Rachelle has always had a passion for swimming from a very young age, and quickly became a club swimmer competing at National Level. She ran her own small swimming school at her old junior school pool, taught for local authority, and taught lessons for Swimtime. When it was suggested that she join the Swimtime Franchise network to run her own business, Rachelle was keen to accept. With almost 20 years teaching experience her aim had always been to provide swimming lessons for all ages & abilities with the main focus being that each lesson be fun as well as rewarding. Today, Rachelle runs a very successful business and has over 2,000 swimmers on her registers.
I was already teaching for Swimtime and when I was told I would make a lot more money for myself teaching under the Swimtime national brand, buying the franchise was a logical move. I have always wanted to own my own business especially in a sport that was always my hobby and passion and having parents that have always run their own business I received a lot of advice and support in making the decision to go down the franchise route. In addition, I knew the franchisor, having already taught for Swimtime, so I knew that I could trust him, and that he was genuine. Whilst having an eye on the future of his franchise business and what was best for him, he also wanted what was best for me and my business.
I started the Franchise in July 2005 and from day one there has been a lot of support from Head Office. Any time I have needed help, advice or support I know I can rely on Head Office. That said, I do try to deal with most problems myself but sometimes things require Head Office expertise, especially when dealing with club contracts etc or difficult managers.
So what challenges have I faced so far? Well they are numerous and varied, ranging from VAT issues, tax issues, trying to expand and develop the business whilst running the business, finding good reliable staff, competing with local authority prices, and the competition generally, plus trying to balance price increases so as not to out price ourselves yet still achieve a profit. The greatest challenge is accepting that not everything is within your control.
Despite the challenges, running your own business is very rewarding and going down the franchise route allows you to benefit from a tried a tested model. That said, be prepared to work hard for the first couple of years, and don't over stretch yourself otherwise you won't have a business beyond the first twelve months.
I enjoy having my own business but I also like being part of a bigger picture. As part of an ever growing Swimtime Franchise network, we benefit from being part of a large group as opposed to being in business on our own with no help and support. I want to continue expanding, drive forward, make more money and have a successful business.