First hand experience of the Little Kicker's franchise


Name: Niamh O’Connor
Location: Dublin
Franchise: Little Kickers
Why I chose franchising
I chose franchising because a franchised business is usually one with a proven track record and therefore provides significant peace of mind when starting your own business. In addition, my son had attended Little Kickers classes when we lived in London so I knew the quality of the product was excellent and had first hand experience of the Little Kickers programme.
What I did before taking up a franchise
I worked for many years in Human Resources and was eventually made redundant in 2003. This allowed me to take time off to spend with my with my gorgeous baby boy and also enabled us to move to Australia for a year with my husband’s career. When we returned from Australia, my son attended Little Kickers classes in London during 2005. We had a little girl in 2005 and I remained a full time Mum until I purchased my franchise in 2007.
How I raised the finance
As the Little Kickers franchise is relatively inexpensive, we had the funds saved and used the savings to purchase the franchise. Subsequent franchisees have taken loans from the Bank which shows that our business model meets with their loan approval criteria.
The training and support I receive from my franchisor
There are three elements to the initial training: Operational training, Practical Training and Business System Training. Operating training is incredibly detailed training on how to set up and run the business from the minute you decide to buy a franchise right through to how to develop/expand your business and includes very extensive training on the Health & Safety aspects of business and human resources training also. The Practical Training is where you attend a “Masterclass” with the Director of Coaching on how to be a Little Kickers Coach. The Business System training involves training on how to use our web-based customised Little Kickers Business System. 
In addition to the initial training, ongoing support and advice is readily available at all times from the Little Kickers Country Manager in Ireland or the Head Office in Blewbury.
The challenges I have faced
Thankfully I have faced very few challenges since I started. The classes have proved hugely successful and I get significant repeat business. Now is a challenging time with the economic downturn, but I have increased my marketing and advertising and have managed to keep my numbers at a constant level.
My advice to someone thinking of buying their first franchise
Obviously you need to do the research on the franchise itself and make sure you are comfortable that you have the relevant experience to set-up the business successfully. You then also need to do your local market research. This will involve researching the potential demand for classes (usually significant), pricing expectations of potential customers and to source suitable indoor venues to run classes. 
My plans for the future
I would like to increase the number of classes I run in the near future.