The saying is that you should never work with animals or children. Yet many people looking for ‘ways to be my own boss’ know this is absolute rubbish!
The joys of working with children are abundant, including how wonderfully unpredictable they are, ensuring that no one day is the same as the next! Starting a business that’s aimed at children brings many other advantages too, such as being able to share their excitement when they hit milestones or throw themselves into fun activities.
This is especially true with a franchise that delivers sports activities to children. It’s incredibly uplifting to see them grow in confidence, ability and understanding.
However, even the best child-related business opportunity is not without its challenges! Here are six things you need to know about franchises working with children.
1. You need to manage the expectations of parents
When you decide to start a business involving children’s services or products, you have a double audience – the kids themselves and their parents. What they want and need can sometimes be different.
For example, when registering on The Little Foxes Club community sports programmes, parents need reassurance their child will be safe at all times. The kids just want to know if they will have fun at all times.
Also, every parent feels their son or daughter is the most important customer you have – quite rightly so! Making it important to treat all children in an inclusive, equal and fair way, while managing their parents’ expectations.
One of the ways The Little Foxes Club has achieved this – and earned respect from parents – is by being clear on our aims. Finding future sports stars is great, but NOT what we’re all about. We give every child the opportunity to reach personal and team targets, and they all leave with a sense of achievement and self-worth. Regardless of ability.
2. You have many safety hoops to jump through
Safeguarding and protection rules for child-related franchises are now complex and can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of things to consider, and you will be asked to evidence that you have documents outlining comprehensive policies and procedures on everything from bullying to photography.
Be ready to spend a lot of time studying your obligations and proving your adherence to the systems that protect the children in your care! (Unless your franchise company provides all this, like we do.)
3. You need a carefully selected team
One of your biggest obligations when running a child-related franchise is to employ staff who have been thoroughly screened and verified. This goes deeper than recruiting DBS-checked personnel though.
Working with children – and helping to unlock their full potential – takes patience, empathy and an ability to find solutions to every problem. The icing on the cake is a well-developed sense of FUN!
Children learn and develop best when they are happy, engaged and enjoying what they do. That’s something you and your team need to be able to ‘tap into’ to make a success of your business venture.
4. Networking matters
Another important aspect of starting a child-related business is people skills.
For example, to commission projects, local schools and organisations will want to meet you in person. This can help to establish a relationship of trust, and you can demonstrate your competence and warmth.
Also, personal recommendations are gold dust when you have a franchise business that involves working with children! The best kind of marketing is when someone refers another school or organisation to you, or when parents spread the word.
5. Reputation is vital
Gaining involvement from community partners – and trust from parents – becomes much easier if you’re backed by a well-known national brand.
Think about it. You are asking parents, schools and other bodies to trust you with their children. That can be a big ask when building a child-related business from the ground-up v versus buying into a franchise.
The Little Foxes Club already has an enviable national reputation for its excellent results and safe children’s sports environment. That opens a lot of doors for our franchisees.
6. Having an expert ‘parent’ company helps
We all benefit from the occasional nudge in the right direction and some gentle guidance, and that includes anyone running a business providing a service to children. Having a sounding board for business issues – and someone to share the successes with – can be the best return on investment from a franchise.
To benefit from a supportive and caring ‘parent’ for your child-related business, give The Little Foxes Club franchise team a call.