We hobnob with Caroline Davis from Little Kickers Franchising about the story behind the children’s football classes!
Little Kickers run football classes for pre-school children aged from 18 months to 7th birthday. Our classes are fun, exciting and educational, incorporating early learning goals and concepts, whilst providing children with a positive introduction to sport at an early age.
We currently run classes in 18 countries around the World via a network of over 250 franchisees, employing in total around 1500 coaches. We’re now the world’s biggest and most successful pre-school football academy with around 40,000 children attending our football classes each week.
How did the idea for the business come about?
Christine Stanschus was living in London at the time and spotted a gap in the market when trying to find pre-school football classes for her 2yo son. Child obesity was becoming a hot topic and Christine couldn’t believe that there were no pre-school classes to get young children involved in and enjoying sport, so she decided to do it herself.
With a successful career in investment banking rather than football coaching, it was clear she needed to play to her strengths in business and find football and developmental experts who could help her shape the classes.
It was a recipe for success. Christine focused on building a brand around “fun first” making sure she worked with experts in child development as well as FA qualified football coaches.
Together they created programmes that would deliver high-quality football skills, combined with important pre-school learning concepts such as colour and number recognition, sharing, following instructions and using imagination.
When was the company first established?
Little Kickers was established in 2002.
How is the business doing?
The business is continually growing. Our network of franchisees is increasing steadily, and we receive regular enquiries from other Countries around the World. We hope to continue to expand and be able to offer Little Kickers football classes to as many children around the World as we can.
Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge has been moving into non-English speaking countries; there is a lot to consider like language barriers delivering the training, and producing websites and marketing materials in different languages. Selling an English football programme into countries with strong football credentials (like Brazil!) presents pretty serious challenges too!
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
Our passion for innovation, a dedicated Head Office Support team and a network of enthusiastic and committed franchisees all working together towards the same goal of providing children with a positive, fun and exciting introduction to sport.
What’s been your best business decision?
To expand internationally, with an established network of franchisees throughout the UK and an obvious demand from overseas, the business has flourished and we continue to receive enquiries from all around the World!
What is next for Little Kickers?
We are going to continue with our mission to provide every pre-school child with a positive introduction to sport.
If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?
Act with integrity and don’t allow money to be your main consideration. If you set up a good business, money should follow.
Finally, Caroline what is your favourite biscuit?
Cadbury Chocolate Fingers!