 and has a presence in 12 countries including Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, UK. The Little Gym units are owned and operated by franchisees.
Learning the Ropes
The thought of starting a new business is enough to tie anyone up in knots. But our Training Department is there for you every step of the way. Our instruction will provide a solid foundation and get you off to a great start. We also conduct hands-on training, real-life in-gym sessions and even online refresher courses.
In the months before you open, our trainers will prepare you and your key team members for a smooth opening. As part of it, you’ll participate in a week-long training session at The Little Gym International in Scottsdale, Arizona training facility. And you’ll also complete a week-long internship where you can practice your skills in an open gym.
Also prior to opening, you’ll learn our Instructor Training System which provides the tools you need to train your staff and develop their skills. It takes a team member from beginning Instructor to Master Level Instructor. This proprietary system developed by our training department ensures quality and continuity among The Little Gym franchises.
Once your gym is open, we continue to help you grow through yearly training sessions that offer you and your team fresh innovative ideas and methods to operate your gym.
How would you like to have skilled professionals help you develop your entrepreneurial muscles, build your confidence and lower your stress? That’s our Consultant Team.
New Business Consultant
Your lifeline during your pre-opening phase. Your Consultant will guide you through the whole process including finance, real estate, training and marketing.
Your guide to help fast-track your business growth. Their goal is to ensure you get off on the right foot and that the kinks are worked out of your marketing, operational and financial systems. Your mentor for the long-haul. As your business matures, you will need practical advice and best practices. Our Business Consultants are a mix of internal talent and other current owners whose track records are exceptional and insights are invaluable.
Your Business Consultant stays in touch to discuss day-to-day operations. They will visit your gym annually for an extensive facility review and hands-on guidance. Best of all, their mentoring continues throughout your ownership.
Take an insight into the life of a franchisee with Kate Henebury of The Little Gym®, Harrogate. If you are considering becoming your own boss, this will help you begin to build a picture of this exciting business opportunity. The video lasts ten minutes. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTRWQBPvG0U
Simon Green set up his own The Little Gym in Camberley in February 2013 after seeing the benefits it brought to his children who attended classes at another The Little Gym in his local area. Having worked in start-up businesses and run his own businesses before, Simon was well placed to take advantage of a great business opportunity.
“I had heard about The Little Gym because my wife took my two sons to another The Little Gym and I was at a stage in my life when I was ready to do something different. My previous business wasn’t customer facing and that’s what I was missing.
I also seem to have a natural way with children and they warm towards me too so that combined with a great business concept was enough for me. I wanted to do something that I could involve my whole family in and something I have a passion for and enjoy doing.”
In the UK alone, over 12,000 parents trust The Little Gym, with extremely high member retention rate continuing to be the key driver behind their success. The Little Gym proudly serve the children, families and communities in which they operate.
“I didn’t know The Little Gym was a franchise to begin with. However, once I knew that there was an opportunity for me to run my own gym, I started to look into the opportunity properly. I asked myself if I’d be able to recreate that kind of business without being part of franchise. A lot of hard work and effort has gone into The Little Gym franchise over the last 30 years so I knew it would just be an uphill struggle to try and replicate something similar on my own.”
The Little Gym is the world’s leading motor-skills development programme for children. Our teaching promotes a child’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual growth in a non-competitive, nurturing environment. Above all, The Little Gym encourages children to be confident and to have fun!
After deciding that he wanted to be part of a franchise, Simon worked in a The Little Gym in order to learn the ropes of the business from the inside. This is where he received most of his training in delivering the lessons so when it came to opening his own franchise, he had the experience and knowledge he needed to get up and running quickly and successfully.
“In terms of training and lesson plans, being part of a franchise has been a huge help. The addition of the support from the franchisor and the rest of the franchise network gives you much more than you have setting up on your own. You can ask questions whenever you need to so you’re never completely by yourself.”
“The support from The Little Gym is dependent on your previous background and experience – it varies quite a bit. I tend to use the tools that are provided, the marketing materials in particular but I don’t find that I need the day-to-day support in the business quite as much.”
Our network of high-calibre professionals come from all walks of life but share a common passion. The pursuit of a successful career that offers a more rewarding way of life both personally and professionally. The ability to make a real difference in people’s lives motivates our entire franchise family. Flexibility and financial freedom come hand-in-hand with dedication and hard work. The Little Gym is much more than just a business; it’s a way of life.
“When I first opened my franchise I felt nervous and excited. You put a lot of time, effort, money and emotional support into what you’re doing and you have no idea how it’s all going to work out! It did all work out fine on my first day even though I was completely exhausted afterwards!”
With previous experience in running a business, Simon knew that his skills would transfer to running a The Little
Gym. As well as running the business, Simon also takes an active role in teaching the classes at the gym. He loves the challenge and finds that children naturally warm to him so it was an easy role for him to step into.
“Now The Little Gym is very much part of my life and it’s great to see what the gym has done for the parents and children in our area. We’ve had children who have been coming into The Little Gym since they were born because they are siblings of children who already attend and they often then go on to join the very early stages of our programme.
The children become part of our family and they’re close to both me and the team at my gym. Both the parents and children at The Little Gym feel much more like family members than customers. It’s extremely rewarding to see the children grow and develop.”
Now that he’s seen the success he can achieve with one The Little Gym, Simon doesn’t plan on stopping there...
“I want to stay active within my gym and play a key role. I want to develop a group of staff who have been trained and are good at what they do so that I can rely on them and they can pick up some of the slack for me. When I started my gym it was never my plan to just have one. At the moment I’m going to carry on building my first gym to a level I’m happy with and then then I’m going to open a second gym.”
“My advice to anyone looking at buying a franchise would be to speak to other people who already own a gym. Think about your family setup, financial situation and the amount of time you’re willing to put into the business carefully. It’s something you have to be totally committed to and you have to love children. If none of those elements are in place then it’s probably not for you.”
Founded in 1976, The Little Gym have over 35 years’ experience in child development. The Little Gym franchise network boasts over 300 gyms worldwide that are supported by a team of experts in all essential business disciplines.
Our proven business model has been successfully operating in the UK for 11 years and the nation’s franchisees enjoy the benefits of an established and trusted, premium brand. We are an associate member of the British Franchise Association, promoting ethical franchising.
During the last four years, my life has transformed beyond recognition. In 2003, I was made redundant and decided that it was time to re-address my work life balance. Having worked for 17 years as an Investment Analyst for a number of prestigious London financial institutions, including Rothschild and UBS Warburg, I was keen to try something completely different; a career that would allow me to spend more time with my family, make a worthy contribution and, of course, earn a good living.
It was then, by chance, that I discovered The Little Gym – a franchise company that has been incredibly successful in the US. Up to this stage, I hadn’t considered the franchise-route but the company impressed me a great deal. It offered a programme unlike anything else available in the UK, catering for children from 4 months to 12 years.
As well as really good quality physical instruction, kids on the programme got a cerebral workout too, incorporating elements to improve attention and social skills, as well as their physical well-being. All youngsters, regardless of ability, had the opportunity to evolve and I liked that idea a lot! With a proven business model in the US, I was keen to find out how this concept could be successfully introduced to the UK – and the key to its success was in the training. Having a big US brother is a great resource in terms of knowledge, experience and tools needed to do the job. Most US exports work incredibly well in the UK and given the level of research put in and the quality of the programme, The Little Gym was no exception.
In 2003, I signed the first UK franchise agreement for a gym at Hampton Hill, which was to be erected following the demolition of an existing garage. Whilst waiting for completion of the premises, which took longer than expected, an opportunity came up to take over The Little Gym ‘UK pilot site’ at Wandsworth. An unexpected opportunity, but given our success today, it’s was one I’m incredibly glad that I seized.
By 2005, both gyms were open for business. Since taking over Wandsworth, our membership has nearly doubled in just two years and we’ve just celebrated an ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED Accreditation. Hampton Hill is also following a similar growth pattern.
Have I ever looked back? Absolutely not. My work life balance is moving in the right direction; I get to spend quality time with my family and I earn a good living, working with a great team, doing something that I feel really passionate about. So passionate, in fact, that I’m considering investing further.
Clearly, the bottom line is that The Little Gym is good for kids and it’s a great business to be involved in; one that I’d wholeheartedly recommend!
Kate Henebury opened her first The Little Gym franchise in Harrogate in 2010. She has been so successful and enjoyed running her gym so much that she has decided to open a further two gyms in York and Leeds.
Having been in the army for five years, Kate was working in recruitment when she first found out about The Little Gym franchise opportunity. Having already had her first child and with plans to grow her family, Kate was looking for something that would fit around her young family and The Little Gym seemed like the perfect opportunity. Now, with three young children, Kate balances the day-to-day running of her gyms whilst making sure she spends valuable time with her family.
“I did a degree in sport and fitness science. For my dissertation, I specialised in children and the impact of lack of exercise so I’d had an interest in the sector for quite a while. During my time in the army, I spent time managing people and motivating them and that’s definitely something I’ve been able to bring to The Little Gym with my own team of staff.”
Founded in 1976, The Little Gym has over 35 years’ experience in child development. Our franchise network boasts over 300 gyms worldwide that are supported by a team of experts in all essential business disciplines. Our proven business model has been successfully operating in the UK for 11 years and the nation’s franchisees enjoy the benefits of an established and trusted premium brand.
“When I found out about The Little Gym I’d already had my first child and I was pregnant with my second by the time I had signed up to own a gym. When I opened my first gym I was 6 months pregnant with my third child! The Little Gym works really well for me because it’s flexible around my children. I can drop them off and pick them up from school and I have time to spend with them during the school holidays. I’m extremely grateful for it now because I have quite a few friends who are looking for 9-3 jobs to fit around their children and they’re finding it very difficult.”
“I think The Little Gym concept is really great – that’s what sold it to me. The fact that it was a franchise was just an additional element. A friend of mine knew Lindsey Venner, owner of The Little Gym in Harpenden. My friend told me it was right up my street so I spoke to Lindsey and went to have a look around every The Little Gym that was open at the time and I thought it was brilliant!”
The Little Gym's teaching promotes a child's physical, emotional, social and intellectual growth in a non-competitive, nurturing environment. Above all, The Little Gym encourages children to be confident and have fun!
Kate has really benefitted from the advantages of running her own business. Although life running two The Little Gyms whilst opening another can be hectic at times, she still finds time to spend with her children and make sure she's around for important events.“
The Little Gym has given me great flexibility and it’s an area I really enjoy working in. I never get the Sunday night dread of going to work the next day. The gym is on my mind all the time but that’s just the nature of running your own business! My children love going to the gym and I’m really pleased I made the move.”
Like all franchisees, Kate enjoys the support and guidance of our dedicated team of experts. From initial training to assistance finding premises and post opening support, we’re with you every step of the way to ensure your journey into business ownership is informed, efficient and successful!
“The training and support at The Little Gym is really good. It took me a bit longer than usual to open due to finding a suitable premises and The Little Gym were really good at keeping me engaged and motivated. You have handholding throughout and someone helps you open the gym. Lindsey was my advisor for a while and there’s always someone at the other end of the phone to help you if you need it. I don’t have as much support now because I find I don’t need it as much – my staff use it more than I do!”
Kate’s business has been a great success, which she was extremely pleased to find out in her first week of business…
“It was a massive shock when I first started my business. The Little Gym in Harrogate is in a business park so there’s no one else there on a Saturday. The first Saturday I pulled up and the car park was full – it gave me a great sense of achievement. You think ‘I’ve done it and it actually works!’”
With two gyms to run, opening another gym and family life to maintain, Kate has shifted her position in the business to more of a management-style role. The beauty of The Little Gym franchise is that you’re able to make the business work for you so that you can achieve the lifestyle and rewards that matter most to you.
“I still really enjoy working at the gym but my involvement is now starting to change. I’m not there as much for the day to day running of the gym but it works because I have a lot of staff to help me. I have always taught the classes and it’s only been recently that I’ve stopped teaching so that I can work on the admin side of things a bit more.”
“I love the atmosphere at the gym, especially with the parents who are waiting in the lobby. I love teaching and working with my staff – it’s a really fun environment to be in.”
In the UK alone, over 12,000 parents trust The Little Gym. Our franchisee network has enjoyed consecutive year-on year growth built on a platform of extremely high member retention rates. The Little Gym proudly serve the children, families and communities in which we operate.
“My advice to anyone looking at buying a franchise would be to go and have a look at the existing gyms to give you a real feel the business. Look at the area that you want to open in really carefully and work with the head office team to see who your customer base is likely to be and how you’re going to attract them. That sort of support was invaluable to me.”
In just 5 years, Kate has made a success of her initial business and will be making two more The Little Gyms just as successful. That’s no mean feat for someone who’s never run their own business before.
“I think for the future, I’m going to stick at three gyms. If I opened any more in Yorkshire then they’d all be too far apart for me to spend the right amount of time in each. I’m going to manage my gyms by spending a day in each and then spend two days at home catching up on admin. The staff I recruited initially were graduates and they’ve developed with me so I’m confident they can run the business day-to-day. One of my original members of staff is still here so it’s really rewarding to see them grow and develop with me and the business.”
Our network of high-calibre professionals come from all walks of life but share a common passions. The pursuit of a successful career that offers a more rewarding way of life both personally and professionally. The ability to make a real difference in people’s lives motivates our entire franchise family. Flexibility and financial freedom come hand-in-hand with dedication and hard work. The Little Gym is much more than just a business; it’s a way of life.